Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Jackie Robinson Night Game Give-Away, and AJ Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez will be Featured on MLB Network Tomorrow

 I wanted to make a couple of quick Dodgers related announcements.
The Dodgers just unveiled a sneak peek at the Jackie Robinson Night game give-away statue for Monday, April 15th.  Check it out above.  It features Jackie with Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella.  They will be distributed to the first 40,000 fans.

On the MLB Network tomorrow afternoon, both Adrian Gonzalez and AJ Ellis will be featured in MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” series.  From a press released:
Gonzalez will be featured in MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now: First Basemen” tomorrow at 6pm PT. MLB Network determined its rankings of the top 10 first basemen using “The Shredder,” which uses statistical analysis to measure performance. In addition, renowned author Bill James and MLB Network analyst Sean Casey both give their own personal lists of the top 10 first basemen in baseball.
Following at 7pm PT, Ellis will be featured in MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now: Catchers.” Again, MLB Network determined its rankings of the top 10 catchers using “The Shredder,” and Bill James and MLB Network analyst Dave Valle also give their own lists of the top 10 catchers. The “Top 10 Right Now” series continues each Friday with the top 10 at two new positions, leading up to the “Top 100 Right Now” on February 15.

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Dodgers Kiosk: 1/31/2013 - Hanley's Bobble & the Dodgers Launch New Interactive Fan Rewards Program

Check out a sneak peek at the Hanley Ramirez bobblehead above, as tweeted by the @Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the launch of a comprehensive engagement program that will reward fans for supporting the club online, via social media and at Dodger Stadium. The free Dodgers Rewards ( program is the first-of-its-kind in Major League Baseball and offers fans the chance to win prizes by supporting the team through an array of digital activities including merchandise purchases online, checking in to games through’s mobile application At The Ballpark and interacting online at and on the Dodgers’ official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“We are creating an interactive rewards portal for all things Dodgers,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Los Angeles Dodgers, Lon Rosen. “Being a sports fan is about passion and competition, and we believe through this platform we are entering the next phase of fan loyalty with the ultimate goal of rewarding our fans for their support.”

 The Dodgers Rewards program will create unique experiences and promotions for fans as incentives for supporting the club.  The program will feature its first three sweepstakes with its first starting today through Saturday, March 15, 2013 with prizes including two tickets to Opening Day 2013, a mention from @Dodgers and a Sandy Koufax signed baseball.

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2013 Topps Baseball Cards - Some Dodger Relics, Part 1

The pic parade of Dodger cards within the 2013 Topps Series 1 Baseball set has now officially begun.  First up, I thought I would focus on some of the more quirky manufactured relics available.  If I'm not mistaken the set of cards below are only available in jumbo hobby packs or retail blasters.

This first group of cards are called CY Young Award Winners Manufactured Relic Cards and they can be found in jumbo hobby packs.  They feature plastic CY Young Awards embedded within a very thick card.  Both Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax are represented in the insert set.

CY-CK Clayton Kershaw

CY-SK Sandy Koufax

Also found only in jumbo hobby packs, below are MVP Awards Winners Manufactured Relic Cards of Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax.

MVP-JR Jackie Robinson

MVP-SK Sandy Koufax

Matt Kemp is the lone Dodgers in the Silver Slugger Trophy Manufactured Relic Cards.  Again, this card is found only in jumbo hobby packs. 

SS-MK Matt Kemp

The next set of 4 Dodger cards are called Proven Mettle Coin.  They are found in hobby boxes only (I'm unsure if they are only in jumbo packs or can be found in regular packs), and come with 3 different variations for each player represented.  There is a Copper version (numbered to 99), a Wrought Iron version (numbered to 50), and a Steel version (numbered to only 10 copies).  An example of each one is shown below.

PMC-CK Clayton Kershaw
Steel Version - /#10 

PMC-JR Jackie Robinson 
Copper Version - /#99

PMC-MK Matt Kemp
Copper Version - /#99 

PMC-SK Sandy Koufax
Wrought Iron Version - /#50

This Commemorative Patch Manufactured Relic Card can only be found in retail blaster boxes found at your local Target or Walmart.  Each blaster box contains a special foil pack that includes 1 of 25 cards available.  Adrian Gonzalez is the only Dodger in this set.

CP-10 Adrian Gonzalez

Also found only in retail blaster boxes, shown below is a Rookie Patch Manufactured Relic Card of Sandy Koufax.  It includes a patch of Sandy's 1955 Topps rookie card.

RCP-4 Sandy Koufax

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Heritage: Some Vintage Dodgers Memorabilia Including a Pre-Integration Letter from Campy to Rickey

Yesterday, I posted a brief rundown of some great vintage Baseball memorabilia available at Heritage's current auction.  Today, I wanted to focus on the just the Dodgers.  Fortunately, there are a couple of great items worth mentioning.

Featured below is a 1900 Brooklyn Superbas National League Champions Photographic Composite.  It features Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon, our coach at the time, and the team owner Charles Ebbets.  Also included are future Hall members Joe Kelley, Hughie Jennings and Wee Willie Keeler.  BTW, in 1900 Keeler struck out only 4 times in 619 plate appearances.  Click on the pic to embiggen.
(auction link)

With it being Jackie Robinson's birthday today, I thought the next item was very appropriate.  Featured below is a 1946 handwritten letter by Roy Campanella to Dodgers GM Branch Rickey.  In it, Roy discusses many other prospects in the Negro Leagues that the team should be scouting.  Keep in mind, this letter predates Jackie breaking the color barrier by several months, so it's fascinating to know the kind of communication the team was already having in the run-up to integrating the game.  Below is an excerpt.
"As far as colored base ball players, for definite prospects, Monty (sic) Irvin and Larry Doby are tops at present. I've seen a lot of them, but none as great as these two. They have good habits on and off the field.
I'd like for you to get in touch with Larry Doby, because scouts for the Cleveland Indians and Phila. Phillies have talked to him already."
Imagine if we were able to sign those two future Hall of Famers. 
(auction link)

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Happy Birthday, Jackie Robinson!

Happy Birthday, Jackie Robinson!  He would have been 94 years old today.  In his honor, Google made todays google doodle for him.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/30/2013

Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu poses with the other Dodger owner, Peter Gruber, in the photo above.  Pic was tweeted by Gruber. BTW, on the heals of todays release of 2013 Topps, I unhappily announce that there is no Ryu card in Topps Series 1.  Boo!
  • Here's a quick look at the 17 Dodger base cards in 2013 Topps Series 1.  I'll have more detailed pics of both the front and reverse in a few days.

Video Link:

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2013 Topps Baseball Cards - Short Printed Dodgers

With Topps first 2013 Baseball card set now out, I thought I would start the pic parade of Dodger cards with a couple of short prints.  Overall, there are 17 Dodger base cards (I'll have pics of them all by next week), and two of them have short printed versions randomly inserted within packs.  Of course, they feature a couple of our biggest stars.

The short prints follow a theme called "Out of Bounds," and as the name implies it shows players making great defensive attempts outside the field of play.  It is unknown, at this time, exactly how many have been printed, so they could be extremely rare.  Only 25 players in the entire base set have a short printed version.  The Dodgers are represented by Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.  See both the normal and short printed cards for each player below.  The normal base card is on the left and the short printed card is on the right.

BTW, there is also an short printed autographed Andre Ethier base card, but examples have not yet appeared.

16 Andre Ethier

242 Matt Kemp

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Heritage Auctions: Walter Johnson, the Temple Cup and a Bloody Sock

Every new Baseball season brings about major auction house sales.  As Spring Training is about to begin expect to see some incredible memorabilia for sale soon.  To start off this new season, Heritage Auctions begins with a sale that includes 164 items.  There's a large collection of 1980 Lake Placid Team USA hockey memorabilia, several autographed Babe Ruth balls, and a real Augusta National Masters Green Jacket.  This auction also includes a bloody sock from the 2004 World Series (featured below).  See the entire auction here

The first item I wanted to highlight is the below Hall of Fame Induction Plaque that was presented to Walter Johnson.  This is the real deal.  It was given to him at his induction ceremony in 1939 at Cooperstown.

Here's a little known fact.  Walter Johnson played ball in north Orange County as a teen.  He went to Fullerton Union High School, and once struck out 27 batters in a 15 inning game against Santa Ana High School.  I dream of one day coming across old photos of him while rummaging through a garage sale.
(auction link)

The battle for the Temple Cup was the first Baseball Championship series, and the below print is one of the preeminent 19th century Baseball drawings celebrating it.  I'll let the auction description tell you more.
1894 Temple Cup Print by Hy Sandham. Named for coal, citrus and lumber baron (and Pittsburgh Pirates owner) William Chase Temple, the Temple Cup was an ornately detailed thirty-inch high double-handled silver trophy created in 1894 to be awarded to the victor of a seven-game series between the first and second-place teams of the National League. This first edition of the series would prove to be its most famous and controversial, as a financial scandal cast an ugly pall over the proceedings. After sweeping the first-place Baltimore Orioles in four games, the victorious New York Giants reneged upon the agreement to split revenues 50/50, a move that so disgusted the series' sponsor that Temple quickly sold the Pirates, ending his affiliation with the National League. The series would survive for three more years before fan apathy made further editions a losing financial proposition. The Cup itself was returned to the Temple family, where it languished for decades until it was tracked down by journalists at The Sporting News for display at the famous 1939 New York World's Fair. It was later sold to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for $750, where it remains to this day.
Just think about it.  Baseball could have had their own version of the Stanley Cup.  Major League clubs could be fighting over who gets to adorn their name on it.  BTW, the photo above is of the Temple Cup, and the print is below.
(auction link)

At the Dodgers FanFest this past weekend, Gary Cypres brought along a bunch of his Baseball memorabilia to share with fans.  A couple of those items included some early 20th century action Baseball tabletop games.  See my photos of them here.  Well, Heritage has for sale another early Baseball tabletop game.  It is a 1915 Edward's Big League Table Baseball Game.  Here is how it works:
"The same rules apply to Edward's Big League Table Baseball as to the out-door game--two or more people play it. The 'pitcher' actually holds the ball, throwing it at the will of the 'fielding player.' The 'batting player' controls the manikin batter, and he can strike or 'pick 'em out,' just as he likes. A little practice enables the 'batter' to place his 'hits' with the accuracy of a big leaguer. The minute a 'fair ball' is hit, the batting player runs a 'man' to first. 'He' can then steal, run bases, back up on fouls, earn runs or get put out, according to the fortunes of the game. The fielders get under the flies; the infield players do the same; it's the real game in miniature. There's nothing in the world like it."
The game has working mechanical parts, with runners able to scamper around the bases.
(auction link)

This, along with Mike Eruzione's 1980 Lake Placid game-worn uniform, have received all the press.  Below is the bloody sock worn by Curt Schilling in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series.  Schillings financial trouble have been well publicized, so it should be a surprise that he has decided to let this one go.  It has been estimated that it would sell in excess of $100,000. 
(auction link)

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The Baseball Season Can Now Officially Begin!

It is now time to get get excited.  Sure, we had the FanFest on Saturday, but that pales in comparison to what today brings.  Today is the official release date for the first Baseball card set of the new season.  The Topps flagship Baseball card set should now be easy to find at your local stores (Walmart and Target) and hobby shop.

I will have up pics of all of the Dodgers cards available from this Series 1 offering.  I've got a team set with many of the Dodgers inserts coming to me soon, so I'll post those when they arrive.  In the meantime, I'll collect pics of the more limited cards (autographs and relics) and post them up right away.

WooHoo!  2013 Baseball, here we come!

In the meantime, if you're interested in knowing which Dodgers are in the Series 1 base set then check out the below checklist:
9 Dee Gordon
16 Andre Ethier (a SP version also available)
22 Clayton Kershaw
56 Joe Blanton
74 Kenley Jansen
81 Kershaw, Cueto & Dickey: ERA League Leader
99 Paco Rodriguez
158 Chad Billingsley
182 Randy Choate
191 Chris Capuano
219 Josh Beckett
228 Adrian Gonzalez
242 Matt Kemp (a SP version also available)
263 Ted Lilly
295 Brandon League
306 Jerry Hairston
314 AJ Ellis

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Collection: Donruss Signatures of Koufax, Snider and Sutton

I thought I would scan and show off some 1998 Donruss Significant Signatures cards in my collection.  These autographed cards are hardly scarce, but they feature 3 great Dodger players: Don Sutton, Sandy Koufax and Duke Snider.  As you can see they each signed 2,000 copies.  BTW, the most affordable certified Sandy Koufax autographed card is this one.  It can be purchased for about $100 to $120 each.  Compared to his other issues, that's a steal.

UPDATE:  I thought I would add that there is a second version of the Sandy Koufax autographed card that uses a different image and is a refractor.   This card is numbered #R3, and I understand that 2,000 autographed copies were made, as well.  So, it really shouldn't sell for much more than the card below, but I've seen several recent sales that say otherwise.  It look like the refractor version is sold at a slight premium.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/29/2013

Tomorrow is the official release date for the 2013 Topps Series 1 Baseball card set, but you may be able to find blaster retail boxes on the shelves today at your local Target or Walmart.  In fact, 'All Trade Bait, All the Time' recently opened a box and shared it here.  Above is another preview card - this time it's a Jackie Robinson MVP embedded plaque card.
“It’s actually very difficult to make that decision,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “I felt my first priority was getting with the team, getting to know the new system and becoming friends with the players and coaches. If the event was next year or the year after, I would have gladly competed, but right now my top priority is to be a Dodger.”

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Dodgers Construction Photo Update and a Signed Tommy Baseball

Over the weekend I received a pic from inside Dodger Stadium during the FanFest activities on Saturday.  As you can see they appear to be in the process of adding the ceilings to the new basement clubhouse area. 

On top of that, the sender of the photo above is also the mother of Christian Haupt, the Baseball phenom.  As you likely recall, I had written about him several times over the past year ( here, here and here).  Well, he was at the FanFest and had an opportunity to hang out backstage.  While there, Chrstian got a personalized signed Baseball from Tommy Lasorda.  See it below.  It says, "To Christian, a future Dodger."  This would be great to get as a kid.  I know it's something I would treasure forever.

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A Dodger Stadium On-Deck Circle From Jackie Robinson Day

I stared at this auction item and said to myself, "I got room for it."  Of course, as I took off my rose colored glasses I realized that there is no way this could reasonably go anywhere at my place.  Unfortunately, I will have to pass.

Featured here is a Huggins and Scott auction item that would look great in any Baseball room - as long as you have the space.  It is a Dodger Stadium used on-deck circle from April 15, 2007.  This particular piece was located near the visiting dugout and measures 57' in diameter.  Go here for more info on this auction item.
(auction link)

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/28/2013

It's just a couple of more days until the release of 2013 Topps Baseball cards.  Here is another preview pic of an insert from the set.  It is a Sandy Koufax Cy Young Award Winner embedded plaque card. Go here to see other preview pics.

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Some FanFest Videos: Tommy and Vin

If you missed out on the Dodgers FanFest, have no fear.  The internet is slowly filling up with videos to catch you up on the days events. 

First, Power 106 was at the Dodgers FanFest and put together this little video featuring Mark Ellis, Mark McGwire, Matt Kemp and Javy Guerra.

Video Link:

Now, on to one of the more memorable speeches from the day.  Listen to Tommy Lasorda's inspiring pro-Dodger Blue speech. 

Video Link:

And here's 12 wonderful minutes with Vin Scully.

Video Link:

Of course, the Dodgers have some videos up on their website.  Check out Don Mattingly, Ned Colletti and Andre Ethier chatting about the day here; Matt Kemp was happy to see the huge turnout for FanFest here; and Ned Colletti also talks about the turnout here.

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A Dodgers Channel, SportsNet LA, Coming to a Television Near You

As has been widely reported today, Time Warner is the victor in the Dodgers cable television race.  Via a press release from Time Warner as shared by JP Hoornstra at 'Inside the Dodgers' blog:
The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group created American Media Productions, LLC (AMP) in December 2012 to launch a new Los Angeles Dodgers regional sports network. Today, AMP announced its plans for SportsNet LA, the new regional television home for the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning with the 2014 Major League Baseball season. In addition to being the exclusive local home for all of the Dodger games, SportsNet LA will provide comprehensive behind-the-scenes Dodger programming, featuring more insights, analysis and commentary about the team than ever available before.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) has agreed to be SportsNet LA’s charter distributor, and will carry the new network for its customers throughout Southern California and Hawaii under a long-term affiliation deal. In addition, in return for agreeing to make payments over the life of the deal, TWC will be the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent for the new network and will have certain branding and programing rights with respect to the network. TWC will also provide certain non-game production and technical services to AMP.
At long last, a Dodger-centric network to call our own.  Details of the exact financial arrangements have yet to be revealed, but previous reports have indicated that it may be as large as $8Billion over a 25 year period.  This value kind of diminishes the argument that the current owners paid too much.  Obviously, that was not the case.  Furthermore, as a fanatic Dodger fan I can't be too angry that cable rates in the region may be going up, as a result.  After all, at least for me, rates would be going up for a program I am sure to enjoy.  Anyway, Dodgers President Stan Kasten had this to say about the deal, via a Dodgers Press Release:
“The launch of the new regional sports network is a historic development for the Dodgers and our passionate fans,” said Stan Kasten, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Our commitment from day one has been to build the Dodgers into the best team possible, both on and off the field. Our fans deserve the best - the best players, the best baseball, and the best experience - whether that’s at the newly renovated Dodger Stadium or on television.”

“Our mission is to have the most fan-friendly sports programming, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from our Dodger Community. We look forward to sharing updates with fans in the coming months. In the meantime, we remain very excited about the upcoming 2013 season where we will be showcasing our incredible new roster and the many enhancements to Dodger Stadium, as well as continuing our commitment to broadcast excellence with our current partners Fox Sports and KCAL 9.”

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My FanFest Day

The Dodgers FanFest on Saturday was quite a day.  The weather was gloomy, but there wasn't a rain storm in sight.  It was like the clouds decided to disappear over Dodger Stadium to give us the best weather a wet and stormy weekend could provide.  For several hours, we were spared from the rain, and many of the Dodger faithful came out to the stadium in celebration.

It was estimated that 21,000 fans came out regardless of the threat of rain.  How's that for sports fanaticism? 

Several other bloggers have already provided their highlights from the event.  Check out 'LA Inspirations' story here as he snagged a signed Magic Johnson autographed Baseball, Dodgers Familia with his autographed gets, and Arno at 'I'm Ballsy' who met up with a bunch of other bloggers.  For a bunch of great photos check out what Jon SooHoo has posted up on his blog.  He is the Dodgers official photographer.

As for me, I had initially hoped to get a bunch of Dodgers to sign a Dodgers book for me.  Unfortunately, when I got to the parking lot the line for autograph wristbands was a mile long.  Literally!  It started at the front of the FanFest gates and went all the way back toward the outer gates.  Then, it did a 180 and curved all the way back towards the entrance.  It would take hours to get a wristband, and after over an hour of waiting, I could have no more.  I decided to leave the line and go to the FanFest to enjoy the other events.  Below is a look at the queue. 

There were some great speakers; including Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully.  I'll have a post up momentarily featuring some videos from the day that I found on eBay.  Ned Colletti (pictured in the photo below on the left) also spoke.

A great sideshow to the FanFest was a tent fileld with Baseball history.  Super collector, Gary Cypres, brought out some of his stuff from the Sports Museum of Los Angeles.  The display had a little bit of everything.  There were some vintage Baseball cards and memorabilia, as well as, a historical look at  Baseball equipment from the 19th bentury.  I took a bunch of pictures here, so check them all out below.  Click any pic to embiggen.

Below is a little bit of American folk art.  An enterprising craftsman put together a bench made with (what looks like) game used Baseball bats.

On the left below is a late 19th century 'bib' style Baseball jersey.  On the right below is a large grouping of 1911 T201 Mecca Double-Folders Baseball cards.

Below are some vintage Baseball sweaters.  On the left is a 1920's NY Yankees field sweater, in the center a 1920's St. Louis Cardinals outer jacket, and on the right is a 1910 Chicago Cubs field Sweater.

Displayed were a bunch of different fielders gloves used during the games early years.  Below are fingerless gloves, which were the first gloves used in the game before the 1880's.

Below are workmen's gloves that were first used in the 1880's.

Here are some more early style Baseball gloves.

The below item was a real treat to see.  It is a birdcage catchers mask- the first mask in Baseball.

Below are a couple of vintage advertising posters.

A whole bunch of vintage tobacco cards were up on display.  Below are 1911 T205 Gold Bordered tobacco cards.  In the bottom right photo is a Ty Cobb card, at center.

Here is a large grouping of 1909-1911 T206 Baseball cards.  Cypres didn't show off his Honus Wagner card, but he just about shared everything else.

These next group of cards were great to see.  These are 1887 Old Judge's. 

On the top left in the photos below is Bob Carouthers, and on the top right is Hall of Famer Tim Keefe.  The bottom left card is of Old Hoss Radbourn (and no, he is not sticking out his middle finger), and on the bottom right is Brooklyn Grays (Dodgers) 1st baseman Bill Phillips.

Also on display were some great old Baseball games.  Below are some pinball and board games.

Here are some standup pinball games.  Unfortunately, they weren't in operating condition.

These next two items are really cool.  On the bottom left is a 1905 Edwards Big League Table Base Ball Game.  There is a knob behind home plate, that when turned, moves the runners around the bases on a chain driven mechanism.  On the bottom right is another table game.

Here is a huge advertising display along with some more Base Ball themed table games.

Below are some early 19th century Baseball bats.  At the top left in the photos below are some flat bats, and on the top right is a mushroom bat.  As you can see the handle part of this bat is shaped loke a elongated mushroom.  The remaing bats are other 19th century examples.

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