Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Real Hair?? Ewwwwww!

I love a bobblehead just as much as anyone else, but this is a little extreme. In fact, I am more than a little disturbed. (Hat Tip: Walkoff Walk)
Twitter Link: SF Giants:

UPDATE:  A Giant Fail!!

Via Big League Stew we find out that it won't actually have real hair.  It'll be fake hair.  How ever did we get confused?

Card of the Week: Corked Manny

Manny has always been a prolific hitter. He has belted long balls with regularity throughout his career. In fact, his achievements were so unbelievable some questioned the tools of his trade. Early in the 1999 season he was accused by Yankee players and officials of using a doctored bat after hitting a long home run against Orlando Hernandez at Yankee Stadium.

Of course, it was all speculation then. On the other hand, the "Card of Week" showcased above appears to show otherwise.

Above is the 2000 Pacific Manny Ramirez game-used bat card that has a "Corked Bat" piece embedded within it.

Understandably, Manny was beside himself- so was the players union. Major League Baseball investigated and Pacific card company admitted that they neither received the bat from Manny himself, nor was it supplied directly to the dealer who sold it to Pacific. Per Evan Kaplan, category manager of trading cards and memorabilia for the MLBPA,
"There's no evidence it came directly from Manny. At this point we have no evidence that it was his bat."
Today, it is common hobby knowledge that this card was a gimmick made to bolster the fortunes of the fledgling card company. Unfortunately for Pacific, it eventually cost them their Baseball license and they would soon shutter their doors forever.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

eBay: The Miracle Catch

A great event happened in Game 5 of the 1947 World Series for Dodger fans. Dodger outfielder, Al Gionfriddo, made a "miracle catch" of a sure game winning home run off the bat of Joe DiMaggio. It sailed 550 feet before being caught by the outstretched hand of Gionfriddo. Famously, this led Joltin' Joe, uncharacteristically, to kick up some dirt in frustration.

Dodger announcer Red Barber uttered these words:
"Belted (by Joe DiMaggio)! It's a long one, deep into left center. Back goes (Al) Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back... He makes a one-handed catch in front of the bullpen! Oooooh, doctor!"
Below is a news service photo found on eBay that celebrates this moment. It was originally taken by the Dodgers official photographer Barney Stein. It features Al Gionfriddo sitting on an outfield wall during spring training a few months later in the Dominican Republic. Symbolically, 550 is significantly displayed on the wall as a reminder of that incredible catch.

Attached to the back of this photo is the written caption for the pic from International News Photo. It is titled, "Rubbing Salt into DiMagg Wound."

SI Suggest Hu

Although, I think it is clear that Blake DeWitt has sewn up the second base job, maybe this suggestion by SI's Pablo Torre is worth a thought.
“Hu is an excellent defensive shortstop who has been blocked in Los Angeles by Rafael Furcal, and while Hu didn’t hit while replacing the injured Furcal in 2008 (he had a .181 average and .252 OBP in 65 games), he has since put up good numbers at Triple A. The Dodgers’ pitching staff throws so many ground balls that maximizing the infield defense is a worthwhile goal, even at a cost of some runs scored. By playing Hu at second, the Dodgers can get the benefits of his range while evaluating him as a successor to Furcal in 2011.”
Maybe not.

I can see the argument. After all, Hu is great with the glove. On the other hand, I just think that DeWitt's bat is far superior and his defense will be more than adequate.

Anyway, click here to see the team preview for the Dodgers from SI. This issue hits the stands tomorrow, and it includes a nice little write-up about Chad Billingsley.

Turning Japanese

As has been widely reported already, Eric Stults is going to pitch in Japan. My best wishes and luck to the longtime Dodger farmhand. I know the passion for the game in Japan will excite you at ever turn.

In honor of this event check out and dance to this 80's classic from The Vapors, Turning Japanese. Since I read the news I have not been able to get this out of my head.
YouTube Link:

Monday, March 29, 2010

eBay Auction: The Fans of NY

Even New Yorkers hate the Yankees. Below is AP press wire photo of jubilant fans waiting outside of Yankee Stadium for bleacher tickets for the 1st game of the 1963 World Series. As you can see, a vast majority of the crowd in the photo are rooting for the boys from the old borough.
(click pic to enlarge)
eBay Auction Link:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Films: Campanella's Story- It's Good to be Alive

I've just discovered that Hulu has some great vintage films. Below is a 1974 television drama about Roy Campanella adjusting to life with a wheelchair after his 1959 car accident.

Video Link:

Video: Everybody Hates Chris

There really isn't anything special about the videos below, except for the fact that the Dodgers are mixed in.

Video Link:

Doubling down on the bet.

Video Link:

Losing the series.

