Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Calling All Dodger Collectors - Can Anybody Help with this Vintage Dodger Pin?

As some of you know, I am an avid collector of oddball Dodger memorabilia.  The stranger and more unique an item is, the more likely I'm interested in adding it to my collection.

Unfortunately, I am far from an expert in this hobby field.  I run into items, all of the time, that I have scant information on.  For instance, check out the above lapel pin.  It is a Dodgers NL Championship pin with blue and white ribbons.  The baseball is about the size of a half-dollar coin and it is a rather flimsy (i.e. cheap) kind of plastic.

A number of years back I acquired a similar example for a very low price about about $5 delivered, after realizing that they were old and rather plentiful on the market.  If you spend enough time on eBay you'll see hundred of similar examples for sale. 

Well, over the past few days I've been communicating with a person who has a large grouping of these pins still attached to an original cardboard display, and they wanted to know more about it.  Unfortunately, my knowledge is limited.

From my understanding, they were produced in the 60's - likely for the 1966 season (the Dodgers won the pennant that season).  I do not exactly recall why I think it's from this era, so if I'm wrong please let me know.  And considering the plentiful nature of them, I figured they were either a give-away at Dodger Stadium or a cheap concession stand item.  Based on my discussion with this collector, that appears to be wrong. 

They mentioned that it was displayed from a local (Lancaster) gas retailer; which makes me wonder if this is a Union 76 Dodger promotion.  After all, the Dodgers and Union 76 were constant marketing partners back then.  Unfortunately, my contact could not recall if the retailer was Union 76.

So, I am writing to ask all of you... does anybody here recognize this pin?

If you do, please let me know.  This collector would love to know.

Below are pics of the advertising display.  As you can see, it's rather bland.  Also, it appears to have been manufactured by a Santa Monica company called Morlin Mfg Co.

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Congrats! Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are Hall of Famers

I want to extend a Blue Heaven congratulations to the three new Hall of Fame inductees - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas.

All three are well deserved new members. I should also note that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (a collection of 200+ bloggers throughout the country) made the exact same HOF recommendations in December.  See my story about that here.

Of course, none of them spent a majority of their careers in Blue, but one player was a Dodger for a short time.  Greg Maddux, probably the greatest pitcher I've ever seen in my lifetime, was a Dodger for short stints in both the 2006 and 2008 seasons.

In fact, he retired as a Dodger in 2008, and won his last professional in-season game against the Giants on September 27th - going 6 innings in a 2 to 1 victory.  His last career in-season strike out was against Matt Cain (who foul bunted) and the last hit he allowed was to Omar Vizquel (a single to left field).

In the playoffs in 2008, he pitched in relief during Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Cubs.  He closed out the game, in a 7 to 2 winning effort, in the 9th inning.  He faced 4 batters and gave up a hit to Ryan Theriot.

In the NL Championship Series against the Phillies, Maddux pitched in two games (Games 1 and Game 5).  In Game 1 (in a game the Dodgers lost 3 to 2), he pitched in the 7th inning in relief of Derek Lowe.  Maddux faced only 3 batters, gave up a hit Carlos Ruiz and closed out the inning with a double play.  In Game 5 (the Dodgers lost the series 5 to 2), he went 2 innings and gave up 2 runs (both unearned).

His last professional walk was to Shane Victorino (intentional).  The last hit he gave up was to Ryan Howard.  Maddux's last professional strike out victim was Pedro Feliz.

Bill Plunkett of the OC Register noted the following from Ned Colletti during a press conference today at Dodger Stadium.

Now that this voting is over for the year, I'm sure we'll hear complaints from the whiners.   Morons will say that it's a travesty that Biggio didn't get in this year - even though it's assured that he'll get in eventually.  And the same can be said for Piazza.  Patience is a virtue that continues to disappear from American life.  Also, one of the more annoying facets of social media is the damn whining!

Jack Morris is now officially off the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot.  He will certainly be put on future special committee ballots, and I predict will eventually get enshrined with the help of his Baseball peers.  Many will of course complain about that, but who cares.  If there's one final arbiter of who is most deserving it's the current body of Hall of Fame members.

Congrats again to the 3 new members!

Below is a final vote tally from the BBWAA.

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2013 Topps Replacement Autographs - the Available Dodger Players

I recently realized that, for the sake of being complete, that I should make note of several Dodger autographed cards that Topps released in 2013 as a part of their redemption replacement program.

As you may know, Topps would issue redemption cards in their Baseball card packs for autographed cards that did not make it into their product in time for release.  Oftentimes, this was because the player did not respond fast enough to Topps request.

Unfortunately, some of these players tasked with the duty of signing for Topps never respond, or respond years later.  So, cards that Topps thought they'd have available become unavailable.  As a consequence, Topps will replace that promised autograph with another autographed card, and they decided to make a special card set to satisfy those needs.

Below are three Dodger replacement autopgraphed cards that have been issued so far for the 2013 season.  I am not aware of any others, but if you know of one I do not list below, please let me know.

I should also note that, from my understanding, you are not given a choice of what replacement cards you get.  It is all random.

Johnny Podres

Duke Snider

Don Sutton

UPDATE:  I just discovered another 2013 Topps replacement autogrpahed card.  this time it's a triple autographed card featuring Duke Snider, Johnny Podres and Gary Sheffield.

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Dodgers Continue to Upgrade Dodger Stadium - Here are Some Details

This news came out yesterday afternoon, so I'm a bit late with this information.  I was already heading out to last nights Kings game when the Dodgers press release arrived

I'm loving the new Dodger owners, more and more.  The changes and direction they are taking the franchise continues to surprise me, and I couldn't be more happy about it.  We were told they would emphasize the farm system, so they prove it by continuing to sign prospects.  We were also told that Dodger Stadium would be modernized.  That is also coming to fruition.

