Monday, December 31, 2012

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 12/31/2012

Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Roberto Clemente. He was killed in a plane crash in the midst of transporting aid packages to those affected by a deadly earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua.  His body was never recovered. Roberto also started out his professional Baseball career with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“Shotgun” got his nickname for the way he sprayed line drives while he was in the Dodgers’ farm system, but his smooth left-handed swing wasn’t a fluke, it was the result of a tenacious practice regimen when he was a teenager. 
Is Hamels really as good -- and Greinke really as bad -- as ERA indicates? It doesn't appear to be the case in a vacuum. If you put both pitchers in the same league facing the same hitters with the same defense behind them, they would likely put up remarkably similar numbers. Now with the Dodgers, though, Greinke will have a defense that is sufficiently average according to ultimate zone rating, and he will benefit from the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium. Perhaps 2013 is the year Greinke returns to his Cy Young-caliber ways. 

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A 1997 Duke Snider Significant Signature

Featured here is a 1997 Donruss Significant Signatures autographed card of Duke Snider.  As you can see above, Duke signed 2,000 cards for this set.  Strangely, he did something I don't think I've ever seen anyone else do.  He signed the back of the card instead of the front.  Every single one of the cards is like this. Funny, eh?

Due to this and a high print run, you should be able to acquire this card for $10, or so.  It's a great deal for a Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame legend.

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RIP: Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf rose to prominence as I was just entering my first year of college.  He was bold, brash and confident.  He laid out the perfect plan in the Persian Gulf War, and proved to be the best man for the job.  Instead of cashing in after the war for fame and fortune, he mostly retired into private life.  Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf passed away this past Thursday, and I wanted to take a moment to thank him for his service and to share a couple of trading cards with him on it. CNN has a great writeup on his life, here.

The above card from the 1991 Topps Desert War Series 1 trading card set, below from Series 2, and Series 3.

The card below is from the 2009 Topps Heritage set, and uses the vintage 1960 Topps design.  Make note of the description on the reverse.  It has a glaring error.  It was not this Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf that was a lead investigator in the Lindbergh kidnapping, but his father.  In fact, there were two generations of American Army Generals in this family.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Dodgers Videos: Drysdale and Durocher in The Beverly Hillbillies and Vin Scully in "It Takes Two"

Here are this Sundays Dodgers Videos.

Here's a classic: The Beverly Hillbillies - The Clampetts and the Dodgers  - Episode 29 4/10/63

If you haven't seen the full episode yet, I suggest taking a moment to sit back and enjoy.  Jed and Jethro are going to shoot golf with Drysdale and Leo Durocher, but Jed thinks that they'll be shooting some new type of critter that lives underground, flies, and is a real challenge to kill. Drysdale calls to cancel...

Video Link:

Did you know that Vin Scully was also a game show host?  Well, check out a 1970 episode of this 1969-70 NBC game show called "It Takes Two" hosted by Vin Scully.
Part 1.

Video Link:

Part 2.

Video Link:

This was filmed at Dodger Stadium earlier in the year.  It's Grave Digger at Dodgers Stadium.  Grave Digger!

Video Link:

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 12/29/2012

12 of the @Dodgers favorite celebrities to visit Dodger Stadium in 2012 are featured in the pic above, tweeted by @Dodgers.  Can you name them all?
In 2012, four left-handed pitchers touched 93-plus on my radar gun. In Onelki Garcia and Chris Reed, Dodgers prospects accounted for half the list. This is nothing new. Two minor league baseball seasons living in the Atlanta area has yielded many hard-throwing Dodgers prospects. What’s new is every top prospect I’ve seen from the Dodgers has been right-handed before this.
"I compare it to the same feeling I had when I was called up," said Crim, who pitched for the Brewers, Angels and Cubs. "You see how hard coaches work to get through the Minor League system. I feel blessed. I love what I do. It's a dream come true to accomplish this." 
  • An old friend report:  Takashi Saito is said to have signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, via MLB Trade Rumors.
  • Greg Zakwin at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle recently got a couple of Corey Seager autographed card.  Congrats!  I hope to add one, as well.
  • Night Owl Cards completes his list of the best Dodger cards ever made with #10 through #1.  This has been a great list.  I especially love his choices for the Top-10 cards of all time.
  • Steve Dilbeck at the LA TIMES lets us know that the Dodgers are exploring a fan rewards program for using social media sites.

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A Group of Paul Konerko Autographed Dodgers Cards

It's easy to forget that Paul Konerko started his professional career within the Dodgers farm system.  He was drafted by us in the 1st Round of the 1994 amateur draft as the #1 ranked prep catcher in the country. Steadily, he rose up through the ranks by exhibiting good power with a knack for getting on base.  Konerko soon switched to a corner infield position and earned a spot as one of the top prospects in the country.  Unfortunately, his initial foray into the Majors was underwhelming.

In the middle of the 1998 season he was traded to Cincinnati for a deal that still makes me wince.  Along with reliever Dennys Reyes (my namesake), Konerko was exchanged for aging closer Jeff Shaw.  Just over 4 months later he was shipped to Chicago for Mike Cameron.  There, he would stay for the remainder of his career. 

It was reported earlier this year that 2013 may be his last in the Majors.  Via Chuck Garfien at
Konerko has two years remaining on his contract, and while he's focused on having another big season for the White Sox, he gave his first hint that 2013 might be his last in a big league uniform.

"No doubt it could be," Konerko said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet. "Yeah, in all reality I would see it ending after next year or maybe another year. I mean, at some point you got to go home and be around your kids and have other things to do."
Featured in this post are 3 different autographed Baseball card of Paul Konerko in Dodger Blue.  Above is a 1998 Bowman certified autographed card.  Directly below is a 1998 SP Authentic Chirography autographed card.
1998 Fleer / Skybox "Signature 2001" autograph

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Friday, December 28, 2012

1944 Dodgers vs. Yankees vs. Giants Tri-Cornered Baseball Game

I learn new stuff about the Dodgers all the time.  For instance, I was cruising around Reddit a few weeks back and came across a thread that I found intriguing.  It referenced a Tri-Cornered Baseball Game that featured the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.  I wondered to myself, "what the heck is a Tri-Cornered Baseball Game?"

A little bit of research and some post from some helpful redditors provided an answer.

On June 26, 1944, in the midst of WWII, a three-way exhibition Baseball game between the New York area teams was put together to benefit the sale of War Bonds.  Per Keyman Collectibles,
Admission to the game was by purchase of series E, F, and G war bonds. The 40,000 general admission unreserved seats cost one $25 war bond; the 5,809 reserved seats in the lower stands went for a $100 bond; the box seats both upper and lower cost the fan a $1,000 war bond. Bleacher seats were free to servicemen. 
Approximately 50,000 fans attended. The day started off with a skills competition, then Al Schacht, the Clown Prince of Baseball, hit the field to perform his magic.  Milton Berle was also there to entertain the crowd.  In all, $56.5Mil was collected; including $50Mil in bonds purchased by the City of New York, $1Mil contributed by the Bond Clothing Company in exchange for a signed copy of the Baseball program from the day, and $5.5 Mil from attendees.  Per a Daily Times report, it was their hope to collect up to $60Mil in funds.

Featured above is the cover of a program from the event.  As you can see, it features a Willard Mullin drawing of each teams mascot. There are 16 pages and it includes rosters, player descriptions and stats.  Go to Keyman Collectibles story to see a handful of pages from the program.  BTW, this program in rough (VG) condition would run you about $50.00 to $100.00.

Now, on to the actual Baseball game. The rules are as follows:
The Dodgers and Yankees played the first inning while the Giants sat out; the Dodgers and Giants played the second inning while the Yankees sat out; the Yankees and Giants played the third inning while the Dodgers sat out. The same order continued to the game's end. 
So, each team played for six innings, and sat out waiting their turn for three innings. The entire match last about three hours, and at the end of the afternoon the Dodgers won! 

I have yet to find a play-by-play account of the game, but I'll continue to look.  Below is the line score from the game.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 12/28/2012

Just a reminder.  The Dodgers are holding their 2nd annual Dodgers FanFest this coming on Saturday, January 26th, 2013 in the Dodgers parking lot - Lot 6.  Admission is free and numerous different players will be signing free autographs.  Go here for more information.  The pic above was recently tweeted by the @Dodgers/ Jon SooHoo 2012.
  • According to Instagram, Dodger Stadium was the 7th top location photographed by its users.  The Giants home at AT&T Park was 5th.
  • @BerginoBaseball shared a pic of this incredibly awesome 1952 Dodgers Christmas card on twitter.  If you are in New York City I suggest checking out Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.

