Monday, October 21, 2013

2013 Topps Update Baseball - Chasing History Dodgers Inserts

Following up on last weeks post featuring the Dodgers' base cards to the 2013 Topps Update set, I now bring to you the Chasing History Dodger insert cards.  Go here to see my previous post of Dodger cards from this set.  Over the next few days I'll have pics of the other Dodger insert cards that are available.

As you can see, there are 5 Dodgers in this insert base set and 2 Dodger autogrpahed cards to chase.  There is also a Duke Snider and Don Drysale cut-signature "1 of 1" cards to chase after, but I have yet to see photos.

Chasing History

#CH112 Johnny Podres                #CH129 Clayton Kershaw

#CH130 Jackie Robinson                  #CH131 Hyun-Jin Ryu

#CH144 Yasiel Puig

Chasing History Autographs

#CHA-MM Matt Magill

Chasing History Autographed Relics

#CHAR-DS Duke Snider

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Jackie Robinson's Goodbye Letter to the Dodgers, via Heritage Auctions

This letter from Jackie Robinson to then Dodgers GM Buzzie Bavasi hit me like a ton of bricks.  Certainly, this often scathing communication must have hit the Dodger organization hard too.

Available for sale through Heritage Auctions is a personal letter from Jackie, on "Chock Full o' Nuts" letterhead, to Buzzie that appears to be his final goodbye. 

It is obvious from the letter that Jackie had little love for O'Malley, but he also expresses deep regret at the lost friendship he had with Bavasi.  Additionally, and more shockingly, Jackie disparages the club by accusing them of maliciously getting rid of records related to his time with the Dodgers.

I had thought that Jackie's retirement from the team and game came on a sour note, but I had no idea this kind of animosity existed between him and the club.  Read the entire letter below (dated December 14, 1961), and check out the auction here.
Dear Buzzie:
For whatever it is worth, you must know that I have been disappointed because a friendship I once felt has deteriorated.  Whether I am to blame or you are is not the important thing.  It happened, and frankly, it has disturbed me.

If we were completely honest, we would have to admit that not too many people cooperated with you or the Dodgers any more than I did.  There were few, if any, players who did the off-season promotional work that I did and none more willing to help when it came to contract time.  I was not completely unaware of my value to the Club.  I signed many contracts knowing full well what I was doing.  I will admit it was not a "one-way street", but I did more than my share to be helpful to you and the Club.  It mattered little to me that O'Malley was such a man that he resented anyone having a high regard for another individual because he disliked him.  It mattered little to me that it went beyond this even to the extent of resenting my efforts for equality.  It did matter to me, Buzzie, that you questioned my integrity and did so to the press.  This has been the one thing I find hard to forgive.  If it had been someone I had had problems with, it would not have mattered, but a person I considered a friend and one that I felt I had helped out in many cases and he in turn had done several favors for me did cause concern.  I hate losing a friendship I thought genuine, but these things happen.  We frequently put the wrong emphasis on situations or at least misinterpret the meaning of the act.

The atmosphere that has existed since 1956 has been regarded by me as something a person of my temperment must expect from people who do not believe in the things I believe in, but felt an organization like yours must be pretty small if records were destroyed because of personality differences. I merely wanted to make it a complete break if this was the desire of the Dodgers organization.

As for the file in questions, Mr. Wilson informed me that my file was lost or misplaced in the transfer of records from New York to California.  Therefore, no pictures would be sent for his story.  It may be a mistake, but if you check you would probably find Jackie Robinson never existed as far as your present files are concerned.  I think you know this is alright with me for my concern has not been for records, they never have meant much to me, only our personal relationship.

Best regards.
(Auction Link)

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So, Is Alexander Guerrero Finally a Dodger? ... It Sure Looks Like It

At least the week after the Dodger NLCS loss starts off with a bang.

As you may recall, from July to September there was news that indicated that Alexander Guerrero, a Cuban defector and hard-hitting infielder, had signed a contract to play for the Dodgers.  See my original story about it here.

Then, everything hit a wall.  The signing could not be confirmed.  He was not a Dodger.  In fact, we soon found out that he couldn't sign a contract if he wanted to.  His agent, at the time, was not certified with MLB, so everything had to be put on hold.  Soon after, word spread that super-agent Scott Boras was now his representative, and after some typical jockeying by him Guerrero came back on the market for every team to bid on.

Now, after many months of waiting the bidding process appears to be over.  Per a tweet from Jesse Sanchez of this morning, the Dodgers are 'again' the big winners.

If this number is correct it is a nice little raise from the previous numbers disclosed many months ago.  Previous reports put the contract at approximately $32Million for 5 to 7 years.  Jesse's new story on has more details on this new contract.
Performance bonuses of $1 million per year increase the potential value of the contract to $32 million. The 26-year-old Guerrero will be eligible for free agency after his age-30 season upon the completion of the deal.
Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times adds even more details.

I was a little hesitant to post up this story since I felt a bit foolish prematurely announcing his signing many months ago.  But, since more confirmation has now come from JP Hoornstra at the Daily News, Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times, and Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports, I have a higher level of confidence in saying this is basically a done deal (crossing my fingers). 

Alexander Guerrero is likely to be our everyday 2nd baseman, and I suspect he'll be playing Winter Ball somewhere.  Furthermore, this news probably means that Mark Ellis will not be returning to the Dodgers.  The Dodgers hold a team option with Ellis at $5.75Mil and a contract buyout of $1Mil. On the other hand, he could come back into the fold as a backup.

In honor of this signing I made a new fantasy card for Guerrero.  See it at the very top.  I used the classic 1959 Topps Baseball card design.  Also, I also added the fantasy card I made of him back in September at the very bottom.

Below are some workout videos of Guerrero found on youtube and

Video Link:

Alexander Guerrero works out as his former agent Rudy Santin describes his skill set as a player.

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 10/21/2013 - Dodgers Links - Colletti, a Kershaw Contract and a Kings Bobble-Fist

I have to admit that this is a funny sign from St. Louis.  Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2013.
  • There's a press conference at Dodger Stadium in an hour and a half with Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti.  Maybe we'll get word of a contract extension for Donnie.
  • "Too soon for Colletti to focus on sure-to-be-busy winter," via Ken Gurnick at
"It's tough to capsule a season a half hour after it ends, but it was exciting," said Colletti. "Sports are supposed to be entertaining. I think this group was very entertaining in a lot of ways. We won a lot of games, we stuck together in tough times. I'll miss this group. Even if everybody returns, it's never the same group. The dynamics change. That's why I hate to see this season end. It's a special collection of people."
But the negotiations progressed enough that there is confidence among some with knowledge of the talks that a long-term deal -- perhaps more conservative in length than the massive contract initially proposed by the Dodgers -- will be concluded this winter, with a significant portion of money being devoted to a charity of Kershaw's choosing.
"Sitting there watching it tonight, and it's what we've kind of watched all year long, it's like you don't have time to work on it, really," Mattingly said. "You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know? Yasiel gets excited. He's going to try to make plays all the time, and that's the way he is. But we've got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it."
  • 30-Year Old Cardboard tells us about a 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative coin that will be sold by the US Mint.

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