Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Tradeoff and Compromise

Frank McCourt has met payroll this month. So, it appears we have to go through more torture before the end. As you would expect, via ESPN, we find out that McCourt will mortgage the future potential revenue of the ballclub for the short term gain of staying in the game.

Since McCourt has been unable to secure traditional loans to fund the cash-strapped Dodgers, front office executives in charge of revenue were charged with finding more creative ways to help float the troubled franchise for two more weeks.

Current team sponsors were contacted and offered discounts on their annual bills and luxury box stadium seats in exchange for cash up front, according to two sources. It is not known which sponsors took the offer, or the depth of discount they were given.

I had no doubt that McCourt would fight til the very end. He will sacrifice everything, trading in the health and well-being of the Dodgers, to prove that he belongs. He wants to prove to MLB and the City of Los Angeles that he can be a good steward of the team. I have my doubts, of course, but this had me thinking.

Is there a situation that would cause me to take a second look at the man. Would I be willing to change my view of him and his past ownership of the team?

After a lot of thought, I came up with one scenario that might suffice.

If McCourt were willing to sell a sizable portion of the franchise (not even a controlling stake) to an investor group who would naturally act as an interested outside constituency, then I can see myself singing a different tune.

It kills two birds with one stone. The team would generate the necessary cash to continue operating without mortgaging the future while showing to me his willingness to be accountable to someone other than his own whims. It would show to me that he would allow himself to be regulated by a outside body- a investor group with a desire to maintain and uphold fiduciary management of the club.

Yes, I can forgive and forget, but it won't come without strings. If you show a willingness to be accountable, then I'm willing to compromise on my utter disdain for you.

Start Voting, Dodger Fans!

OK. I totally get that there is a unofficial boycott in town, but don't blame the players on the field. I have no doubt they are doing the best they can, and, with a little luck, they may still pull out a surprising finish this season. So, in support of the "Boys in Blue" please cast your All-Star ballot in their favor. Both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are All-Star worthy, and they deserve your support. Heck, vote Blue all the way across. After all, you have to have some sympathy for them. Who hasn't had to continue doing the best job you can while under the nose of a horrible boss. From the Dodgers press machine:
Major League Baseball has released the first set of National League balloting results for the 2011 All-Star Game to be played on Tuesday, July 12, at Chase Field in Arizona.

The Dodgers' young standout outfielders are just outside of the top three in the NL, with Andre Ethier in fourth place and Matt Kemp in fifth. Ethier trails St. Louis' Lance Berkman by fewer than 100,000 votes, while Kemp is a little more than 200,000 back of his teammate.

Cast up to 25 ballots per e-mail address on the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com.
Go ahead and click for the ballot, and vote often.

Legendary Auctions: An 1886 Home Run Ball

How rare is this? It's a game-used home run Baseball from 1886. Written on the ball are the words, "St. Louis 1886 Champions of the World Tip O'Neill Home Run Ball." It originally came from the family of former St. Louis Browns outfielder Tip O'Neill. It sold for $2,032.00 during Legendary Auctions recently closed offering.

Auto Collection: Pedro Guerrero Uncirculated

Pedro Guerrero was one of my favorite sluggers as a kid. He would wave that bat like he was swatting a fly behind his head. Then, with the ease of a Masters golfer he would unleash his furry with a mighty swing that, if it connected, would cause the ball to travel to the stars. He was definitely feared at the plate, and as Bill James said, Guerrero was
"the best hitter God has made in a long time."
Here is a 2005 Topps Retired Uncirculated autographed card encapsulated by Topps.

eBay: A Pee Wee Reese Bank

eBay proves once again why eBay is such a great resource for collectors. It always seems to unearth collectibles the hobby may have forgotten about. In fact, this Baseball bank sponsored by United Cerebral Palsy is new to me. It features a facsimile autograph from Pee Wee Reese and a screw bottom base with a slit for coins. This bank sold for $85.01.

