Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our Newest Dodgers Say Hello

Below are some screen grabs from our two newest Dodgers on twitter.  Go ahead and say hello to Shane Victorino and Brandon League.

(twitter link)

(twitter link)

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 7/31/2012

See, Dodger fans.  Magic hasn't disappeared.  In fact, he was just on vacation.  Heck, you might be able to call it a working vacation since he was spreading some Dodger Blue across the world.  Via WhoSay: "As you can see, I turned the whole crew of the Amadeus into Dodger fans while on vacation!" Magic Johnson on WhoSay

"This organization has a lot of history and tradition. I grew up in the Dominican watching this organization," Ramirez said. "Leaving my family behind, that was the hard thing. But coming here to a contender, knowing that I can win some championships here, it's a very happy time for me and my family."
 "The blaze that Manny came in with, it's hard to duplicate," Mattingly said of Manny Ramirez' 2008 season with the Dodgers in which he hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games. "I'd rather Hanley just come in, be himself, get comfortable here and look at this as more of a long-term situation."
  • Ben Badler at Baseball America points out a couple of hidden gems in the Dodgers farm system, via twitter @BenBadler.
  • I don't know if I really understand what a Egraph is.  Nevertheless, I thought I would take notice of it since Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly have joined them to offer the "next generation" of autographs that include personalized written and voice messages.  From my understanding, the player will record a personalized message and digitally sign a photo for you.  It would be accessible online.  You can also order a framed print, but I believe it would be of a digital autograph and not the real thing.  Go here for more information.  BTW, 
100% of all proceeds from Don Mattingly e-graphs will benefit  Mattingly Charities efforts to provide baseball themed programs and equipment for disadvantaged youth while Clayton Kershaw's proceeds will go to the Kershaw's Challenge foundation which supports childrens' charities around the world.
  • Greg at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle scores an awesome auto/relic of Duke Snider in a blog contest. 
  • Barry Petchesky at Deadspin makes note of 4 Olympic athletes who are stateless.
  • I'm just enjoying anything Kings related.  Here, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis promote their new film "The Campaign" in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Ferrell is wearing a Kings jersey.

Video Link: (Hat Tip: Puck Daddy)

eBay: Dodgers Inflatable Doll


Here is a interesting vintage Dodgers inflatable doll that recently showed up on eBay.  The seller indicates it is from the 1960's, and I have no reason to dispute that.  I just don't know much about it.  This is the first time I've seen this specific toy before.

I had featured another inflatable doll last year, but this doll is very different looking.  As you can see in that post and in the photos below, there is a scan of a circa 1960's Dodgers mail order catalog that shows an inflatable doll, but that doll looks nothing like the one above.  BTW, the doll below sold on eBay for nearly $50.00.

Welcome Back to the Blue, Shane

Wow!  This trade may not be the slam dunk that the Hanley trade appears to be, but you can't deny that Shane Victorino is a gamer.  He plays hard and plays with grit.  Sure, the Dodger faithful had grown to despise him.  Heck, some fans may even hate him.  Me, I've been always mindful that he was once a prospect within the Dodger system who was never really given an opportunity to crack the lineup and went unnoticed by several teams before spreading his wings with the Phillies.  There, Victorino's will and abilities took hold as he lead the team to five consecutive playoff berths and one World Championship in 2008.  I welcome his experience and leadership.

Per FanGraphs, they mention that we really didn't trade anything that we would miss, so this could turn out to be a big winner for us.
Okay, they didn’t actually get him for nothing. To acquire the Phillies center fielder (who will almost certainly play left in LA), the Dodgers gave up 25-year-old reliever Josh Lindblom and enigmatic right-handed pitching prospect Ethan Martin. Reports are that the Dodgers felt comfortable moving Lindblom after acquiring Brandon League from the Mariners last night, but in reality, they should have always been comfortable trading Josh Lindblom for value, because Josh Lindblom is simply not a particularly valuable player.
Considering this, it appears that the Brandon League trade was put together to set up a trade for Victorino.  So, we give up Leon Landry, Logan Bawcom, Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin for Brandon League and Shane Victorino.  UPDATE: According to a @Dodgers tweet, along with Lindblom and Martin a "player to be named later" will also be going to the Phillies. 

