Friday, July 31, 2009

Sleepover at Dodger Stadium

(Credit: Jill Weisleder/LA Dodgers)

This coming August 14th is the 4th Annual Blue Heaven Sleepover at Dodger Stadium. What a great name to call it- "Blue Heaven."

Anyway, here are the details:
The Dodger game against the Diamondbacks will air on DodgerVision at 6:40 p.m. after which fans will have the opportunity to play catch on the field and watch “Field of Dreams” before sleeping under the stars. Fans are asked to bring their own sleeping bags, as tents will not be permitted inside Dodger Stadium.
The price of the event is $200 per adult and $100 per child and includes a Dodger goodie bag, dinner, and a buffet breakfast. The Dodgers are also offering a special family price of $500 for two adults and two children. The first 200 people who purchase spots will receive a free sleeved blanket.
Sleeved blankets? Really? Is that like a Dodger Snuggie?

It's a little pricey for me right now, but if you have the means I think this should be worth a look. Go here for more info.

Here is a Look at Manny's New Bobblehead

Here is a sneak peek at Manny's new bobblehead that will be given out on September 16th. It is being called the "Curtain Call" bobblehead.

Hat Tip: Twitter:DodgerTownUSA:

Dodger Correspondence: Joe Landrum

Joe Landrum had a fairly short stay in the Majors in 1950 and 1952 for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a right handed starter who showed some promise in the minors. He had won 19 games for the AA Fort Worth team in 1949 and had a career Minor League ERA of 2.71 while recording 81 wins. Then, like many ballplayers of the period, he entered the service in 1953 and never again reached the Majors afterwards. Nevertheless, his son, Bill Landrum, did get to have a decent 8 year career in the late 80's and early 90's.

Below is another letter written to Roy and dated from 1976. He ask the old Dodger about his time in the pro's, the players he knew and his fondest memory. Being an old Dodger farmhand means he hung out with some very well known Dodger players. He list Tommy Lasorda, Danny Ozark, Sparky Anderson, Dick Williams, Chuck Connors as former teammates.
Below is his fondest memory in his own words.
"However, one of my fondest memories concerning the sport is that I was elected to the Clemson University Athletic Hall of Fame two years ago, only the second baseball player to be selected. The first was Billy O’Dell, who pitched for Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, etc. This was especially pleasing to me since it came at a much later stage in my life, after the Baseball days were over.”
In his first start as a freshman at Clemson, March 29, 1946, he pitched against Carl Erskine and threw a complete game no-hitter, striking out 15 with no walks. Go here to his Clemson Tigers page for more about him.
(click to enlarge)

UD Artwork For Sale

For several years now card manufacturers have been hiring artist to produce paintings that would eventually end up on a card. From time to time, the original paintings would end up for sale. Currently, Upper Deck is selling several paintings that are worth taking a look at. See all of the available paintings here.

Below is a Don Drysdale painting that was used for their 2005 UD Heroes Baseball release.
Since I am a rabid King fan I am especially smitten with this Rogie Vachon painting that was used for the 2008-09 UD Masterpieces hockey release.
With the recent citywide celebration of the Lakers championship I would be remiss not to include a painting that features the team. There are 3 Laker paintings available, but only one really caught my eye. Michael Cooper was my favorite Laker. Check out his painting below.
Hat Tip: Card Informant:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

News From the National

As some of you hardcore Sports collectors already know, this weekend is the 30th annual National Sports Collectors Convention being held in Cleveland, OH. The opening sneak peek was held last night. Once again, I am left to wallow at home as others get to enjoy the most important event of the year for sports collectors. So, instead of sulking I will pass along some great links of others who are in attendance.
  • JamesRyanJ shares a free poster featuring T206 cards. He also has other pics in his TwitPic album which I am sure will be added to throughout the weekend.
  • Sports Collectors Daily has a handful of pics from the sneak peek.
  • Check out this podcast with Scott Pruscha and Panini. (Hat Tip: Twitter:TheCardTweet)
  • MUST GO HERE! once again will post a bunch of pics (I mean a whole bucketload) from the National. See them here. Throughout the week this site should be the first place you go to as it will be constantly updated.
  • UPDATE. How could I forget about Beckett. They will be posting all week from the National and already have several videos available from Cleveland. Check them all out here. In fact, check out all of their YouTube Videos from the event here.

