Friday, November 26, 2010

Jackie Robinson Fan Photo

Hunt is running their current internet auction, which ends in early December, that includes this great fan taken photograph of Jackie Robinson. Go and check it out here. It is marked with the date 1955.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pee Wee the Polar Bear

This Type 1 International News press photo, available at auction through Clean Sweep, makes me crack up. Just get a load of Pee Wee's shorts. He looks all wrong in that getup. Not only that, he dons this outfit on one of the coldest days in Florida- during Spring Training in 1956. In fact, it's so cold Campy is huddled next to the heater as he wonders "what's up" with Reese.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Auto Collection: Al Campanis

With the recent news of the theft and quick return of Jim Campanis's World Series ring I figured it would be timely to highlight this card. Here is my 2006 Upper Deck Exquisite Cuts autographed card of Al Campanis- Jim's Dad. It is numbered 13 out of 65.

As you may recall, Al Campanis ended his career as the Dodgers GM on a sour note. I won't get into the details (go here for background), but I will say that I never faulted him. I understand what he was trying to say even though he may have said it poorly.

2010 Topps Update Inserts

Now, I am just trying to catch up from my recent bout of posting laziness. I had meant to post these weeks ago. Here are some more inserts from the 2010 Topps Update set. Check out these previous post for more Dodgers from this set: here, here, here and here.
Here are on-card Peak Performance autographed cards of Andre Ethier and John Ely.
Here are 3 old-time Dodgers from the "Vintage Legends Collection."

Roy Campanella
On a 2001 Topps card design

Jackie Robinson
On a 1981 Topps card design

Pee Wee Reese
On a 2003 Topps card design

Group Break: 2010 Topps Chrome

From time to time I have participated in a "group break" with other Baseball collectors online. It gives me an opportunity to get a bunch of cards from a particular product, usually of just one specific team, without spending an arm and a leg to buy box after box.

Recently, I threw my hat in the ring on a small break of 6 boxes of 2010 Topps Chrome and staked my claim to the Dodgers. I've never been much of a shiny card collector, but figured I would give this one a try. The "group break" was put together by Georgia Mindset.

Anyway, here is some of the bounty. The recently released 2010Topps Chrome offering consist of shinier versions of the 2010 Topps set, plus a couple of extra versions only found in Chrome. In fact, see the below Jon Link and John Ely card below.
Yes, Link and Ely have cards in Topps prior offerings this year, but these two cards offer brand new poses. I know, that seems a little obsessive, but when your a Dodger collector you can't help but chase them all.
I also got two refractor cards in the break. As you can see the Ely refractor below is an even shinier version of the basic chrome card. If you tilt it just right under a light you can blind someone.
Here is the other refractor- a Russell Martin on a 1961 Topps design. Below that is the reverse of the card.
Since I didn't get any "hits", i.e. a Dodger auto or relic piece, Georgia Mindset offered the below extra unclaimed hit from the break. It is a blue bordered autographed rookie card of DBacks outfielder Cole Gillespie.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dodgers Sign a Couple of Amatuers From Japan

Just when you thought the Dodgers were lacking in international scouting and development they go ahead and sign a couple of kids from Japan. Welcome Kazuya and Kazuki to the Dodgers.
Kazuya Takano

Kazuki Nishijima

From the Dodgers Press Release:

The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of 21-year-old pitcher Kazuki Nishijima and 18-year-old Japanese pitcher Kazuya Takano to minor league contracts. Nishijima becomes the second Japanese college player signed by the Dodgers after Robert Boothe, who was signed in 2007, and Takano becomes the first Japanese high school player signed by the Dodgers. Assistant General Manager, Scouting Logan White made the announcement.

"These two amateur signings from Japan mean a lot to us and I am very excited to bring them into the organization,” said White. “Choosing to play in the United States is not an easy decision for young foreign players to make with the language barrier and cultural differences, but I’m confident that both Nishijima and Takano will succeed in America with the help of our player development staff.”

Left-handed pitcher Nishijima stands 6’1” and 190 pounds. He is currently a senior at Meiji University in Tokyo , Japan , where he became a regular starter his junior year. Meiji won the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League Fall Tournament last season and Nishijima led the tournament with a 1.13 ERA. In his collegiate career, he is 6-5 in 31 appearances with a 1.91 ERA. While at Yokohama High School , which Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox also attended, his team won the National High School Invitational Tournament in 2006.

Right-handed pitcher Takano is 6’1” and 170 pounds and currently a senior at Buntoku High School in Kumamoto , Japan . He made his high school’s baseball team as a freshman and has been highly evaluated.