Below are stats for Shane Victorino from Baseball Reference.

UPDATE:  The Dodgers alredy have a pic with Shane Victorino in a Dodgers uniform.  See it below:
(pic via twitter @Dodgers)

UPDATE II:  BTW, Shane Victorino is on twitter, but doesn't appear to be very active.  Nevertheless, go ahead and follow him!  @ShaneVictorino

UPDATE III: From a Dodger press release today:
“We’re excited to add an All-Star caliber player with postseason experience,” said Colletti. “He plays the game with passion, gives us a top of the order bat from both sides of the plate, can steal bases and is solid defensively in the outfield.”

Victorino, 31, is batting .261 with nine homers, 24 steals and 40 RBI in 101 games this season with the Phillies. The switch-hitter is hitting .316 against left-handed pitching this season and is swinging a hot bat of late, having hit safely in five consecutive games and nine of his last 10 at a .378 clip (14-for-37) since July 18.

Welcome to the Blue, Brandon

The Dodgers sure are doing their best to stay competitive this season.  Last night, they made a deal with the Mariners to trade 2 prospects for reliever Brandon League.  League is a former closer who has struggled this season as he saw his strike out/walk ratio fall significantly from last year.  Below is a excerpt from a press release.
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed reliever Brandon League from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor league outfielder Leon Landry and minor league right-handed pitcher Logan Bawcom. Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

League was 0-5 with a 3.63 ERA (18 ER/44.2 IP) and nine saves in 46 games for the Mariners this season, striking out 27 batters and allowing just one home run. The Sacramento, CA native was named to the American League All-Star team in 2011 and went on to save 37 games for Seattle last year.

League’s 37 saves in 42 chances last year ranked third in the American League and tied for fourth on the Mariners’ all-time single-season saves list. The 29-year old hurler recorded 14 consecutive saves from May 18-July 4, 2011. His 88.1 save percentage was the sixth highest in Mariners’ history.
In exchange, we send away a couple of decent prospects; one of whom has been red hot lately.  Leon Landry is a speedy outfielder who has shown that he can hit the ball in high A.  In fact, he was recently named the Cal League Player of the week, per MiLB:
(.467/.469/1.033, 6 G, 14-for-30, 1 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 SB)
Speaking of triples, Landry took over the Minor League lead in three-baggers with five this week, giving him 15 on the season. The 22-year-old outfielder went 4-for-6 with an inside-the-park homer, two triples, four RBIs and three runs scored against visiting Lake Elsinore on Friday night. A third-round pick out of LSU in 2010, Landry also has 26 doubles (third-most in the Cal League) and eight round-trippers to give him a league leading 49 extra-base hits.
Logan Bawcom figures on being a reliever and might star as a closer at some point in his career.  This year, he has recorded 20 saves with a 2.03 ERA.

Below are stats for Brandon League.

UPDATE:  BTW, Brandon League is on twitter- @BrandonLeague43.  Go ahead and follow him!
(twitter link: @BrandonLeague43)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 7/30/2012

Check out Ted Lilly above pitching in a rehab assignment for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes yesterday afternoon.  He threw two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and a walk.  Pic via twitter @MayorNHL.
  • The Mayor (whose pic is above) follows up with a story about Lilly.
“I think they want to win,” Lilly said of the Dodgers’ recent addition of infielder Hanley Ramirez and the notion that more help is likely on the way.

