I was window shopping on eBay this afternoon when I came across a series of photographs that I thought I'd share here. These aren't exactly vintage in nature, but they do elicit some old memories.
Featured are a bunch of scans from original 35mm color slides that were taken by a photographer named Thearon Henderson - who was on assignment for the Upper Deck Company at the time. From what I understand, he is currently with Getty. All of the pics where taken during the 1997 season, and it includes several players you hardly ever see.
As you probably know this was the last season the O'Malley clan owned the franchise. Over the upcoming winter they would ink an agreement to sell all their shares to the Fox Entertainment Group. Furthermore, this season denotes the only full season to feature Bill Russell as a manager.
This Dodger club was suppose to go far. Unfortunately, they ended up playing second billing to the hated Giants - a full two games behind them by the end of the year. On the plus side, we didn't have to hear their harangues for long since they were unmercifully swept in three games by the eventual World Series champion Florida Marlins.
Anyway, this team was a bitter disappointment. We had all the components necessary to win, but couldn't. The club featured an outstanding starting staff and one of the top closers in the game in Todd Worrell. See Worrell's photo above (Auction Link Here). They even recorded a second best National League team ERA of 3.62. Furthermore, the main lineup was stacked with four sluggers who would hit 30 or more home runs.
So, what happened? How did this team under perform?
I dunno. Memories escape me now that it's been almost 20 years. All I do really remember is the utter disappoint of it all.
Anyway, here are even more pics of the 1997 Dodgers that I found from eBay auctioneer thecatspajamas99.
Below are a couple pics of the then reliever Darren Dreifort (Auction Link Here and Here). He wouldn't get to start until the following season. In the meantime, we got an early glimpse at his blistering arm. And make no mistake, this guy could throw.
Probably one of my favorite in-season acquisitions ever was Otis Nixon. See his pic below (Auction Link Here). Not because he was a solid addition to the club, which he was, but because he looked so damn old... Like, he had to be in his late 40's or 50's. In actuality, he was a ripe yet spry 38. To his right is journeyman infielder Tripp Cromer (Auction Link Here).
On the bottom left is one of my all-time favorite Dodger players - Eric Karros (Auction Link Here). On his right is lefty reliever Dennys Reyes (Auction Link Here).
Here are a couple pics of the man who was suppose to help us forget about Delino DeShields. His name was Wilton Guerrero, and instead of assuaging our anger we were witness to him embarrassing us all. He had shattered his bat during a game St. Louis (on June 1st), and immediately scrambled to pick up its shards before anyone noticed. Unfortunately for him, home plate umpire Steve Ripley got suspicious and decided to investigate further. What he saw on the grass was cork... A whole lot of cork. So Wilton Guerrero was thrown out and subsequently suspended. Check out a couple pics of him below (Auction Link Here and Here).
This post wouldn't be complete without a couple photos of Raul Mondesi (Auction Link Here and Here).
* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *