Tuesday, June 19, 2012

eBay: Dazzy Vance in Brooklyn Blue

Why have the Dodgers not retired the number of Dazzy Vance?

This is certainly a name many Dodgers fans have long forgotten.  Dazzy Vance played in Blue before the heyday of the "Boys of Summer." He was known for a blazing fastball that allowed him to lead the league in strike outs for 7 straight seasons- from 1922 to 1928.  In 1924 he struck out 3 batters in one inning on just 9 pitches (only the 7th Major Leaguer to ever do that).  Furthermore, in that year he struck out more batters than any 2 National League pitchers combined.  Vance wasn't always great.  He spent a decade in the minors honing his craft (career saving surgery probably had a lot to do with it) before finally catching on at the age of 31.  As soon as he was given that opportunity he wowed the crowd.  In 1955 he was elected into the Hall of Fame.

Below is a vintage news service photograph issued by Pacific & Atlantic of Dazzy Vance showing his fastball grip, as found on eBay.  BTW, Vance wore number #15 - although I'm unclear if he wore a number for a very long time.  Many teams, including the Dodgers, did not have numbers back then.  Check out a great biography on Vance at the SABR Biography Project.  There is a interesting tidbit that suggest that Vance may have benefited from arm surgery (see it below).
It was in the Big Easy that the career-changing poker game occurred. According to Jack Kavanagh and Norman Macht, Vance banged his arm on the edge of the table while raking in a pot. He immediately felt intense pain. When the arm still hurt the next morning, Vance went to a doctor, who diagnosed an underlying injury that had not been discovered by all the medicos who had examined him previously. Exactly what the doctor did is unknown. Bill James speculated that the surgeon probably removed bone chips and debris from the elbow. That guess seems as good as any. At any rate, the operation was a success and the patient not only survived, but he thrived. After receiving this treatment, Dazzy was able to pitch again painlessly. The Dazzler rebounded to win 21 games for the Pelicans in 1921, his first 20-win season since 1914. He made it to the majors to stay the very next year. “It was an odd thing,” Vance later recalled. “My arm came back just as quickly as it went sore on me in 1915. I awoke one morning and learned I could throw without pain again."
(eBay Auction Link)

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 6/19/2012

Aaron Harang is quite the artist.  Via Patrick O'Neal's twitter, above is what Harang drew on the Dodgers white board.
"Most teams get along," Mattingly said. "But they are united in the purpose. They are playing as a we. If you get guys that play as a group, they hold themselves accountable. It doesn't happen that often."
  • Chad Moriyama follows up Angert's MLB story, above, by calling it lazy.  
Whenever a team achieves something above what was expected, the media generally takes the easy way out and attributes the success to chemistry or some other intangible. It’s a simple justification for a complicated reality, and it basically amounts to saying, “We were wrong, but not actually wrong, we just couldn’t see the things that nobody else could have seen either!” But that’s lazy to me, and it’s almost completely devoid of responsibility.
I don't entirely disagree, but I do think it's far too easy to discredit the importance of leadership within a team environment.  And I'm not just talking about generalship from the field, either. 
  • Mark Langill, the Dodgers official historian, talks a bit about the old Brooklyn Dodgers football team.
  • Check out Josh Suchon's great story about his first job in Baseball after college and the day he shuttled around Sparky Lyle.
  • Our 1st round draft pick, Corey Seager, has been named to Baseball America's 2012 High School All-America Team.
  • Youkilis in our sights? MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Dodgers are interested.  I, on the other hand, am not. 
  • Bob Lemke shows a "Pretty Picture" from his collection- a Sandy Koufax pic with Mr. Ed.
  • All Trade Bait, All the Time shares his two favorite vintage Baseball cards, and they are a couple of classic Dodger cards.
  • Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in New York City recently closed so the memorabilia inside will be sold in a bankruptcy auction, via Sports Collectors Daily.
  • How Every Club in MLB is Getting Rich, Thanks to Television, via Maury Brown at Baseball Prospectus.
  • Puck Daddy has more on the Kings, The Cup and Las Vegas.  Apparently, the adage that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas doesn't apply to Stanley Cup Champions.