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The 10 Best Dodgers' Baseball Cards of 2012

As the year comes to a close it's only natural to put together a list of the "10 Best" - 10 best moments, 10 best plays, 10 best whatever.  So in keeping with this tradition, I wanted to share with all of you what I believe are the "10 Best Dodgers Cards of 2012."

It was fairly difficult to narrow it down to just 10, but I promise you won't be disappointed.  Let's start it off with #10 on my list. Click on any pic to embiggen.


Topps started out the 2012 collecting season with what I thought was a bang.  Their 2012 Opening Day card set includes this great looking "Superstar Celebrations" card featuring an ecstatic Matt Kemp being surrounded by an equally excited Dodgers team after a walk-off win.  This card gets bonus points for featuring the "Boys in Powder Blue."

I can never get enough of Jackie Robinson on cardboard; especially if the card features him in Minor League Blue.  Below is a promotional card of Jackie as a member of the Montreal Royals (a Dodger farm team at the time) on a 1952 Topps design.  This was given out to attendees at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore in August. 


The Cuban sensation who was signed to a 7-year $42Mil deal before ever stepping on a professional ball field comes in at #8.  Leaf Trading Cards created 3 different cards for Puig in 2012, but their 2012 Leaf Memories that pays homage to the classic 1990 Leaf design is a big winner in my book, notwithstanding the lack of team logos.  I show both the signed and unsigned versions of the card below.

#552 Yasiel Puig / #AU-YP1 Yasiel Puig


Excitement barely described how Angelenos felt about the blockbuster trade with the Red Sox at the end of the season.  We finally got a big bat at a position that has sorely missed it.  Below is his first Baseball card in Dodger Blue, and it is a part of the 2012 Topps Update set.  BTW, this is a short printed card, so it will run you from $100 to $200 for it.

US1 Adrian Gonzalez - Dodgers


Duke Snider, oh how we have missed you.  Snider passed away in 2011, so it was nice to see him remembered in various Topps sets throughout the year.  The below 2012 Triple Threads relic/autographed insert card is a favorite of mine.

TTUAR-102 Duke Snider - Dodgers 


Koufax!  Koufax!  Koufax!  You're not a Dodger fan if you don't love Sandy Koufax.  And if you were lucky enough to pull this "1 of 1" Five Star Jumbo relic book of Sandy then count yourself as extremely fortunate.  It comes with 2 Koufax signatures- 2 of them!

#AJRB-SK Sandy Koufax - Los Angeles Dodgers


I admit to loving the Heritage brand of Topps cards, and the below card using the classic 1963 Topps design is just great.  It emulates a card that featured the "Dodgers' Big Three" pitchers of 1963, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres.  In the newest version it names the Dodgers' Big Three as Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.

#412 Dodgers' Big Three


After years of working through the Dodgers system, AJ Ellis finally got his shot with the Dodgers and didn't disappoint.  Heck, he quickly became a fan favorite.  So, I'm sure everyone was glad that Topps finally decided to reward him with his very first Baseball card.  It is in the 2012 Topps Update set.  Hilariously, he had to share his very first card with the likes of a violent mob.  Dee Gordon is in the midst of a choke hold while Andre Ethier and Justin Sellers go in for the kill. 

#US304 A.J. Ellis 

Even better is the fact that AJ Ellis commented about the card above on twitter.
(twitter link)

As a consolation, check out his other Topps card from the same set below.  It's an autographed card that he doesn't have to share with anyone.  BTW, this card is very affordable, and I would count it as a must have for any fan.

GMA-AE A.J. Ellis - Dodgers


I know this card will elicit groans from the peanut gallery.  I can hear you now.  "Ned Colletti, really?"  Yes, I declare the 2012 Topps Update autographed insert card of Ned Colletti as the 2nd best Dodger card of 2012.  Deal with it.

Now, after looking at that smile can you really tell me that he is the least sexiest GM in Baseball?  Come on ladies, I want to hear from you.

