Saturday, October 31, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 10/31/2015 - Dodger Links - Honeycutt, Farmer and Darin Erstad?


Check out this fantastic photo of the Ebbets Field press box in 1953 with Vin Scully at the mic.  Photo above via Old Time Baseball Photos on twitter.

Below are more links to check out:
  • Remember this!  Per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, the 2016 Dodger FanFest will be on Saturday, January 30th.
  • Via David Montero at the Daily News, "This Dodgers organist will be in the Bobblehead Hall of Fame."
    “I was pretty surprised by it,” (Nancy) Bea said. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Bobblehead Hall of Fame. But that’s great.”
  • With word leaking that Mattingly will want pitching coach Rick Honeycutt by his side in Miami, we find out that the Dodgers and Honeycutt are in contract negotiations, via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com.
  • Via Jim Callis at MLB.com, "Dodgers in the AFL: Versatile Farmer continuing transition to catcher."
    "We have a great pitching staff here, and I'm looking forward to working with them," Farmer said. "Also, honing in on my own skills and working on blocking the ball better, receiving better and stuff like that. It's fun, and it's an honor to be out here."
  • Huh... Erstad is an intriguing choice.  He was one of those gritty type of players.  Via a tweet from Ken Rosenthal:

  • Panini America will once again roll out a Black Friday promotion for local card shops this year.  Go here to check out a bunch of pics of the cards that will be available in packs; including the Joc Pederson and Clayton Kershaw cards below.  The Kershaw card is especially awesome.
Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland.  After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Vintage Dodgers Flag and Jackie Robinson Memorabilia at Hunt Auctions

Here is a second helping of Dodgers' related memorabilia available for sale at Hunt's current Live Auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  Yesterday, I shared pics of some vintage advertising pieces. 
--------------
(Auction Link)

I'm sure this flag has seen it all.  According to the auction description, it: 
Originates from a descendant of the original recipient whom relates that it was obtained by her father, from an Ebbets Field grounds crew member, following the 1955 World Series.
It would look so great on my wall.  Unfortunately, the $7,500 to $10,000 estimated value far exceeds what I can dish out.

The next three items below all relate to Jackie Robinson.

First, check out a 1954 Jackie Robinson "Major League All-Stars Barnstorming Tour" program, and it's been signed by Jackie in one of the inside pages. 
(Auction Link)

And here is a Jackie Robinson All-Stars barnstorming team souvenir pennant.  It is unclear if this is an companion piece to the above program, but you have to think they were once sold side-by-side.
(Auction Link)

To finish off this post, below is an original painting of Jackie Robinson by Arthur K. Miller.  As you may know, Miller's work has graced the cover of numerous magazines and has been an consistent presence at NSCC for many years.  He's even had his work distributed by the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Go here to check out his website.
(Auction Link)

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2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft - All the Dodger Cards

I almost forgot all about this set.

Featured here are the four Dodger prospects found in packs of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft Baseball.  They include Jose De Leon, Julio Urias, Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvaraz.  Go here for a complete checklist.

Since Leaf does not have an MLB license none of these cards have team logos on them, so the photos look a bit odd.  The exception to this is the Yadier Alvarez card that shows him in a "IPL" uniform.  IPL is the International Prospect League and they put together showcase events for unsigned Latin American ballplayers. 

Base Autographs

#BA-JDL Jose De Leon                           #BA-JU1 Julio Urias

Blog Kiosk: 10/30/2015 - Dodger Links - Time Warner, Vin Scully and an Charity Sale with Unique Dodger Experiences


I can't wait for Spring.  It's a time for hope and optimism.  All that had happened the season before is like water under the bridge, and you can be sure that something new will emerge.  This coming March we'll have a whole new cast of characters manning the dugout, giving orders and navigating the seas.  And you can be assured that there will be plenty of changes on the bench, as well.  What will transpire over the coming months is sure to be a surprise, so I'll just sit back and watch, pontificate and hope for Spring.

The International News press photo above, dated Feb 27, 1957, is of an early spring training practice session at Dodgertown in Vero Beach.  Walter Alston is seen watching intently from the field behind a protective cage.  I found this pic on eBay.  You can check out the auction here.

Below are more links to check out:
  • Did you miss Vin Scully's brief interview on SportsNet LA yesterday?  No worries.  Check it a 4:30 minute snippet here.  With regards to his recent medical procedure he said:
“I guess for the men watching I could just tell them that it had to do with plumbing, and we can let it go at that. But I’m fine. I really am.”
  • Check out this fantastic charity sale being put together by AM570 in support of the 2015 Paralyzed Veterans of America Radiothon.  It includes once in a lifetime experiences with the Dodgers.  You can be a Dodger for a day, get a suite, throw out the first pitch, interview Adrian Gonzalez, take batting practice, etc.
  • In case you're interested, the Dodgers AA club Tulsa Drillers have finalized their schedule for the 2016 season.  Check it out here.
  • Both Zach Greinke and Adrian Gonzalez are finalist for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards this season.  Check out the finalist list here.
  • Time Warner, owner of SportsNet LA, released their quarterly earning report yesterday and beat expectations.  Unfortunately, the followup conference call with investors didn't provide much news on the Dodgers channel and the drive to expand its reach.  Instead, they noted that the Dodgers contributed greatly to the increase in cost to the company.  Per a transcript of the call:
Programming and content costs, which increased $135 million, or 10.2% year-over-year, continued to be the biggest drag on adjusted OIBDA. As in Q2, contractual affiliate fee increases of roughly $100 million and a contractual increase of around $30 million in Dodgers' rights fees were the two biggest components of the increase.
So, at least the Dodgers are getting paid.
17-year old Eiji Sawamura was widely considered the best high school ballplayer in Japan’s new and budding baseball culture. When he was asked to take part in the exhibition series it meant being expelled from high school and forfeiting the chance to pitch in college. But Sawamura saw it as a great opportunity to represent his country and gave up a future education for the chance to take on the best players in the world. The young righty hurler took the mound against Earl Whitehill and the two became locked in a pitchers’ duel that is still talked about today. Sawamura would steal the show despite ultimately losing the game. That’s not surprising considering he struck out Charlie Gehringer, Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx in succession, a stunning feat comparable only to Carl Hubbell’s performance in the 1934 All-Star Game and, later, Pedro Martinez in the 1999 All-Star Game.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dodgers on Vintage Advertising Pieces at Hunt Auctions

Advertising makes the business of Baseball go 'round.

Hunt's current Live Auction at Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory includes a handful of fantastic vintage advertising pieces featuring several Dodgers' of note.  Check them out below.
(Auction Link)

Red Barber, Ford C. Frick Award winner and legendary Brooklyn Dodger broadcaster, is featured in the large-sized Old Gold Cigarettes poster above.  He manned the mic for the Dodgers from 1939 to 1953, and is renowned for his folksy style.  He popularized phases such as; "can of corn,"sittin' in the catbird seat" and "back, back, back..."  The latter was eventually adopted by ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman.

As you may know, Barber was from the South, so he initially had some very mixed feelings about the Dodgers signing Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier.  In fact, he was determined to quit his position with the team.  Due to the prodding of his wife, though, he stuck it out and was witnessed to not only the fantastic play of Robinson but also the vicious verbal attacks by opposing fans.  Quickly, he became a cheerleader for Jackie, as well as the other black ballplayers to follow him.

One of those barrier-breaking ballplayers to follow Robinson was Roy Campanella, and featured below is a counter-top store display advertising Coca Cola with him on it.  It is dated to 1952.
(Auction Link)

Below is a 1950's era Rawlings advertising poster featuring Brooklyn Dodger centerfielder Duke Snider.
(Auction Link)

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2015 Topps Heritage '51 Collection - All the Dodgers' Cards

The hobby sure loves their vintage sets.  This week Topps released their newest card concoction, and it's in complete set form.  It is called Topps Heritage '51 Collection and it takes an old card design (1951 Topps) and inserts modern stars all over it.  They are sold as an complete base set (104 cards) and includes 21 mini parallel cards and one autograph card per box.  Go here for a complete checklist.  An unopened factory set will cost you from $80 to $90 a piece.  If you're interested in only the base set of 104 cards then that'll probably cost you about $50 (at least that's what current asking prices are on eBay).

Check out all the Dodger cards below.

