Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Yogi, Jackie Was Safe

Here is a great little story from Politico about an unexpected gift from Yogi Berra to President Obama. Tom Murro, the Celebrity Magnet, had met the President last year while vacationing in Martha's Vineyard. As word spread of his chance encounter a neighbor, who happens to be Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, asked if he might be able to pass along a gift on his behalf. Not to pass up the opportunity to meet the President again he said "sure."

Tom was in Martha’s Vineyard with his daughter when they stopped at Nancy’s Restaurant in Oak Bluffs, MA, to grab a bite to eat. A huge crowd surrounded the restaurant, and The Magnet was quickly informed that the first family was dining inside. (Looks like Tom and Obama have similar tastes…who knew?)

The Magnet had a chance to speak with the president upon the completion of his meal. After shaking Obama’s hand, Tom reminded the commander-in-chief of their meeting with Spike Lee just a year prior – an encounter that Obama remembered. Tom proceeded to tell the President that he had a gift for him from baseball great, Yogi Berra.

“Let’s see what you have there,” Obama said. After receiving the photo, Obama exclaimed, “That’s fantastic!” before passing the signed photo off to Marvin Nicholson.

Above is a pic of the encounter. Above that is a pic of the gift Yogi gave. It is a signed photo of the Jackie stealing home plate during the 1955 World Series. To this day Yogi maintains he tagged him out. Yogi signs it: "Dear Mr. President. He was out! Yogi Berra"

BTW Yogi, I hate to tell ya, but Jackie was safe and no amount of politicking will change that fact in the record books.

(Hat Tip: Sports Collectors Daily)

Here is a video of the play.

YouTube Link:

Diamond Life with the Bakersfield Dodgers

Here is a great promotional photo found on eBay advertising a PBS documentary called "Diamond Life." It was all about the Class A Bakersfield Dodgers in 1991 and the young players on the team as they sought out their American dream on the base paths. Jose Offerman and Braulio Castillo are featured. Funny thing is that neither of these guys were on the 1991 Bakersfield team. (UPDATE: based on some comments, this was based on the 1989 Bakersfield team)

Who were on team, though, are a collection of future Hall of Famers and some other great players. They include Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi and Orel Hershiser.

This is the first time I had ever heard of the show. Has anyone ever seen it? Was this just one- one hour show, or a series of one hour shows run throughout the season? Anybody know?

I searched high and low throughout the interwebs for an archived copy, but alas one was not to be found. If you run into it please pass it along.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hiroki is Clutch

What a game this was. Hiroki goes a solid 7 and 2/3 innings while falling just 4 outs short of a no-hitter. I was on the edge of my seat and cursed as Victorino came up to break up Hiroki's masterpiece. Kuroda is a great clutch pitcher who brings a little bit of hope to a season that has been nothing but rocky.

I don't care what anybody thinks. The Dodgers should not trade or let this guy go. Even if the season appears to be on a short leash he is the type of hurler we want on the team.

(pic by: Jon Soo Hoo)

Has Torre Quit?

Via Baseball Musings, he leads us to a interesting article from Jay Jaffe of the Futility Infielder Blog. Jaffe wonders aloud then gets angry at the thought that it was Torre who quit on the Dodgers- not Manny.

Manny Ramirez may have spent more than half the season on the disabled list — he’s a 38 year old with a history of leg problems — but I don’t in the least buy the idea that quit on the Dodgers. There’s nothing in the world the man loves to do more than pulverize a baseball, and the bigger the moment for him to do so, the better. He had every incentive to play as much as possible in order to earn a big-money contract for next year; why on earth would he dodge that?

No, it’s Joe Torre who quit on the Dodgers, which is why I’m so angry. Torre’s braindead mishandling of the bullpen in July and earlier this month already appeared to signal that he’d unplugged from the the team, that at 70 years old, he was too old for the bullshit of dealing with the Dodgers. That promising young players such as Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and James Loney have stalled in their progress on his watch doesn’t speak particularly well of him either, suggesting he’s lost the team — not an uncommon theme among managers past the age of 65.

Torre’s playing of Podsednik over Ramirez, whether for no good reason but his own gut instinct or as the henchmen for the higher-ups is both aesthetically distasteful, and antithetical to winning baseball. Podzilla is a slaptastic hitter in the same mold as Juan Pierre. He’s hitting over .300 between KC and LA, but it’s a thin .309/.355/.388, good for a combined .275 TAv. His Marginal Lineup Value Rate (MLVr) — the number of runs per game he adds to an otherwise average lineup is .054. Manny’s is .316, the second-highest among major league left fielders.
Torre did make some unusual decisions, and it certainly made this Dodger fan wonder what he was thinking. Anyway, it's an interesting read and only adds more to the fire as we begin to try to understand what went wrong this year.

Dempsey the Dodger

Here is a 1988 press photo showing Rick Dempsey in a catchers crouch. I remember several years ago at Vero Beach during Spring Training waiting diligently for him to sign a ball for me just before a game. He made a comment to someone that he too was on the 1988 Championship club, and I thought well I know that. Then, it occurred to me that he was probably one of the least recognizable players on the team. After all, Scioscia was the main man then. So, as a reminder here he is- one of the stuntmen of the 1988 team.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bye Bye Manny

After all of the waiting and speculation, Manny Ramirez is finally gone. For his swan song he gets thrown out after arguing a first pitch strike in a pinch hit attempt this afternoon with the bases loaded in the 6th inning. And with that the Dodgers and all of LA says goodbye- and some say good riddance.

As has already been postulated, did Manny get thrown out on purpose? Via a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
Anyone else suspect Manny Ramirez got himself intentionally ejected? I can't imagine how ugly that situation must be behind closed doors.

Blog Kiosk: 8/29/2010

Will he stay or will he go- Manny that is.
  • Listen to Vin Scully's press conference right here. (Hat Tip: Dodger Thoughts)
  • GCRL puts together some Goose Joak cards of Logan White, Tommy Lasorda, the 2010 draft, and our no. 1 pick Zach Lee.
  • REALLY??
  • Check out the 50 ugliest cars over the past 50 years, via Bloomberg. I have to admit having a certain affinity for the Gremlin- which is on the list. The below Bond Bug, though, really takes the cake.
  • The Kings sign defenseman Willie Mitchell, and I couldn't be more excited. After losing out on the Kovalchuk sweepstakes, getting a good D-man to solidify the blue line counts as big news to this puckhead.
  • Check out the new HD scoreboard at the Staples Center.
  • The 100 hottest athletes of all-time, via Bleacher Report.
  • What about this memorabilia item. The coach goes ballistic, pulls out 1st base, signs it and hands it to a fan in the stands. Hat Tip: Sports Locker:

YouTube Link

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vintage Spokesman: Dress Like Branca

Here is a great 1946 magazine advertisement featuring Dodger Ralph Branca. It is for Munsingwear underwear. Unquestionably, the best line in the ad is, "the only underwear with the stretchy-seat."
(click to enlarge)
(eBay Auction Link)

2010 Obak: Some Dodger Notables

Tristar recently released their 2010 Obak set which focuses on Minor League stars both past and present. Here are some of the Dodger related players.

Tom Paciorek may be wearing a White Sox uniform below, but he has a true blue pedigree. In 1972 he was the PCL MVP and Minor League Player of the Year in Albuquerque.
Ken Landreaux did not play in the Dodgers farm system, but did play for the Blue Crew for 7 glorious years.
Frank Howard was named the 1959 Minor League Player of the Year for the Dodgers affiliate Spokane Indians. He belted a total of 43 home runs that year.
Garrett Gould was the 3rd round pick for the Dodgers in 2009 draft.
Blake Smith was the Dodgers 2nd pick in the 2009 draft.
Below are a couple of cards that feature former Dodger owner Charles Ebbets. The last card is a limited insert cabinet sized card that resembles a T4.

Collection: 1923 W580 Boxing

Following up on the Allen & Ginter John L. Sullivan card I featured yesterday, here is a 20 card grouping of my 1923 W580 boxing strip cards. Click any of the pics above and below to enlarge them.