“To a degree, you kinda have to spend a little bit of money – or what you do spend, you have to spend as wisely as possible and hope that things turn out the way that you expect. There have been successful clubs out there that don’t spend a lot of money. But, they’re few and far between. So, fortunately, with the new ownership group we do have a little bit of leeway, where we can take some risks and be aggressive.”
"He's not Ozzie Smith at shortstop, but if he gets his glove on the ball, he catches it and throws them out," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's stabilized the position and swung the bat well."
  • Check out Left Field Pavilions great graphic celebrating the Dodgers first back-to-back shutout games against the Giants at their home since 1957.
  • Former Brooklyn Dodger Ed Stevens passed away last week- RIP.  Check out Nick Diunte's of Examiner.com story about his life and career.  Check out a 1947 Tip Top Bread card of Stevens on the right.
Leaving spring training in Havana in 1947, Leo Durocher had penciled him in as their opening day starter, beating out five other first baseman in the process. Left with little time to glow in the fruits of his hard work, Stevens’ jubilee would quickly turn sour as the day before the season opener, Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey announced that Jackie Robinson, not Stevens would be their opening day first baseman. Not only was Stevens about to witness Robinson break baseball’s color line, he also saw his position wither away right in front of his eyes.
With only two games left in July, he’s hit .328 this month with a .391 slugging percentage. He’s no doubt benefited some from being in a semi-platoon with Juan Rivera at first and he’s no one’s concept of an ideal first baseman, but he has been productive. And he is still excellent defensively.
  • Steven at Zim's Autographs went to the Quakes game where Rubby De La Rosa and Ted Lilly pitched on rehab assignments and got a bunch of autographs; including Rubby and Ted.
  • Even the Stanley Cup has Olympic fever.  Pic via twitter @kepperofthecup shows Kings captain Dustin Brown doing some shopping.  Then check out a great story about Brown's day with the cup, via Scott Burnside of ESPN.
  • Are you a game used bat collector?  Well, PSA just released a new online resource perfect for you.  It it's called PSA Pro Bat Facts.  On top of that, PSA is planning to also release a similar resource for autographs soon  I've added this website to my Hobby/Forum/Research Links page.  Go there for other links of other hobby related links.

Dodgers Sweep the Gints!!! Woo Hoo!!!

I woke up this morning with a giant smile on my face.  Heck, I got out of bed and did a little dance.  To put you in a similar mood check out the Sweep Dance from a great unsung movie from the '80's, Breakin'.

Video Link:

Pic Credit Above, via twitter @GoingYardLA:

Legendary Auctions: Some Vintage Baseball Memorabilia

Legendary Auctions is running a small auction.  There are only 63 items to look at, but don't mistake that for a lack of quality.  Following up on my post from Friday featuring a game-used cap once worn by Don Drysdale, here are several other memorabilia items I thought were worth noting.

Below is the Babe Ruth Crown that was presented to Jose Canseco in 1988.  This award is given out by the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association (MPBPA) based upon a point system from that seasons stats: 4 points for most home runs, 3 for most RBI, 2 for most total bases and 1 for best batting average.  Stamped along its ring are the following words:
"1988 All-Star Game - Sporting News All Star Team - A.B 610 - Runs 120 - Hits 187 - H.R. 42 - Total Bases 347 - S.B. 40 - R.B.I. 124 - B.A. .307 - 1988 - A.P. Male Athlete of the Year - American League M.V.P. - A.P. All Star Team."
Hilariously, Canseco didn't even show up to the awards banquet to receive this award. 
Canseco's failure to appear at the 1988 Tops in Sports Banquet—which he initially attributed to not having a tuxedo and later to his wife being ill—marked the first no-show in the Babe Ruth Crown's then-24-year history.
(Auction Link)

Below is a 1897 bat attributed to Hall of Famer Cap Anson.  Furthermore, this bat was displayed at "Nuf Ced" McGreevey's Third Base Saloon in Boston- considered the very first American sports bar.
A place where heated debates were settled by the owner's stock phrase "Nuf Ced!" and where every wall was decorated to the nines (literally!) with museum-worthy baseball photos and memorabilia. Most famously, the dangling light fixtures were composed of glowing orbs mounted on the game-used bats of saloon patrons such as Cy Young, Nap Lajoie, Hugh Duffy, King Kelly and, finally, the venerable 45-year-old retiree Anson.
McGreevey was the leader of the Royal Rooters fan club (predecessor to Red Sox Nation). Via Wikipedia:
On game days the Royal Rooters marched in procession from the 3rd Base Saloon to the Huntington Avenue Grounds, which was the team’s home field before Fenway Park opened in 1912. The Rooters had a reserved section of seats along the third base line, close enough to the field to intimidate or distract opposing players with their insults and vicious taunts. 
(Auction Link)