#27 Joc Pederson                                #49 Zack Greinke

Blog Kiosk: 10/29/2015 - Dodger Links - Greinke, Sax and Vin Scully


After a little medical procedure during the recent playoffs - putting him out of commission - Vin Scully looks quite dapper just a few weeks later in the photo above.  He seems healthy, strong and prepared to tackle the oncoming 2016 Baseball season with his usual gusto.  The pic above is from a recent interview he had with broadcaster Alanna Rizzo, and it will air tonight on SportsNet LA at 7:00 PM.  So, if you've got the channel you should go check it out.  Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“Yes,” Scully told Rizzo in regards to the 2016 season. “Oh yeah, definitely. I’m looking forward to next year, maybe because it’s my last year. I’m looking forward to it as much as my second year because I got by the first year and I was so thrilled there was another one coming up — well, that’s how I feel about ’16. I’m chafing at the bit.”
Ugh!  I still can't wrap my head around the notion that 2016 will be Scully's last year behind the mic.  Worse yet, there are hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of fans who will likely be unable to enjoy his words due to the Time Warner mess. 

Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
“He was like a second father to me,” said Sax, a former Dodgers second baseman. “He was a tutor to a lot of players, an unbelieveable man. He would work all of us out tirelessly to make sure we did things right. He knew just about everything in baseball. He wasn’t boastful but could always give you that special input. Between seasons, I’d come back home to meet with him. If it wasn’t for Ronnie, I probably would have never made it to the major leagues.”
"He's incredibly bright, he's a tremendous leader of people, and he's an exceptional communicator. It's so hard for players, who are so mired in it, to sometimes see the bigger picture or even look at it from a different perspective. Gabe is incredibly skilled at seeing things at different perspectives."
Mattingly's deal is for four years, according to the source. He will be the club's eighth manager since 2010. The Marlins are thought to be waiting until after the World Series to make a formal announcement.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Want to Carve some Dodger Pumpkins? - Here Are Some Templates

I'm probably way too late in putting these up, so I apologize in advance.  Below are several templates for carving your very own Dodger-themed Halloween pumpkin.  Click on any of the pics below to embiggen.  If you've got any of your own you'd be willing to share please pass them along.  I'd love to have a Clayton Kershaw outline.

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

(pdf download link)

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(pdf download link)

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey and JJ Redick

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

---------------------------

This coming Friday, October 30th Tommy Lasorda and Author Colin Gunderson will be having a book signing at the B Sweet Dessert Bar on Sawtelle Boulevard.  As you can see in the flyer below, it will be during the Game 3 of the World Series.  An exact time of their appearance has yet to announced.  Tommy will be there starting at 5:00 PM.  For more information go here, here, here or here.
B Sweet
Dessert Bar
2005 Sawtelle Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025
---------------------------

To kick off the grand opening of a new Dick's Sporting Goods store at the Glendale Galleria former Dodger great Steve Garvey and current LA Clippers guard JJ Redick will be making appearances.  Go here for information.
  • Steve Garvey will appear on Saturday, October 31st from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
WRISTBAND REQUIRED! Beginning at 8AM local time, 300 wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the store on the day of event only. Limit one wristband and one autograph per person. Fans must have a wristband and must be in the Special Appearance line by 11:00AM to receive an autograph. Times and appearances are subject to change without notice. See store for details. 
  • JJ Redick will appear on Sunday, September 1st from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
WRISTBAND REQUIRED! Beginning at 9AM local time, 300 wristbands will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the store on the day of event only. Limit one wristband and one autograph per person. Fans must have a wristband and must be in the Special Appearance line by 4:00PM to receive an autograph. Times and appearances are subject to change without notice. See store for details.
Dick's Sporting Goods 
Glendale Galleria 
200 W Broadway 
Glendale, CA 91210
818-476-5960 
Hat Tip: Roberto at Vin Scully is My Homeboy.

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2015 Topps Update Baseball - The Dodger All-Star Cards

Here is a final look at the Dodgers' cards found in packs of 2015 Topps Update.  Below are all of the 2015 All-Star Game related cards.  Go here to check out all of my previous post on this set.

Of special note is the MLB All-Star Game Access card of Clayton Kershaw below.  This might be my favorite Dodger card of 2015.  Seated on Clayton's lap is his young daughter Cali Ann Kershaw.  If she ever becomes a famous athlete herself this will be her rookie card.

MLB All-Star Game Access

#MLB-6 Joc Pederson                  #MLB-12 Zack Greinke

#MLB-15 Clayton Kershaw

Blog Kiosk: 10/28/2015 - Dodger Links - Bernie Sanders, Mattingly and the Dodger Hat Guy


What a fantastic Game 1 to the 2015 World Series.  There was hi-jinks (inside-the-park home run).  There was drama (death of Edinson Volquez's father before the game).  And then there was this guy sitting in the stands behind home plate. 