YouTube Link: BecketNational30:

Sherrill a Dodger

It appears that the Dodgers have shored up their relief staff with the addition of Orioles left handed closer George Sherrill. Of course, this is still pending official confirmation.'s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers acquired George Sherrill for Josh Bell and righty Steve Johnson.
This is a great pick-up. He should add some depth and solidify an already good bullpen- they just need a little help to get us over the hump.

Hat Tip: MLBTradeRumors:

Thank You, Henry Chadwick

For those whose morning ritual includes scanning through the sports page of your daily newspaper to find the box scores, today is your opportunity to give thanks. 150 years ago the original Baseball historian, Henry Chadwick, invented the box score.

The above plaque is from his grave in Brooklyn, New York. Check out this link to see the rest of his burial site. It is adorned with Baseball equipment and memorabilia.

Story Link: NPR:
Hat Tip: NPRTwitter:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

eBay: Ginter Manny

Here is another Allen & Ginter rarity currently up for auction on eBay. Below is a "1 of 1" sketch card drawn by famed sports artist Dick Perez of Manny Ramirez. You may know Perez from his artwork that was a regular feature in Donruss Baseball sets in the 80's and a collaborative postcard series created with Frank and Peggy Steele called Perez-Steele postcards. The below card has 3 days left and is already up to $635.99.

Monday, July 27, 2009

This is a Reasonable Trade

After all of the ridiculous trade rumors I've heard this one makes much more sense. MLB Trade Rumors suggest (via Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse) that the Dodgers have narrowed their interest towards Orioles reliever George Sherrill.
The O's, in turn, have been looking at LHP prospect Scott Elbert, "but have reservations about him." Elbert missed just about the entire 2007 season with shoulder surgery, but has recovered nicely to strike out 20 batters in 17.1 big league innings.

Card of the Week: Panoramic Views

The 1992 Topps set remains one of my favorite all-time sets. Not because of the design on the front of the card, but because of a nicely added touch on the reverse. Every player (as long as there is enough room) has below their statistics a panoramic view of their teams home stadium. Above is a Dodger Stadium in all its majesty. What's even better is that it shows Dodger Stadium before all of the changes and improvements done to shorten foul territory and add more expensive seats. I had almost forgotten how much acreage existed behind home plate. BTW, if I'm not mistaken, this is Eric Karros's rookie card. I always loved how Topps put complete stats; including minor league information, on the backs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blog Kiosk: 7/26/2009

It's Hall of Fame weekend. Congrats to Ricky Henderson, Jim Rice and Joe Gordon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bobblehead Profits

Sooner than you can say "Granny," all over eBay Manny Ramirez bobbleheads are available to purchase. And they are selling for quite a premium. From the LA Times:
But top bid right now for the giveaway from last night is $102.51, with most fetching somewhere in the $40 to $60 range.
Damn. Do I really have to pay that much for one?

Twittering Manny

Over the past several weeks I have suddenly and unexpectedly become addicted to Twitter. I check it several times throughout the day like a crack addict searching for a new fix. So far, it has been indispensable as I was able to track the recent NHL draft (I'm as big a Kings fanatic as I am a Dodger fan) and found out about the passing of MJ before most. Still, I wonder if it's that important to get split second news or am I better off waiting till later in the day. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine not being on Twitter. You just end up running into some interesting things.

For instance, last nights game that included the pinch hitting heroics of Manny Ramirez caused Dodger fans on twitter to go mad. Check out some of those post below.

First, Alyssa Milano was late to the game, but was just in time to get her bobblehead (see her pic here).
"Sitting in traffic trying to get into the parking lot at Dodger Stadium. Nothing makes me more anxious than to be late to a game. Grrrrr."
She then records the crowd as Manny comes out for his curtain call after his homerun.

Speaking of bobbleheads, Manny's ceramic head was all over the net. Check out Kemp with it in hand here. Roberto of Vin Scully is My Homeboy here. How about a Mannywood shirts and bobblehead here. See more here, here, here, here, here, here and here. There are many more, but I just can't post them all.

Of course, a bunch of folks had to mention what Vin Scully said.
"Manny's HR was the loudest he's heard at Dodger Stadium since Gibsons HR since 1988."
Heck, Doug Mientkiewicz thinks Manny should sit on the bench more often.
"Sorry bout the grand slam Manny has a future in being a pinch hitter!!! Haha."
And, probably the most useless stat of the evening was this:
"Newest baseball stat: Manny is the one and only to hit a grand slam on his own bobblehead night, and I got one!"
Then I get to Plaschke. First he refuses to take a bobblehead, then the 6th inning rolls around and he goes totally Manny crazy.
"omg...manny off bench to pinch hit with bases loaded and one out in sixth...tie is going crazy...a fiesta just broke out"
"Bronson Arroyo looking at dugout like, please, come get me now. Manny gets to the plate and Dusty comes to make a change"
"He crushed it over left-field fence. OMG. Dugout going crazy. Fans going nuts. OK, OK, I also got chills. OMG. He's a cheat, but what a bat"
"If Dodgers win World Series, this will be first defining moment of season"
"Place is still buzzing. Fans now just standing in disbelief. I'm with them."
"Dylan Hernandez, our Dodger writer, just walked up to me and said, ''You taking the bobblehead now??''..Sigh...No"
"Just left dodger clubhouse...casey blake was dancing...that's all you need to know..a special night...he's still a cheat but, well, omg.."
Admit it Bill you love Manny and you want to have a million of his babies. It's amazing how one season defining homerun can turn the naysayers into cheerleaders.

Now for your viewing pleasure, check out the video below of a fans perspective of last nights grand slam.

YouTube Link: mooboys:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Manny's Hand OK

Manny went to the hospital for precautionary X-rays on his left hand and, fortunately, everything seems to be fine.

Hat Tip: PE:

Fans in Iraq

As some of you may already be aware, the Iraqi National Baseball team is about to receive some needed equipment to help them on their way towards a future Olympic birth. They are still only a ragtag bunch, but have a passion for the game we Americans can appreciate. They are getting balls, bats, shoes... you name it. They are even getting their own uniforms, donated by a Seattle manufacturer, to wear. No longer do they have to share a single jersey.

To even add more spice to the story, the uniforms will be blue instead of the colors of the national flag.
"I was quite prepared to design something based on the green, red and black that's in the Iraqi flag, but they said no, They wanted a blue jersey," recalled Cohen. "I think it's because someone (there) is a Dodgers fan."
We've got fans all across the world. Read a little about it here.

Hat Tip: Twitter@Maddow:

Dodger Correspondence: Charlie "Greek" George

When you read about older ballplayers talking about the best they've ever seen I always expect to hear names like Ruth, Gehrig, Paige, Robinson, etc. In this vintage letter written by former Brooklyn Dodger Charlie "Greek" George he sings a different tune.

Greek George, as he was commonly known, only had a short stint in the pro's. George played in a total of 118 games in a career that saw him bounce around starting in 1935 from Cleveland, to Brooklyn in 1938, the Chicago Cubs and then the Philadelphia A's in 1945. Unfortunately, he was suspended during his year with the A's after punching an umpire. He would never return again to the big leagues after that.

In the letter below Roy ask the one-time Major Leaguer who was the greatest ballplayer he ever knew or saw. Unexpectedly, he answers with the name of Charlie Jamieson. Who's he, you say? Well, he played for the Cleveland Indians for most of great career. In 18 season he batted a career .303, scored 1062 runs and recorded 1990 hits. In 1923 and 1924 he came in 6th and 3rd place in MVP voting, respectively. The Greek says,
"He could do more things and do them well, than any one I ever knew or played with. Look him up in the Baseball Encyclopedia. He was finishing up when I signed with Cleveland from college.... Charlie was always in good shape and had all the tools of a great outfielder."
I'm really starting to like these old letters.
(click to enlarge)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog Kiosk: 7/19/2009

How did I miss posting this on Sunday?

Hat Tip: SOSG:

Card of the Week: Swallowed by Ivy

What is great about this card is how distinctive it is. I'm not talking about the player (who had a 12 year career that ended in infamy), but a location that any Baseball novice can immediately tell you about. This 1993 Upper Deck card of Denny Neagle features a pic of him being engulfed by the outfield ivy at Wrigley Field before an afternoon game. He looks carefree as he is probably just hanging out before the game snagging batting practice balls. Well, he's hanging out since running after Baseballs seems to be the furthest thing on his mind. I would do anything to just have a moment to lay back on that ivy wall for just a second.

2009 Obak Previews

Modern cards borrowing their design from vintage sets is all the rage today. Topps has the Allen & Ginter set, Upper Deck will be releasing their inaugural Goodwin Champions set and now TriStar (maker of minor league cards) has Obak.

As indicated above, TriStar has become the preeminent producer of Minor League Baseball cards for the hobby, so it only makes sense that their throwback set take its design from a vintage minor league set. Obak tobacco cards were produced from 1909 to 1911 and featured only West Coast minor league teams and players. They are very rare and complete sets are scarce in the hobby. VG examples of common cards will set you back about $65 to $85 a piece. The vintage set has been designated as T212 and are of the same size as other tobacco issues from the period. Go to this link for some more info about it.

Anyway, the only card released so far that interest us Dodger fans is the below Duke Snider autographed card with him in his Texas League Fort Worth Cats uniform. When this photo was originally taken he could only dream of the Hall of Fame career he would eventually have.

Hat Tip: Sports Card Info:

Video: Ethier in Beverly Hills

Friday, July 17, 2009

Squid Attack!

Check out this great video first, then read all about it here.

YouTube Link:rogeruzun:
Hat Tip: AmericaBlog:

Dodger Correspondence: Fred Fitzsimmons

I have returned with a new edition of Dodger Correspondence- letters written by old-time Dodger players to their fans.

I am sure many of you have, especially while you were younger, written a letter to your favorite player asking for an autograph and maybe some words of encouragement. For instance, last week I shared a letter from NorCal resident Dickey Ow who asked Ernie Koy what he should do to be a professional ballplayer. Other times you might ask about the highlight of a players career like when Earl Mosser shared with Jim how he struck out Stan "The Man" Musial in his first inning of work in the big leagues.

Today I share a letter written by Fred Fitzsimmons, otherwise known as "Fat Freddie", to a fan named Dean who wants to know who was the greatest player he ever played with or against. That's a very difficult question to ask from a man who played and coached professionally from 1920 to 1966.
You asked me who I thought was the greatest player I ever played with or against. I could not pick any one. There were a number of Great players. Hornsby- Frisch, Terry- Ott, Traynor, Waner Brothers - Lloyd & Paul, Hartnett, Roush, Hubbell. Dean, these are players in the Nat. League. Ruth, Cronin in the American League. I was a very lucky fellow to be able to play as long as I did.

I started in 1920 and finished in 1966. 19 years in the National League pitching- Won 217, pitched in 3 World Series, coached in 3 World Series.
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going GaGa Over 2009 Allen & Ginter Dodgers

The internet is a flutter as a result of the recent release of Topps 2009 Allen & Ginter Baseball cards. Well, at least the card blog community is. Everywhere you go there are post singing its praises. As you can see below, you'll soon find out why.

The design is flawless. A lightly drawn black border surrounds the footer and portrait. The drawings are colored in soft pastels with an almost bleach-white background which allows the colors to swirl. The players last name sits in a box while resting above the trademark. The Allen & Ginter name is done in a style reminiscent of its grandfather card set. The original vintage A&G set was created in 1887 and were inserts within packs of cigarettes- such were the origins of all card collectibles.
Brooklyn, New York on the very bottom is a nice touch. Nevermind that it has nothing to do directly with the Dodgers. It represents the original birthplace of the Topps Company.

Below I have pulled out photos from eBay and GCRL (I hope you don't mind) of every Dodger card in the set I could track down. There are numerous variations available and I figure it would only be right to show them all (at least what I could find) since most may never reach our hands. As soon as I start I hope to gather up just the base cards for my set.

The Billingsley above is a base card- meaning it's a regular part of the set. So far I count 12 Dodger base cards. As I said above, there are plenty of rarities as well. Below is a "rip" card of Chad Billingsley. A "rip" card is very rare as they come only one per case. They are essentially a card within a card. On the reverse is a small pull tab that when opened hides a short printed mini card the size of original tobacco cards. You'll see an example a little further down. Chad's card is one of only fifty available. They also come in print runs of 99, 25, 10 and 5.
Here is a very well done base card of Clayton Kershaw. I love how he sports a menacing stare as he shows us his fastball. He is almost daring you to hit him.
Another rare variation is the Kershaw short printed mini card below that was found in a "rip" card. I don't know if I could ever open up one of those cards. It's like playing the lottery. You could get something worse than what you already have. Of course, card collecting is like gambling so who am I fooling? I'd rip one open.
There are also randomly inserted autographed card of your favorite players like Kershaw below. It is signed on a mini card that has been encased in a plastic frame. You are sure not to damage these cards.
Russell J. Martin seems to always have great looking cards. Below is his base cart to the set.Rafael Furcal's base card is below.
Now here is one of the coolest limited inserts available in the set. Below is a Furcal silk card. Every card in the base set has a parallel version like this one number to just 10. I couldn't imagine anyone trying to put together a complete silk set. That would be maddening and expensive.Are you seeing a trend here? Most of the cards have the players sporting very serious looks. Their eyes are piercing or their expression muted. Casey Blake's base card makes him look a little angry. Even on Manny's base card he can barely give a smile.
Below are three different insert mini cards of Manny Ramirez. Within each pack of cards comes some base cards and one mini card. The mini cards mimic the base cards They also have there own limited variations. To the left is a black border mini, at center a rare mini A&G back variation, and to the right is the mini base card. Are you confused yet? Too many variations and parallels to boggle the mind.
Each base card has a normal size card, a mini, a mini silk, a black bordered mini version and a A&G back variation card. On top of that, there are short printed mini cards found in "rip" cards that are in addition to the 350 card base set (making a truly complete set at 400 cards) like the Kershaw above and the Manny Ramirez below. Whew!Oh, no! There's more. Within each box of 18 packs is a box loader. A box loader is a special pack that holds a larger size card. These cards are fashioned after the vintage A&G N43 set from 1888. Below is Manny's card.There are even cut game-used uniform pieces within the N43 subset like the Manny below.
There are also several subsets like the National Pride card below of Manny Ramirez.So you can't get enough of Manny, right? Well, how about the below two inserts of bat and jersey pieces.Andre Ethier continues with the theme of sternly posed game faced portraits in this base card below.Oh, wait! I have led you astray. You can also pull a rare 1 of 1 wood card mini version of the base set. We are up to 6 different versions of each card.
Ethier's "rip" card is numbered to 25. James Loney looks straight at you when he wants to challenge you.
Loney's "rip" card shows off his follow through. His eyes show total concentration. Blake DeWitt almost smiles. Alas, it's just a knowing grin. DeWitt's wooden card is below.
DeWitt also has a autographed insert and bat cards in the set.
The Bison, Matt Kemp, snarles at us in his base card.
Kemp's "rip" card has him gazing in the direction of where he will be hitting the ball- way out there.Matt Kemp was also kind enough to sign a few as you can see below.
Hiroki Kuroda, in his base card below, looks as stone faced as Moneymaker at the poker table.
Kuroda also has his own National Pride card.
Last, but not least is James McDonald's rookie base card. He is posed below in a poormans multiple exposure pose of him delivering his pitch.
This is all for now. There are still a couple of more cards I have yet to stumble upon. So, as you can imagine, completing a truly complete Dodger set would be very difficult.

Photo Help from eBay and GCRL: