Thursday, December 10, 2015

Corresponding About Campanella - Letter from Felton to O'Malley

This is fantastic. 

Featured above is an letter from former Brooklyn Dodger pregame television host Happy Felton to LA Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley in 1958.  It is currently for sale in the Lelands 2015 Winter Auction (auction link here).  In it he writes about recently taping an interview with Roy Campanella, who was paralyzed by this time, and how he was doing his best to help Campy earn a little bit more income.  Furthermore, Felton spread some good news that Roy was physically improving just a bit.

As you know, the Dodgers eventually put together an fund raising event for Campanella at the LA Coliseum that drew 93,103 fans (a record for a game at the time) in May of 1959 that raised a whole bunch of dough.  I wonder if this letter was one of many that lead to that endeavor.   After all, it appears that everyone involved truly wanted to do everything they can for Campy.

Below is what Felton wrote to O'Malley:
Deal Walter,

Saw Campy last Thursday, and this morning I taped an interview show with him.  Dr. Rusk and the rent of the staff seem to think it would be very good for him therapeutically, and, of course, if I am able to sell it, it would be a source of income for him.  I am taking it to the American Tobacco Co. tomorrow.

They had him in a chair for the first time today, and they seemed to be well pleased.  He is moving both arms and was able to feel a piece of paper between his thumb and fore finger on his right hand.  This cheered him up quite a bit.

Don't let those Californians get you down.  Good luck next Tuesday.  Our love to all of you.

Happy Felton

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Welcome to the Blue, Hisashi Iwakuma! UPDATE: Deal is Dead!

Considering the recent brouhaha surrounding the supposed trade between the Reds and Dodgers I figured it was best to error on the side of caution before posting this up.  After all, it's not so relevant to me that I be first out of the gate.  I just want to celebrate a players entrance into the Dodger family, and share a couple of fantasy Baseball cards I made in celebration.

As you know by now, the Dodgers have signed right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma; as first reported by Jim Bowden on twitter.  Although yet to be officially confirmed by the team, it appears all but certain to be true. Heck, Mark Saxon noted on twitter today that the Dodgers will hold a press conference announcing the signing tomorrow.  BTW, it has been reported to be a three year deal, via Jon Heyman on twitter:
That comes out to $15 Million a season - a reasonable amount given his age, recent injury history and his skills on the mound.  Iwakuma is 34 years old, suffered a right lateral strain last year that knocked him out for nearly a couple of months and for his career is 47-25 with a 3.17 ERA, 3.62 FIP and 7.7 strike outs per nine innings.  Last season he threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles in August (the second Japanese ballplayer to ever do so).

Iwakuma is a command pitcher who throws a fastball in the low-90's, a split-finger fastball (in high 80's), slider, shuuto and curveball.  He induces plenty of ground balls, so the Dodgers revamped defense should help him a lot.

On a more personal note, Iwakuma is a very spiritual man, via Steve Dilbeck at the LA Times:
Iwakuma is a member of Soka Gakkai International, something of a new-age Buddhism religion centered in Japan. After arthroscopic elbow surgery in 2007, Iwakuma said he was being tentative in his comeback before he was inspired by works from Soka Gakkai's leader, Daisaku Ikeda.

He told Soka Gakkai's monthly newsletter: "Sensing my anxiety, Sensei [Ikeda] looked at me and said: 'Cast away your worries! Become strong!' His guidance was strict yet warm. In his words I sensed with my entire being the trust and high expectations he placed in me.

"That day happened to be my birthday. I took it as Sensei's lifelong gift to me."
In celebration of Iwakuma's signing I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  On the left, the photograph by Mike Ehrmann/Getty and I used the 1961 Topps Baseball card design.  On the right, the photograph is by AP/Ted Warren and I used the 1968 Topps Baseball card design. 

Below are his career statistics as a player, via Baseball-Reference:

UDPATE:  As you surely know, this deal is deal.  According to various reports, Iwakuma failed his physical with the Dodgers.  He also, within 24 hours of those initial reports, signed a one-year contract (with options for the following two seasons) to stay in Seattle.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 12/10/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends

Here's a fantastic vintage color photograph of Ebbets Field from behind the plate towards the right field pole.  Photo via Lost Ballparks on twitter.

Below are more links to check out:
“We’ve had tremendous amount of conversations with other teams … and various agents,” Friedman told Rizzo. “We obviously had a lot of dialogue coming into this week. And so we had a good feel for areas we wanted to spend a lot of time on. Some have led to dead ends, and some are still kind of going. We had a target list of guys that we want to try to acquire, and we’re doing everything we can to try to bring some of these guys to Los Angeles.”

“I think the trickiest part of the offseason by a lot is the timing element. Oftentimes, you’re not able to work down your list methodically — it’s the guy who’s third or fourth on your list you can work something out with now, but that means obviously foregoing guys one, two, three, and that’s a risk that you take. … Do you take the chance and wait?”
  • Oh my!  How things have changed.  Via One NaciĆ³n at ESPN, "Dodgers' Yasiel Puig to return to Cuba with MLB."  They are set to have a Goodwill Tour in Cuba soon and several Cubans who had recently defected are heading back to the island.
For Puig, considering the dangerous circumstances of his escape from Cuba, it's perhaps most important that the Cuban government has promised the returning players that they will be allowed to leave safely and that they will be granted time at the hotel to visit with family members.

  • A must read!  Check out Patrick O'Sullivan's personal story of physical abuse at the hands of his sports obsessed Dad The Players Tribune, titled "Black & Blue."  O'Sullivan played for the LA Kings and I recall hearing stories about his past.
I’m not writing this article for my father. I’m writing it for the people in the parking lot.

Yes, if you say something, you may ruin the relationship you have with that person. You may get embarrassed in front of the other hockey parents. You may have to go through the awkwardness of filing a police report.

I can understand why a lot of people worry, “But what if I’m wrong?”

If you are wrong, that’s the absolute best case scenario. The alternative is that child is a prisoner in his own home. What you’re seeing in the parking lot or outside the locker room — whether it’s a kid getting grabbed and screamed at, or shoved up against a car — could just be the tip of the iceberg.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *