Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Topps Triple Threads Baseball - Dodgers Unity Relic Cards

I am finally getting around to putting up the Dodgers' insert cards that can be found in packs of 2013 Topps Triple Threads.  Check out the Dodgers' base cards to the set here.  Below are the Unity Relic inserts that are available.  There are also autographed relics cards of Clayton Kershaw (#UAJR-CK) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (#UAJR-HR1), but they are not in the actual packs.  Instead, a redemption card is provided.  BTW, you can see a complete checklist of the set here.

Unity Single Jumbo Relics

Adrian Gonzalez
#TTUJR-AGO1                                  #TTUJR-AGO2


 Chad Billingsley

Don Sutton
#TTUJR-DS1                                           #TTUJR-DS2


Matt Kemp
#TTUJR-MK1                                     #TTUJR-MK2

Yasiel Puig

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Some Dodgers Memorabilia at Hunt Auctions

Following up on my post from yesterday featuring Dodgers' artwork at Hunt's 10th Anniversary Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction, I now bring to you some of my favorite Dodgers' memorabilia items. 

Below is a semi-hardened foam Baseball from a "Welcome Luncheon" held at L.A.'s Statler Hotel on 10/27/1957.  It has been signed by Casey Stengel and Walt Alston.  Over 1,100 new local fans attended this gala event.  This is the first time I've seen this particular Dodger memorabilia item.
(auction link)

Below is a 1954 Gil Hodges New York Press Photographers Sports Award.
(auction link)

Here is a circa 1960's LA Dodgers equipment bag that has been signed by Duke Snider, Clem Labine, Ralph Branca, and Carl Erskine.
(auction link)

This last item would look great in anyone's Dodger room.  Here are 3 vintage stadium seats from Ebbets Field
(auction link)

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Blog Kiosk: 10/31/2013 - Dodgers Links - DodgerTalk Podcast, Free Agency and Dee Gordon

Congrats, Red Sox!  Pic above via twitter @MLB.
When Boston and St. Louis first faced each other in the World Series, in 1946, there wasn’t a single African-American in either dugout. As the Red Sox and the Cardinals meet again 67 years later, there is one.
  • Via Matt Snyder at CBS, "Vegas odds: Dodgers are favorites to win 2014 World Series".  Wow, we are 5 to 1 favorites. 
  • BTW, the MLB FanCave is coming for the 2014 season.  You must apply by November 8th.  Go here!
  • This is your must read of the day.  Via Adrian Cardenas at The New Yorker, "Why I Quit Major League Baseball".
It was only after I quit that I wished I hadn’t always kept my head down, relentlessly climbing to reach the top of the game, to fulfill an American dream. I wish I had looked up more often, even at the cost some of my success. 

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    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    Weekend Autograph Opportunities: DodgerFest -- Jaime Jarrin, Don Newcombe, Reggie Smith and More!

    Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

    This is a big autograph event.  Steve "Psycho" Lyons, Dennis Powell, Reggie Smith, Don Newcombe and Jaime Jarrin will be at Frank & Sons in the City of Industry.  Check out the flyers below.
    Frank & Son Collectible Show
    19649 East San Jose Avenue
    City of Industry, California 91748
    Parking and admission to the show is free!

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    Dodgers Artwork at Hunt Auctions -- Including the Dodgers Sym-Phony Band & Willard Mullin

    It is currently the 10th Anniversary of the Hunt's Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction, and it is a doozy.  There's a bunch of great stuff; including a ton of Dodgers memorabilia.  Over the next few days I'll share my favorites.

    In this post, I show some great Dodger themed artwork.

    Below is an original drawing by famed editorial cartoonist Willard Mullin.  It was originally published in the April 22, 1957 edition of the New York World Telegram and features the lovable Dodger 'Bum' with his belongings packed up and ready for a move.  The street signs make note that nobody is sure exactly where the 'Bums' will headed the next season, but that doesn't stop the beloved mascot from singing a tune.  BTW, this drawing was released just days before Walter O'Malley's official announcement that the Dodgers would be moving Los Angeles.
    T'that other jernt in Joisey
    Where we opens up t'day...
    Yez c'n try t'figure where
    This time nex' May...
    'Cause O'Malley's still a-yellin',
    An' his verse is raised on high.
    For he still thinks he is gonna have his way!

    We're poor little Bums
    Who have gone astray.
    Ha!  Ha!  Ha!
    But wait'll we opens up in L.A.
    Ha!  Ha!  Ha!
    Yez don't know nuttin' fum what this means,
    Yez gets dizzy wit' shiftin' scenes,
    Now Bob Moses has us in Queens!
    Ha!  Ha!  Ha!
    (auction link)

    The next three paintings were done by New York artist Andy Jurinko.  He passed away in 2011.  Jurinko is noted for his female nudes and Baseball portraits of Golden Age ballplayers.  His book called 'Golden Boys' is a must have for Baseball art fans. 

