Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Auto Collection: Strawberry Absolute Ink

Here is a 2004 Donruss Playoff Absolute Ink auto/game used material card of Darryl Strawberry from my collection. It is not a very rare card, but is numbered 39 out of 100.

The Dodger Tray and Its Origins

Several months back I had received an email from a fan who had the above Dodger tray. As I had written back in September, I had never seen this item before. Well, after a long wait the emailer sent me a pic of the ticket stubs this tray came from and it provides some enlightening information. See the ticket stubs below.
The tray actually comes from a Dodger Stadium Dedication Ceremony (April 9, 1962) the day before the inaugural game at Dodger Stadium. I had communicated with Dodger Historian Mark Langill about the event and he helpfully pointed me to an article he wrote for Walter O' Of note, neither Mr. Langill or myself had ever seen the tray before.
An estimated 2,000 fans attended the outdoor luncheon as civic leaders and baseball officials celebrated the end of the project — at least its frantic final hours as Teddy Buckner’s Dixieland band played alongside the sounds of Yount’s construction crews.

“When O’Malley, Frick and the rest of the dedication committee arrived at the stadium for the ceremonies, workmen were still scurrying around all four tiers, hammering, welding, plastering and painting,” Sports Illustrated reported. “A huge orange crane stood in left field lifting sections of the electronic message board into place. The grass, which had been grown outside the stadium and then carted inside in squares a few weeks before, was uneven and splotchy. Half of it had been dyed a rich green, but the other half was an unhealthy yellow. Delivery boys raced wildly about with bunches of flowers asking ushers where such-and-such a place was. The ushers could only shrug. Even the Dodgers’ batting cage got lost, preventing the team from taking batting practice.”

When a reporter noticed misspelled stadium signs (“Lounge” instead of “Loge”; “Pavillon” instead of “Pavilion”), O’Malley roared with laughter. Those typos were mere blips on the radar screen as the cranes were lifting the final pieces of the scoreboard in place and furniture was being moved into vacant spaces.

“We’ll undoubtedly have a lot of glad moments in the new ballpark,” Snider said. “But we’ll probably have some sad ones, too.”

Snider suffered the season’s first injury on his way to the ceremonies. When the tailpipe on his car fell off in traffic, he picked up the loose piece of metal — not realizing it was still hot. Snider wore a golf glove over his hand to hide the burn during the ceremonies and keep himself in the next day’s starting lineup.
Awesome stuff. I also wanted to add that the emailer told me this about the picnic.
"She told me that fans could also buy tickets to an Opening Day Picnic and have a picnic lunch in the outfield before the game. I believe she said the served steak and salad. So I have the stubs to the picnic as well but the really cool item is the tray they served the meal on. She told me that the food was on the tray with plastic wrap covering the food."
So, I guess that's the end of the mystery of the Dodger tray. It seems likely that only about 2,000 of the trays were made and this particular one may be one of the few that has withstood the test of time. So, a big thanks to the emailer who shared this item with all of us.

BTW, the players on the tray shown above are (going clockwise starting with Johnny Podres on the top left): Johnny Podres, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, John Roseboro, Willie Davis, Frank Howard, Sandy Koufax, Wally Moon and Duke Snider.

Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson Week at Ohio Wesleyan University

Via Baseball Musings we find out that Ohio Wesleyan University is sponsoring a Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson Week from Jan. 24-27, 2011. As you may know, Rickey was a 1904 graduate at the university. In fact, check out an old post of mine from 2007 featuring a team photo of Rickey as manager of the Ohio Wesleyan University Baseball team here and the photo below. (Rickey is the gentleman on the top right in the suit.)
Anyway, there are all kinds of events being planned; including the presentation of the Branch Rickey Award to Mrs. Rachel Robinson.
Rachel Robinson, widow of Major League Baseball legend Jackie Robinson and founder of The Jackie Robinson Foundation, is being honored with Ohio Wesleyan University’s Branch Rickey Award for her “exceptional personal contribution and commitment to the goal of full equality for all.”

Rachel Robinson is only the second person in history to receive Ohio Wesleyan’s Branch Rickey Award, with the inaugural award presented to tennis player Arthur Ashe in 1988. The award was created in memory of Rickey, a 1904 Ohio Wesleyan graduate who partnered with Jackie Robinson to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Their courage and vision helped to end racial segregation in professional sports and set the stage for the U.S. Civil Rights movement.

Go here for more information about the event. Information about the Branch Rickey Award can be found here.