Friday, July 23, 2010

Follow the Dodgers

I just came across this youtube video of Gladys Gooding's recording of "Follow the Dodgers." Since it is "55 Since 55 Night" I realized immediately that I should post this up right away. Go here for my previous post about this great old song.

YouTube Link:

55 Since 55 Night

Tonight should be a great evening at Dodger Stadium as they celebrate the 1955 World Series Champion Brooklyn Dodgers. It is "55 Since 55 Night." The first 20,000 patron receive the above poster. Better yet, Don Newcombe will be throwing out the first pitch past an original home plate from Ebbets Field, below.
(pic link: Hitpix: DodgerTownUSA)

UPDATE: And I forgot to mention that Nancy Bea Hefley will be playing the organ all night long. No pre-recorded music to get in the way of a classic night of Dodger Baseball. Check out Chris at his blog,, and twitter as he shadows Nancy all night long.

My Own Through the Mail Success

Since I've gotten on to the topic of writing letters to ballplayers I though I would share one of my own experiences. It was the mid-80's and I was already a very active Baseball card collector in my early teens.

One afternoon I read an article in Beckett magazine about sending letters and receiving autographs back from current and former ballplayers. A smile immediately came across my face as I decided that this was something I needed to try. So, I begged my Dad to buy me a bunch of stamps and I went to work as I wrote letter after letter to some current and former ballplayers.

For several months I continued on this quest, but soon stopped. I don't recall the exact reason, but I'm sure it had something to due with general laziness. Anyway, of all the responses I did get back, and I did receive plenty, one stands alone as unforgettable.

A year after I had already stopped sending letters, I received a white envelope with a strange address emblazoned on it from Pennsylvania. I opened it up and found the following card- a 1986 Topps mini of Mike Schmidt signed by the soon-to-be Hall of Famer.
Wow! I thought. I had forgotten all about writing to him. Considering that my letter was probably one of tens of thousands I was grateful to get any response back.

The most memorable thing about Schmidt's envelope, though, was the type written letter he included. Check it out below. Click the pic to enlarge it. No one else had taken the time to actually write back. Of course, I didn't often ask any questions. I just requested their signature. Nevertheless, the thoughtfulness and time he took to do this still strikes me as remarkable. From that day on Mike Schmidt became one of my favorites.

Baseball by the Letters

Writing a letter is a lost art. When was the last time you sent a letter to a close friend or distant relative? Anyone have a pen-pal you correspond with regularly? I don't mean those folks you have friended on facebook. I mean actually sending a note, written in your own hand, through the mail.

I realize that this is foreign to most kids today. After all, in todays' world why bother putting it down from pen to paper when you can just send a quick email with all of the shorthanded jive and immediate response it brings?

I'll tell you this, though, when you send a nicely written letter to an old-time Baseball player you might be surprised at the response you get. Last year, I wrote a large number of post focused on fan letters written to former Dodger players. Check out my Dodger Correspondence label to check them out. Another, even better resource, is a new blog called "Baseball by the Letters" written by Tom Owens which focuses almost exclusively on the art of the fan letter. Check it out here.

In fact, for the Dodger fan you should check out Tom's series of post focused on a lengthy letter he recently received from former Los Angeles Dodger hurler Stan Williams. When asked about his favorite home run (Williams hit 5 as a Dodger which is pretty good for a pitcher) he responds with a great story about hitting one off of Sal "The Barber" Maglie. Let your imagine run wild as to why they called him "The Barber." Read it here. Here is a teaser,
"Now at the plate, Maglie threw 2 curves, both strikes, then facing home plate, both hands in air, he called 'time out.' "
Be sure to read it all, it had me laughing real good. There is also a part 1 to Stan Williams letter, here, that is a bit enlightening considering the Kershaw fiasco the other day.
"If someone needed to be hit, you got him in the ribs or butt."
Tom promises more from the pitcher in the near future.

A Dodger Bolo Tie

If you search the online auctions long enough you are certain to run into something new. Here is, what looks like, a vintage LA Dodgers bolo tie. It has a brawny batter swinging for the fences. There are no markings on the reverse. I can imagine wearing this with denim jeans, a button up shirt and a cowboy hat so that you can call me the Dodger Cowboy.