Video Link:

eBay Auction: La Cucaracha

Here is fun press photo found on eBay of Ron Fairly and Al Ferrara.
"Ron Fairly, the hitting hero of the Dodger victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, 9/26, is given a Mexican-Style bear hug by teammate Al Ferrara in the dressing room after the game. Fairly's homer helped the Dodgers reduce their "Magic Number" to 3 with the 2-0 win."
The Dodgers would eventually win the National League, but lose to Baltimore in the World Series.

Blog Kiosk: 3/28/2010

All Dodgers, All of the time.
  • You must read Chris and Alex Volk's story, of fame, about official Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo, here and here.
  • LA Dodger Talk tours Minor League camp at Camelback Ranch, Part 1. Part 2.
  • Sunshine, who is an ardent Dodger fan, writes all about her visit to Padres Fan Fest.
  • I totally endorse this post and photo from The Left Field Pavilion.
  • This makes me want to puke. (Hat Tip: It's Time for Dodger BaseBlog)
  • Here is a great write up about Sandy Koufax's evening at the Nokia Theater with Joe Torre from Behind Blue Eyes.
  • Dodger Sims simulates the entire 2010 season and concludes that the Dodger will win the division. Hooray! Playoffs here we come!
  • Alyssa Milano unveils her 2010 Spring collection and, I think, I just fell in love with her again. Ooh-La-La!
  • Brian Akin, a Dodger farmhand and writer of the Dear (Tommy) John Letters blog, has been released. Good luck on your future. I hope you catch on with another team and continue writing your blog.
  • GCRL gets a Chan Ho Park auto through the mail.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hunt Auctions: The Kay 'O

I was never much of a model maker. I tried, believe me I tried, but I just didn't had the patience to do it right. It's one of those things I could never do. Anyway, I was checking out Hunt Auctions recent offerings and came across a nice vintage 1962 Revell Lockheed Electra II Dodger model airplane kit, HD-255. See it below.

It is an exact replica, minus the artistic accouterments that you must add yourself (ugh!), of the plane that shuttled the Dodger squad from 1962 to 1970. This particular model is very rare and was only available from the Dodgers marketing arm.

The real plane was purchase by Walter O'Malley in 1961 and was dubbed the "Kay 'O" in honor of his wife, Kay. It was the best there was for traveling nationwide. It was roomy and fast- even allowing them to fly from New York to Vero Beach twice in one day. Piloted by Capt. Harry R. "Bump" Holman, son of Bud Holman who convinced the Dodgers to spend their Springs in Vero Beach, it would soon be retired in 1970 when the Dodgers upgraded to a 720-B Fan Jet. That plane was called the "Kay 'O II." Below is a picture of the real "Kay 'O" from O'Malley's website.

I had seen the model once before during a card show several years ago at the hotel in Hollywood Park. It was a small show with not much to really look at, besides the typical stacks of commonly seen Baseball cards. I was disappointed. Then, as the show was coming to a close, I came across a table with only a handful of photos, cards and unopened boxes on a table and shelf unit. On the top shelf behind the seller was a box, like the one above. Suddenly I became elated as a unique collectible was in my sights. I asked to take a look and closely inspected the box and its contents. It looked perfect. My heart raced as I thought about putting it together- to try my hand at building like a child all over again. Then my memories of my past failures came to mind and I put the model down and passed on the purchase. I walked around some more and soon came to regret that decision. As folks were packing up to go home I walked back to that table only to find the seller had already left. My chance at conquering my model making deficiency had passed.
(Pic Link: WalterO'

UPDATE: Here are some pics of the contents that I found on eBay.

Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 Topps Tribute Jackie Preview

Via Beckett, Topps unveils some preview pics from their upcoming high-end card product called Topps Tribute. These are truly some super shiny cards that can blind a pilot from a couple of thousand miles away. Really, they are that shiny.

Anyway, above is a preview of a Jackie Robinson cut signature card that a lucky collector will pull. The range of autos is fairly strong, as expected, with one truly mystical Yankee auto-book card out there to try to snag. Go to the Beckett site to see more pics. Below is what the base card will look like.

eBay Auction: Posing for Garvey

These are a couple of great pics of Steve Garvey in the midst of taking photos during work-out day at the 1990 All-Star game in Wrigley Field. This event happened after he retired so he must have been on hand at some kind of Old-Timers Day event. They come directly from the archives of the Chicago Sun Times, dated 7/9/1990.

Schooled by Mattingly

Don Mattingly was a great hitter in his day. Once dubbed "The Hit Man" he uncorked over 2,100 hits while batting .307 and slugging .471 in a career marred by injuries. Donnie Baseball had a sweet left handed swing that floated through the strike zone like an eagle soaring in the sky. It was beautiful to watch and glorious to experience first hand. It is no surprise that he would eventually become a batting coach in the Major Leagues in his post-Baseball playing years.

What is a surprise, though, is that he didn't become the lifetime Yankee hitting coach. He was beloved in that state and continues, to this day, to be loved by Yankee fans across the country. To the joy of Dodger Nation, we get to experience the wisdom and majesty of this fine Baseball professional. He is retooling and educating our fine young sluggers to make the most of their abilities at the plate. I think the continued progress of players like Kemp and Ethier is a testament to his knowledge, skills and abilities.

Now, due to his founding of an aluminum bat company called Mattingly Baseball Bats he is sharing some of his hitting secrets with all of us. He has a series of 7 different instructional youtube videos available to view.

Below is the Mental Approach to an At-Bat.

YouTube Video Link:

Others in the series include:
So get going young Padawan.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

OT: Just Another Reason Not to Trust the Banks

I haven't written about off-topic items like business news lately mainly due to a high level of disgust that, I fear, will explode into an incoherent rant. Well, I must say that I can't take it anymore. from Bloomberg.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and UBS AG were among more than a dozen Wall Street firms involved in a conspiracy to pay below-market interest rates to U.S. state and local governments on investment…

A government list of previously unidentified “co- conspirators” contains more than two dozen bankers at firms also including Bank of America Corp., Bear Stearns Cos., Societe Generale, two of General Electric Co.’s financial businesses and Salomon Smith Barney, the former unit of Citigroup Inc., according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on March 24. The papers were filed by attorneys for a former employee of CDR Financial Products Inc., an advisory firm indicted in October. The attorneys, as part of their legal filing, identified the roster as being provided by the government. The document is labeled “list of co-conspirators.”

None of the firms or individuals named on the list has been charged with wrongdoing. The court records mark the first time these companies have been identified as co-conspirators. They provide the broadest look yet at alleged collusion in the $2.8 trillion municipal securities market that the government says delivered profits to Wall Street at taxpayers’ expense.

Punishment is due.

Hat Tip: Naked Capitalism:

Boras vs. Shapiro

Like yin and yang. No two people working in the same industry, performing the same job, could be more different. Here is a great article by Murray Chass about that other super agent, Ron Shapiro.
If Mauer were a Boras client, he would not have signed that contract. But then, he wouldn’t have chosen Boras as his agent.
It's a great read.

Hat Tip: Baseball Musings:

The Shock Heard Around Dodgerland

The collective gasp you heard this morning was like the sound Scooby-Doo makes when confused by an even more bewildered Shaggy.

What's that you say? Vicente Padilla is the Dodgers Opening Night starter. Really? Huh!

This is some premature April Fools joke, right?

Well, apparently it's not. Per a tweet by Ken Gurnick, Torre will be naming Padilla as our starter against Pittsburgh. In the whole scheme of things, it really doesn't mean much. After all, everyone will get their innings as the season progresses. On the other hand, shouldn't this spot be reserved as an award or a stepping stone for a progressing or young star?

Yes and no.

The first Dodger game of the season is away in Pittsburgh, so, it's not as vital as compared to our first home game. Furthermore, from what has been shared already on other blogs, this alignment will mean that Clayton Kershaw will be our starting pitcher at our first home game at Chavez Ravine against the Diamondbacks. So, don't worry your little heads. On top of that, Padilla pitched really well for us last season so I don't find it too out of whack.

Frankly, all this supposed news is all useless minutia. All I care about right now is getting through the rest of Spring unscathed and hearing those immortal words, "Play Ball."

eBay Auction: The 2 Man Drill

What is this?

I don't know if Roseboro and Jim Lefebvre are just fooling around, but I can't see how this can be an effective drill.

The caption below the pic says,
"Calisthenics in the Los Angeles Dodgers camp finds building up exercises that are different."
No kidding.
(click photo to enlarge)
eBay Auction Link:

Card of the Week: NL Champions

After a long hiatus I am back with the Card of the Week.

With the season about ready to begin it's important to be focused on some important benchmarks.
  • We want to see some continued growth from our young stars,
  • We want to beat the Giants, and
  • We want a championship.
Obviously, a World Series crown is the ultimate goal, but getting there is a large part of the battle. So, in keeping that in mind, this weeks Card of the Week is the 1978 Topps card that celebrates the Dodgers 1977 NL Championship by featuring Davey Lopes. Of special note is that the Dodgers beat the Phillies in 4 straight games to go to the World Series that year. Something I want to forget is that the Dodgers would eventually lose to the Yankees in 6 games- due, in large part, to Reggie Jackson's unbelievable 3 homer game.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

eBay Auction: Drysdale Sings!