I see you Dodger fan.  I think all of the Baseball watching world saw you last night, and depending on your affiliation you either loved it or hated it. 

Below are more links to check out:
  • I found this totally fascinating.  Via Les Carpenter at The Guardian, "How the Dodgers and baseball shaped Bernie Sanders' world view."  Apparently, Sanders was a Brooklyn Dodger fan as a youth, and the team leaving his hometown had an indelible impact on him.  
“Bernie and I were both Dodger fans and we talk about that,” Gutman says. “It was the (first indication) that those with a lot of money may have an interest that is different than the community’s interests.”

When asked what he means, Gutman replies:

“We never understood that he who pays the piper plays the tune. It was a lesson that it doesn’t matter whether people love (a team) it’s all about the money. I don’t think there had been those kinds of things. We all know now the sports world is all about making money but this was the first time we saw it. This was uprooting a club that had all these historical links to the community.”
  • Yeah.  This is awesome.  Via Bill Shaikin at the LA Times, "Juan Uribe and son of Raul Mondesi make World Series rosters."
  • Via Joel Sherman at the NY Post, "Chase Utley is coming back — if he can find a team."
  • You can listen to Don Mattingly's interview with Dan Patrick here.  He talks a bit about the Marlin's interview what happened to cause him to leave the Dodgers.
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Tim Wallach reportedly interviews for Padres managerial job."
  • This is fantastic.  You can now get a Hiccups The Clown bobblehead from the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, here.  A portion of the proceeds for each bobblehead will go to PADRES Contra El C├íncer (Parents Against Cancer).  They are individually numbered to 500 only.
  • Panini America shares some preview pics from their upcoming 2015 National Treasures Baseball card set; including the four-player relic card with Clayton Kershaw as seen on the right.  Go here to check out more pics.  BTW, the set comes out in early January 2015.
  • I didn't even realize... Via Dave Zirin at The Nation, "For the First Time in History, the World Series Is Between 2 Teams That Were Never Segregated."
But this World Series represents more than just series of tantalizing face-offs. It also has some historical bite. Baseball has long been looked at as a mirror of where we are as a country on issues of race, “a canary in the coal mine,” to quote sports sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards. This World Series offers a particularly bracing and lucid look. In the entire 112-year history of baseball’s championship round, we are presented for the first time with a Fall Classic pitting two teams that never fielded all-white, segregated rosters. 
Zirin also addressed the decreasing rate of African-American participation within the game.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Navy Photo of Duke Snider at MEARS Auction


What a strapping young lad.

Featured above are several childhood photos of Dodger Hall of Famer Duke Snider that are currently available for sale through MEARS Auction.  Check it out here.

In one of the pics Snider is shown in his Naval uniform.  After spending his first season as a Dodger farmhand at the age of 17, Duke joined the military.  He served for 19 months.  Per an biography at Baseball in Wartime:
"They checked us just enough to make sure we were warm and upright," he explained in his autobiography The Duke of Flatbush, "and a guy handed me some papers I didn't want to know about and screamed 'NAVY!' in my face at the top of his lungs. I was headed for he high seas. I wondered why they took me if they thought I was deaf."

Snider served as a fireman, third class on the  submarine tender USS Sperry at Guam. Snider used to win bets against other sailors and servicemen by throwing a baseball the length of submarines that arrived at Guam, that's about 300 feet. "I'd throw the ball the length of their sub, my crewmates would win $300 or so, and I'd pick up my guarantee - $50," he recalls

“We played lots of baseball and basketball on Guam. Pee Wee Reese was stationed there, too, but I never bumped into him.” Snider moonlighted for the 2nd Marine Division team while on Guam as well as playing for the USS Sperry team.

In between playing baseball, Snider's main duty on the USS Sperry was dishwashing detail. "There was a porthole behind the sink and any time we came across a chipped glass or dish that wouldn't come clean in less than a second we fired the sucker into the Pacific Ocean."
Duke never found himself in combat during his service with the Navy. 

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Turmoil at Time Warner - SportsNet LA is No Closer to Full Coverage


On the television front, the Dodgers appear to be no closer to getting full coverage throughout the Southland.  SportsNet LA is still not being carried, and now we hear that David Rone, the architect and driving force behind TWC's sports RSN business, is leaving the company.  Via Meg James at the LA Times:
Rone will step down at the end of this week, but will serve as a consultant at least through December.

"David has accomplished what he set out to do here at TWC, including successfully launching three regional sports networks," Time Warner Cable spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi said late Monday.