I've been a fairly active collector of boxing cards for quite awhile now, and a fan of the sport for nearly my whole life. Heck, being of Filipino descent meant I was genetically predisposed to love the ring. It dates back to my childhood memories of family parties, often as games of mahjong rang in the background. My Dad and uncles would get together to see a big match on television while recounting the great boxers of the past. I remember seeing everyone from "The Hitman" Hearns to Sugar Ray Leonard to Hector Macho Camacho. The best, though, was Mike Tyson. That guy could finish a fight.

As some of you might be thinking, the love of boxing in the Philippines did not start with the rise of Manny Pacquiao. In fact, next to basketball, boxing is the most popular sport on the islands. Heck, the first World Champion from the Philippines was Pancho Villa in 1923.

Anyway, this W580 strip card set can be very difficult to find in good condition. They are the same size as the Baseball T206 cards and feature sharp black & white photos. They are called strip cards because up to 10 cards would be printed side by side, and sold as an uncut group. The purchaser would then cut the strip themselves into their individual cards. Hence, the reason why nice examples are hard to come by.
(click any pic to enlarge)

TSN Charlie Hough Press Photo

Here is a 1974 press photo from The Sporting News of knuckleballer Charlie Hough.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are We Back In It?

It's hard to believe, but the Dodgers may be playing themselves back into a possible wild card berth.

Who'd have thought that was possible? Just as I was about to slip away into the summer heat they reach out and pull me back in.

Even stranger, this sudden turn of events may mean that Manny may be going nowhere. If he can turn it on and lift our meager offense for one last push Colletti may refuse to let go of the dread-locked aging slugger.

Per Tim Brown:
While Ramirez was working his way through the waiver procedures, the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing themselves to the edge of National League wild-card contention, meaning general manager Ned Colletti might want to see more before pulling the trigger on a trade.

A calf injury pushed Ramirez’s appearance on the waiver wire to Wednesday. But, as a result, the Dodgers won’t have to make a decision – whether to pull Ramirez back, trade him or award a team its claim (for about $4 million) – until as late as Tuesday, if they choose. A player acquired before Sept. 1 is eligible for the playoffs.

(pic link: Sox Tea Party)

Tommy Davis at the Coliseum

I just can't get enough of these vintage press photos of the Dodgers playing at the Coliseum. Here, Tommy Davis tags third base during warm ups. The famous left field fence looms behind him.

Enright, the Cab Driver Slasher, Was a Fan of Frank McCourt

Now you've all gone and done it. The hate and vitriol surrounding the ownership of the Dodgers has lead directly to violence. Stop the hate! How soon will it be until some rabid boy in blue attempts to blame the demise of this great franchise on some innocent yahoo. Blood is on your hands, folks. Jamie, watch your back.
"TPM continues that Enright, whose Facebook page reveals he liked Scorsese, Frank McCourt and "Life," was working on a documentary."
See, if it's on facebook then it must mean something.

Oh, wait! You're saying that Frank McCourt isn't the McCourt who owns the Dodgers... Oh... Nevermind.


I know this is a really stupid post, but I just couldn't help myself.

Card of the Week: Monobrow

All hail the monobrow. This iconic card is a favorite of mine, so, I felt it was about time I declare this 1963 Topps card of Wally Moon as this weeks "Card of the Week."

Vintage cards don't get much better than this.

Collection: N28 John L. Sullivan

Here is my John L. Sullivan Allen & Ginter N28 card. I've got just one more card from my yet-to-be-completed set left to show. Check out the other cards I've featured here. Sullivan is one of the greatest world heavyweight champions to ever get in the ring. He is thought to have won over 450 fights in his career and was the first American athlete to earn over one million dollars. John L. Sullivan was a bridge between two boxing eras- from the London Prize Ring rules of bare-knuckled boxing to gloved boxing.

Often fighting in a garment resembling long underpants, the term "Long Johns" is said to be named after him.

TSN Press photo: A Smilin' Garvey

Here is a 1974 Press Photo from the archives of The Sporting News featuring Steve Garvey.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Learning From the Old Man

Even Major League stars need a little bit of instruction. Below is a 1961 Sport Magazine press photo found on eBay featuring Leo Durocher giving Gil Hodges some tips on fielding at first base.

1952 Dodger Schedule Pee Wee Reese Card

Here is a 1952 Brooklyn Dodger home team schedule featuring Pee Wee Reese. Check out how cheap the tickets were back then.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Carry a Big Stick

Gil Hodges shows of his new bat in this early 1950's vintage International News Press Photo.

Thank You Vin!

My stomach was all tied in knots last night after hearing that Vin Scully would be making a special announcement about his future with the team this morning.

Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. Vin Scully will be with us for at least one more year. Thank You Vin!
“I’m just honored and humbled to continue my association with the Dodgers, which has been a major part of my life,” said Scully.

Blog Kiosk: 8/22/2010

At the end of the day I will respect whatever decision Vin Scully makes. I would love more than anything, though, to have a chance to enjoy him for at least one more season.
  • This is some great news. Dave Roberts is expecting a full recovery from Hodgkin's lymphoma, via LA Times.
  • Wow! What an incredible statue of Jackie Robinson, via Vin Scully is My Homeboy. Unfortunately, a Nat destroyed it. Damn you!
  • REA shares a story about a vintage Baseball card set that had been passed down from generation to generation since 1915.
    My father Harry Dolton Smith, raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at the age of 15, bought the complete set of 1915 Cracker Jack Ball Players, in 1915 for $.25 and two box tops. I think he said the display book was extra and he couldn’t afford to buy it. He started to collect the 1914 set but it was too costly to buy each box of confection, and the cards were damaged by the candy. So he jumped at the chance to buy the whole set in 1915.
  • Busted Coverage has some racy photos of Sara Saco-Verti, the better half of the "foul ball couple."
  • Schulte Auctions has some never before seen family photos of Babe Ruth, here.
  • Meet Victoria Levan, a Topps employee with a real life inserted Baseball card in Allen & Ginter. (Hat Tip: A Cardboard Problem)
  • I don't know were I've been, but I've just discovered the glorious wonder of Wipeout!

YouTube Link:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

eBay: Siesta!

It's a warm Saturday afternoon. The sun is out, and the mind, body and soul needs some rejuvenation. Hugh Casey, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, takes advantage of the time to get some rest in the vintage press photo below.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Garvey Hustle

Here is a great action packed press photo (complete with editorial markings) of Steve Garvey doing his damnedest to score from second base on a single from Dusty Baker in the 3rd inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 20, 1978. Unfortunately, he is tagged out by catcher, Ed Ott.

eBay: Willard Mullin Art on Vintage Pocket Schedules

Willard Mullin was the king of sports editorial cartoons. He was like a muse, drawing the happenings of the day to enlighten and entertain the masses. Without him we wouldn't have the Brooklyn "Bum," and we would all have been worse off for it.

Other than the local papers, you could find his work on numerous other advertising vehicles throughout New York. Below is a collection of vintage pocket schedules that feature his drawings. Check them out and enjoy.
Here is the back of the 1951 pocket schedule.
(eBay Auction Link: 1951 schedule)

Here is a 1952 pocket schedule with the Dodger "Bum" and the Giant ballplayer duking it out.
(eBay Auction Link: 1952 schedule)

The 1953 pocket schedule.
(eBay Auction Link: 1953 schedule)

The 1954 pocket schedule. This one is a little bit too merry for my taste.
(eBay Auction Link: 1954 schedule)

This is probably the best one of all. The Brooklyn "Bum" shows off his new tattoo- "Woil' Champions."
(eBay Auction Link: 1956 schedule)

Isotopes Xavier Paul Card

Here is card #6 from the 2010 Albuquerque Isotopes Autograph Session card of Xavier Paul.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manny Scores!

No... Not that Manny.

Below is a vintage 1970 UPI Press Photo of Manny Mota scoring on a wild pitch during a June 1st game against the Chicago Cubs. It occurred against starting pitcher Bill Hands in the first inning of the game. In fact, it is Hands who is in the midst of turning Mota into a pancake.