“Nishijima is known for his curveball and his consistent arm slot. He locates fastballs on the lower part of the plate and induces a lot of ground balls. Takano has a very smooth delivery and flexibility,” said Dodgers’ Supervisor, Scouting in Japan , Keiichi Kojima. “While they both show enormous talent and can expect bright futures, our first priority for both pitchers is to become physically and mentally acclimated to a new level of baseball.”

“American baseball has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Nishijima. “I will do my best to become a successful pitcher in the Major Leagues.”

“I’ve been working hard to make my dream to become a professional baseball player come true,” said Takano, who turned 18 just a few weeks ago. “I am very thankful to the Dodgers’ organization and I will work even harder to become a big leaguer as soon as possible.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Legendary Auctions: Babe In Blue

As I've written before, I just can't get enough of Babe Ruth in Dodger uniform. It is so bewildering and perplexing that I still, even after seeing numerous pictures proving it, can't believe he actually was a Dodger once. Of course, he never played for us, but he did stand in the coach's box on the first base side. Anyway, here are 2 more pics of "The Babe" in Blue. Click on any of the pics to enlarge them.

Here is Ruth with the Dodger coach's, Burleigh Grimes and Leo Durocher in 1938.
(Auction Link)

Babe Ruth is pointing at you.
(Auction Link)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Legendary Auctions: Wee Willie Keeler

Well, I've been MIA for a bit, so I apologize for that. Hopefully, I'll be able to make up for that as I peruse through several major auction house catalogs I recently received. There are some really great items to see, so stay tuned.

In fact, here is one great vintage early 20th (1902-1911) Century W600 Sporting Life Cabinet card of Brooklyn star and Hall of Famer Wee Willie Keeler. He is famous for the phrase "hit 'em where they ain't."
(click to enlarge pic)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Topps Fan Sketch Cards

One of the great things about the 2010 Topps set is the inclusion of blank sketch cards. Basically, they have asked the collector to sketch their own picture of the their favorite player. You can then send it to Topps with the potential of seeing it inserted and made into its own card for a future Topps product. How cool would that be?

Anyway, on the Topps facebook page they have highlighted several entries that can be found in the 2010 Topps Update offering and they are pretty good. You should especially take a look at the Jeter and Lincecum (the Lincecum is pretty clever). Go here to see them all.

Below are a couple of Dodger related entries.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hunt Auctions: Drysdale's Batting Helmet

Hunt Auctions is closing up on it's current 7th annual Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction later this week. Check out my post, here, from a week or so ago about a couple of other Dodger related items from this auction.

This batting helmet comes directly from a former Dodger clubhouse employee named Joe Pitts. In fact, the items I described previously also comes from him. This is a game worn helmet that once belonged to Don Drysdale. It is a circa 1960's helmet and features Drysdale's number on the brim of the hat. It shows fine use from a pitcher who also was an excellent batsman. He belted 29 home runs.
(click on the pic to enlarge)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

2010 Topps Update: Dodger Turkey Red's

Here are some more Dodger inserts that can be found in packs of 2010 Topps Update. These are the Turkey Red insert cards of Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Jon Broxton. Stay tuned for a couple of more post showing other insert cards.

A Ruth Christmas

With only 51 days before Christmas I figure this great photo found at Schulte Auctions would be a great way to get the holiday season started.

RIP: Sparky Anderson

One of the more colorful and respected Baseball managers to ever grace the field has passed away today. George Lee "Sparky" Anderson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, having won 3 World Series titles and 2 AL Manager of the Year Awards. He won 2,194 games as skipper which ranks him 6th on the all-time win list.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends. (Story Link: NBC Sports: Hardball Talk)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I Won! I Won!

This ain't no lie. I never win anything. I've won a few items over the years playing McDonald's Monopoly, but that's nothing. If you eat there enough you are bound to win a small drink now and then.

Well, several weeks ago (maybe months) I came across a post on a collector blog (the name of which now escapes my memory- if you know who it was please let me know) writing about signing up for Upper Deck's "no purchase necessary" contests online. All you had to do was establish a free account and push a couple of buttons. It's easy and all collectors should do it right now! Go here to start.

Anyway, I entered on a whim and quickly forgot all about it- until yesterday afternoon.In the mailbox was a medium sized padded envelope from Carlsbad. Having not won an eBay auction recently I was not quite sure what it could be, and the sender location did not ring any immediate bells. So, I opened it and found the above letter and the below autographed insert card from the 2010 Upper Deck Soccer offering. Pretty cool, eh? I didn't expect much from entering this contest, but am very happy I had. Even though I have only a passing interest in the sport and know nothing about the player I received, Natasha Kai, I think I'll have to keep this in my collection. Heck, it's numbered 65 out of 100.

So, if you haven't already gone to the Upper Deck page go and do it know. They have 4 different contest running right now from their hockey sets. Here is the link again.

