Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Upper Deck Hates the Dodgers

Who knew that Baseball cards could be filled with such wanton hate. To align the power and mysticism of the "Great Dodger in the Sky" with such blasphemy is worthy of derision. Tommy Lasorda would put a hex on them. That grand "Baseball Wizard" would curse at you like he did to those pesky reporters after Reggie's 3 bombs in the World Series. To see that a child's pastime could be emblazoned with the sign of Satan has me worried for the future of us all. Of course, maybe I'm overreacting.

The post by the Garvey Cey Russell Lopes blog had me saying to myself, "that's pretty hilarious." Not that I like Satan or anything, but you gotta admit it's pretty funny.

From 1989 to 1993 Upper Deck routinely put a Dodger player on card number 666. Yhea, that's right. Upper Deck thinks the Dodgers are the devil. Check out the Garvey Cey Russell Lopes blog for more; including pics of the other cards.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tommy Defends Piazza

As some of you know Mike Piazza has been fingered as a steroid user in an upcoming book by Jeff Pearlman. When I first heard of the book my initial reaction was, "I wouldn't be surprised." After all, it seems like many of the superstars from the 90's have been stained by pharmaceutical enhancements. Those superstars who haven't seem to be shrinking in size day by day. So, the allegation of a juiced up Piazza is something I've been expecting to hear for a long time.

Still, I hope it isn't true. Piazza was one of my favorite players and his homeruns were like exploding fireworks with a blueish hue in the deep dark sky.

Coming to his defense, expectedly, is uncle Tommy.

"I don't believe that at all," said Lasorda, the longtime Dodgers manager . "He worked so hard. I saw him in the weight room working out all the time. Whatever (is in the book) is hearsay. I just don't believe it. He comes from a family that's full of good people.

"I wouldn't comment on it if I didn't feel strongly about it. He has too much to lose. And he's such a nice young man. He goes to church, he's got a nice family. I know him. I know what kind of man he is and I just don't believe it."

Unfortunately, my better judgment tells me otherwise.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blog Kiosk 3/29/2009

Opening Day is on the way.

YouTube Link: AZPBS:
Hat Tip:Vinny Is My Homeboy:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

eBay: Snapshots, Trophies and Bobbleheads

More eBay wonders featuring the glory of the Dodgers.

Original fan photographs from the 50's are rare and becoming more collected. There is no better way to capture the charm of the game than to view it from the perspective of the fan. Below is a June 22, 1955 snapshot of Ebbets Field.

Here is a fan snapshot of Joe Black at Vero Beach, March 2, 1953. Notice the background. I'm pretty sure these are the old barracks that players stayed in at Dodgertown.

Charlie Dressen managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1951 to 1953. In fact he was in the dugout when the Giants staged their improbable comeback in 1951 that was capped off by the now infamous "Shot Heard 'Round the World." Below is a holiday photo card featuring Mr. & Mrs. Chuck and Ruth Dressen with a ring of flowers. It measures 5 x 7 inches and is on thick cardboard stock.

I know I'm gonna regret posting up this auction because I do not like to highlight items of questionable authenticity. Needless to say, this is not Jackie Robinson's actual MVP trophy from 1949. The real one sits comfortably on the mantle of Mrs. Rachel Robinson's home. Nevertheless, this is a pretty nice looking copy of the real thing. At it's current price on eBay of $510.00 I think it's already a bit rich though.

The 1960's was a great decade for bobbleheads. They had just come into existence and were showing up in souvenir stands everywhere. Some of the rarest bobbleheads from the era include this "Crybaby" Dodger from the "Weirdo Series." Go here for a little more info. It measures 7 inches tall a features a crying Dodger. On the base of the bobblehead are the words, "the kids back home usta give me four strikes!" At the time of this post it was already priced at $230.27.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lima to Long Beach

Jose Lima will be playing for the Long Beach Armada this season. WooHoo!
"I'm excited to have Jose Lima pitching for us this year," said Long Beach Armada Manager Garry Templeton. "His experience, skill, and leadership will be a great benefit to us. I'm glad that we have the opportunity to showcase his skills and give him the chance to rejoin a major league club."
"It will be a lot of fun for our fans to experience the passion and joy that Jose brings to the game," said Long Beach Armada General Manager Tony Soares. "We will definitely have special promotions and fan activities on the nights he pitches and give the Armada faithful lots of "Lima Time!"
Lima Time!!!!

