Friday, January 30, 2009

Manny Gets Another Offer

After all of the rumors, the suspected other suitor for Manny is not who you might expect. The Worchester Tornadoes of the Can Am League have made a contract offer to Manny.
The Worcester Tornadoes Professional Baseball Team has offered a contract to free agent outfielder Manny Ramirez for two years worth $24,000. The deal would pay the 12-time Major League Baseball All-Star approximately $3,000 during each month of the Can-Am Baseball Season. Unlike Major League Baseball, the Can-Am League operates with a salary cap, and the deal for Ramirez would be on par with other veterans in the league.
I guess all of the vitriol aimed at Boras for being a suspected liar has been unfair. He really is talking to another team.
Pic Link:

Tornadoes personnel express some optimism.
“I feel Manny would really enjoy playing in Worcester and hitting in our ballpark. Although I would be concerned about the cars traveling on I-290 during his at bats, it’s a risk worth taking,” said General Manager, Jorg Bassiacos. Director of Player Personnel Brad Michals added, "Manny certainly has the stats to be amongst the leaders of the league next season. Although issues regarding health have surrounded him in the past, I think he will find that the shorter schedule will boost his performance to a new level and serve as the ultimate showcase for his natural skill."
Hat Tip: LA Times:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CSA Auctions: Campy, the President and the 1959 World Series

One of the smaller auction houses, Clean Sweep Auctions, just closed their most recent offering. They had a handful of unique Dodger related items.

Here is a one-of-a-kind award plaque that was present to Roy Campanella by the New York Urban League in 1975. It is very large, measuring 11 1/2 X 14 1/2 inches and originally came directly from the estate of Roy Campanella. If I'm not mistaken, this and several other awards (including his MVP award) were sold through Hunt Auctions several years ago. This plaque sold for $90.00.

Below is a rare signed business card of former Dodger President and part-owner Sid W. McKeever. It dates to the 1920's and sold for $134.00.

Who wouldn't want a ticket like this? Below is a phantom ticket to game 7 of the 1959 World Series between the Dodgers and White Sox that has been signed by 15 players. Now, your probably wondering, what's a phantom ticket? Well, it's a ticket to a game that was never played. In 1959 the Dodgers won the world title in 6 games, 4 games to 2, so game 7 was not necessary.

Signers on this ticket include Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, Al Lopez, Ray McMillan, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Charlie Neal, Early Wynn, Luis Apricio, Johnny Podres, Clem Labine and Joe Pignatano.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Billy Harris Vintage Dodger

Former Dodger Billy Harris is excited about being a part of Topps upcoming 2009 Heritage Baseball card set. He only had a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues, but stayed in the Dodger organization from 1951 to 1960.

"(The photo) was taken in Vero Beach, Florida -- Dodgertown," said Harris, a member of both the the New Brunswick and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame who has lived in Tri-Cities since 1962. "What (Topps) gave me was two sets of spikes a year, three gloves a year and a set of golf clubs."

But as the hobby developed and became flooded with new product, card companies found that a higher premium was being placed on vintage sets, such as the 1960s set.

"Ten years ago, it was a big deal, but I thought (the hobby) died out. With the reprinting of these cards, it must be getting popular again," said Harris, whom Topps paid $500 to autograph the cards. "Now, I'm making more money on my cards then I did when I played."

There will be three subsets of Harris autographs in the Heritage edition. There will be 100 cards signed in blue ink and 60 special edition cards signed in red ink, both on the original design base set. A third subset -- a 25-card dual-auto set titled "Past and Present" -- will feature Harris and current Dodgers' pitching phenom Clayton Kershaw.

I don't know if putting Kershaw and Harris on the same card is the best thing in the world. I would prefer Sandy Koufax or another Dodger great. Nevertheless, it's great that even unsung and relatively unknown Dodgers from the past are getting a chance to show up on cardboard again.