AGM-NC Ned Colletti - Dodgers GM


The best Dodger card of 2012 was a no brainer.  Panini's 2012 Cooperstown set is phenomenal, and the short-printed Vin Scully autographed card is gorgeous.  With only 100 copies available expect to pay several hundred dollars to add it to your collection.

#76 Vin Scully – Announcer /100

For those with limited funds - which likely includes all of us - the below "Voices of Summer" insert card from the same set should do just fine.  What a dapper looking young man.

#9 Vin Scully

Honorable Mention

I couldn't finish this list without making note of this very rare card.  It is a 2012 Topps 14 Karat Solid Gold "Golden Greats" card of Jackie Robinson.  It was pulled earlier this year by large case breaker BrentandBecca in a pack of 2012 Topps Series 1 Baseball.  They got a redemption card, turned it in, and received the card already graded in a BVG holder.  It's certainly a great card, but hardly "The Best" in my mind.  Although, you gotta love gold.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Collection of Milton Bradley Autographed Cards

Following up on yesterdays post featuring a group of Paul LoDuca autographed cards, I bring to you a 4-card lot of autographed Milton Bradley Baseball cards.

I remember being excited that the Dodgers received him in a trade with Cleveland in 2004.  I saw his potential as a on-base guy with statistics that could make this trade a big win for the Dodgers.  He was coming off a phenomenal season with the Indians where he batted .321 and had a OPS of .923.  Sure, I had read of the problems he was having, but figured that coming home would do him wonders.  Of course, things didn't work out as planned.

Featured above and directly below is a 2005 Topps autographed card.

2005 Topps Finest Autographed Card

2005 Leaf

2004 Topps Traded & Rookies Signature Moves Card


As I searched around a bit I ran into another Milton Bradley autographed card that I had yet to post up.  So, here it is.  It is a 2005 Topps Pristine Personal Endorsement card.

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 12/27/2012 - New Dodgers Batting Practice Lids

A little belated on my part.  Here is a pic tweeted by the @Dodgers of Don Mattingly playing the part of Donnie Claus on Christmas Eve.
Whether Angels owner Arte Moreno was urged to break the bank for Hamilton by the Dodgers' signing of Greinke is a matter of conjecture.

But these two franchises have been poking fun at each other for a long time, and Moreno seemed to be particularly enjoying himself talking about the Dodgers at the news conference introducing Hamilton.
Only one pitcher in the National League struck out nine hitters in a row in any game this year. But it wasn't Cliff Lee, Stephen Strasburg or Clayton Kershaw. It was (who else?) Aaron Harang, who punched out nine straight Padres on April 13. So how many other times do you think Harang has struck out nine in a game in his last 73 starts? None. Of course!
  • What gives, Google?  Via Markle05 on Reddit, if you do a Google search on Clayton Kershaw they note that his nickname is "The Claw."  When did this happen?  Am I that clueless?
  • Paul Lukas, proprietor at Uni Watch, writes at ESPN about the new batting practice caps for the 2013 Baseball season.  Below is what the Dodgers will be wearing next to what they wore in the recent past.  Go read his article for a sneak peak at what other teams will be wearing.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Collection of Paul LoDuca Autographed Cards

Over the past year or so I've been posting up pics of my entire collection of autographed certified Dodgers Baseball cards.  As you can imagine, I have plenty of duplicate players, so instead of featuring each one individually I thought I should just group some of them together in one post.  Featured here are 7 different Paul LoDuca cards.

As a Dodger fan it is only natural that I have an affinity for catchers in Dodger Blue.  They are the quarterbacks of the team, and often hold a special place within Dodgers lore.  The string of great Dodger catchers goes as far back as Bill Bergen in the early 1900's to Chief Meyers, to Al Lopez, to Roy Campanella, to Johnny Roseboro.  Modern catching heroes include Joe Ferguson, Steve Yeager, Mike Scioscia and Mike Piazza.  For six years, Paul LoDuca manned that position at the turn of the new century, and would eventually cement himself as a member of that vaunted class of great Dodger backstops. 

Shown above and directly below is a 2003 Topps Tribute Modern Marks autographed card - along with a gold parallel card numbered to 25.

2002 Bowman Heritage autographed card

2003 Topps autographed card

1999 Bowman autographed card

2003 Topps T205 autographed card

2004 Topps Series 1 autographed card

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