Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Dodgers are Getting Stanley Cup Fever

There's a mantra that has been floating around the hockey world lately that rings so true.

"Because It's The Cup"

When you catch a glimpse of that shiny cylindrical silver trophy you can't help be in awe of it.  It evokes such great emotion it's almost too hard to explain except by saying, "Because It's The Cup."

I swear, I've seen women swoon and men cry over it.  Fans and players alike can wax poetic about its grandeur.  There is nothing like it in the world, and it's legacy as an one-of-a-kind trophy embossed with the names of every past winner is known by all.

So, it shouldn't be a surprise when hometown athletes from other sports come out in support of their city's battle to take home Lord Stanley's Cup.  After all, "It's the Cup" and it always somehow transcends all.

To prove the point check out both Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig cheering on our boys!  Go Kings Go!

Yasiel Puig, who I am sure has no idea what the Dodgers PR folks are asking him to do, joins in on the "Go Kings Go" chant.  I found it quite hilarious.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

RIP, Bob Welch

I am both shocked and saddened to find out this morning that former Dodger hurler Bob Welch has died.  He was 57 years old.

He may have had his best season on the mound as an Athletic, but I will always remember him as a Dodger.  Bob Welch was the Dodgers 1st Round Draft Pick (20th overall) in 1977 out of Eastern Michigan University.  The Chicago Cubs had originally drafted him in the 14th Round in 1974, but he chose the collegiate route. 

Welch didn't pitch in the minors for long.  A year after being drafted by the Dodgers he found himself in Dodger Blue, and eventually started his first game against the Reds in late June.  He pitched 6 shut out innings in his first start for a win, and soon worked his way towards being an everyday starter.

In 1978, Welch pitched out of the bullpen in the World Series; having recorded a save in Game 2 and a loss in Game 4.  In 1980, he became an All-Star for the first time.  In 1987, Bob Welch was traded to the A's as a key part of a multiple player deal that would prove in providing key ingredients for both teams eventual World Series Championships.  As a Dodger he won 115 games, lost 86, had a ERA of 3.14, recorded 23 shut outs and completed 47 games. 

Overall, he won the Cy Young Award in 1990 and was a member of two World Series Championship teams - the Dodgers in 1981 and Oakland A's in 1989.  Welch was also the pitching coach for the Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. 

Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares a great fan memory of welch that is worth your time to check out, here.  Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference.

(pic above via @Dodgers on twitter)

Update:  Per a Dodger press release:
Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's pitching great Bob Welch died of a heart attack Monday night at his home. He was 57.

Welch, who pitched 17 years in the Major Leagues, is survived by three children-Dylan, Riley and Kelly.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Welch," said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. "He was one of the greatest competitors to wear the Dodger uniform. Dodger fans will always remember his confrontation with Yankee great Reggie Jackson in Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, when the 21-year-old rookie struck out Jackson to end the game. "

Welch was a first-round draft choice of the Dodgers in 1977 from Eastern Michigan University and was promoted to the big league team in 1978, spending 10 seasons in Los Angeles. In 1988, he joined the Oakland A's with whom he spent his last seven years in the Majors. Overall, Welch compiled a 211-146 record with 1,969 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA in 3,092 innings.

The right-hander was a part of three World Series champions (1981 Dodgers and 1989 A's as a player, and 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks as their pitching coach). In addition to the '81 Dodgers championship, he was a key contributor to four division-winning (1978, 1981, 1983 and 1985) and two pennant-winning Dodger teams. He was named to the All-Star team twice (1980 and 1990) and earned the American League Cy Young Award in 1990.

Welch was the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a single season, winning a career-high 27 in 1990 for the A's.

Following his retirement in 1994, Welch turned his attention to coaching and community work. He most recently served as a spring training instructor with Oakland this season.

Funeral services are pending.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2014 Topps Tier One Baseball - The Dodger Bat Knob and Relic Cards

Last week Topps released their newest set called Tier One.  As the name suggest, it is a high-value set filled with autographs and relic cards.  There is no base set. 

There is an All-Star Relic card featuring Clayton Kershaw (#ASR-CKE) in the set, and it is a "1 of 1" card.  Unfortunately, it has yet to be unearthed.

There are a whole bunch of Dodger Tier One Bat Knobs cards in this set - both autographed and non-autographed knob cards.  As you know, these are always "1 of 1" cards, and are very scarce.  They regularly sell for hundreds of dollars a piece.  Numerous Dodger players have more than one bat knob cards available in the set.  Below is a complete checklist of Dodger bat knob cards that have been made.  Below that are photos of Dodger Bat Knob cards that have surfaced, so far.

Autographed Bat Knobs Set (All 1 of 1's)

#ABK-AG Adrian Gonzalez
#ABK-HRA Hanley Ramirez
#ABK-HRM Hanley Ramirez

Dodgers Bat Knobs Set (All 1 of 1's)

#BK-AE Andre Ethier
#BK-AGL Adrian Gonzalez
#BK-AGN Adrian Gonzalez
#BK-AGO Adrian Gonzalez
#BK-AGZ Adrian Gonzalez
#BK-CK Clayton Kershaw
#BK-DSI Duke Snider
#BK-DSN Duke Snider
#BK-HRA Hanley Ramirez
#BK-HRI Hanley Ramirez
#BK-HRM Hanley Ramirez
#BK-MKE Matt Kemp
#BK-MKM Matt Kemp
#BK-MKP Matt Kemp
#BK-MKT Matt Kemp
#BK-PRE Pee Wee Reese
#BK-PRS Pee Wee Reese
#BK-RHN Rickey Henderson
#BK-SVI Shane Victorino
#BK-SVT Shane Victorino
#BK-YP Yasiel Puig 
#BK-AE Andre Ethier  

#BK-CK Clayton Kershaw

#BK-HRA Hanley Ramirez

#BK-MKT Matt Kemp 

#BK-SVT Shane Victorino

#BK-YP Yasiel Puig 

UPDATE:  Below is a recently discovered Duke Snider Bat Knob card

Below are Tier One Relic cards.  Four Dodgers are available: Adrian Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez and Hyun-Jin Ryu.  As you'll notice, there are three different relics available for each player - single, double and triple relic pieces.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to track down a  triple relic card for Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw

Relics Set Checklist

#TOR-AG Adrian Gonzalez

UPDATE:  Here's the triple relic Adrian Gonzalez card.

#TOR-CKE Clayton Kershaw

UPDATE:  Here's the triple relic Clayton Kershaw card.

#TOR-HRA Hanley Ramirez

#TOR-HRY Hyun-Jin Ryu

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 6/10/2014 - Dodger Links - Van Slyke, Kemp's Bubble Bobblehead and the Imminent Return of the Injured

Scott Van Slyke provided some needed power last - to the tune of 2 home runs.  GRaphic above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA wonders, "Is Scott Van Slyke the next Jayson Werth?"
Ellis could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Thursday, according to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Uribe said he thinks he could be playing in minor league games “in a couple days.” 
  • I don't quite know what I think about this. Via Ryan Cowley at Make Way for The Kings, "Could LA Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer Really Buy the Los Angeles Kings?"
  • Yasiel loves the Kings.  Go Kings Go!

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