Hat Tip: LA Times:

Hunt's: Great Memorabilia

This is my final installment of interesting and noteworthy items from Hunt's early March auction. Go here, here and here for my past blog stories.

Here is a little bit of folk art from the personal collection of former major leaguer Fred Haney. Some of you may remember him as the radio play by play announcer for the Hollywood Stars. He has taken 20 bats and 11 baseballs and made a very sturdy bench. The black bats are commemorative Louisville Slugger championship bats and the others are player model bats. There are even signatures of Haney, Joe McCarthy and Roger Peckinpaugh on the baseballs. It sold for $6,000.00.

Below are a couple of uncut sheets of probably the most attractive cards ever produced in the 80's. These are Perez-Steele postcards series 1 to 6 in uncut form. They were very popular and difficult to find during the collecting heydays of the 80's. Autograph collectors cherished this set since these postcards were a perfect backdrop for an athletes John Hancock. They could only be obtained through a subscription service and are limited in number. Another interesting thing about this particular item is that it comes directly from the collection of Frank Steele- the artist. It sold for $1,100.00.

Below is a photo you've probably never seen of a player wearing Baseball garb you probably never thought he put on. This is a rare St. Mary's Industrial School Baseball team photograph from 1910-1912 that features a teenage Babe Ruth (center top row) in catchers gear. It is actually a press photo that was glued onto cardboard backing and printed most likely in 1920 as a file pic to use for later stories. By that year Ruth was a member of the Red Sox and was gaining a great deal of popularity. It sold for $3,100.00.

This is for the closeted Angels fans in the audience. Here is the first 2002 World Series Angels Championship ring I've seen for auction.
Dazzling design elements include a large iconic "A" inlaid with rubies and adorned with a halo amidst a background of dozens of small diamonds on the face. The words "World Champions" appear at the top and bottom of the bezel. The left shank features the recipients name "Espino" and year "2002" above a World Series logo in relief and the Angles season record "99-63". The opposite shank features the proclamation "Angels 1st Championship" above a rendering of a World Series trophy set inside Edison Field.
It sold for $10,500.00. Click the photo to enlarge it. Anyone know who Espino is?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blog Kiosk 3/22/2009

Baseball couldn't come soon enough.

YouTube Link: sirensgrotto:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hunt: More Dodger Items

Here is my third installment of auction items from Hunt's recently closed March offering. Check my recent stories featuring collectibles from the estates of Negro Leaguer J. Leonard Mitchell and former Brooklyn Dodger Van Lingle Mungo.

I thought I would start out with this fun press photo (circa 1950's) of Roy Campanella and Duke Snider straddling a bunch of bats. It sold for $225.00.

Some of you may know that Brooklyn also hosted a professional football team known as the Brooklyn Dodgers. How original, eh! There were actually 2 different Brooklyn Dodgers football franchises, so I'm not sure which one this belongs to. My guess is that it's the old NFL team that played in Brooklyn from 1930 to 1943. This coat sold for $1,300.00.

There were numerous game used Dodger jerseys available in this auction, from Gary Sheffield and Manny Mota to Claude Osteen and Steve Bilko. Below is a game used 1992 Dodger jersey of Orel Hershiser. What I found notable about this jersey are some of the patches. It includes a commemorative patch for Roy Campanella and Don Drysdale who died in 1993 and a special patch for pitcher Tim Crews (#52) who died the same year. It sold for $1,200.00.

Here is a 1963 World Series banner featuring the Dodgers against the hated Yankees. "Mangle Mantle! Murder Maris! Whack Whitey! Klonk Kubek! Bop Berra!" It sold for $225.00.

Campanella game-used bats are the rarest of Hall of Fame bats from the era. This bat is stamped World Series 1952 and has evident game use attributes.
The bat exhibits evident use including ball marks, cleat marks, rack marks, and general surface wear. Model #G80 is stamped on the knob end... This bat has never before been offered publicly and originates from the family of a gentleman whose godmother was a family friend and neighbor of the Campanella's when they lived in Hollis Queens. According to family history, the bat was received from the Campanella's in the mid 1950's and reportedly hung over a bar in Campy's home.
It sold for $23,000.00.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hunt: Van Lingle Mungo

I've been a bit negligent in my posting recently of some of the bigger and better auctions in the market place. So, I hope to make up for that over the next several days.

A week or so ago I wrote about the collection of mostly Negro League items in Hunt's March Auction, but there was much more to that auction then the items from Mr. J. Leonard Mitchell's estate. In fact, the estate of former Brooklyn Dodger Van Lingle Mungo (The greatest Baseball name ever!) was featured in the auction as well. Check out some of his items below.

The Dodger have always been a family and the letter below certainly supports that. Dodgers General Manager, Larry MacPhail, offers the Dodgers support to Mrs. Mungo regarding Van Lingle's excessive drinking. It is signed by MacPhail and states pointedly, "Your problem and our problem is identical. If any of us quit on him, he won't make the grade." This letter sold for $550.00.

This is one of the nicest items in this collection. Here is a circa 1931 team issued Brooklyn Robins belt buckle given to Mungo his rookie season.
(It) Features various design elements including his raised initials "VLM", enameled Robins bird logo, and decorative figural baseball in relief bearing his number "33" surrounded by the words "Base Ball Club" set in enameling.
It sold for a very affordable $325.00.

Here is a group of World Series ticket stubs for 1947, 1949 and 1950. No doubt that his wife or other family members used these tickets to root for the "Boys in Blue." The lot of 9 tickets sold for $800.00.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blog Kiosk 3/15/2009

Go Dodgers Go!

YouTube Video Link:labaseballtv:
  • Narz interviews Sy Berger, the father of modern day Baseball cards.

YouTube Link: ripparty:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chasing the Dream

With the Baseball season fast approaching open tryouts become more frequent. Last week the Dodgers held their open tryout in Arizona. Now, the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League is holding open tryouts later this month.
The Long Beach Armada has announced a date for the team's open tryout. The tryout will be held on March 28 at Irvine High School for a chance to be invited to the Armada's 2009 training camp in May.

The Armada is preparing for its 5th season of professional baseball in Long Beach, and new manager Garry Templeton is looking for talented players to help the club return to the playoffs.

"I want to find the best players at the tryout and bring them to our camp," Templeton said. "You find good players that show up and guys that have been released [from affiliated clubs] and are looking to catch on with us, so there's talent out there."

Players interested in trying out are encouraged to register early with the Armada by calling the team office at (562) 427-4487. Early registration is $60, and walk-up registration is $75. Registration and check-in will be from 8am-9am on Saturday, March 28 with tryouts beginning at 9am. The address for Irvine High School is 4321 Walnut Ave, Irvine, CA 92604. Participants should be at least 19 years old.

Manny Billboard

I was just sent this a moment ago, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. Here is a video of a Manny Ramirez billboard going up. Mannymania is about to begin anew.

YouTube Link:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

News For the Collector

There has been some significant news lately that concern collectors.

Must Download Now!

There is no reason you shouldn't go to the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) website and download The Emerald Guide to Baseball 2009 edition. It is free and was put together by the most thorough group of Baseball fanatics in the world.
The Emerald Guide distills the 2008 season down to 586 fact-filled pages that contain the pitching, fielding, and hitting statistics for every player active in the major and minor leagues in 2008.
This guide will be your one-stop shop for data and information about the 2008 season. Think of it as a modern version of the old Sporting News Baseball Guides.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Blog Kiosk 3/8/2009

Better Late Than Never

YouTube Link: obie666:
Hat Tip: Battle of California:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

They Just Walked Through The Door

Here is another great find that one day just showed up at a Louisville Slugger Museum appraisal fair in November last year.
Delores Knox walked into the Louisville Slugger museum holding a cloth bag full of her father's old photographs. By the time she left, she knew she was holding some of the rarest Negro League memorabilia on earth.
The daughter of former Negro Leaguer J. Leonard Mitchell showed up with her fathers lifetime collection of memorabilia. There were cards, advertising broadsides, photos, tickets, game used equipment and ephemera. Much of the items were Negro League related, but he also had a large collection of vintage entertainment, football, basketball and All American Girls Baseball League photos.

The J. Leonard Mitchell Collection will be made available to collectors on March 7th, as part of Hunt Auctions' live event in King of Prussia, PA. Company president David Hunt says that he rarely comes across anything he hasn't seen before when he's out on the appraisal trail, so it's a special day when such rare items turn up.

"With this group, about 60 to 75 percent of it was unique to me," he says. "Establishing prices was difficult. Bidding gets pretty aggressive because nobody has a set idea of what these things are worth. The market is established right in front of your eyes."

Here are some choice items. Below is a extremely rare advertising broadside featuring the great Satchel Paige. Authentic Negro League broadsides are very difficult to find in any condition.

Auction Link: Satchel Paige Broadside:

This advertising trade card for the Pittsburgh Crawford features Willie "Schoolboy" Rowe and was previously unknown. Mitchell's collection had 3 examples.

Auction Link:School Boy Rowe Trade Card:

Here is a circa 1940's photograph of the Ethiopian Clowns.

Below is a photograph of the 1941 Kansas City Monarchs that includes "should be" Hall of Famer Buck O'Neil.

Auction Link:Pittsburgh Crawfords:

Roy Campanella is featured in this 1942 broadside advertising a couple of games.

This is one of the nicest items here. Below is a photograph featuring the Homestead Grays that includes Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

Game-used equipment from the Negro Leagues is basically non-existent. Here are some cleats and a catcher glove found within Mitchell's belongings and was most likely used in some games.

Below is a small sample of 80 photographs from the All American Girls Baseball League.

Hat Tip: SCD:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

This Day in Dodger Baseball

The Brooklyn Dodger captain, Pee Wee Reese, was elected by the Veterans Committee into the Hall of Fame on this day 25 years ago.
"... As important as his play on the field was to the Dodgers, his actions off the field may have meant even more. The Ekron, Ky., native helped smooth the path for baseball's integration pioneers when he openly welcomed Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers. Robinson spent his first season in 1947 as a first baseman, then switched to second base the next year -- teaming with Reese for five seasons to create one of baseball's best double-play combinations."
Click here to listen to Pee Wee's Hall of Fame Induction speech.

Here is Pee Wee Reese's official website.

Our Seemingly Long Manny Distraction Is Over

Ramirez and the Dodgers have agreed in principal on a two-year, $45 million contract, pending a physical.

The outfielder, his agents Scott Boras and Mike Fiore, and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and general manager Ned Colletti met in Los Angeles (this morning) to finalize the deal.

Have we just clinched a playoff spot? Who else in the West can come close to competing against us?

MEARS: 1960's Dodger Pins

I've been a fairly active collector of Dodger pins for quite sometime. So, I like to think that I've, at least, seen most modern day issues. Imagine my surprise when I saw this group of circa 1960's player pins at the recent MEARS Auction.

These pins measure 3 1/2 inches in diameter, have a red background with a black & white player photo surrounded by a white border near the top of the pin. On the bottom the players name is in bold white letters. All of these pins retain their original cardboard backs. I have 2 other very similar pins of Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills, but they have color photos instead of black & white pictures.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thank You Nomar- For The Memories

I've been a big fan of Nomar's since he put on the Blue, so it's with great sadness that I wish him farewell and good luck. According to True Blue LA he will be signing with the A's.

Below are a couple of video highlights from one of his greatest Dodger moments.

YouTube Link: solbrains:

Here is that walk-off homerun from a different angle.

YouTube Link: dodgerfilms: