Friday, March 31, 2017

Voodoo Doll to Hex Brooklyn Dodger Pitcher Sal Maglie


Fans will do anything to guarantee a victory. Heck, as evidenced by this thing found on eBay (eBay link), folks will even dabble in the dark arts. 

2017 Topps Tribute Baseball - The Dodgers Base Cards

Featured here are all of the Dodger base cards found in packs of 2017 Topps Tribute.  Go here for a complete checklist.  Of the eight Dodgers' cards available only three are current players -- Maeda, Seager and Kershaw. 

Base Cards

#8 Duke Snider               #12 Tommy Lasorda

Blog Kiosk: 3/31/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Early in spring Clayton Kershaw and family hosted ballplayers from several other teams in Arizona to Spring Training PingPong4Purpose charity event, and was kind enough to share some pics at the Kershaw's Challenge website (link here).
A little over 150 people attended the event, making donations at the door to KC. 50% of the proceeds were to be donated to Kershaw’s Challenge (handicap building project) and the other 50% would be donated to the winner’s choice charity. We were blown away with what the event raised. Just over $14,000 was donated the night-of! Incredible. Clayton and his partner Scott ended up pulling out the big win in the end…as well as Dodger bragging rights until next year’s event.

Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1948 the Dodgers played their very first exhibition game at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. They played against their top farm team, the Montreal Royals, and defeated them 5-4.  Jackie Robinson hit a first inning home run.  Per
Florida Governor Millard Caldwell threw the ceremonial first pitch at so-called “Ebbets Field No. 2.” A sign reading “You Are Now Entering Dodgertown” welcomed a strong showing of some 6,000 fans, paying $1.25 in the grandstands and bolstered the idea of more games being played on base in the future. Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler, who had suspended Manager Durocher one year earlier, shook hands with “The Lip” and wished him good luck. Vero Mayor Merrill P. Barber looked on and a contingent of the Brooklyn National Guard, who had traveled to Florida to watch the Dodgers, was introduced and went home with a “load of oranges presented to them by the Vero Beach Jaycees.”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 Diamond Kings - All the Dodgers Base and Variation Cards

Here is a look at all of the Dodger base and variation cards found in packs of Panini America's 2017 Diamond King Baseball card set.  Go here for a complete checklist. 

Base Set

#6 Carl Erskine                   #7 Carl Furillo

Blog Kiosk: 3/30/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Wow!  Check out this fantastic group of four photos aligned as a panorama of the Brooklyn Dodgers outfield wall, circa 1943.  (eBay Link)

Below are more links to check:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale end their legendary holdout when they signed contracts for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively.  The holdout last 32 days.  In 1981 the Dodgers traded Mickey Hatcher (and a couple other minor leaguers) to the Twins for Kenny Landreaux.  In 1988 the Dodgers signed free veteran catcher Rick Dempsey.
  • Happy Birthday, Nig Fuller!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen - The Dodgers Base Cards and Variations

This is a very busy week for Baseball card collectors.  With Opening Day around the corner just about every card manufacturer is using this week to release new card sets.  Panini America released the Diamond King set today.  A new set called Honus Bonus Fantasy Baseball from Rittenhouse Archives (known for non-sports cards) also came out today.  Heck, Topps released two sets today -- Tribute and Gypsy Queen.  Below are the all of the Dodger base and variation cards found within packs of 2017 Gypsy Queen.  Go here for a complete checklist.

Notably, Rob Segedin gets his very first Dodgers card (if you don't count to Topps Now cards).  Also, I really dig the photo selection for the "Capless" variations of Clayton Kershaw.  He's sporting a serious stare.  You can check this card out at the very bottom.

Base Set

#5 Adrian Gonzalez          #56 Yasmani Grandal

Preview of Clayton Kershaw's Import Dragon MLB Figurine

On Monday I shared several pics of the Corey Seager Import Dragon MLB figurine.  Now I have pics of the Clayton Kershaw figurine to show you.  Check it out above and below.

It measures approximately six inches high and is slated to be released in June.  Go here for the company website.  BTW, you can pre-order this and the Seager figure at Clark Toys, here.

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/29/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

A couple of old pros pass down some knowledge to an eager rookie.  Featured above is an April 15, 1956 Associated Press photo featuring a young Drysdale chatting it up with Labine and Furillo while autographing some balls.  (eBay Link) Per the descriptor:
PART OF THE BIG LEAGUE LIFE--Don Drysdale, center, 19-year-old rookie pitcher whose contract has been taken up by the Dodgers, gets introduced to a rainy day chore-autographing baseballs.  He listens to two "old hands"--pitcher Clem Labine, left, and outfielder Carl Furillo as they go about their work during postponement of today's scheduled exhibition game with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 2004 the Dodgers purchased outfielder Jason Grabowski from the A's.  They also traded reliever Jason Frasor to the Blue Jays for outfielder Jason Werth.  In 2008 the Dodgers played a pregame exhibition game at the LA Coliseum against the Boston Red Sox in celebration of the 50th annniversary of the club's move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.  A crowd of 115,300 attended -- the largest to ever see a Baseball game.
  • Happy Birthday, Hank Gastright, Rube Dessau, Lee Meyer, Gibby Brack, Tommy Holmes, Mike Ramsey & Brian Jordan!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Highlights From Friday's Dodger Stadium Tour

Following up on my post from Saturday featuring previews of some Dodger promos and new stadium foods, I now share highlights from a Dodger Stadium Tour provided by the team on Friday.  (BTW, you can go here for information about taking a stadium tour yourself.)

A Dodger Scorecard from 1885 of an Error Filled Game

Following up on a post from last week that featured two vintage 1884 Brooklyn Atlantics (the Dodger franchise) scorecards, I now share another scorecard from the following season in 1885 (Auction Link).

As you can see, Brooklyn outfielder John Cassidy is featured prominently on the cover. It dates to a game played on July 31st between Brooklyn and the Philadelphia Athletics, which the A's won 10 to 7, and notes a wild and raucous affair.

There were a total of twenty errors recorded in the game -- including nine by Brooklyn pitcher John Harkins.  Hilariously, the story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the next day made sure to let its readers know how bad Harkins was.

Blog Kiosk: 3/28/2017 - Dodgers Links - Ryu Earns a Spot on the Rotation

He's on the comeback trail.

Yesterday Hyun-Jin Ryu received fantastic news.  Although he gave up two homers in his most recent spring start he did prove to the Dodger staff that he belongs in the Dodgers starting rotation. Per Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
“He just kind of kept plugging away, and showed he’s healthy. He built his innings up,” Roberts said. “It just gives the confidence that he can give us quality starts when he goes out there.” 
Per Bill Plunkett at the OC Register:
“From how I feel right now, I’m definitely confident that I can pitch every five days for this team. … I’ve always been a starting pitcher so it definitely feels good to be back doing what I expect to do. It has a lot of meaning in that regard.”
Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016.  Below are more links to check out:
"I will never forget Fernando and all he has done for me and the Los Angeles Dodgers," manager Tom Lasorda said. "It was a privilege and honor to manage him over the years because he was without a doubt a great talent and a great competitor. I want to thank him for all the memories."

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sneek Peak at Corey Seager's Import Dragon MLB Figurine

Last season saw the the introduction of Imports Dragon MLB figures to the marketplace. They created 26 different Baseball figurines that year, but there were no Dodger players available.  That changes this season.  For 2017 both Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager will have figures available for fans and collectors to buy.

The figures are expected to hit store this coming June and there are sixteen players in the initial 2017 checklist.  Go here for the complete checklist.  The company website is here.

You should note that these figurines are not as detailed as the McFarlane issues from a couple years back.

Featured above is the Corey Seager figure in its packaging.  Below is a closer look at it.  Unfortunately, preview photos of the Clayton Kershaw figurine have yet to be released.

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/27/2016 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

We are almost there.  The season is a week away and both fans and players alike will soon be heading to ballgames back at their teams home fields.  There are only a few days left before scenes like the one seen above will disappear until next Spring.  So enjoy the festivities if you are still there. 

Photograph above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017.  Below are more links to check out:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Sneak Peek at Dodger Promos and Food

There's nothing like spending an afternoon at Dodger Stadium, so when the club was kind enough to invite me to a special luncheon at the Baseline Club on Friday I couldn't say no. They promised everything from new stadium foods to an early peak at this seasons promotional items.  Best yet, they even offered a free tour of the stadium to cap off the day (I'll have more on that in a later post).

Blog Kiosk: 3/25/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Now this is the way to do it.

This Dodger couple decided to get some help from the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch for a special announcement.  They were looking for the perfect way to let everyone know about a new addition to the family, and fortunately caught the eye of Justin Turner -- as you can see in the photo above.


Now, you know they've got to name the little tyke Justin.... Or Justine.

The above photos via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Scorecards from the Dodgers First Year as a Major League Club in 1884

The Dodger franchise didn't start as some expansion team created out of thin dust.  Instead, like most ballplayers, the club rose up the ranks.  The Brooklyn Grays, as they were known back then, had won the Interstate Association (a Triple-A level league) championship in 1883 and decided to move up to a major league called the American Association the following year.  That season they were dubbed the Brooklyn Atlantics in honor of the old National Association Brooklyn Atlantics team, and featured below are a couple of completed vintage scorecards from that season in 1884.

They are both available at BST Auction and I thought it would fun to take a closer look at them.  Click any pic to embiggen.

Blog Kiosk: 3/24/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Corey Seager is on the cover of this seasons ESPN the Magazine MLB Preview issue.  It should be on newsstands soon.

Photo above via ESPN on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:

  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1982 Fernando Valenzuela ends his three week holdout and reports to Vero Beach for spring camp.  He earned just $42,500 in 1981, requested a raise to $1 million, then had his Dodger contract unilaterally renewed for a reported $350,000. In 2006 the U.S. Postal Service unveils the "Baseball Sluggers" postage stamps that includes Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Hank Greenberg and Roy Campanella.  See it on the right.
  • Happy Birthday, Jim McCauley, Mike MowreyJim BucherDick EganWilson AlvarezJamie Arnold!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blog Kiosk: 3/23/2017 - Dodgers Links - USA! USA! USA!

Last nights WBC Final was the first game this year that I've watch from start to finish, and I must say it was fantastic.  What a way to start the Baseball season.

As you know, Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico to capture its very first WBC Championship.  It was glorious to watch and fun to celebrate an actual championship (albeit not a Dodger one) at our home turf.  Hopefully this is sign of things to come at Dodger Stadium.

Both photos above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017Go here to check out more great pics taken by Jon from the WBC Final game.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1951 the Brooklyn Dodgers sign a 21-year lease with the City of Vero Beach to build their spring training facility at an old abandoned Naval base.  It would be known as Dodgertown.  In 2002 the Dodgers traded Jorge Nunez and Matt Herges to the Expos for Guillermo Mota and Wilkin Ruan.
  • Happy Birthday, Barney KochJerry BrooksJoel PeraltaJohn Link!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Lakers Great Michael Cooper and Shaq's Statue

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.

Lakers great Michael Cooper will be signing autographs this coming Saturday, March 25th at the Ultimate Pastime store in Ontario.  Go here for information.

Also, this coming Friday, March 24th the Lakers and the Staples Center will be unveiling a Shaquille O'Neal statue prior to that evenings game.  Below is an artist rendering.  The ceremony begins at 4:00 PM.  Go here for information on the event.

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/22/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends


The Finals is tonight.  Don't miss it.  You can watch it on the MLB network starting at 6:00 PM.  I am sure tickets for the game are still available.  They will be facing Puerto Rico -- which is actually a US territory.  So, in a way, we've already won.

BTW, they debut a couple of Extreme Loaded Dogs at the stadium last night -- one for each team.  On the above left is the Japan Dog and on its right is the American Dog.  Which do you prefer?

Photo at the very top via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1962 a former Giant who still remains anonymous revealed that the Giants had help during the 1951 playoffs against the Dodgers (this is the series where Bobby Thompson hit that infamous homer).  They had a sign-stealing clubhouse spy at their home field.
  • Happy Birthday, Bill McClellanOverton TremperRamon MartinezJuan Uribe!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Case of Former Dodgers Pitcher Mysterious Walker

So who was this guy and how did he earn the nickname that has me more curious than a sloth of bears circling a trash bin? 

As I was preparing this mornings Blog Kiosk I came across a Dodger birthday of a former Brooklyn ballplayer that I had never heard of... But I should of, 'cause with the kind of nickname he bears this lad should be a part of Dodger lore.

His name is Fred Mitchell Walker, and he is more interestingly known as either "Mysterious Mitchell" or "Mysterious Walker."

As the story goes, Fred showed up one day pitching for the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League towards the tail end of the 1910 season.  At the time he gave his name as only Fred Mitchell -- striking out his real last name of Walker.  But that's not the most mysterious thing about him.  From what I understand, he refused all interview request, did not pose for photographs, and according to one report (link here) pitched with a mask on.

A Vintage Dodgers Lunch Tray

The weirder the better, I always say.

Featured here is something you don't see very often.  Above is a circa 1960's Dodgers cafeteria lunch tray that is currently available for sale through Hunt Auctions (link here).  The exact origins are unknown to the auction house, but I'd be willing to bet these were used by personnel at the stadium. 

Furthermore, it looks very similar to a tray I came across five years ago (and wrote about here).  That tray included head shot of several Dodger players (Johnny Podres, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills, John Roseboro, Willie Davis, Frank Howard, Sandy Koufax, Wally Moon and Duke Snider), as well as, the Dodger logo in the middle. 

I have no idea what that value is for something like this, but I think it would be best served if an autograph collectors to grab this one.  It would look glorious with signatures all around it.

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/21/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

I've been a bit derelict in my duties on this blog due to a cold that just won't go away.  It sucks and I'm hoping that spending some time in the office doing some work and putting up this blog will ease my ills.  Considering this I decided to track down a vintage pic related to a cold and the Dodgers and came up with the above photograph of Babe Ruth.  Although his scenario is far more pressing then my illness I decided it was worth putting up.

Featured above is a circa 1938 press photo (as found on eBay) featuring Dodgers coach Babe Ruth taking a brief leave from the team to attend to his ailing daughter, Julia.  Per John McMurray at SABR:
George Herman (Babe) Ruth, rushed by motor cycle escort from Ebbets Field, where he had been coaching the Brooklyn Dodgers, gave his 22-year-old adopted daughter, Julia, 500 cubic centimeters of his blood in a transfusion at 6 o’clock last night at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, 210 East Sixty-fourth [sic] Street. After the transfusion, Ruth rested for an hour and then drove his wife, Mrs. Claire Ruth, home. Fifty youngsters from the neighborhood of the hospital met him at its doors as he left, asking for his autograph. He told them he was forced to refuse because his right arm felt weakened.
Below are more links to check out:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blog Kiosk: 3/17/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

During the old days ballplayers had to keep various side-gigs during the winter off-season.  Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto sold suits, John McGraw had a vaudeville show for a short time, and Waite Hoyt was a mortician.  Sometimes players spent their winter, especially if they were younger, going to school.  Proof of that is featured in the photo above.  It is a International News Photo taken by Hugh Broderick, dated Monday, October 11, 1947 of Ralph Branca getting back to the books less than a week after losing the 1947 World Series.  Per the descriptor on the reverse:
On the Mound for Fair Science
This studious young man engaged in a chemistry experiment in the laboratory of New York University is Ralph Branca.  Who, as pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the recent World Series against the New York Yankees, made his share of headlines.  Branca is a sophomore student at the university, majoring in physical education.
The above photo recently sold at RMY's auction (link here). Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1946 the Dodgers and Montreal Royals (with Jackie Robinson in the lineup for the first time) played a spring training game in Daytona Beach.  This marked the first appearance of an integrated club in organization baseball that century.  Four decades later they would rename the field in Daytona Jackie Robinson Ballpark.  In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers traded pitcher Erv Palica to the Orioles for infielder Frank Kellert.
  • Happy Birthday, Whitey Ock, "Pistol" Pete Reiser & Bill Mueller!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017 Topps Opening Day - All the Dodgers Cards

Topps 2017 Opening Day Baseball card brand was officially released yesterday, and like in the past it is a rehashed version of the flagship card brand released in early February.  The difference in the two sets is that this product has fewer cards, is far more affordable in value, and it uses the Opening Day logo as part of the design.  Go here for a complete checklist.

Below are of the Dodger cards available in the set.  So far, only one base variation card is known, and it's of Clayton Kershaw getting ready for batting practice.  If more appear I will be sure to update this post.

Base Set

#4 Justin Turner

Blog Kiosk: 3/16/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Above is a fantastic vintage 1956 photo taken by legendary Dodger photographer Barney Stein.  It provides a glimpse of the player pregame procession before one of the games of the Brooklyn Dodgers Goodwill Tour in Tokyo.  They are to play the Tokyo Giants.  It recently sold at RMY Auctions (link here).

Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers History:  In 1976 Dodgers right-handed pitcher Andy Messersmith is granted free agency.  He is principally responsible for the end of the "reserve clause" and is credited for signing the very first contract of the free agency era about a month later.  He won an arbitrator case in favor of free agency in December 1975, and MLB naturally appealed.  They would lose their appeal on March 9th, 1976.  A few days later the league declined appealing to the Supreme Court; effectively granting Messersmith free agency.
  • Happy Birthday, Patsy Donovan, Jake Flowers, Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner, Hee-Seop Choi, Brian Wilson & Brandon League!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: A Laker and a Former Trojan

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.

Former Trojan and current Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee and Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram are scheduled to sign autographs at the Sports Authentics store at the Puente Hills Mall this coming Saturday, March 18th.  Check out the flyers below.  The Sports Authentics website is here.  You can order autograph tickets here and here through the OC Dugout.
Sports Authentics USA
Puente Hills Mall
1600 South Azusa Avenue 
Rowland Heights, CA

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

Blog Kiosk: 3/15/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

As you may know, the Great Lakes Loons, a Dodgers Single-A minor league affiliate, won the 2016 MidWest League Championship.  Yesterday afternoon the guys got together for a special championship ring ceremony at Camelback Ranch.  Above is group picture of the team, via the Loons on twitterGo here to see even more pics.  At right is a closer-up look at the ring.

Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers Baseball:  In 1945 the Dodgers opened their spring camp at Bear Mountain State Park in upstate New York due to wartime travel restrictions.  There were real worries that German U-boats would attack the eastern coast of America.  This is the third straight year the Dodgers would practice here.  In 1975 the Dodgers signed former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal to a free agent contract.  He would retire from the game a little over a month later on April 17th. 
  • Happy Birthday, Doc Casey, Ralph Miller, Rosy Ryan, Lou Fette, Dick Scott, Mickey Hatcher & Trayce Thompson!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Glory of Will "The Thrill" Ireton

If you've been paying attention to the Dodgers over the past several months then you've no doubt encountered the name Will Ireton.  He is Kenta Maeda's Japanese translator and lovable sidekick.  Furthermore, he has become a Dodger players' favorite.  In fact, Dave Roberts called him the team mascot today after he accomplished a challenge made by Kenley Jansen, per Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
"That was Will the Thrill, our team mascot. He was challenged by a couple players that he couldn't deadlift 405 pounds,” Roberts said. “As I got wind of this wager, I wanted to see it first hand, so we brought the weight room into the clubhouse this morning. Suffice it to say, he was successful.”

Blog Kiosk: 3/14/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Spring Odds and Ends

Kenta Maeda was fantastic in his spring start against the Angels yesterday.  He went 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit - a solo homer to Albert Pujols.  Overall, he struck out seven batters.  Per Doug Miller at
"The life of his fastball in the zone, and the conviction he had throwing it, was really good," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Maeda. "He's got such good command, but sometimes he tries to be too fine. Today he was down in the zone and he executed all day."
You can also watch Maeda talk about his outing with SportsNet LA here.   BTW, in the video, standing on Kenta's left, is Dodgers Japanese translator Will Ireton, and he has become quite an sensation for the club.  To see what I mean check out these two videos posted up this morning by Alex Wood, here and here.

Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:

Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Donruss Baseball - The Rest of the Dodgers' Insert Cards

Here is a last look at the Dodger cards found in packs of Panini's 2017 Donruss Baseball cards.  Below are the 1983 Retro Variations, Signature Series, Diamond Collection relics, New Breed autographs, Promising Pros Materials relics and signatures, Significant Signatures, The Rookies and the Recollection Buybacks.  Go here to see all my post on this set.

Retro Variations 1983

#17 Clayton Kershaw