    (auction link)

    (auction link)

    This last one is my favorite.

    (auction link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 10/30/2013 - Dodgers Links - Ryu, Puig, Magic and a Fred Claire Interview

    Here's a great vintage photo of Vin Scully interviewing Hall of Famer Stan Musial before a game in 1963, pic via Sports Illustrated (Neil Leifer/SI).
    • The Dodgers got shutout in the Gold Glove Awards.  Oh, well!  Tony Jackson at Dodger Scribe has a rundown of the winners.  
    • Check out a new Dodger/Card Collector blog called Chavez Raving.  The writer, Alex Markle, has started sharing some of his Dodger card collection, and is currently running a contest.
    • Via Yonhap News Agency, "Dodgers' Ryu Hyun-Jin makes triumphant return home after strong rookie year ".
    • Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors discusses the arbitration eligible Dodgers.
    • Mark Saxon at ESPN writes, "Magic: Not 'lost season' for Dodgers".
    "We're excited about what we're building and we're ahead of schedule," Johnson said in an appearance on 710 ESPNLA Tuesday. "I never thought we would get there that fast, to play in the [NLCS]. I was excited."
    They need to adjust to the game, Jeff. And there are three words that will help Puig adjust, once he understands what those three words mean. Joey Amalfitano – a life-long baseball man who I have great respect for – used the words a lot. The three words that Yasiel Puig needs to understand: Respect the game. Respect the game. And you don’t respect the game when you hit that ball to right field and stand there like it’s long gone. And even staring down the umpire in a moment of the championship series. This guy is a great, great talent, so yes, you need some patience, but it has to be a continual education, or this player is going to run into continual problems.
    • Check out who was hanging out with Flea at the Lakers Opening Night game, pic via Beto Duran on twitter.

    • Panini America Offers a Detailed First Look at 2013 America’s Pastime Baseball.  Check out some Puig cards below.  This high-end set comes out in December.
    But the history of baseball should not be read as a bible. Believing in something -- whether the cosmic splendor of the Red Sox, or the correctness of the Cardinal Way, or the inherent superiority of the game itself -- doesn’t make it true. Believing does, however, make the world easier to take, easier to understand. Believing gives a sense of order to things like game-ending obstruction calls and pickoff plays that would otherwise drive us insane. Believing makes David Ortiz make sense.
    • Ummm.... Wow.  Via Jamie Shoemaker at TTF Baseball, "C.J. Wilson will spend his offseason photographing … Lisalla Montenegro".  She is his fiance, and she's gorgeous.
    • Ben Marks at Collectors Weekly shares some not so politically correct vintage candy wrappers.  Wow!
    • This is funny stuff.  Check out San Diego State Aztecs Baseball play their annual Halloween ballgame below.

    Video Link:

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    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    My Choices for the 2013 Baseball Blogger Alliance Post Season Awards

    The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is a 4-year old organization that brings together hundreds of Baseball blog writers from throughout North America to foster communication and collaboration.  We are encouraged to use one another to deepen our understanding of the game and the teams that play it. It is for this reason that I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the group

    A side benefit to membership is having an opportunity to vote on end of the year awards; much like the more established BBWAA.  Here are my choices for the years best in the National League.

    The Connie Mack Award is given to the top manager each year.

    Clint Hurdle.  The Pittsburgh Pirates did great things in 2013.  They went from finishing 4 games below .500 last season to 26 games above .500 a year later.  That's a 30 game turnaround, and the franchises first winning record since 1992. Clint Hurdle took a band of misfit ballplayers and transformed them into a cohesive unit ready to battle for a pennant.  Sure, the stellar play of their MVP caliber outfielder Andrew McCutchen helped lead the way, but without an able skipper they would have likely just waded in the pool.

    The Willie Mays Award is given to the top rookie each year.

    Jose Fernandez.  This was a tough pick, but I believe Fernandez had a better rookie season then our rising star, Yasiel Puig.  At just 21 years of age he won 12 games for the lowly Miami Marlins.  In 28 starts he recorded 2.18 ERA, a 6.3 WAR, an 0.979 WHIP average, and a league leading low of just 5.8 hits per 9 innings.  As the lone representative in the All-Star game for the Marlins, he pitched a scoreless inning and struck out 2.

    The Goose Gossage Award is given to the top reliever each year.

    Craig Kimbrel.  The 2011 Rookie of the Year winner was just outstanding on the mound this season.  He tied with Jim Johnson of Baltimore for the Major League lead in saves with 50.  With a  devestating four-seam fastball clocked in the high-90's and a phenomenal curveball, he recorded a 1.21 ERA, a 0.881 WHIP average, and 13.2 strike outs per 9 innings.  Not only that, Craig Kimbrel is a good guy.  Via his website, he donates $100.00 per save and $25.00 for each strike out he records to help kids with cancer.

    The Walter Johnson Award is given to the top pitcher each year.

    Clayton Kershaw.  I don't think there's any doubt that Clayton Kershaw was the best starting pitcher in the Major Leagues this season.  He lead the Major Leagues (not just the National League) in ERA with 1.83 and a 0.915 WHIP average.  He also recorded a 2 shutouts, 232 strike outs, and a WAR of 7.9.  On top of that, he reached 1,000 career strike outs, was the NL Pitcher of the Month in July, won the Warren Spahn Award as the best left-hander in the Majors, and named onto the Sporting News NL All-Star Team at the end of the season.  We are in the midst of witnessing greatness, and this season was his best so far.

    The Stan Musial Award is given to the top player each year.

    Paul Goldschmidt.  This man should have been a Dodger.  He was originally drafted by us in 2006, but opted to go to college instead.  Damn that college education.  In 2013 he broke out in a big way.  Goldschmidt lead the league with 36 home runs, 125 RBI's, .551 Slugging Average, .952 OPS, and 332 total bases.  Furthermore, he was 4th with a .401 OBP, 4th with 182 hits, 3rd with 99 walks, and 3rd with 103 runs scored.  Goldschmidt was unstoppable.

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    Blog Kiosk: 10/29/2013 - Dodgers Links - Seager & Garcia in Fall Star Game, Kershaw to be Honored this Saturday and Gold Gloves Announced Tonight

    Check out Fernando Valenzuela 'behind the scenes' at Nacion ESPN, pic via twitter @DodgersPR.
    • Just to let you know, the Gold Glove Awards announcement will be later this afternoon on ESPN, per a ESPN press release.  Five Dodgers are in the running for an award: AJ Ellis, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Juan Uribe and Mark Ellis.
    • BTW, DodgerTalk starts up again this coming Wednesday (and every Wednesday this winter) on AM570 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
    • Tony Jackson at Dodger Scribe writes, "The continuing baseball education of Corey Seager".
    “One of the best things my brother told me was just to treat every stop like your own major leagues, and just kind of be in the moment, that way you’re not always looking up at all the levels you still have to go through,” he said. “It’s hard to do sometimes, but it was great advice.”
    • BTW, Seager and Yimi Garcia will be in the AZ Fall League Falls-Star Game, via a tweet from @Dodgers.

    • Via Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk, "Doomsayers be damned: Baseball is healthy and ratings are strong".
    • Chris Olds at Beckett writes, "Behind the Scenes: Where the magic happens in the sports card industry — outtakes & more".
    • A twitter account named @BestFansStLouis does its level best to show that Cardinals fans are far from being the best fans in the league - that's such an overused phrase.  Heck, he just proves that their fans are just as dumb and vile as fans from any other team.
    • Philip Van der Vossen at Gunaxin Sports shares some great photos of NFL Cheerleaders celebrating Halloween.  Va-va-voom!
    • As a former marching band geek, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Ohio State Marching Band's routine this past weekend.  It's impressive. 

    Video Link:

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    Monday, October 28, 2013

    2013 Topps Triple Threads Baseball - The Dodgers Base Cards

    This past Friday Topps released their very popular Triple Threads set.  It includes numerous autographed and relic Dodger cards that I will show over the next few days.  For today, I share the Dodger base cards within the set.  See them below.

    #16 Clayton Kershaw                         #36 Hanley Ramirez

    #42 Jackie Robinson                            #49 Adrian Gonzalez

    #69 Yasiel Puig                                      #85 Zack Greinke

    #86 Sandy Koufax                                    #90 Matt Kemp

    #92 Duke Snider

    The Hyun-Jin Ryu "Future Phenoms Autograph Relic" card is numbered #117; which suggest it's a part of the base set.  Unfortunately, the Ryu card is not inserted into packs.  Instead, there is a redemption card.  Below is an example of that card.

    Future Phenoms Autograph Relics

    #117 Hyun-Jin Ryu

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    Blog Kiosk: 10/28/2013 - Dodgers Links - Guerrero, Pederson and the Essence of Baseball

    In honor of the World Series here's a great pic of the Fenway Park crowd at the 1912 World Series.  Pic via Michael Beschloss on twitter.

    • Masahiro Tanaka is considered the top Japanese ballplayer expected to sign with a MLB team this winter, and many believe the Dodgers are in the hunt.  Via a tweet from Bill Shaikin of the LA Times.

    And what is baseball? A decidedly 19th century construct shaped by all manner of rules and conventions. A construct In which, unlike its 19th century contemporaries such as boxing, weightlifting or horse racing, physical prowess is nowhere as nearly close to everything. Rather, it’s about physical prowess being channeled alongside a set of ground rules and formalities that require the mind and discipline to work hand-in-hand with the body and its fast-twitch muscles. It’s a pursuit in which force being applied via instinct rather than calculation is almost always punished rather than rewarded.

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    Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Sunday Dodgers Videos

    Here are this Sunday's Dodgers' Videos.

    The Dodgers thank you for your support.

    Video Link:

    For the Postseason, Major League Baseball is trying out some new announcer talent from other popular sports. Jack Morris & Charley Steiner are the resident professionals but in the end Major League Baseball realizes that the only thing they need is Marcia Gay Harden.

    MLB's Postseason Broadcaster Auditions from Marcia Gay Harden     
    Video Link:

    As you know doubt know by now, Yasiel Puig visited a little league park this week and tossed some batting practice for a young team.  This was in the description.
    Yasiel Puig came to play ball with us at Northeast Little League! Thank You Mr. Puig!
    Here is a video.

    Video Link:

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    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    Blog Kiosk: 10/26/2013 - Dodgers Links -

    It looks like Tommy is having fun.  Check him out in the cargo area of a C-17 air transporter.  Pic via @TommyLasorda on twitter.
    Through 12 games, Pederson has a .545 (!) on-base percentage and .686 slugging percentage. That comes from a ridiculous 20:11 walk-to-strikeout ratio and seven extra base hits (3 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B) in 35 at-bats.
    Pederson, 21, had a really good season with the Lookouts in 2013 and is making it even tougher for the Dodgers to consider trading the center fielder.

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    Friday, October 25, 2013

    RIP, Bill Sharman - Check Out Details About His Historic Dodger Game

    Bill Sharman, best known as a former Lakers coach and Basketball Hall of Famer, also wore Dodger Blue early in his life.  From 1950 to 1955 he played within the Dodgers farm system, and was even called up to the Brooklyn Dodgers during the Dodgers pennant chase late in the 1951 season (the year of Bobby Thomson's home run).  Unfortunately, he never got into a game, but his legacy in Blue remains.

    Sharman holds the special distinction of being the only ballplayer to ever be ejected from a Major League game, and to have never actually played in a game.

    When I first heard of his passing earlier today and read about this fact, I couldn't help but think that I knew something about the game where he was ejected.  Then it hit me.  I wrote about this event just a couple of months ago.  Read that post here

    I'll recount it below.

    On Thursday, September 27, 1951 in a game against the Boston Braves the Dodgers were in the midst of historic meltdown.  The Dodgers had held a 13.5 game lead over the Giants, but it had quickly whittled itself down to a game with a week left to play.  So, every game at that point was important.

    As that afternoon game went on, the Dodgers and Braves found themselves tied at 3 in the 8th inning.  Then, a crazy turn of events happened.

    Preacher Roe was on the mound for the Dodgers with runners on first and third, and nobody out.  The Dodger infield was playing in to keep it a tied game.  “Specs” Torgeson, Boston's first baseman, grounded to Jackie Robinson at 2nd base, and he quickly threw home to Roy Campanella to tag out the potential go-ahead run.  But, according to home plate umpire Frank Dascoli it was too late.  Dascoli called the runner safe.

    The Dodgers were beside themselves.  Campanella argued vehemently.  Players on the field and Dodger coaches screamed.  Soon, they surrounded the umpire.  The Dodger bench joined the chorus and wouldn't let up.  Words, that I'm sure are unprintable, were bandied about.

    Roy Campanella was ejected from the game.  Soon, coach Cookie Lavagetto was ejected.  Then, (as play was about to resume) the unimaginable happened.  The umpire ejected the entire Dodgers bench.

    That's right, the home plate umpire threw out every Dodger player and coach who were not already on the field.

    As you can imagine, the Dodgers lost that day, and eventually lost the pennant.  Check out Tom Conmy's post at Behind the Bag for his description and some great photos from this game.  Below is a LIFE Magazine photo of the bench walking off the field.

    UPDATE:  For the record, I should make note that Sharman and his other Dodger teammates may not have actually been ejected from the game.  They may have just been told to vacate the dugout and spend the rest of the game in the locker room.

    Bill Sharman had a lifetime professional batting average of .281 in 5 minor league seasons.  He hit a total of 52 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .411.  Claire Noland and Jerry Crowe at the LA Times put together a great writeup on his career, here.

    Here are Bill Sharman's minor league statistics, via Baseball Reference:

    Pic above via @Dodgers on twitter.

    UPDATE:  Below is a press photo from the contested play-at-the-plate that caused Bill Sharman and his teammates to be thrown out of the game.

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