Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank You Piazza

I loved Mike Piazza. He was one of my favorite Dodgers in the 90's. As I am sure you've all already heard Mike Piazza has decided to hang it up. He is officially retiring from Baseball. The only question that remains is what cap will he be wearing at Cooperstown. TCPalm write Ray McNulty suggest that he forever belongs in Dodger Blue.
It's too easy to forget, because it now seems like so long ago, that Piazza was a Hollywood star, as much an LA sports celebrity as anyone who played for the Lakers. He was the biggest name on the Dodgers' marquee — at a time when the Dodgers still were as big in LA as the Yankees are in New York.

He enjoyed it. He embraced it. He never wanted to leave it.

And it was wrong that he was forced to go.

I say this as someone who covered both the Mets and the Dodgers in the 1990s, as someone who covered Piazza on a daily basis in LA and enjoyed an amicable working relationship with him:

He never should've been a Met, never should've had that chance.

Piazza should've been a Dodger for life.


And for all he did as a Dodger, he should go in — to the Hall of Fame — wearing a cap with an "LA" logo.

I fully concur. It pains me every time I think about that trade to Florida and it hurts even more that he might be going into the Hall of Fame with another cap on his head.

Vintage Dodger Photos

Every sports collector has their own niche. Some folks like modern cards with its thick card-stock and shiny gloss or vintage cards of players we read about in books. Others, however, prefer memorabilia like bats (such as Dodger collector Mark in Washington who I interviewed a few weeks ago here), pennants or autographs.

The most unusual type of collectible to recently become popular are vintage Baseball snapshots taken by everyday regular fans. This is a niche collector Dan Bretta enjoys. Check out his photoalbum here featuring Dodger snapshots from 1937 to 1941. Below is a photo from Spring Training in Florida in 1937.
As I was going through his online album I came across numerous photos featuring a Peterman and Claassen. (See the pic above) Who are those guys? I searched various databases and could not find any reference to players with those names being connected to the Dodgers or Baseball. Sure, I know who Manush is. That's Heinie Manush the Hall of Famer who had his last great year with the Dodgers in 1937. To the right in the picture above is Luke Hamlin who played in Brooklyn for five years- winning a career high 20 games for the Dodgers in 1939. The mystery still remains though. Who are Peterman and Claassen? Well, Dan helpfully put up a snippet of a news article that solves it all. Check it out below.
Wow. How great is that? Peterman and most likely Claassen are hardcore fans. They were able to follow the team to Florida (or Cuba as some of the pics suggest) to hang out and work out with the team. How great would it be to be able to do that.

Hat Tip: VBCF:

DeWitt is the Toast of LA and Sikeston, MO.

Blake DeWitt has been a great surprise this season. So much so that he is featured in two of LA's papers today. Check out the LA Times story and Press-Telegram story for some background about his small town roots.

UPDATE: I missed this one. Diamond Leung of the Press Telegram also has a Blake DeWitt story out today.