Hat Tip: SCD:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blog Kiosk: 1/25/2009

Just a few more weeks until Baseball!
  • In honor of Todays All-Star game below is the complete game from the 1981 All Star game in Los Angeles featuring our Triple Crown Line of Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor. (Hat Tip: Inside The Kings)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Videos: Manny, the Babe and the 1966 Pennant Race

Below is a video of Manny's first day at Dodger Stadium. I had not seen this before so it was nice to be reminded about his great season last year with the Blue Crew.

YouTube Link: preciosadesiree:

Here is a great video featuring Babe Ruth in "Fancy Curves."

YouTubeVideo: DashHopes1:
Hat Tip: Walk Off Walk:

Here are a series of great lost interviews with the 1966 Dodgers as they race towards a pennant.

YouTube Video:Footage World:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wolf, Garland or Looper?

ESPN tells us that the Dodgers are chasing three starting pitchers with the desire to sign one of them. They are former Dodger Randy Wolf, former White Sox and Angel Jon Garland and converted reliever Braden Looper.

The rumors that the Dodgers and Randy Wolf were getting close to a deal appear to be wrong.
Last weekend, it appeared that conversations had heated up between Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and Wolf's agent, Arn Tellem. But indications Friday were that the two sides hadn't spoken in several days.
I don't really see much of a difference between the three pitchers. So, I would be fine with any of them as our end of the rotation guy. Although, I always thought Jon Garland had some good stuff with the White Sox. He may be the best bet since he isn't too far removed from his 18 win seasons in 2005 and 2006.

Rare Photo Sold on eBay

This is a very rare photograph of a Baseball team that dates to the early 1860's. It is a ambrotype photograph and measures 5 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches. Notice how large the bats are. They are very representational of the giant clubs that were used back then. Also, the uniforms (especially the belts) and facial hair styles give away the date. Unfortunately, it has some serious condition problems. Nevertheless, it sold for a healthy $1,325.00.

Hat Tip: Vintage Baseball Card Forum:

SCP Auctions: Photos, Pennants, Silver and Cigars

SCP Auction is the only locally based sports collectible auction house. They run usually 2 or 3 auctions a year and typically have some great quality items available. This time around they have some unique Dodger related collectibles.

As some of you may know, O'Malley made some attempts to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn. One of these plans included building a new stadium in the burrough. Below are 2 wire photos featuring the proposed complex. It was conceived as either a domed or open air stadium, would seat 50,000 fans and could be completed by 1958. Furthermore, the seats would be movable to accommodate different sporting events.
Here is a 23" long Brooklyn Dodger pennant with a caption picture of Pee Wee Reese.

The item below came originally from the estate of the former commissioner of Baseball, Bowie Kuhn. It is a 1990 Silver Los Angeles Dodgers Season Pass. It was created by Tiffany & Co. and has an engraved 100th Anniversary Dodger logo, facsimile Peter O'Malley's signature and Bowie Kuhn's named engraved on the bottom.
Here is a silver commemorative plate presented to Gil Hodges by his teammates on Gil Hodges Honor Night on July 17, 1957 in Brooklyn. It features engraved signatures of the entire team, coached and team officials.
SCP Auction Link: Gil Hodges Commemorative Plate:

Here is the lone non-Dodger related item I've decided to highlight from this auction. Below is a early 1920's cigar box promoted by Honus Wagner. It features a photograph of a younger Wagner wearing a Louisville Colonels uniform from the late 1890's. This is very rare and is one of only a handful known to exist. This cigar box certainly puts a wrinkle into the folklore about Wagner and his refusal to be included in the T206 set due to his disdain for smoking.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

eBay: More Dodger Rarities

I could probably spend hours a day searching through eBay. Just about everything you can imagine can be found there. Recently, I ran across some unusual items and have highlighted them below.

What a great vintage item. Below is a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Holiday card. It celebrates the Dodgers first World Championship and features a drawing of the championship ring and a photo of the team.
Written inside it provides important dates during the season and finishes on October 4th with the phrase "Thanksgiving Day Comes Early." At the time of this posting it was already up to $56.55 with 8 hours to go. (Update: It closed at an incredible price of $209.12)
EBay Auction Link: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers Holiday Card:

This collectible glass is a first for me. I've never seen this style before. It dates to probably the late 1950's (Update: 1958 is likely since the last season in stats are from 1957) when the Dodgers were still playing at the Coliseum. Outfield Gino Cimoli is featured and includes his stats on the reverse. It closed on eBay for $51.01.