Monday, May 30, 2011

RIP Billy Harris

It is always sad when a member of the Dodger family passes away. William Thomas Harris, Billy Harris for short, was an outstanding athlete from New Brunswick, Canada- possibly one of the greatest ever produced from the Canadian province (with exception of Willie O'Ree- NHL's first black player). He was an accomplished hockey player in his youth, but is better known for his pitching on the diamond. In 1949 he lead the Dieppe Junior Cardinals to a Maritime championship and the Moncton Legionnaires to a title a year later in amateurs. His exploits garnered him a professional contract with the Dodgers and he had an immediate impact. With Valdosta in 1950 he won 18 games then another 25 games for Miami in the Dodgers minor league B level organization. Harris would continue to climb the ladder to Montreal, the Dodgers AAA franchise, and help lead them to a Little World Series berth. Unfortunately, they did not come out the victors. After winning 16 games for Montreal in 1957 he finally got a cup of coffee with the big club in Brooklyn. He would pitch just one game, a 7 inning effort, but lost by giving up 3 runs. Due to the stockpile of pitchers ahead of him he would be sent back down until he got his final shot 2 years later in a relief appearance for the LA Dodgers. From the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Website.
In all, Harris pitched for 15 professional seasons and amassed 174 wins and 1,373 strikeouts. Of all Canadians that have pitched in the big leagues, Harris ranks first in minor league career shutouts (45), second in strikeouts, third in wins, and fifth in games pitched (436) and innings pitched (2,461). For his efforts, he was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 (and the Canadian Baseball Hall of fame in 2008).
Here is a great write up on his death on the 28th at Times & Transcript, and here is his page at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame website.

Hat Tip: Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
Photo from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day

On the day we remember the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, have a great Memorial Day.

eBay: Erskine Filming Kelly

Here is a great vintage press photo from the Sporting News Archives Collection of Carl Erskine filming the famous Emmett Kelly as the Dodger Bum. It sold for a reasonable $26.52.

Another Fire?!?

Man, maybe there is a curse on the Dodgers this year. Per ABC Channel 7:
Firefighters were back at Dodger Stadium on Monday morning after a small fire broke out for the second time in just a couple days.

Firefighters responded to a cinder-block storage room at 5:10 a.m. after reports of light smoke coming from the structure. The fire was declared a knockdown by 5:17 a.m.

It was the same storage room where a fire broke out during Saturday night's game against the Florida Marlins. Firefighters say that fire was caused by paper products igniting.

Firefighters are trying to figure out if Monday's fire is related to Saturday's fire or if there was a new source.

Clearly, this has been one of the most unusual years to be a Dodger fan.

(Hat Tip: Dodger Thoughts on Twitter)

1983 Dodgers Police Set

It's been over 4 months since I shared any Dodger Police sets in my collection. With the current team in a bit of disarray I thought it might be nice to reminisce about a much better time. These sets were put together during the age of O'Malley- when the Dodgers were about family and team stability was the norm. Man-O-Live, I miss those times. Anyway, here is the Dodger Police set from 1983. Below is an example of what the card back looks like.
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Legendary Auctions: The Lost No-Hitter

To underscore the futility that was the old Brooklyn Superbas, here is a vintage scorecard from August 1, 1906 game that featured a no-hitter that never was. How do we know this. Well, it was scored by a fan and it provides a rundown of the afternoons event. I'll let the auction description tell the story.
Through nine innings of regulation play (indeed, into the 11th), the Brooklyns held Pittsburg hitless. Problem was, the Superbas’ several hits had likewise failed to generate a run. The contest was an August 1st 1906 tilt in Brooklyn’s Washington Park where the home nine clashed against Honus Wagner and his Pirates. On the hill that Wednesday afternoon was Pittsburgh’s Lefty Leifield, dueling Brooklyn’s Harry McIntyre. The scoreless game went into extra frames but McIntyre seemed the more valiant – holding Pittsburg to just one base runner – issuing a walk to Tommy Leach in the 9th. In the Pirate 11th, however, Claude Ritchie punched a two-out single, but that proved for naught as Ed Phelps followed with the inning-ending out. In the twelfth, the Pirates went quietly, and though Brooklyn knocked two hits, they again failed to score. The game was decided in the 13th as Pittsburg’s first three batsmen – Bob Ganley, Honus Wagner, and Jim Nealon – all hit safely against the theretofore invincible McIntyre. Nealon’s RBI hit proved the coup-de-grace as Brooklyn again failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.
It sold for $300.00.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Auto Collection: Frank Howard Archives

