Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today's Anniversary: An MLB Record Likely to Stand the Test of Time is Held by a Brooklyn Dodger

Today is a very unique anniversary.  In fact, it marks a record held by a former Brooklyn Dodger ballplayer that has stood for 70 years, and it probably will never be broken.

So, what feat was accomplished on this day?

On August 20, 1945 a fresh faced 17-year-old shortstop, who had already debuted in Dodger Blue the season prior at the age of 16-years and seven months, became the youngest MLB ballplayer to hit a home run in a game.  His name is Tommy Brown and he was 17-years and 257 days old when he did it.  BTW, he is also the second youngest when he hit home run #2 five days later.

I know you're wondering, how is it that someone so young made it up to the show?  After all, Tommy was not a top-flight prospect.  Instead, he played ball as a teen during WWII - a period when many MLB'ers were doing their duty for God and country.

In Tommy's case, Pee Wee Reese was still overseas, and he was remembered by Branch Rickey as being a mobile fielder during spring training (although he wasn't exactly sure-handed).  So need overcame experience.  The youngster got the call from the Class B Piedmont League, and played both ends of a doubleheader on August 3, 1944 for his very first experience on a Major League field.  He went on to be the regular shortstop for the Dodgers, playing in 46 games, that season.  BTW, he is only the second youngest person to ever play Major League ball.  Joe Nuxhall had pitched a game earlier that season at the ripe age of 15.

The following season he again started in the minors but came up to Brooklyn during the tail end of the 1945 season during the pennant chase.  Just over two weeks later he hit his record setting home run against Preacher Roe of the Pirates.  It was the Dodgers lone score that day.

For a fantastic biography on Tommy Brown check out C. Paul Rogers III biography at SABR, here.  Below is a short excerpt about how he came to be signed by Brooklyn:
Tommy Brown was a local kid; he was born December 6, 1927, in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. He never knew his father and was raised primarily by an aunt and uncle. He quit school at a young age to work with his uncle unloading barges on the docks of New York. Brown spent his free time playing baseball on the pavement and cobblestone streets and in the famous Brooklyn Parade Grounds. The Dodgers held open tryouts there in 1943 and a friend who played first base on Tommy’s team talked Brown into going with him. They joined about 2,500 other kids and Brown arrived without a glove or spikes, items he did not own. After three days the Dodgers told him and a handful of others that they would hear from the team. Brown was only fifteen years old. Over the winter, the club offered him a chance to attend spring training in Bear Mountain, New York. His “bonus” was the 25-cent fee for the ferry.
Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

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2015 Topps Chrome - The Dodgers' Culmination Insert Cards

Here's a quick look at the Dodger insert cards found in the 2015 Topps Chrome insert set called Chrome Culminations.  I had failed to include this in my post from yesterdayGo here for all of my previous post on this set.

These cards are what is known in the hobby as a "case hit."  This means that there is one Chrome Culmination card per case, so they are very scarce.  As you can see it includes both a posed and action photo of the player.  Of note, there is an Adrian Beltre Dodger card available.  Also, there is an Clayton Kershaw autograph card seeded into packs, but I have yet to see one.

Chrome Culminations

#CUL-AB Adrian Beltre                     #CUL-AG Adrian Gonzalez

#CUL-CK Clayton Kershaw

Chrome Culminations Autographs

#CUL-CK Clayton Kershaw 
(redemption card)

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Blog Kiosk: 8/20/2015 - Dodger Links - Puig, Zaidi and Rollins

Jimmy Rollins seems happy to have his former teammate in LA.  Watch what he said about it in the clubhouse yesterday from SportsNet LA, here.  Photo above from @SportsNetLA on twitter.  Via Ken Gurnick at, "Rollins likes idea of reunion with Utley."
"I think it would be a lot of fun," Rollins said. "One, he loved this team, went to school at UCLA, plays well at Dodger Stadium, actually beats up the Dodgers. If everything goes through and he's here, it would be nice to see him play home games in a place he's comfortable playing.

"He can add a lot. Hopefully, No. 1 first and foremost, if he's healthy and in a good place. That being the case, the way he's swung the bat, the way he's been playing, we can use it, anybody can. He's a tough guy. More than anything, there will be some new excitement in the clubhouse. He'll have the chance to play meaningful baseball late in the year. It's what we all want."
Below are some links to check out:
  • ICYMI:  The two Dodger prospects sent to Philadelp[hia as a part of the Chase Utley trade are infielder/outfielder Darnell Sweeney and minor league pitcher John Richy.  Per a Dodger press release:
Sweeney was hitting .271 with nine homers, 30 doubles, 32 stolen bases and 49 RBI in 116 games this year for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season. The 24-year-old was the Dodgers’ 13th-round selection out of the University of Central Florida in 2012.

Richy, the Dodgers’ third-round draft selection out of UNLV in 2014, was 10-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. The right-hander pitched for Rookie-level Ogden and Single-A Great Lakes in 2014.  
  •  On why they targeted Utley: “It’s everything. Beyond the numbers, he’s always been a very good defensive second baseman … he’s shown that range (since he came back from the disabled list). His quality of at-bats has been near the top of the league. We made it a point to stack our lineup with players who have quality at-bats. He’s always hit well at Dodger Stadium.
  • “I think we have all the elements of a really good team. We got out of the gates really strong, and we’ve had stretches in other parts of the season where we did certain things well and struggled in other areas. I think we still have talent to bookend our season with a stretch … where we’re firing on all cylinders. We think we have the ingredients of a really good team, and it’s going to come down to execution.”
  • Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, "Yasiel Puig has mild hamstring strain."  He should be ready to go on Friday.
"It was pretty good news today, it feels like," Mattingly said. "This is way less than last time, it seems like. At this point, he's calling it, 'very mild,' and the MRI is not showing a whole lot and Yasiel looks good."
  • Panini has released some more preview pic for their upcoming 2015 Immaculate Baseball set; including the Yasiel Puig jumbo relic card on the right.  Go here to check out a bunch of great pics.

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