Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Vintage Pin from a Long Forgotten Dodger Minor League Club - the Odessa Dodgers

Collecting isn't all about autographs, Baseball cards and bobbleheads.  Sometimes it's about history and finding treasures that reflect the past.  For instance, featured above is a vintage pin from a minor league club I'm sure most of you have never heard of.  Heck, before running into this item a few days ago on eBay I had no idea this former Dodger farmclub ever existed. 

The above pin is for the Class D Odessa Dodgers of the short-lived Sophomore League.  A Class D club is akin to Rookie Ball (the Ogden Raptors) or low Single-A (the Great Lakes Loons) leagues that exist today.  The Dodgers resided in Odessa, Texas for only two seasons, from 1959 to 1960, before moving to Artesia, New Mexico for the 1961 season.  After that season the league disbanded.  BTW, the Odessa team played at American Legion Park in Odessa, and this facility still exist today.  Check out photos here.

As for any future Dodgers' who played in Odessa, unfortunately, that cupboard is rather barren.  Only one future Major Leaguer came through there, and he didn't even begin his Major League career in Los Angeles. 

His name was Dick Smith, and he absolutely raked in Odessa during the 1959 season.  He collected 24 doubles, 16 triples, 18 HR, 105 RBI, 15 SB and recorded a .332 batting average.  Later on, he was sold to the Mets (along with Norm Sherry) in 1962.  Then spent the next couple of years bouncing between the Mets and the Buffallo Bisons (their AAA club) before being traded back to the Dodgers for pitching prospect Larry Miller in 1964.  Although he failed to get a hit in seven plate appearances while wearing Blue, Smith did receive his very own Dodger Baseball card courtesy of Topps.  Check it out below (1965 Topps - #579).

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