"He feels that with this success, the pending acquisition and a strong bench of talented employees who have worked for him, it would be a good time to start exploring other opportunities," Fegyveresi said.
It's probably best to take everything said above with a grain of salt.  After all, it is widely believed that the SportsNet LA channel is hemorrhaging over $100 Million a year in losses.  Furthermore, the Lakers are playing some of the poorest basketball in their history, so viewership has to be getting hit as a result.  Needless to say, all is not exactly well there.

BTW, along with Rone leaving the channel is also cutting cost:
Time Warner Cable has been cutting expenses and laying off staff members within its El Segundo programming division. Last month, it canceled several programs, including "Dodgers Clubhouse" and "Larry King at Bat."
Worse yet, the newly proposed merger with Charter is now facing some regulatory hurdles.  A couple of weeks ago the National Association of Broadcasters petitioned the FCC to suspend the merger, DISH Network did the same and AT&T (while not opposing the merger) asked the FCC to "review the transaction carefully and consider the impact of cable consolidation and coordination on emerging competition."  

At this point, this merger is still likely to happen, but the potential delays inherent in a transaction of this size is certain to slow SportsNet LA reach into new markets. 

Heck, it could mean a third straight year of no Dodger Baseball in a majority of homes.... And that means that a majority of fans will not be able to enjoy Vin Scully's last year with the team.  This would be the biggest shame of all.

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Blog Kiosk: 10/27/2015 - Dodger Links - Mattingly, Grandal and Zack Greinke


Same as it ever was.

When the game gets out of hand the players can often get a bit short-tempered.  As evidenced by the Associated Press photo above, dated June 5, 1950, we are witness to a melee between the Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley field.  The Dodgers were well on their way towards an embarrassing rout of the Cubbies when in the fourth inning outfielder Jim Russell took offense at an inside pitch from Chicago hurler Paul Minner.

So, Russell charged the mound.  A shove here... A punch there... Before you knew it a bunch of ballplayers were sprawled on the ground like some schoolkids playing tackle football.

No doubt, cooler heads eventually prevailed.  Russell was out of the game, and the Dodgers went on to score seven more runs to win 13 to 1.  I found the photo above on eBay.  Check that auction out here.

Below are more links to check out:

"We knew there was a chance that we might had to do the labrum. But obviously I didn't want to take longer to come back," Grandal said on Monday. "So I was very happy to hear that the labrum wasn't touched once I woke up from the surgery."
  • Joc Pederson came in fourth in the Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year polling of 167 current players (link here).  Andre Etheir came in fifth in the Sporting News National League Comeback Player of the Year polling of 198 current players (link here).
  • Via Mike Rosenbaum at MLB.com, "Dodgers' Farmer continues hot hitting in AFL."
"I worked hard in the offseason lifting weights and getting my lower half in shape," he said. "I also made a slight adjustment to my swing, and things have just taken off from there."

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    Monday, October 26, 2015

    2015 Topps Update Baseball - The Dodgers' Insert Cards

    Below are most of the Dodgers' insert cards found in packs of 2015 Topps Update.  Go here to check out all of my previous post on this set.  I should have many of the All-Star cards found within the set tomorrow.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to see any of the Bunt Code cards of the two Dodger players below.  These cards are related to the online app called "Topps BUNT" that is an virtual trading card game.

    Bunt Code Cards (#25)

    • #Joc Pederson
    • #Zack Greinke

    Career High Jumbo Relics (#/25)

    #CHJR-JPE Joc Pederson

    Career Highlights Autographs

    #CHA-DG Dee Gordon

    Blog Kiosk: 8/26/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends


    With the World Series just around the corner I thought the above photo of the Dodgers playing the Fall Classic in 1959 was worth a gander.  They faced off against the Chicago White Sox and eventually beat them in six games.  In the above photo they played in front of 92,000 eager fans at the LA Coliseum.  Photo via Lost Ballparks on Twitter.

    Below are more links to check out:
    • Funny!  Via Mike Oz at Big League Stew, "(California) Congressman who lost bet sings 'Meet the Mets' on House floor."  Check out the video.
    • Bob D'Angelo at Sports Collectors Daily shares some preview pics from 2016 Topps Gypsy Queen; including the Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax cards below.  This set comes out in early April.
    I'm sorry, but as much as I recognize the importance of analytics, it is disrespectful for teams to overlook the value of experience when considering prospective managers. If the main prerequisite for managing is merely sharing and implementing the GM's vision, then a whole bunch of qualified people will continue to be shut out.