Don Drysdale was the jack of all trades. An entertainer who could strike fear into the hearts of a batter while making the ladies swoon with a bat of his eyelash. He was a fireball breathing pitcher from the 60's and a suave debonair actor at night. Heck, he did shows from the Brady Bunch to the Rifleman- that's range. As retirement set in he stayed in LA to broadcast ballgames for the Dodgers until his passing in 1993. One level of entertainment that seemed to not be a part of his repertoire was singing. At least, I had never heard of him trying to carry a tune. Well, below is proof that Don Drysdale did try his hand as a recording artist. I have never heard this, but would love to. Anyone have this single, a record player, a video or audio tape and a willingness to put it on youtube? I think we would all be appreciative.

Auction Recollections: 1869 Red Stockings

Once again, I was wasting time on the Internet checking out some old auctions of vintage Baseball memorabilia when I came across a item that reminded me of a recent find that went national. Remember that old couple that found a vintage Baseball card worth thousands. The card is below.
Tthey showed up on the Tonight Show and hit up nearly every news network in the country. Eventually, they sold their prize for $72,285.00 through Memory Lane, Inc. Well, an old auction I ran across from Mastronet August 2002 features a related item. Below is a trophy ball presented to team manager Harry Wright of the 1869 Red Stockings. This is a actual game used ball used to defeat the Brooklyn Atlantics. It has been decorated with game details, and, as customary, adorned the Red Stocking clubhouse back in Cincinnati.

As described in the auction listing.
The birth of professional baseball truly began in 1869 when Harry Wright... adopted the practice of openly paying all of his players. The team, which was bankrolled by a group of Ohio investors, was soon to be the talk of the land as they compiled an unblemished record of 61-0, thus ushering in a new professional era in the history of our national pastime. This incredible artifact dates from that historic 1869 inaugural campaign and is without question one of (some might say the) most important and historically significant trophy balls in existence, let alone to come to auction. The gold painted figure-eight stitched baseball was presented to manager Harry Wright by the Cincinnati nine in commemoration of their win against the Brooklyn Atlantics on June 16, 1869 at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, New York. Each of the four panels has been beautifully hand painted in black lettering, reading, respectively: "Presented to Harry Wright by the Cincinnati Base Ball Club - Gibson House"/"Red Stocking of Cincinnati vs. Atlantic of Brooklyn 32-10, June 16, 1869"/"at Capitoline Grounds-Brooklyn"/"Eastern Trip of America-1869."
The game against the Brooklyn Atlantics was the second in a series of three games played against New York City opponents during the Red Stockings' inaugural Eastern tour. This three-game set, in which the team would face the New York Mutuals, the Atlantics, and the Brooklyn Eckfords in successive days, was viewed as the true test of the team's worth, as their Gotham opponents were considered to be three of the best ball clubs in the game at the time. The Cincinnati nine was put to the test in their first game against the Mutuals, scoring two runs in the ninth to edge out a 4-2 victory. That game, which the Spirit of the Times described as "The best played game ever witnessed", would prove to be the toughest of the series for Cincinnati, as they would roll over both the Atlantics and Eckfords the following two days by the scores of 32-10 and 24-5, respectively. The Atlantics, however, eventually had their revenge the following season when, on June 14, 1870, they would hand the Red Stockings their very first defeat ever, edging them by a score of 8-7 in 11 innings. Following their successful Eastern tour, which also took them to Philadelphia and Washington, the team returned to Cincinnati in early July where they were royally feted by their local fans at a magnificent banquet held in the team's honor. The celebration took place at Gibson House, a prominent local Hotel/Banquet Hall. During the festivities the team was praised by seemingly every local politician, businessman and judge, culminating in team President Aaron Champion proclaiming that he would rather be President of the Champion Cincinnati Base Ball Club than President of the United States. It seems almost certain, based upon the inscription, that this magnificent trophy ball was presented to Harry Wright at that famous banquet.
(click to enlarge pic)
Auction Link:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 Topps Heritage Dodgers

The Topps Heritage sets are my favorite card product and this years version does not disappoint. This time they emulate the vintage 1961 set design and even reproduce the stamp inserts that came in packs that year. Below is the Dodger box topper of the stamps.
Before I go to the base cards here are some of the jersey insert cards.
Of course, no vintage heritage Dodger set is complete without a Jackie Robinson card.
And now the base cards. I love the simplicity of the 1961 design.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dodger Bottle Caps

Here is a great complete set of 1967 Tab LA Dodgers bottle caps found on eBay. Below is a complete set of 18. On a another matter, do they make Tab anymore?
(click pics to enlarge)
Auction Link: