Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Burleigh Grimes - Vintage Photo of his Spit Ball Grip

Former Dodger and Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes was born on this day in 1893 - 121-years ago.  He pitched for the Dodgers early in his career from 1918 to 1926; having recorded an 158-121 record, 3.46 ERA and 205 complete games for Uncle Robbie's "Daffiness Boys" in Brooklyn.  Overall, he had 270 wins and was indicted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Ol' Stubblebeard, as he was called, is noted for being one of the few players legally allowed to throw a spit ball.  When the pitch was banned in 1920 Grimes, who was 26-years old at the time, was one of only 17 ballplayers exempted from the ban and grandfathered in.  So, he used it to his hearts content and parlayed his skill at throwing the offending pitch into a Hall of Fame career.  By the time he retired in 1934, Burleigh Grimes was the very last spit ball pitcher in the Major Leagues.

In commemoration of his birthday check out this great vintage press photo that I found on eBay showing off his grip for throwing the spit ball, below.  As you can see, it is basically a two-seam fastball grip with a little bit of grease on the side.
(eBay Auction Link)

Below is the reverse of the photograph and includes a byline.
(eBay Auction Link)

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2014 Topps Finest Baseball - The Dodger Insert Cards

Following up on Friday's post featuring the Dodger base cards to the 2014 Finest Baseball card set, here are the various Dodger insert cards that are available.  Go here to check out my past post on this set.

Of special note, there is a Mike Piazza card in a Dodger uniform available.  It's a part of the Finest Vintage Insert set.  It looks like he just took a big swing on a pitch up-'n-away for a homer to the opposite field.  Awesome!

1994 Finest Insert Set

#94F-CK Clayton Kershaw                      #94F-YP Yasiel Puig

A Dodger Stadium Exclusive - Montejo Cerveza

Last week, Montejo Cerveza, a import from Anheuser-Busch, invited me to a promotional dinner/get together at Dodger Stadium to usher in the newest brew to be available at games.  Unfortunately, I could not attend - primarily because my day job got in the way.  Damn you day job!

No worries though, the folks who put together the shindig were kind enough to pass along some photos to share.  You can see those below.

From what I understand, Montejo has been around for over 100 years and has been a regional favorite in the Yucatan for many decades.  Now, for the remainder of the Baseball season only fans attending games at Dodger Stadium can enjoy this lager.  It is an exclusive to Dodger Stadium.
“Our brewmasters have perfected the Montejo recipe using time-honored Mexican brewing traditions. The result is a bright, smooth and full-flavored lager with a crisp finish.”
Mmmmm... I am getting thirsty. 
LA Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela greets fans to celebrate the arrival of Montejo authentic Mexican Lager at Dodger Stadium on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)

My biggest regret, besides not getting fed and having a chance to get my drink on for free, was missing out on an opportunity to meet Fernando Valenzuela.  What a bummer.
Fans get the first taste of Montejo at Dodger Stadium on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles,. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)
Michael Young, SVP of Corporate Partnerships of the LA Dodgers, introduces the arrival of Montejo beer exclusively at Dodger Stadium before wider release Sept. 1, along with, left to right, Chef Jaime Martin del Campo, Fernando Valenzuela, Chef Ramiro Arvizu and Javier Vaquer, spokesperson for Montejo, on Fri., Aug. 15, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Anheuser Busch/AP Images)

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Blog Kiosk: 8/18/2014 - Dodger Links - A Tough Weekend and Kemp's Ice Bucket Challenge

This was a very painful weekend series against the Brewers yesterday afternoon. The Dodgers got swept by our Central Division nemesis; having lost five of the six games we've played them this season.  BTW, this is the first time the Dodgers have been swept this year.  As a result, the Dodger now have just a 3.5 game lead over the Giants.  We are far from settling who will win the West this season.

The afternoon started well enough.  It was Cuban Heritage Day during Viva Los Dodgers, and much of the stadium was in a celebrating mood.  Puig and Hanley Ramirez greeted fans to much excitement, and Jessica Alba showed some great form during her warmups for her ceremonial first pitch.  Unfortunately, things went awry soon afterwards.

Foreshadowing the Dodgers start, Jessica Alba missed the plate during her first pitch, and starting pitcher Dan Haren gave up an first inning two-run homer to start the game.  From there, everything went downhill.  By the time the dust settled, the Brewers lead the Dodgers 7 to 0 at the end of the fourth inning.  The Dodgers wouldn't come close to threatening the Brewers lead the entire game.  Graphic above via @SportsNetLA on twitter.

Oh well.  Thankfully, the Dodgers get a day off today.  They have played twenty straight games, and are due for a rest.  As Vin Scully mentioned yesterday afternoon, Baseball union rules dictate that a team cannot play more than twenty games in a row.  No doubt, we need a little rest.

Now, here are some more links to check out.
  • ICYMI: Juan Uribe was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday.  Carlos Triunfel was called up from AAA in his place.  This injury hurts.  For all the criticism Uribe received when he first joined the Dodgers he has since become an important part of the Dodgers offense and defense.  He's a spark plug, and is easily the most underrated player on the team.
  • BTW, to complete the Roberto Hernandez trade the Dodgers sent former 2012 1st round draft pick, Jesmuel Valentin, to the Phillies, via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA.  This completes one-half of the trade.  Another player is still slated to go to Philadelphia.  This might seem like a hefty exchange, but it really isn't.  As an infielder, Valentin appeared to be blocked at every potential position, but likely received a good depth piece in Hernandez for a pennant run.
  • You should expect Pederson and Guerrero in Dodger Blue in September, via Jim Bowden on twitter. With the injuries currently hampering the Dodgers, September couldn't come fast enough.

"We love Hanley," Kasten said." There is still lots of time this season for him to make a big impact in September, and hopefully in October.

"Both sides have agreed we'll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide. We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he's had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us."
Do not be shocked if the Dodgers part way with Hanley this winter.  Considering his injury history, the potential cost and the current minor league depth the club has in the infield, we just might choose to go another direction.  Of course, if Hanley takes a discount then the aforementioned issues might be worth it.

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