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      Friday, October 23, 2015

      Dan Bankhead Puerto Rican League Baseball Card


      I came across the above 1949-50 Toleteros Puerto Rican Winter League Baseball card above at a CubanBaseballCard.com auction and decided to share it.  It is currently available on auction.  Check that out here.

      It features former Dodger pitcher Dan Bankhead as a member of Caguas Criollos.  As you may know, he was the very first African-American pitcher in the Major Leagues; having joined Brooklyn just a few months after Jackie's debut.  At the time, the Dodgers were hurting for pitching, so the team scouted the Negro Leagues for an immediate filler.

      Sometimes compared to Bob Feller, he was a well-known commodity with a blazing fastball, but a penchant for being wild.  Still, he had the "can't miss" label stamped all over him, so the team was thankful to have signed him.

      Since Brooklyn needed his arm right away, Bankhead was immediately tasked with joining the big club.  Unfortunately, his first Major League game was not a good one.  He came in out of the bullpen against Pittsburgh in late August 1947, and got pummeled.  I don't mean that in a physically violent way, although by some accounts this was a worry for Bankhead.  What I mean is that the Pirates knocked out ten hits in his 3.1 innings of work; driving in eight earned runs.  Certainly not a great beginning for Dan.

      What's interesting about this game, though, is not how poorly he pitched.  What's interesting is the outcome of an single at-bat that happened in the fourth inning against Pirate outfielder Wally Westlake.  On the very first pitch to Westlake, with two men on, Bankhead threw a fastball that got away from him.  Dan's pitch had launched itself hard and fast, and struck Wally square into his left elbow.

      Based on certain accounts, Dan Bankhead was scared to death of this possibility.  Per Buck O'Neil, as told by Rory Costello at the SABR Biography Project:
      “See, here’s what I always heard. Dan was scared to death that he was going to hit a white boy with a pitch. He thought there might be some sort of riot if he did it. Dan was from Alabama just like your father. But Satchel became a man of the world. Dan was always from Alabama, you know what I mean? He heard all those people calling him names, making those threats, and he was scared. He’d seen black men get lynched.”
      Can you imagine what was going through his mind after that?

      I can only guess that glimpses of past horrors rushed to him like a hurricane in the Pacific.  As O'Neil intimated above, having witnessed the worse society can offer, I'd be willing to bet that Dan Bankhead was in the midst of fearing for his life.  Instead, a better outcome ensued.

      Wally Westlake brushed it off like it was any other hit-by-pitch.  He took his base to load them up without any fanfare.

      And with that the game of Baseball, in the span of a single season, had witnessed not only its first integrated game but also a hit batsman that didn't invoke a race riot.  I know that in today's eye's this notion seems silly, but in 1947 this was a real concern... And a major societal advancement for the country.

      If you're interested in knowing more about Dan Bankhead I suggest checking out Rory Costello's fantastic biography at the SABR Biography Project here.  It's well worth your time to read.

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      Vintage LA Dodger Pennant from the Teams First Year


      I've never been much of a pennant collector, but the one featured above and currently available for sale at Worthridge Auctions is too cool not to mention.  Check out the auction here.

      Here is a 1958 Los Angeles Dodgers pennant from the teams first year in California that includes a fantastic graphic of the LA Coliseum.  Best yet, the lovable Brooklyn Dodger "Bum" is seen with a halo over his head and the following caption:
      "A New Home"
      Awesome!

      I have no idea what something like this is valued at, but I bet it would look great on the wall of Dodger fans sport cave.

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      Blog Kiosk: 10/23/2015 - Dodger Links - Breaking Up is Hard to Do


      They sure do know how to pack them in.  Above is a view of the Dodger press room for yesterday's press conference to discuss the departure of manager Don Mattingly, and it was filled to the brim.  Even with the World Series on the horizon the Dodgers became the talk of Baseball, and I suppose we fans would want nothing less.  The photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Also, you can watch the entire press conference here.

      There isn't much more that I can add to what's already been said and written.  Donnie is gone, and the impression given by all parties is that it was an amicable split.  Of course, that's like any breakup with a significant other that didn't end with screaming expletives and broken bottles.

      "Sure... It just didn't work out... Let's just be friends... No, it's me... Really, it's me, not you."

      Nevertheless, that's the story they are telling and nothing in the world will change their narrative.  Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
      “If there was a reason that this happened, we would share it,” Friedman said during a 45-minute session for him and Zaidi at Dodger Stadium. “There’s not. It was a collection of a lot of different conversations over many days that got us to this point. So it’s not so black and white here. There is a huge middle, and it’s gray, and that’s how everything played out.”
      Mattingly expressed similar words, as shared by Mark Saxon at ESPN:
      "I can't sit here and say I'm just bubbling over," Mattingly said. "There are a lot of emotions that go into this, a lot of discussion, a lot of talk, but it gets back around to the same thing as we kept talking and going over it. We all came to the same conclusion. This is best for both parties."
      Wow!  It's amazing how much this does sound like a high school breakup. 

      Below are more links to check out:

      • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, with Mattingly now out of the picture, "Dodgers coaching staff told they are free to look elsewhere for jobs."
      "We talked to them this morning. Obviously we wish that we had more answers to provide but we don't. This process is just getting underway," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on Thursday. "We told them they are free to look elsewhere."
      In fact, Eric wrote earlier that, "Tim Wallach interview(ed) for Nationals' managerial opening."
      • To the surprise of no one, Mattingly's players come to his defense.  Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com: "Dodgers players hold Mattingly in high regard."  
      "I loved playing for Donnie," said Clayton Kershaw, Opening Day starter for each of Mattingly's five seasons. "He has and will always have my utmost respect. I have nothing but positive things to say about him as a person and a manager. He will be missed."
      Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, "A.J. Ellis has strong words of support for Don Mattingly."
      "From my experience, rarely does a player you grew up idolizing come close to even meeting your expectations. To say Donnie exceeded mine is an understatement. Donnie is the most consistent, optimistic person I have ever been around, on or off the field. It was an honor playing for him, and to embrace each other as we did these past three years after clinching a division title are cherished memories. I have no doubt he will be a world champion manager some day, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to play for him."
      • Former Dodger pitcher Dan Haren has called it quits.  He is retiring from the game, via his tweet:

      • Um.... What?  Keith Hernandez told Dan Patrick that the Dodgers front office created an essay test for their scouts, and whoever didn't pass was fired.  It starts at the 6:18 point.  I want to know what the three test questions were.

      Video Link:

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      Thursday, October 22, 2015

      Vintage Dodger Shot Glasses to Ease the Soul - At ITPC Auction


      I could certainly use a little bit of drink in the above shot glasses right now.  Couldn't you?

      After excitedly following the Dodgers all season long, I find that what transpired over the past several weeks to be more than deflating.  It was gut-wrenching, demoralizing and just plain awful.  Everything was looking great coming into October then the wheels fell off... The oven cooled... That phone number was suddenly disconnected.

      The season ended with a thud, and now I'm left wondering what to make of the future.  Everything will be different next year, and the fear and uncertainty that comes with change will soon envelop everything.

      So, I'm sitting here at my desk pondering what I should drink in the above vintage shot glasses that celebrates one of the six championships won by the franchise - 1963 to be exact.

      What do you think, folks? 

      Whisky, Taquila or Schnapps?

      You decide. 

      In the meantime, check out the Inside the Park Collectibles Auction where you can find this four-piece set seen above.  It is currently available for sale there.  I am uncertain how exactly these little glasses were originally distributed.  I had previously read that they were sold at Dodger Stadium the following season; which is certainly possible. 

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      2015 Topps Update Baseball - The Dodger Variation Cards

      Following up on yesterday's post featuring the Dodger base cards found in the 2015 Topps Update set, I now share the numerous variation cards that are available.  Check them all out below.

      As you can see, there is one Dodger base photo variation card, two different sparkle cards and three sabermetric statistic cards.  You can see a complete checklist of variations available here.

      Base Photo Variations

      #US-309 Howie Kendrick
      Normal Base                                           Variation Card

      And He's Gone - Don Mattingly Decides It's Time to Go


      The move that has been speculated about endlessly has finally happened.  After winning his third straight division championship - a first for the franchise - manager Don Mattingly and Dodgers have agreed to part ways.

      I can't say that I'm surprised, but I hardly believe it to be warranted.  As I've written about plenty of times before, I like Donnie Baseball, and it seems clear to me that he had the respect of the clubhouse.  That said, maybe change was needed for the team, the new ownership, the front office and its fanbase.  Maybe it is just time.