For years we were regaled with promises of future upgrades to Dodger Stadium, but were constantly disappointed in the half-assed nature of the changes.  Now, these owners make me a believer.  They mean what they say.
"Dodger Stadium is one of the most fan-friendly and family-oriented venues in all of baseball," said Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten. "Our goal is to ensure that we maintain that elite status while continuing to do everything in our power to bring a world championship to Dodger fans."
No need to convince me anymore, Stan!

The Dodgers recently announced this winters Dodger Stadium upgrades and it includes expanding the right and left pavilions; such that they will now be connected to the rest of the stadium.  In other words, pavilion ticket holders will no longer be trapped in the outfield.  They will now be able to roam throughout the entire stadium.

I just might have to consider getting tickets there in the future.  (I had always preferred the Top Deck, but that may change soon.)

Check out the pic at the very top.  It shows an artist rendering of the left field area.  There will be a bullpen observation deck, a permanent Dodger store and more concessions.  Below is another view of the future changes.

From the Dodgers press release:
  1. Expansion of the entries at the Field level, enabling all fans with Pavilion, Dugout, Field, Loge and Club tickets to enter the convenient entrances on the north side of the stadium. These new entries will also house new team stores and concessions and memorabilia to celebrate the team history, including its famous seasons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as its five-plus decades in Los Angeles.
  2. Seating and lounging areas at bars and drink rails overlooking the bullpens in the outfield, giving focus to pitchers warming up as well as infield game views.
  3. New food services with outdoor grills and specialty fare such as Tommy Lasorda's Italian and hot-off-the-grill BBQ, areas where the Hall of Fame manager and other former players will spend time with fans.
  4. An expansion of the popular Reserve Level "La Taqueria" stand near the kids play area at the left field Reserve entry. 
  5. Relocating the visiting team clubhouse to an area near the visiting team dugout at field level so that all visiting team areas are in a single new area adjacent to the batting tunnel, conditioning room and training area built in newly created space in 2013.
  6. Continuing work on the upgrade of the electrical infrastructure that supports the 1962 stadium. In 2013, significant new equipment and substations were installed in coordination with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Work will continue this offseason to connect to the new equipment to improve safety and provide the best technology available for fans.
  7. Enhancement of the ballpark's landscaping. All 33 trees in the outfield area have been replanted on site and the Dodgers, the only team in baseball with a full-time arborist, will have three times as many trees in the outfield by April as before. The display of the famed "Three Sisters" behind the left-field bullpen will remain.
Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“Dodger Stadium is such a perfect stadium structure, and 50 years ago fans were willing to sit in their seats,” Dodgers Senior Vice President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith told Dodger Insider.  “Today, there is more socialization and people moving around. We wanted to create spaces for that to happen. Last season, we took out the last few rows of seats on each level, and installed drink rails, to create wider concourses and more space to move around.”
I can't wait to make my next visit there; during the upcoming outdoor hockey game later this month.  Anyone else going to that?

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Blog Kiosk: 1/8/2014 - Dodgers Links - Puig Arrested in Hot Pink, Mattingly's Extension and Hanley was the Best Last Year

JP Hoornstra at Inside the Dodgers has the police dash cam video of Yasiel Puig's recent arrest in Florida.  I gotta say, his speeding didn't seem all that reckless.  It was a long straight away and it doesn't appear there was any swerving.  Frankly, it looked like everybody on that road was speeding and Puig was just the unlucky ducky.  Oh... And Puig likes to wear hot pink shorts.  What's up with that?

BTW, every time I've visited Florida I always took note of the rampant speeding on their highways.  I remember constantly going 80+ MPH in the slow lane while being passed on the left by a 80+ year old snow bird in a Cadillac.  Now, I'm not advocating that you should go 100+ MPH, but I swear, it was a constant occurrence in Florida.

Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy interprets the conversation between Puig and the officer, here.
Hanley Ramirez was Miguel Cabrera in 2013. That is, if Cabrera was a decent shortstop instead of the worst fielding third baseman in baseball. Ramirez was Mike Trout if the Millville Meteor traded some of his baserunning and on-base skills for a whole lot more power production.
  • The 2013 Bowman Chrome autographed Superfractor of Yasiel Puig is on eBay once again.  See the auction here.  It has a Buy It Now price of $34,999.99.  Hat Tip: Cardboard Connection.
  • Evan Kendall at Beyond the Boxscore takes a close look at how great Russell Martin really was last season - "Russell Martin and defending catcher WAR".  This just adds more evidence that a great defensive catcher (even one who hit only in the .220's) can lead your team to the playoffs.  AJ Ellis naysayers should pay attention!
  • Via Ramona Shelburne at ESPN, "Don Mattingly to Get New Deal".  The Dodgers and Mattingly have agreed to an extension that goes through the 2016 season.  Congrats, Don!
  • Via Chris Haft at, "Kent's relentless approach up for Hall consideration".
"I took that even beyond, to, if I do just one thing every day for my entire career, then I'm going to have a pretty good career," he said in a recent interview.
  • Via Mark Langill at Dodger Insider, "Flashback 30 years: Don Drysdale gets the call".
  • Check out a bunch of pics from Jon SooHoo of some young future Dodger stars at the Winter Development Program at Dodger Stadium, here.
  • OT: Observe History tells us about German martyr Sophie Scholl.  It's a story about a Munich university student who stood up against the Nazi's and was killed for it.  I often wonder if I would have the strength and will to do the same thing.  I'd like to think I would - even knowing that I'd be staring straight at death.
"How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to offer themselves up individually for a righteous cause?

Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go."

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