Monday, November 12, 2012

Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 11/12/2012

Take a look at the field section in rightfield at Dodger Stadium.  The Dodgers have started some work at the stadium.  This photo was tweeted by DodgerBlues yesterday.
  • I am glad to read that Evan at the formerly known New Mexico Fan Dodgers blog is planning to come back to blogging in a big way.  As the only Albuquerque resident Dodger blogger, I think he can provide a different look at the Dodgers; especially our prospects in AAA. The first thing you'll notice is that he has renamed the blog to "I Bleed Blue 2" and has a new website address.  Go and check it out.
  • Night Owl Cards continues with his series of the Best Dodgers Cards Ever Made, #60 - #51.
  • JP Hoornstra finds Hyun-Jin Ryu's Korean team website.  It's a must see.  Here's a link for the Hanwha Eagles Baseball Team website.
(twitter link)
Taken together, the investments are a dramatic and welcome shift, after the divorce of former owners Frank and Jamie McCourt drove the proud franchise into bankruptcy and forced general manager Ned Colletti to work with a cut-rate budget.

“Through all our challenges internationally in the last few years, we did maintain a good group that continued to scout and continued to be prepared in the event that we had the wherewithal to get involved,” Colletti told in a Sunday telephone interview. “This is very rewarding for the people who stayed with this through the tough times, when they felt deep down that we didn’t have chances to sign players.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Dodgers International Scouting Goes into Hyper-Drive

It's becoming quite clear that the Dodgers are going to continue to expend a significant amount of resources on the international market, and it makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it.

The American first-year player draft is highly competitive, and unless you under-perform by a great deal there is no chance of getting the top prospects America has to offer.  Heck, no matter how coveted a young player is, it is my hope that the Dodgers are never in the running to sign those players.  After all, that would mean that the Dodgers hit the toilet that season (i.e. last place in the league).

So, seeing that the American first-year player draft is not likely (hopefully) to be the place we can compete for the best prospects, we instead focus our attention to the areas were we can gain an equal footing.  Heck, with the kind of financial resources we now have, the Dodgers are in the process of positioning ourselves as the most knowledgeable and best destination point for foreign born ballplayers. 

You see, there is no foreign draft to lock the Dodgers into a position behind lesser performing teams.  We can use our might to identify the best players and sign them, and the only thing that stops us from hoarding every potentially great future star is a cap on the total dollars we can spend on young foreign born players per year.  

So, we spend like drunken children internationally.  It provides one of the few competitive advantages the Dodgers have over much of the league.

BTW, the Dodgers released more news today on the international front.  They have hired 6 new international scouts to cover Europe, Cuba, Latin America, Mexico, the Pacific Rim and Venezuela.  Per the Dodgers Press Release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers added experience to their international team of scouts with the signing of Pedro Avila, Gene Grimaldi, Patrick Guerrero, Pat Kelly, Jamey Storvick and Mike Tosar it was announced by Dodgers’ General Manager Ned Colletti.

The six scouts will serve under Bob Engle, who was hired by the Dodgers on November 1 as Vice-President of International Scouting.

Colletti also announced the hiring of Josh Bard as special assistant, player personnel and professional scouts Willie Fraser and Scott Groot.  Former Dodger third baseman Bill Mueller, who served as special assistant, player personnel, will become a full-time professional scout.

The six international scouts will cover the following areas—Avila will be coordinator of Venezuela operations, Grimaldi will be coordinator of European operations, Guerrero will be coordinator of Latin America, Kelly will be coordinator of the Pacific Rim, Storvick will be special assignment scout in the Pacific Rim and Tosar will be coordinator of Cuba and Mexico.

“The experience and international knowledge these scouts possess will benefit our organization immediately,” said Colletti.

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Hake's Auctions: A Drysdale Lighter, Branch Rickey's College Team & a Jackie Wallet

With the year coming to a quick close, many sports auction houses are trying to finish off the year with some great material, and Hake's is no different.  Check out a handful of great Dodgers memorabilia items that caught my eye in their newest offering.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

Below is a circa 1960's Meadow Gold Dairy souvenir lighter.  It measures 1.75x2-1/8", and has a photo image of Don Drysdale in Dodgers uniform on front w/facsimile inscription/signature "Best Wishes Don Drysdale". Reverse has large Meadow Gold Dairy logo.  These are fairly scarce.
(auction link)
(auction link)

Branch Rickey is probably one of the most important Baseball figures over the past century.  He has shaped the game for the better in hopes of making it more just within a difficult world.  From the auction description:
He was known for breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier by signing African American player Jackie Robinson and for drafting the first Hispanic superstar, Roberto Clemente. Branch's long and storied career in Major League baseball began as a player for the St. Louis Browns in 1905 and ended when he retired as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955.
Featured at Hake's is this original matte finish photo of the 1902 Ohio Wesleyan Baseball team. It measures 11x16" and has 14 men pictured, 13 in baseball uniforms for the university team. In the photo lying on either side of front center seated player are Wesley Branch Rickey (on the left) and his brother.  Branch is looking rather dapper.
(auction link)

You can't go wrong when you combine sports cartoonist Willard Mullin with Jackie Robinson.  With Jackie coming to the league, he immediately become one of the games most popular players.  As you can imagine, that meant commercial marketing opportunities.  So, resident hometown artist and sports cartoon editorialist, Willard Mullin, lent his hand to a venture that sold wallets emblazoned with his designs.

Here is a circa 1950's leather wallet measuring 3.25x7.75” w/snap closure on front.  An drawing of Jackie Robinson bunting on one side, and an image of Robinson sliding into a base on the other. Both of these were done by Willard Mullin.  This is very rare.
(auction link)
(auction link)

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Collection: 2001 Dodgers Police LAPD Baseball Card Set

Following up on my series of post focused on Dodgers LAPD police sets throughout the years, here are scans of the 2001 LAPD Police set.  To see those other police sets I have featured go here.  These cards are the same size as your normal Baseball card, and were distributed as a game give-away in full sheet form.  Each card was perforated on the sheet to allow fans to easily tear them apart.

Below is a look at what the reverse of the cards look like.

Complete sets are very inexpensive.  A Dodgers police set from any year can cost just a few bucks a piece.  Some of the more recent sets can cost a little more, but only because (for whatever reason) they do not show up very often.

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Check Out Some Hyun-Jin Ryu Baseball Cards; Including My Own Card Creations

For the heck of it, I figured I'd spend a little bit of time checking out what Baseball cards exist of our newest potential overseas signing, Hyun-Jin Ryu.  Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed I looked.  There is an American card with Ryu on it from 2009.  It is from the 2009 Bowman Sterling set, and is a part of the WBC Relics inserts.  Check out the above gold refractor card with a piece of game-used uniform embedded within it.  From what I can tell, this is his only American Baseball card.

I also ran across a Ryu card from Korea.  Via a blog called Japanese Baseball Cards is a 2010 Korean Baseball card set featuring 64 cards; including Ryu.  See it below.

From the here, the well had run dry.  So, I decided to make a few of my own.  Check out some of my Hyun-Jin Ryu Baseball card creations.

Below is a Ryu card I made in the style of a gaming card.

Since Ryu was born in 1987 I figured I should use the Topps set design from that year and make the below card.

Here's a 1959 Topps Hyun-Jin Ryu card in his Hanwha Eagles Korean team uniform.

Okay, I admit it. I went a little crazy this weekend. Here's a pic showing him celebrating after shutting out Canada in a preliminary match at the Beijing Olympics.

Then look what I found.  A Ryu Street Fighter card.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *