Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Trolley is in Jeopardy

How is it that a highly successful transportation program like the Dodgers Trolley be scraped? It averaged 704 riders per game, nearly double what was experienced just a few years ago. Check out the below stories for more details.

LA Times:


Mastro: More Vintage Goodies

Auction season is not yet done. Mastro is currently running their Legends auction event and it has some great items available.

In the late 19th Century it was very common for important games to be commemorated with a trophy ball. Basically, you would take a game ball, coat it with thick layers of paint and write on it the importance of the ball. I imagine the recipient would display the keepsake in a clubroom or other establishment so that players and fans can see it.

Below is a very early and important trophy ball commemorating the first National League Championship game in 1876. The game was between the Chicago White Stockings (who eventually became the Cubs) and the Hartford Dark Blues (they disbanded a year later). The writing says: "BALL Winning the Championship FOR 1876 - Chicago vs. Hartford - 7-6 - Sept. 26th." On top of being an important relic of the National League it happens to be the final out game ball from the event.

Who says Babe Ruth was a large oaf who couldn't use a typewriter. Apparently, Ruth's buddy, Jimmy Donahue, did. Below is a letter from the Babe to his good friend.
"Dear Jimmie, A few lines to let [you] know that Claire and I are fine and hoping you and your family are the same. It is raining like hell out and the game is called off It looks like no game today and lots of doubles headers [sic] the next trip when it will be hot as hell. I am writing this myself and it looks veryn [sic] good to me. How is every thi[n]g in Garfield. Beer is very hard to get out here and so is every thing else. will be over to see you when we get home and have some good old beer and cold cuts on those hot nights. Am writing this letter to show you that Ican use a typewriter and am very good at it. This is all for now so will see you real soon so. Sincerely [signed] Babe and Claire.

Christy Mathewson was considered one of the good guys in professional Baseball. After all, you don't get called "The Christian Gentleman" for nothing. He was an All-America Golden Boy who was both respected and loved. Christy was well-educated, having been class president at Bucknell University, and was a phenomenal pitcher. He had a career win/loss record of 373-188 and recorded 2502 strike outs.

Below is a presentation trophy given to him by the Giants for his exploits during the 1908 season.
The 1908 New York Giants were almost able to capitalize on their ace hurler's banner year—easily one of the finest pitching performances in baseball's annals, and one that would have helped the Giants win the pennant were it not for "Merkle's Boner." Amazingly, Christy Mathewson compiled a 37-11 record with 259 strikeouts, 11 shutouts, and a 1.43 ERA! The effort brought Mathewson's New York Giants within one game of the N.L. pennant, but it was the Cubs who reigned supreme that year. Nevertheless, Mathewson's monumental performance proved worthy of league-wide recognition, no organization more appreciative than his own New York Giants.

The below game used bat is something, I'm sure, most of you all remember. This is the actual bat used by Derek Jeter during Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS game versus the Baltimore Orioles when he hit that deep fly to right field that was caught by Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier. As you recall, Jeffrey deflected the ball for a home run, but it was clear from replays that the ball would have landed into the glove of Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco. The Yankees eventually won the game, the ALCS and the World Series.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Kiosk 11/23/2008

Without Baseball life just moves so slow.

Hat Tip: Stale Gum:

Dodger Clubhouse Tour

What a wonderful day it was. The sun was out and shinning bright. The sky was clear and there was a comfortable chill in the air. I knew this would all be wonderful omen for the day.

This afternoon was the Los Angeles Kings "Meet the Players" party and it was held at Dodgers Stadium. Season ticket holders for the Kings are treated to an annual player signing event during the season. It's a great way to meet your favorite players, get an autograph and a picture. In past years it was held at The Home Depot Center and the Staples center, but this year they decided to do something different.

I got there early and was one of the first in line for an autograph of Kings captain Dustin Brown. It was more than an hour wait until the players would arrived. In the meantime, a great surprise was announced over the loudspeaker. The Dodger Clubhouse was open for an unguided tour.