Big Frank Howard was an intimidating as they come. He was 6 foot 8 inches tall and had a bat equal to his size. In 1959, as a the Dodger minor league, he belted 43 home runs. The next year he roamed the Dodger right field and garnered Rookie of the Year honors after hitting 23 home runs while batting .268 with 77 RBI's. Unfortunately, a move from the LA Coliseum to newly opened and spacious Dodger Stadium did not bode well for his statistics. He was eventually traded away to the Senators and found his stroke as he belted as many as 48 dingers for Washington.
In 2005 Howard recalled welcoming the trade despite going from a pennant contender to a weak expansion team, noting, "I was essentially a fourth outfielder in L.A., hitting 25 home runs a year in the biggest baseball park in America and doing it on 400 at-bats." He added, "What could I do if I get 550 at-bats? I had my best years here."
The worse part about these encapsulated cards is that they just don't scan very well. Here is a 2001 Topps Archives autographed card of Frank Howard.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Kiosk: 5/27/2011

Check out the 3rd link below- I didn't realize they still ink-up milestone Baseballs for players.
  • Neurologist provide a stern warning. Please do not provide samples of your brain for concussion related research before you are dead. Via The Onion.
  • Check out DodgerBobble's video of his entire Dodger bobblehead collection. Just awesome. I am just more than a little bit envious.
  • Matt Kemp just shared this on Twitter. It's his nicely decorated 100th Home Run ball. Nice!!!
  • A former President almost gets hit with a Baseball, via Fox News Orlando.
  • Tom Hoffarth notices a funny ad for those pesky beach balls commonly found at Dodger Stadium, vis Farther Off The Wall.
  • UniWatch continues their research into red lettered vintage Dodger uniforms.
  • Check out Night Owl's Topps Diamond die-cut Jackie Robinson card. Very cool.
  • Just awesome! The People of Walmart song.

YouTube Link:

Legendary Auctions: Campy, Jackie and the Duke

Here is a great vintage photo from the 1956 Goodwill Tour of Japan from Legendary Auctions. It features an enthusiastic crowd clamoring for autographs from Duke Snider, Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson. As the typeset says:
"The Brooklyn Dodgers, champions of the National League, now on a Far East Goodwill Tour, seem to have brought their jink across the Pacific with them. They have lost two of the first three games to Japanese teams and Japanese sportswriters are now saying openly that there is nothing to be learned from the Dodgers, anyway."
Those are some pretty tough words. It sold for $100.00.

REA: Not Just Vintage But Historic, Part 2

Here are some more historic Baseball memorabilia items from REA's auction.

This is a cabinet photo of the Brooklyn Excelsiors and Washington Nationals posing together prior to a game on September 18, 1866. The "Father of Baseball," Henry Chadwick, is also pictured sitting in the middle with a giant beard. Written on the back is:
"Taken at 3 p.m. Sept 18. 1866 on the White Lot./Nationals of Washington/Arthur P. Gorman/President/Excelsior of Brooklyn/Dr. Jones. Pres./Henry Chadwick sitting in front of Gorman. Sporting Editor N.Y. Mercury."
It sold for $18,000.00.

This is just a beautiful Baseball trophy that was presented to the Brooklyn Resolutes team in 1888. They were a 19th century team that was a member of National Association of Base Ball Players, the first national baseball organization. It was presented by Herman H. Kiffe who was the proprietor of Kiffe Sporting Goods, which was located in Brooklyn, New York. It sold for $3,250.00.

Bid on Mattingly's Pink Cleats

The MLB Mother's Day "Pink" auction is now live. Go here to check them all out. There is plenty to look at, and, if you have the funds, go ahead and make a bid. As always, net proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For a little eye candy, check out these snazzy pink Baseball cleats worn by Don Mattingly.

eBay: Vintage Dodger Slurpee's

eBay once again unveils a rarely seen group of Slurpee plastic cups. These two are from 1982 and feature a couple of Dodger players- Burt Hooton and Dusty Baker. They are a little worn out and faded. No doubt, they had been well used by its previous owner.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Auto Collection: Dave Stewart- Topps Originals

Dave Stewart was a beast of a pitcher. Unfortunately, he spent his better years out of a Dodger uniform. He won 20 or more games from 1987 to 1990, and was in the top 4 in Cy Young voting those years. Stewart lead the A's to 3 straight World Series berths, but won only 1 championship. He has the Dodgers and Reds to thank for that.

