Monday, November 09, 2015

A Peek Inside a 1958 Dodgers Scouting Book from Al Campanis

From time to time you run into something really fascinating on eBay.  That's not to say that the past items I've featured from the online auction house aren't as interesting, it's just that this particular item really takes the cake.  The above guide is purported to be Al Campanis' personal spring training notebook for the 1958 season - the Dodgers first in Los Angeles.  It includes everything from schedules, rules, player notes and photographs.  Check out the auction listing here.

As you may know, Al Campanis was a lifelong Dodger.  He was originally signed by the franchise as a 23-year old free agent in 1940, became a scout for the team after his retirement from playing and eventually rose to the clubs GM position until the infamous incident on "Nightline" in 1987. 

The guidebook appears to be filled with all kind of scouting goodness.  There's grades and notes for every player on the roster, as seen below.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

For Sandy Koufax is says:
Good curve but needs control

There's also scouting notes on numerous up-'n-coming prospects.

Including notes on a couple of well known future Dodgers' - Maury Wills and Frank Howard.

For Wills it says:
Hands too close to his body.  Falls away from the plate.  Not covered outside.  Is afraid of the ball.

Must keep his hands away from his body.  Must step more towards the pitcher keeling his front shoulder in.  This will help him on balls away, especially the slow stuff.
On Frank Howard:
Not covered outside on let-up stuff.  Collapses front knee.  Front shoulder comes out too soon.  Steps hard instead of smooth.  Has a big stride.  Might habe to be shortened.  Is a fine student.  Pulls everything.  Must hit ball where it is pitched.  Must stay with outside pitch a little longer.  Is a bit far from the plate.
Heck, there are even rules for the batting cages; including this one helpful suggestion:
"Be serious when practicing your bunting"

I have no idea what something like this is worth to a collector, but it sure provides some valuable and interesting information about the Dodgers of yore.

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