I really didn't take many photos of the Kings players or signing event as a whole since my mind was transfixed by the thought of seeing the stadiums innards. Below are some photos I took of the Clubhouse. Check out the rest of my pics in my photoalbum.
This the first thing you see as you walk down the stairs down to the Clubhouse. Jackie Robinson has his glove held up high as he enters the Dodgers Clubhouse for the first time.
As you walk towards the locker room you are taken through a corridor of retired jerseys of Dodger greats.
The Dodger locker room with it's rows of office chairs was a little smaller than I imagined. I guess I expected it to be spacious with couches and all the accoutrement's one would expect in a room full of millionaires. Nope, it's fairly plain with a couple of TV's hanging in the center.Notice, though, locker number 16 on the right. That's Andre Ethier's locker and it has something hanging in it that made me laugh. Below is a closer look. On the top right of his locker is a photo of Joe Beimel's famous fan Troy from West Virginia. He's the guy on the bottom with the red shirt.Another strange locker is Hong Chih Kuo's. What's up with the bowling pins? Here is a desk in the locker room with all sorts of Dodger goodies all around.Here is a close up shot of the bobbleheads.As you leave the locker room and head towards the field you are given a important message. "The Road to the World Series Begins Here."The dark before the light, here is the player entrance on to the field. I'm in the dugout! I'm in the dugout!I still can't believe I'm standing on such hollowed ground. Here are the bat and helmet racks.What a tiring day. I decided to take a little nap before heading home.

Lelands: A Couple More Choice Items

Well, the Lelands November Auction just completed. Vintage and rare sports memorabilia appear to still be on fire. Can this stuff actually be a hedge against our current economic downturn? Who knows, but so far so good. I suspect the rarity of some of these treasures is the reason for some recent strong closing prices. Memorabilia that is perceived as more readily available has been and will probably continue to be a little soft.

Of course, this is not what this post is about. I had recently written about this auction, but I failed to include some fairly choice collectibles. So, I'm gonna make that up now.

Below is a game used bat once used by Babe Ruth during the 1932 season. Based on records from Hillerich and Bradsby we know that Ruth ordered 12 of these bats for the season. This rare piece of lumber sold for a healthy $59,590.81.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Videos: Dodgers, Manny and some Bike Hero!

Are you missing Dodger Baseball. Well, here is a nice Dodger montage to help keep you at bay.

YouTube Link: 1stclassDodgerfan:

Dodger Hill. I recommend watching this one through. It is very well done.

YouTube Link: caseywillard:

FATMIME is predicting that Manny is leaving the Blue Crew and serenades us with a sad song.

YouTube Link: FATMIME:

I love me some Guitar Hero from time to time. The interactive feel of the game allows you to literally imagine yourself playing with your favorite band. I can get through the medium levels, but I still have a tough time playing at a higher level. Now, I'm not one of those obsessed gamers who sits himself in front of the TV for an 8 hour session of games, but I do enjoy sitting around from time to time playing some games. So, finding the video below made by some creative kids has put a big smile on my face and has me yearning for the end of the day so that I can do something really important- like getting to the next level.

YouTube Link: Bike Hero:
Hat Tip: Extra Mustard:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CC Would Look Good in Blue

He can hit. He can pitch. Better yet, he wants to pitch the big games. He proved last year that he has the fire and drive to lead a team to the promised land. CC Sabathia is the type of player teams coalesce around. I think we would be very happy to have him in Blue.

Apparently, the Dodgers appear to agree.
A report by Dan Graziano on said the Dodgers are considering a six-year deal worth $110 million to 120 million, if they haven't put it in front of Sabathia and his agents Greg Genske and Brian Peters already.
What makes this even more interesting is the recent inclusion of the Giants into the race. Tony Jackson reports,
it APPEARS that the CC Sabathia sweepstakes could come down to two final teams: the Dodgers and the Giants...Anyway, we know CC wants to pitch for an N.L. club because he likes to hit. We know he just purchased a home in SoCal. And we know he wants to stay close to home. That pretty much leaves the Dodgers and Giants...So it LOOKS like that is where this whole thing is headed, provided the Dodgers don't re-sign Manny Ramirez anytime soon.
Who would you choose? Manny or CC Sabathia?

I think the potential 1-2 punch of Lincecum and Sabathia is too terrible to bear. Of course, having Manny in the lineup for a full 162 game season could easily ameliorate any discomfort I might have. After all, don't we have Billingsley and Kershaw as our potential two man tag team. With the consistent Kuroda in the mix, who should only get better with more experience in North America, I don't know if a long term deal for a pitcher is the wisest thing to do.

Thank goodness the decision isn't mine.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Second baseman Jeff Kent has not decided whether he will retire or return for his 18th season in the majors, according to his agent, Jeffrey Klein.
Kent's future has got me thinking about a song I use to love as a kid- the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go." I think it perfectly encapsulates the predicament Jeff find himself in. OK, maybe not- it's a fun song anyway.

It also happens to be a song a close friend asked myself and another buddy to sing and dance to for his sisters Bat Mitzvah. Why he asked us to do it I still do not know. In our preparation it seemed like it would be fun. As it was happening I wondered, "why am I doing this?" Now, in retrospect, I scratch my head and think, "what the hell was I doing?" I was young and stupid, I guess.

Anyway, below are some choice lyrics to the song and a video.

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Always tease tease tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day is fine, next day is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know!

This indecision’s bugging me
If you don’t want me, set me free
Exactly who’m I’m supposed to be
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me?
Come on and let me know
Should I cool it or should I blow?

YouTube Link: Clash:

Jeff, I think your productive playing days are in it's twilight. Go and wander around the Texas plains and tend to your bike business.

Hunt Auctions: Ruth Game Used Dodger Uniform!

Hunt Auctions recently closed their annual Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory Auction last week with some incredible results. As you may know, Hunt seems to always have some of the best vintage memorabilia around. This years event was no different.

Babe Ruth, the greatest athlete to ever play the game, also wanted to be a coach. It was a dream he would seek out at the end of his playing days. Unfortunately, a lifetime of partying and carousing about did not endear him to Baseball owners.

Although, the Yankees did offer the managing position for their top minor league team, Newark Bears. He turned that down to be a player-coach for the Braves in 1935. After a year with Boston he officially retired. Offers stopped coming and his dream to be a manager seemed to just fade away. The greatest player of the game had effectively been shut out.

Then, in 1938, the talent and attendance starved Brooklyn Dodgers came calling. Babe Ruth would have one last chance to coach for the Dodgers.
Not only was Ruth appointed first base coach, (where the fans would be sure to see him throughout the entire game), but he was also ordered to take pre-game batting practice with the club so the fans could once again witness the “Sultan of Swat” hitting a few balls out of the park. In spite of the “side show” atmosphere, Ruth clung to hope. But when the club’s managerial post opened the next year Leo Durocher was appointed the job, and Ruth wasn’t re-hired. He hung up his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform after one season. This would be the last baseball uniform he would ever wear as a professional. From the day Ruth last removed it until the day he died, he waited and waited for a call from some team, any team, to become a major league manager. It was a call that would never come.
Below is a game used uniform worn by the "Sultan of Swat." It sold for $270,000.00.

Is Russel Martin your favorite Dodger? Well then, the below game used uniform is probably your favorite item. It come from the 2008 All-Star game and was worn during the Workout Day/Home Run Derby. It sold for a relatively affordable $250.00.

Baseball related advertising memorabilia from the 1940's can be very hard to come by. They can especially be difficult to find in good condition. Below is a 22 inch square advertising sign featuring Brooklyn Dodger Whit Wyatt hawking Chesterfield cigarettes. It sold for $850.00.

Below is an actual game-used bat of Jackie Robinson. I'll let the auction description speak for itself.
The history of the offered bat begins with Thomas Michael "Buckshot" Brown. From 1943 through 1945, Brooklyn Dodgers star shortstop Pee Wee Reese served in the U.S. military during World War II. In order to fill Reese's spot, the Dodgers called up Tommy Brown from the Minor Leagues as a utility infielder in 1944. Brown remained with the team until 1951 and became friendly with teammate Jackie Robinson during that time. According to family history, when Brown was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1951, Robinson presented the offered bat to Brown indicating to him that, " was his lucky bat and he wanted him to have it." The bat has remained in the Brown family since that time until its current offering and is one of the finest of its type to have entered the marketplace with special note to its unimpeachable provenance.
In our time, when previously unreachable barriers are met after years (no decades) of struggle, this bat is a timely reminder of the past. One of America's earliest social leaders and, yes, one of the games greatest antagonist on and off the field helped start it all. It was not only Dr. King's dream that was satisfied.

The below bat sold for $34,000.00.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Play the Mannywood Choose Your Own Adventure

I kid you not, I used a "Choose Your Own Adventure" in a book report for a middle school English class. It was the greatest scholastic scam of my young life. While most of my classmates read a mini-novel filled with actual plot lines and interesting characters, I had a roughly 100 page book that I easily whittled down to a mere 20 pages. It was beautiful. I completed my report in under an hour and smiled as I ran away with a undeserved "B."

This afternoon, I was reminded of my youthful deed with an email pointing to a great post on AOL/Fanhouse. It features a great "Choose Your Own Adventure" featuring Manny Ramirez. Go here to check it out and be sure to play through it, I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Place Your Bets

Unbelievable as it may sounds, Manny Ramirez has still not signed with the Dodgers. Who would have thunk it?

Well, we learn through the Times this morning that the Dodgers most recent offer was below the mark as super-agent, Scott Boras, remarks that he will be taking serious offers this coming Friday. I guess the potential $60mil-3 year deal was not enough. Of course, no one expected a deal to be done before a bidding war could be started.
"It's not surprising that he would want to test the market," Colletti said of Boras. "It's in his history, and it was expected."
On top of that, the Angels might be interested. No!!!!! I still hate thinking about "what could have been" if Vlade had joined the Dodgers.

Nevertheless, today's situation makes me wonder about the odds. What are the betters saying about the chances that Manny stays in Blue. Fortunately, I got a fortuitous email from a betting site called that laid it all out for me.

They outline the following odds regarding Manny's future destination:

Dodgers 1/2
Yankees 4/1
Mets 6/1
Blue Jays 6/1
Other 3/1

I don't know if they are actually taking bets based on these odds since I can't find any reference to it on their website, but it is interesting nonetheless. They seem to think that Manny will be staying in LA.

On a side note they also provide odds regarding Furcal's future home:

Dodgers 7/5
Cubs 3/1
Giants 5/1
Blue Jays 5/1
A's 8/1
Other 11/4

On the other hand, maybe all these numbers are bunk and that email I got was just an elaborate ruse to get me to write about it. To which I say, "thanks!" I really couldn't think of anything to write about today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

RIP Preacher Roe

Via Dodger Thoughts, we find out that Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Elwin Charles "Preacher" Roe has passed away. The 5 time All-Star pitched for the Dodgers for 7 years. In 1951 he had his best season as he compiled a record of 22 wins and only 3 losses while winning Pitcher of the Year honors.

He pitched in three World Series before retiring in 1954, when he moved to West Plains and bought a grocery store. Roe later became involved with numerous community associations including the West Plains Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.

His legacy includes being elected to the Missouri, Arkansas and Dodger Halls of Fame.

Dodger Art: Robbie Conal

I'm not much of an art buff. I've never taken an art appreciation class, nor taken a serious art workshop class. In junior high I had taken a summer art class that included some sculpture work and drawing. I realized right there that I was not to be a Michelangelo.

I do, on the other hand, know when I like something. I've run across a painting that forced me to sit down and gaze. The "La Reve" by Picasso, currently owned by the Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, made me do that. I've been to exhibits that make me wonder "what the hell?" John Cage's "Rolly Holly Over Circus" at the LACMA in the mid-90's made me do that.

Well, a few days ago I got an email from a reader who works at the Track 16 Gallery. He pointed me to a couple of drawings of local artist Robbie Conal that I think most readers here will appreciate. He's a guerrilla artist who uses both Fernando Valenzuela and Sandy Koufax as subjects in his most recent installment.
Above is a drawing of the great Sandy Koufax with the impressionable words, "Thou Shall Not Hit."

Below is the recognizable Fernando Valenzuela staring at his glove just before he makes his pitch. "Annunciation of the Screwball." The words below say, "The Lord Sayeth unto Fernando: Thou Shall Put Some Spin on the Ball."

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Lelands is one of the larger sports collectibles auction houses. So, you should expect to see some phenomenal items.

Below is a very famous photo of the 1889 A.G. Spalding Baseball World Tour at the Sphinx in Egypt. Baseball pioneer A.G. Spalding took a group of Baseball players from the day on a tour of the world in hopes of spreading America's great passion. Unfortunately, the game didn't really take off across the Atlantic. Read a little bit about it here in a excerpt from Mark Lamster's book "Spaldings World Tour."

What I love about this photo is how it seems like anybody can just climb up on that archaeological masterpiece. Imagine trying to do that today? You would probably be run out of the country or placed in some dark dingy jail never again to see the light of day.

Here is a great vintage team issued Brooklyn Dodger ring.
Auction Link: Brooklyn Dodgers Team Ring:

Below is a George Bain photograph of former Dodger owner Charles Ebbets.

I love those hats folks use to wear back then. Isn't his belt riding a little bit too high?

Here is Jackie Robinson vintage item I would bidding on if it wasn't so damn rare and expensive.

For years I searched for this little brass statue to add to my collection. I went to shows and searched the Internet the world over. eBay, usually a great repository of things like this, was a strike out. Over the last decade I have only seen it once before. It was in terrible shape, but sold for several hundred dollars.

This item up for auction is truly rare. It is in mint condition, was produced in 1950 and includes the original box it came in. Wow! I expect this to sell for at least a couple thousand dollars.