Here is a 2004 Topps Originals autograph of a 1983 Topps card numbered to 41.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Favorite Babe Ruth Card

I was bored again and decided to make another homemade card creation last night. Here is Babe Ruth in a vintage Brooklyn Dodger uniform on a 2007 Topps card design. This time, though, I decided to use photoshop.

Auto Collection: Ron Cey- An Originals Auto

Unfortunately, the scan did not come out very well.

In 2004, Topps bought back certain quantities of a vintage Topps cards from dealers and had the players sign them. They then made a special wax box called Topps Originals and sold them as limited and encased vintage autographed cards. The big pull was a 1952 Topps card signed by Willie Mays. They were quite a rage back then and unopened boxes are hard to come by today.

Here is a the 1983 Ron Cey autographed card number 38 out of 87.

REA: A Rare Vintage Jackie Pin

According to REA, this is a newly discovered, possibly one-of-a-kind, pin featuring Jackie Robinson. I'll let the auction description tell the story.
The late 1940s and early 1950s were the heyday of the "stadium pin," so in the years that followed his Major League debut, additional Jackie Robinson pins were also issued. Aside from Babe Ruth, perhaps no player has ever been the subject of more pins (and more interest from pin collectors) than Jackie Robinson. Because of the nature of pins, advanced collectors know it is always possible that significant new discoveries will surface, but these discoveries are naturally very few and far between. We thought we had seen and handled every Jackie Robinson pinback that had ever been produced but when sorting through the Ron Menchine Collection we found that Ron had one that was, to the best of our knowledge, previously unknown.
Considering it does not have a photo it sold for an impressive $1,700.00.

REA: That Cuss Old Hoss

These next group of items from REA's recent auction features probably one of the more colorful ballplayers every to play the game. Some of you may now him best from his, back from the dead, raspy twitter feed known as @OldHossRadbourn. As his frequent twits suggest, he was tough, surly, arrogant and vain. Charles Radbourn could drink anyone under the table then beat you to a bloody pulp for not being man enough to take him down. He was difficult to like, but must have been a joy to see on the field.

"Old Hoss" was one of the best of all time on the mound. In 1884 he started 73 games and completed all of them. Yes, ALL OF THEM. He also won 59 games that year and pitched a total 678 2/3 innings. It took him only 11 seasons to win 300 games. His radiant personality, though, came out during games. In fact, he was suspended once for throwing at his own catcher and knocking him down. The catcher had committed the offense of dropping a third strike.

Anyway, REA's auction featured several vintage cards featuring that old cuss. Check them out below.

Here is a N172 1887 Old Judge card showing Billy Nash tagging out Old Hoss. It sold for $1,200.00.

This next item is even better. This is a 1884 National League scorecard with Radbourn on the cover. It sold for $1,700.00.

This is the rarest item of all. This is a circa 1887 cabinet card of Charles Radbourn. It sold for $4,500.00.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hawksworth Knows Golf and Hockey

This was taken last week when a couple members of the Kings threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. On that day, a special putting green was set up in the dugout for players to enjoy as a competition broke out between Blake Hawksworth and the Kings players. Hawksworth shows his stuff and sinks one with, what I can only imagine is, a wood driver.

I'm not sure if the photo is from the Dodgers or the Kings Media so I can't provide appropriate attribution, but I did find this on tumblr at LA Kings: In the Media.

2011 Bowman Dodger Base Cards

Here are the Dodger base cards within the recently release 2011 Bowman Baseball card set. Typically noted for being a rookie and prospect set, there are some normal regulars, minor league prospects and one rookie card from a 30+ year old that, in my opinion, makes it a winner for Dodger collectors. Check them out below.

207 John Lindsey - RC

This is probably the most exciting Dodger base card in the set. Our feel-good story of 2010 has his own MLB card within the base set. That's big time my man.