The below bat is the "pattern bat" that marks the very first professional player endorsement.  That's right, this bat started it all.
On September 1, 1905, Wagner famously signed a contract with esteemed bat-maker Hillerich & Bradsby that allowed his autograph to be branded on their Louisville Sluggers. It was the Big Bang moment, the genesis, of all sports endorsement deals to come—from the early crop of Cobb, Ruth, DiMaggio and Mantle, to the bling generation of Jordan, Woods, Armstrong, Beckham and LeBron.
Honus Wagner was one of the most recognizable athletes of the time and he was the first player paid for his endorsement.
(Auction Link)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

"I See You" - Explained by Vin Scully

As I'm sure you've noticed, when Hanley Ramirez joined the Dodger he brought along with him a goofy hand gesture that has been quickly adopted by the Dodgers.  He forms something I can only call "hand-binoculars" after every successful at-bat and looks towards the Dodgers bench.  For an explanation of this whole spectacle listen to Vin Scully explain it all.

Video Link:

Pic credit: twitter @Dodgers.

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 7/29/2012

Here's what the August edition of Dodgers Magazine look like.  Click on any pic to embiggen.
A big reason for Hanley Ramirez's smooth transition to his new club is the presence of Dodgers coach Manny Mota, whom, Ramirez said, he's known since he was "a little boy."
"I told him that what happened in the past is the past, this is a new beginning, and all he has to do is play baseball," Mota said. "He's a complete player. And he doesn't have to carry this team. There is Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and now three guys together.

"He told me he's proud to be a Dodger, he knows the organization's history with Latin players and he's going to play hard. But I reminded him not to put pressure on himself. Maybe there was too much pressure on him in Miami. He doesn't have to carry this team. He has come to a good city with good fans and a rare organization. Now, just play hard and have fun."
  • Listen to Dodgers President Stan Kasten on the State of the Dodgers, via the Dodgers Report at ESPN Radio.
  • The eighth edition of the Dodgers Playbill features Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully and Dodger greats Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela. The playbill is distributed free to fans when they enter Dodger Stadium parking gates.  See it at right.
  • Minor League Ball reviews the Dodgers top 20 2012 pre-season prospects.
  • Mark Langill of Dodgers History recounts Lasorda's greatest story about the 2000 Olympics.
“This is bigger than the World Series,” Lasorda said. “I’ve managed four World Series, and when the Dodgers have won, the Dodger fans were happy, but the Cincinnati fans weren’t, the San Francisco fans weren’t. But with this baseball team, the United States of America is happy.”
  • Also from Ken Gurnick, along with Ted Lilly, Rubby De La Rosa will be making a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga this afternoon.  BTW, Jay Johnston is signing free autographs prior to the game today.
  • I see you, pic via twitter @DuranSports.
  • Here are some incredible photos from the Open Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, via Boston.com.
  • Via Jill Painter at the Daily News we find out that the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings are close to selling out for the upcoming season.
"The season-ticket base would be so high where we wouldn't have an ability to sell any more. We have to take care of partial-plan holders, and we want to keep (tickets) for group ticket sales and individual buyers when we go on sale."

I've Got Olympic Fervor- Check Out My 1983 Topps Greatest Olympians Set

With the 2012 Summer Olympics underway, I figured I'd take a look an Olympic card set within my collection.  Check out the 1983 Topps Greatest Olympians set put out for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  Here are scans of both the front and reverse of every card in the set; except the checklist.  There are a total of 100 cards and it consist of mostly American medalist.

Just about every star you've heard of is in it, as well as many who are probably totally foreign to you.  In the above photos are noted athletes Dorothy Hamill and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley. 

As you can see, the reverse of the cards have a short biography of each person.  BTW, I don't think this set is particularly rare.  If memory serves me right, rack packs of the cards were available at local stores for well over a year after the '84 Olympics, so there is likely plenty of stock laying around somewhere.

Check out the rest of the set below.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

The inventor of that magic grill, George Foreman, is below.  So is legendary surfer and five-time medalist in swimming, Duke Kahanamoku.

Check out two members of the 1980 Winter Olympic Team USA hockey team- goalie Jim Craig and the "erupting volcano" Mike Eruzione.

Jim Thorpe is probably one of America's greatest male athletes, while Babe Didrikson is considered one of America's greatest female athletes.  See their card below.

I had to make note of the Jesse Owens and Bruce Jenner cards below.  Also, did you know there was a champion American javelin thrower by the name of Cy Young?

This is probably the best page in the whole set.  You can't go wrong with Ali, Jerry West, Wilma Rudolph, and Joe Frazier.

Sunday Dodgers Videos: Some Singing Dodgers, Our Oldest Dodger, a Rising Dodger and Team President Stan Kasten

Here are todays Sunday Dodgers videos.

During the Dodger open workout at Dodger Stadium Team President Stan Kasten spoke to the fans in attendance.  It is long, but very worthwhile to watch.  Stan has the passion, and I'm hoping it translates into wins.

Video Link:

Here is a must see.  Below is a 1964 recording of the Joey Bishop Show as several Dodgers come on stage to sing a tune.  Don Drysdale leads the ensemble.  Can you name the other players on stage?

Video Link:

96-year-old Mike Sandlock, the oldest living Brooklyn Dodger, discusses his thoughts on the Brooklyn fans in the 1940's.

Video Link:

Meet 2012 Dodgers draftee Darnell Sweeney who recently was promoted to the Great Lakes Loons.

Video Link:

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Holy Moly!  Wow!  Hanley Ramirez sure has a flare for the dramatic.  Not only does the trade that got him here define the new direction for the team, but it also shows that a little bit of "Dodger Blue" does a player good.  After a subpar start to the season with Miami, Hanley goes ahead and shows that he has not lost a step.  Hanleywood here we come!

Below is a video of the home run, but I suspect youtube will be taken down soon.  So, watch it before its gone.

Video Link:

(photo credits above: Jon SooHoo/ LA Dodgers 2012)

In the I'm not surprised department, after the game several Giants fans got in to it with some of the Dodgers.  According to a post-game report by Steve Lyons, some Gints fans got in to a verbal confrontation with Dee Gordon (hat tip: Reddit).  Considering that Dee lost his mother at a very young age I can only imagine what they said to him.

Steve Lyons wrote this on his twitter account, @SteveLyons12.

If you want a reason to hate the Giants this is the reason why.

Goodwin & Co: A 1887 Card of Beloved Dodger- Darby O'Brien

Goodwin & Co. recently concluded their most recent auction, so I thought I would feature a really old card they sold of a Brooklyn favorite.

Check out the card below of old Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Grays William "Darby" O'Brien.  Born in Peoria, Illinois in 1863, Darby came of age just as Baseball was exploding in popularity.  He was a right handed batter with a good bat, great speed, and a head for the game.  Unfortunately, he would only have 6 years to show his stuff.

Darby first joined the Brooklyn team after opening his rookie year with the New York Metropolitans in 1887 at the age of 23.  Later in the year as the Metrolpolitans were closing shop, he was packaged along with 7 other teammates to Brooklyn for a then princely sum of approximately $25,000.00, and signed on for the next season for a reported annual salary of $1,900.00.  The outfielder was described by The New York Times as an "honest, competent, hard-working and game ballplayer."  For a working class neighborhood these traits quickly endeared him to the fans. 

He would bat .280 in his first season, while knocking in 65 runs and stealing 55 bases.  The next year he would bat .300, and hit a career high 5 home runs (this was quite a lot back then).  Over his first 5 season with Brooklyn he would have a batting average of .278 with 648 hits, 321 RBI's and 272 steals (he currently ranks 137th on the Majors all-time steals list with 321).

Then, lung problems he developed in his career caused him to enter the 1893 season in less than healthy shape.  The team captain could no longer play, so he was sent to Colorado to allow his lungs to recover.  Soon, the team and the community got behind him by putting together a benefit game in his honor in hopes of helping him pay for his treatment and his future.  A news report from that time period indicates that 9,000 people showed up and $5,000.00 was raised.  Every dollar earned from ticket and scorecard sales went directly to him.  Heck, it was reported that numerous tickets were sold that were never used.

Unfortunately, his change of scenery did not help Darby.  Later that year in 1893 he would die of typhoid fever.

Below is a 1887 N172 Old Judge card of O'Brien that recently sold for $346.29.
(Auction Link)