      Certainly, Don Mattingly felt it was time to go.  In a strange turn, it appears this decision to part ways was not initiated by the Dodgers front office.  Instead, according to Ramona Shelbourne at ESPN, it was Donnie who ultimately decided it was time to go.
      Mattingly had one year remaining on his contract, and sources indicated to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that the Dodgers offered him an extension this past weekend. But after years of uncertainty about the Dodgers' long-term commitment to him -- Mattingly has worked under two ownership groups and two general managers -- he informed the team earlier this week that he preferred to move on.
      So, assuming this is true, it appears it wasn't the front office who pushed for this conclusion.  Heck, they wanted him to stay.  After all, there aren't too many managers out there willing and able to juggle an ever-changing roster the way Mattingly did; while at the same time accepting and implementing the constant input (i.e. demands) of an stat orientated front office.  That's the kind of work a magician does.

      Per a Dodgers press release:
      Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, General Manager Farhan Zaidi and Senior Vice-President of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes met and talked extensively with Mattingly for several days following the conclusion of the season.

      “As our end of season process began, we discussed the past year, our future goals, necessary changes, roster needs and other matters relating to next year’s campaign,” said Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “As the dialogue progressed daily, it evolved to a point where we all agreed that it might be best for both sides to start fresh. We decided to think about it for a couple of days and when we spoke again, we felt comfortable that this was the direction to go. I have the utmost respect for Donnie and thoroughly enjoyed working with him this past season. I want to thank him for his hard work and collaboration, as well as his accomplishments, including three consecutive National League West titles. I wish him nothing but success in the future.” 

      “I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Mattingly. “I’ve enjoyed my experiences and relationships with the organization’s staff and players throughout my eight years in L.A. After meeting with Andrew, Farhan and Josh, we all felt that a fresh start would be good for both the organization and me. We talked about several scenarios, including my returning in 2016. However, I believe this is the right time and right move for both parties. I’m still very passionate about managing and hope to get the opportunity in the near future. In the meantime, I want to thank the Dodger organization, the city and our fans for the opportunity and wish the club well going forward.”
      Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

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      Blog Kiosk: 10/22/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends


      Is it wrong for me to yearn for Spring?  The 2015 Baseball isn't even done yet.  Still, I can't wait for those gates at Camelback Ranch to open up again.  2016 figures on being something entirely new, and potentially exciting.  The Dodgers will be ushering in a new era - complete with a new manager - to go along with its new front office.  I'll have more on Mattingly's departure later on.

      In the meantime, check out the above fantastic 1928 ACME press photo from an Brooklyn Dodgers/Robins Spring training camp in Clearwater, Florida.  Featured are Hall of Famers Wilbert Robinson and Dazzy Vance hashing out their plan for the upcoming season.  It is currently available for sale through RMY Auctions.  Check it out here.

      Below are more links to check out:
      Turner is just one of four Dodger players to OPS 1.300 or higher with a minimum of 15 plate appearances in a series.
      • ICYMI:  The Dodgers pick up some scraps in hopes of finding gold.  They claimed right-handed pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla from the Texas Rangers and placed the 25-year-old on the 60-day disabled list (recovery from April Tommy John surgery).  Per a Dodger press release:
        Bonilla missed the entire 2015 season due to injury after making his Major League debut in 2014 and going 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA in five games (three starts) with the Rangers. In 170 minor league games (43 starts) in six minor league seasons, Bonilla has posted a 27-20 record with 15 saves and a 3.17 ERA, while limiting opponents to a .232 batting average with 489 strikeouts in 429.0 innings. Bonilla, who was honored with a 2012 selection to the Futures Game, was originally signed by the Phillies in 2008 as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic and then traded to Texas in 2012.
      • Now that the minor league season is over, Baseball America takes a look at best and brightest of the 2015 Baseball draft by sharing their "Best Of" list that includes several Dodgers.  Check it out here.  38th Round pick Edwin Drexler was named the second best fastest runner, 11th round pick Imani Abdullah was named the third best late-round pick and 1st rounder Kyle Funkhauser was named the top draftee to get away.
      • Could Baseball return as an Olympic sport?  Via the Australian Baseball Digest, "BASEBALL/SOFTBALL SHORTLISTED FOR TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES."
      “Reinstatement back into the Olympic Games is an extensive process for the sport, so it is encouraging this evening to receive the news that Baseball/Softball has made it to the next step, and it is credit to the sports global movement”, said Baseball Australia President, David Hynes.

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