Fernando! Here is the ultimate collectible for Fernando Valenzuela fans. It is an unopened box of Kelloggs Corn Flakes from 1983. It received 7 bids and sold for $20.50. Wow, that's some expensive cereal.

Roy Campanella Night was a celebration that included an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, a candlelight tribute, a commemorative ticket and this limited edition game program. The cover drawing was done by famed sports artist Nicholas Volpe. This is the first time I've seen one of these. Even in rough condition it sold for a healthy $96.99.
eBay Auction Link: Program from Campanella Night 1959:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kent To Retire

Future Hall of Famer, Jeff Kent, will be announcing his retirement tomorrow.
Kent spent 17 years in the Major Leagues, tying for 20th on baseball’s all-time list with 560 doubles, while ranking 47th with 1,518 RBI and 62nd with 377 home runs. His 351 career home runs as a second baseman are 74 more than Ryne Sandberg. Kent played the final four seasons of his career with the Dodgers, batting .291 with 122 doubles, 75 home runs, and 311 RBI. He ranks eighth in club history in batting average (minimum 1,800 AB), while also placing among franchise leaders with 73 home runs as a second baseman (third) and 497 games played at second base (fifth).
One of the things he will be remembered for is his public screaming match with Barry Bonds. Which, I'm sure, us Dodgers fans found immensely entertaining.

Let me add a memory I have of Jeff Kent during Spring Training from a couple of years ago in Vero Beach. Kent was signing autographs before an afternoon match. As he was signing fans started shouting questions. The usually surly and grumpy Kent was more than happy to answer back. He must have been having a great day. As you can imagine, one of the questions was about Barry Bonds and his general thoughts about him.

Kent was diplomatic. He went on to say that they have a good working relationship, but added that sometimes you have to give a guy a kick in the rear end. After all, he was the only person with the stature and willingness to confront Bonds in that manner. He finished his statement by saying, "I'll let the results speak for themselves. We went to the World Series that year."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Arbitration For You

Diamond Leung lets us know that both Jon Broxton and Russell Martin have agreed to one year contracts.

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with catcher Russell Martin and reliever Jonathan Broxton signing them to one-year contracts on Tuesday before the deadline to exchange salary arbitration figures.

Martin will make $3.9 million as a two-time All-Star who turns 26 next month. He hit .280 with 13 home runs and 69 RBI while catching 149 games to tie for the major league lead, and he led all National League catchers with 87 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.

Broxton, 24, will make $1.825 million plus incentives during a season in which he is expected to become the team's closer. He had 14 saves filling in for an injured Takashi Saito in 2008, going 3-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 70 appearances.

What ever happened to a long term deal for Russell? Hopefully, this move was to just get a contract out of the way so they can spend more time hammering out a long term deal.

Blog Bat Around: Speaking to the Card Companies

The 3rd edition of the Blog Bat Around is here. Go to the Fielder's Choice blog for details.

This time around he ask a question that I will have a hard time answering. What would I say to today's card manufacturers. What kind of cards would I suggest they make in order to keep this hobby vibrant? What brands should stay and what brands must go?

To be honest with you, I do not have a clue what I would tell them. In fact, I have not been an active collector of modern issued cards for a long time- save certified autographed cards that I usually find on eBay.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I would buy pack after pack, box after box, of Baseball cards to rip open as quickly as a gift received on Christmas morn. I was addicted. Today, I can barely lift a finger to buy a box to open.

Sure, I've stumbled into a Target and stood at the card aisle wondering if I should take a flyer on one of those mini boxes. Usually I just stand and stare, then stamper on to do my shopping. On occasion I have dipped my hand in the cookie jar and drove home with a box only to be disappointed. So, it's hard for me to believe I can lend a helpful voice to this Blog Bat Around. On the other hand, maybe I'm the perfect voice. I am the customer these manufacturers want to get back- no, need to get back.