Below is a game used Babe Ruth uniform. Now, I know your saying, "Wow! What a great vintage item"

Well, it's not exactly what you think. This uniform was not put on by the Hall of Famer, but was worn by the man who played the Hall of Famer. This is the uniform John Goodman wore during the filming of "The Babe."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Huggins & Scott: LA Rarities

Huggins & Scott unearthed some incredible LA Dodger goodies. I have never seen these items available before and, considering their closing prices, they must be very rare.

Below are two pennants featuring the Dodgers one-two punch on the mound. These 20 inch photo-pennants measure 20 inches long. Sandy Koufax is below and sold for an astounding $800.00.

Don Drysdale's pennant sold for a relatively affordable $160.00.

I've seen older photos of LA Dodger fans wearing hats like this at Dodger Stadium. Below is a 1962 Dodger themed straw hat featuring patches of Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Tommy Davis and Johnny Podres. It is in mint condition an no doubt will be sitting proudly in someones Dodger collection. It sold for $150.00.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mastro's Summer Auction

I'm back to posting some great Dodger related items from the major auction houses.

Mastro, even with some of the troubles they have faced the past couple of years, continues to showcase some incredible items.

Below is a "Dear John" letter from former Dodger owner Charles Ebbets to Brooklyn player Charlie Babb. It's short and sweet, if not direct.
"You are herewith notified that your services will not be required on and after September 7th 1905 as per contract signed by you with the Brooklyn Ball Club."
Babb would never again play in the major leagues.

It sold for what I thought was a very good price for this vintage autographed piece- $425.00.

This lot did not sell in last months auction. Below are 2 great press photos featuring historic Dodger catches. To the left is Duke Snider's backhanded catch of a Yogi Berra drive during Game 4 of the 1952 World Series. To its' right is the famous grab by Sandy Amoros that helped the Dodgers win the 1955 World Series.

Here is a uniform I would love to have in my closet. I would pull it out for games just to put me in that Baseball kind of mood. It came with a vintage style cap and is fashioned after the uniforms worn by the 1911 team.
What makes this jersey great is not its vintage look, but the fact that it was actually worn by Dodger first baseman Eric Karros during his photoshoot for his 1993 Leaf Heritage Baseball card. It sold for $120.00.

No auction is complete without a vintage drawing from beloved sports cartoonist Willard Mullin. As you may know he invented the Dodger "Bum."
Published during the 1950s, the piece shows a milkman making his rounds, wishing a hearty good morning to the disheveled street walker—who can only utter "HUMPH" as he prepares for another lengthy day/night of Dodgers baseball.
So, when does Baseball start again? It sold for $600.00.

Maddux is Welcome Back

It's all up to him. If Greg Maddux chooses to stick around Colletti is open to him wearing Blue.
If right-hander Greg Maddux doesn't follow through on his intention to retire, he'll be welcomed back to the Dodgers for the 2009 season, general manager Ned Colletti said on Wednesday as the second day of the General Managers Meetings wound down.

On Tuesday, Scott Boras, Maddux's agent, revealed that the pitcher had told him at the end of the postseason he was ready to call it quits.


"That's what Scott said and that's what Greg told us at the end," Colletti said. "But he hasn't [retired] yet and I told Scott that, 'You know what? We'd love to have him back. We're not going to be closing the door on Greg Maddux anytime soon.' I've known him for a long, long time. I respect who he is and admire what he's done. And I know what an impact he has on a club and a franchise.

"Let Greg take the winter and let him figure out what he's going to do. It's not like if we don't get something finished by today we're done. That's not what we told him."

I'd love to have him since he can only help our ever-maturing pitching staff.

Upper Deck Issues Special Obama Card

Upper Deck is producing a special commemorative Baseball card celebrating Obama's recent election as President of the United States.
The latest card (PV-1) is entitled “President Barack Obama.” Its cardfront illustration is based on the postgame Gatorade dousing of Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy after his team defeated the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in Super Bowl 41. Upper Deck changed the participants in the celebratory scene to represent Vice President-Elect Joe Biden, President-Elect Obama and future First Lady Michelle Obama. The cardback text reads:

With his resounding victory in this year’s U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama made history in more ways than one. Not only was he the first African-American to be nominated by either party as a candidate, but he is now the first of his race to be sworn in as Commander-in-Chief. Just like Tony Dungy’s accomplishment in 2007 when he became the first African-American head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, Obama did the same for White House politics in 2008. “Change We Can Believe In” was his campaign slogan throughout the year. Now it’s time to start believing.

Upper Deck says the Obama Presidential Victor card will be available in mid-November as a gift with purchase of any Upper Deck products at hundreds of hobby shops nationwide.
I might have to do a little bit of shopping in a couple of weeks. Go here for a list of participating stores.