RIP: Clyde King

Former Dodger Clyde King passed away yesterday. He played 6 Major League season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, from 1944 to 1952. His best season was in 1951 when he went 14-7 with a 4.15 ERA. Here is the MLB article about his accomplishments.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Auto Collection: Russell Martin & Andre Ethier

Here is my 2007 Upper Deck Black Illustrious dual autograph card featuring Andre Ethier and (our possibly soon departed catcher) Russell Martin. It is numbered 10 out of 25.

I Voted

One of the things I've embraced most about our wonderful country is the act of voting. So, it was with great pride that I cast my ballot today. Below is a story I wrote 4 years ago that I've decided to repost here. It remains one of my favorites.

"Put on your shoes, son... Hey, where is your jacket?"

I lift up my arm and point to my red hooded sweater with a series of color stripes across the breast. It was an 80'’s version of a 70'’s flashback. No doubt it was fashion at it worst. The sweater was crammed between the seat cushions of our family couch in the TV room.

"Go and put that on. It'’s chilly out there and we are going on a short walk."

I quickly put on the sweater- first the left arm then the right. I had my "Toughskins" blue jeans on. They still looked brand new. No matter how rough I played in them they would never fade. Sears had made kid proof pants.

I tied my sneakers and rolled up my socks to cover my calves. I was ready to go and experience the world.

My elementary school mind was still in its most formative stages. I smiled a lot. I laughed all the time. I had wonder in my eyes.

These were the days when it was still o.k. to hold Daddy'’s hand. Heck, these were the days you could still call your Dad- Daddy.

We walk down the block and turned the corner. My hand was clinched tightly to my fathers'’ palm. We walk a few more steps and head down a back alley. A couple of houses down I notice an open garage door. People are mulling about. To one side is a single line, and in the back are cardboard boxes standing straight up with little curtains.

I looked around from left to right. I remember not understanding what this was all about. Why did my father purposely want me with him? Where are we?

My father leans down and says to me, "it’s election day."

My love and reverence for voting was created on that day. I remember the look of the garage, the faces of the people, the smell of the cardboard and the sound of the hand crank puncher used to complete the paper ballots. I remember the look of pride on my fathers face and his frank (adult) discussion with me about how important this day is.

This morning I continued a tradition that was passed down from my father. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation, from American to American. It is a duty that the founding fathers envisioned as the peoples true equalizer. It is our voice.

So, this morning I drove down to the Costa Mesa Historical Society building and gave my name. I was handed a code pass and voted on one of those new-fangled machines. It was easy and efficient. My worries about the potential for lost votes was eased by the paper receipt produced by the computer.

This morning I voted. I voted for my community. I voted for my state. I voted for my country. But, most of all, I voted for my Father.

2010 Topps Update Broxton All-Star Jumbo Patch

Here is one of the truly great finds in the 2010 Topps Update set. This is a Jonathan Broxton All-Star Game jumbo jersey patch piece. This is the All-Star Game Workout jersey from the 2010 game. This card, on eBay, is numbered 2 out of 6. Every player in the game has a card in this subset.

2010 Topps Update: Dodger Bat Barrels

Here is a group of one of the more interesting and new kind of insert card in the 2010 Topps Update set. They feature manufactured bat (not game-used bat) pieces with the players name, team and facsimile autograph engraved in the wood. I think these are very classy looking, and look especially great when a Hall of Famer is featured. Below is what the reverse of the card look like.
The wood colored bats are all numbered to 99 and there are two limited parallel versions. The black bats (see the Snider below) are numbered to 25.
The rarest of them all are the pink bat versions that are numbered 1 of 1's. UPDATE: BTW, this card is currently on eBay and closes later this afternoon.
Here are the rest of the Dodgers in the set not already shown above.

Election Day!!!!

Here is a helpful reminder, if your not already waiting in line to make your mark, that today is election day. Regardless of your political leaning, or lack thereof, remember that your vote counts.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Giants Win

I was hoping I would never have to write these words, but I extend a hearty Blue Heaven congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on their World Series Championship.

2010 Topps Update: Dodger Base Cards

The final Topps Baseball card product of the 2010 season is out. It is called 2010 Topps Update. Newly signed, traded for, All-Stars and rookie call-ups fill out this set. There are 16 new Dodger cards and one very cool short printed card (see that at the bottom).
There are also a whole bunch of limited insert cards you can find in packs. I'll do my best to post up pics of as many Dodgers as I can muster over the coming days.
This has got to be the best Dodger card of the year. Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese are carrying a big bat that commemorates their 1952 National League Championship. I wonder if that bat exist somewhere.
(click any of the pics to enlarge)