So, considering that, I have an answer. My advice to the hobby masters is to please keep it simple.
  • There are far too many brands made by each manufacturer. Narrow the field down to a core handful of sets. In fact, this is one of the reason I have not been a very active modern card collector. It is too damn confusing. For instance, Topps Company made well over 10 different Baseball sets in 2008. Heck, I think it's closer to 20 different sets.
  • I still don't understand the whole parallel thing. If I'm putting together a set should I be chasing those too?
  • I love the certified autograph card inserted into packs. As I wrote previously, they are really the only cards I find myself chasing when I search eBay for modern issues. I don't see much of a difference between "on-card" or "auto-on-sticker" cards, but I do care about legible and clean autographs. What's with athletes today? Most signatures look like a 2 year old scribbled it.
  • Brands I do enjoy seeing are the card sets that borrow vintage card designs, like the Allen & Ginters and Cracker Jacks. Please continue to marry the past with the present.

Obamacon The Dodgers

In honor of today's historic event, enjoy the Obamanized Dodgers. You can do your own version here at Obamacon.Me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

In Case You Missed It: BBTN Hot Stove Dodgers Preview

Here is ESPN's January 7, 2009 episode where they discuss the Dodgers.

Blog Kiosk 1/18/2009

Spring is just around the corner. Baseball is almost here.

YouTube Link: calecse:
Hat Tip: Extra Mustard:

eBay: More Fun Dodger Stuff

Here are some more Dodger related eBay items I came across.

Below is a circa 1950's Brooklyn Dodgers transfer decal features the famous "Bum." It was made by Goldfarb Novelty Co. and measures 4 inches square. The manufactures stamp and directions for use are on the reverse. It sold for an incredible $130.52.

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings! Here is a vintage 1950's Brooklyn Dodgers team issued greeting card. It sold for $53.55.

The Topps Vault regularly pulls some great treasures from their archives to sell on eBay. Below is the original die-cut production art of the 1964 Sandy Koufax Stand-Up card. One of a kind. It sold for $565.00.

Below is a seldom seen 1969 Tasco poster of Don Drysdale. It measure 16 x 11 1/2 inches. It's available for an affordable $9.99.

A Vero Beach Spring Training in the 1950's. Here is a vintage NY Post press/wire photo featuring the entire Spring contingent. It sold for $49.99.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andruw Jones is a Tool

Diamond Leung points to an interview Andruw gave yesterday to some morning guys in Atlanta.
Asked to explain why numbers with the Dodgers were what they were, Jones said, "I think I was just not in good shape, I think."
Ya think?

Go check out Diamonds brief story and then listen to the interview. Of course, if you still want to keep you hair (since you'll probably want to pull yours out) then ignore the interview. Sometimes it's best to be blissfully ignorant because I'm starting to think it might have been better not to listen to this sorry bum speak.

Sign Martin Long Term

After reading on several occasions last year that Russell Martin was content with one year contracts we now find that he is changing his tune.
"I'm always interested in a long-term deal," Martin said. "Who wouldn't be?"
Unfortunately, Colletti has yet to get the word.
General Manager Ned Colletti said the Dodgers are "concentrating on a one-year [contract] at the moment."
Maybe it's time to start thinking long term, eh. On the positive side, Russell signals that he will be realistic.
"I just want to get treated fairly," he said. "I'm not trying to steal the bank."
In other news several other Dodgers, including Martin, filed for arbitration yesterday- they include Jonathon Broxton, Andre Ethier and Jason Repko.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bye Bye Andruw!

Today is the day the Dodgers are obligated to give our portly and troubled outfielder, Andruw Jones, his walking papers. Is it time to celebrate?
We've known for a couple of weeks that the Dodgers and Andruw Jones were working toward an amicable split, and as part of the agreement to re-work his contract,Thursday is officially his last day as a Dodger.

Videos: Prospects and Wells

If you have not had a chance to see any of our top prospects, like Ivan DeJesus, Jr., then check out this video at Vimeo here. It is from an Arizona Fall League game on November 1, 2008. Unfortunately, I am unable to embed it here due to restrictions put into place by the owner. Also, here is a video of Lucas May and Justin Orenduff.

Check out former Dodger David Wells talking about poker.

Video Link: tweedenlean:

Hockey Winter Classic in LA?

With the recent conclusion of the 2nd annual Hockey Winter Classic at Wrigley Field a couple of weeks ago rumors are swirling about possible new locations for future events. In today's LA Times, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Helene Elliott writes about a possible game being held in the Southland.
NHL executives, justifiably proud of the Winter Classic game at Chicago's Wrigley Field on New Year's Day, have been brainstorming about potential sites for future outdoor games. Chief Operating Officer John Collins said the league "might even be able to have a night game out at the Rose Bowl."
How great would that be. Of course, with the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl having a more prominent foothold on New Years Day maybe Dodger Stadium might be a better choice.
(Luc Robitaille's) vision features the Kings playing the Ducks or New York Rangers at the Rose Bowl or Dodger Stadium. The Kings and Dodgers have a business relationship, so why not extend that to include an outdoor game?

"It would be a great thing," Robitaille said.

Josh Rawitch, a Dodgers spokesman, didn't rule it out.

"There have not been any discussions about bringing the NHL to Dodger Stadium," he said via e-mail, "but organizationally, we're known to be pretty open-minded about things."
Get it done!

Outdoor hockey under the lights at Dodger Stadium would be incredible, unbelievable and monumental.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Collection: 1984 Union Oil Most Memorable Moments: Roy Campanella

Do you remember these sheets?

If you were a fan of the Dodgers in the 80's then you probably do. In 1984 Union 76 handed out these premium prints at their gasoline stations. There were 16 different sheets, handed out one per week, with each one commemorating an important Dodger moment from the Dodgers first 25 years in Los Angeles. If I remember correctly, with a full tank of gas you received one print. They measure 8 x 11 1/2 inches and are called "Dodgers Most Memorable Moments."

Above is my favorite of the 16 available. After all, the Coliseum game from last Spring is still fresh in my mind and the Campanella tribute on that May evening in 1959 is one of LA's greatest nights. 93,000 fans came out to thank a man who had never played in the city. Yet, they showed their respect with a candlelight show for the ages. Obviously, his legacy was well known. He may have played in Brooklyn, but on this night, he belonged to the west coast.

Over the next subsequent weeks I'll write a little bit about each sheet from the set. Of course, if you are impatient you can always go to my photoalbum to see the other prints from the set here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vin Scully the Master Orator

This only affirms what we already know. Vin Scully has been named by the American Sportscaster Association as the top Sportscaster of All-Time. Below is from a press release just made available just a moment ago.
Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully has been selected as the Top Sportscaster of All-Time by the American Sportscasters Association. The announcement was made by ASA President Lou Schwartz. The ASA previously voted Scully as the “Sportscaster of the Century” in 2000.

The 2009 season will be Scully’s 60th with the Dodgers, which is the longest tenure of any sports broadcaster with one team in all of sports. Scully last month was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and has been named California Sportscaster of the Year a record 28 times. In 2005, USA Today ranked the Dodgers’ radio broadcast team as Major League Baseball’s best, based on a technical rating, a fan rating, and an entertainment rating. Scully and his colleagues, Rick Monday and Charley Steiner, earned 28.5 points out of a possible 30.

The New York native was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. In 2001, the press box at Dodger Stadium was named in his honor. Throughout his career, Scully has called 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.

Scully headlines the ASA’s list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All-Time, followed in the top 10 by Mel Allen, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy, Howard Cosell, Bob Costas, Jim McKay, Keith Jackson, Al Michaels and Dick Enberg. Lou Schwartz presented Scully with a bronze microphone at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2000.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blog Kiosk 1/11/2009

I'm going to Disneyland today. WooHoo!

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Hat Tip: MyDirtReport: