Tuesday, January 22, 2013

AJ Ellis Goes Back to College

(pic link)
Yesterday, AJ Ellis went back to some familiar stomping grounds in order to share his experiences at the Clarksville Opening Pitch Banquet.  While in town, he visited his old alma mater ballclub at Austin Peay University in Tennessee, and congratulated them on their back-to-back OVC Championships.  Via the Austin Peay Athletic website:
No one understands more about patience and perseverance than the Lexington, Ky., native. After leaving APSU as its all-time hits leader (broken last season by Greg Bachman), the four-time first-team All-OVC selection was chosen in the 18th round of the 2003 draft by the Dodgers. He then spent the next two seasons as a back-up to Russell Martin, who later became the Dodgers All-Star catcher before moving to the New York Yankees and not then the Pittsburgh Pirates. The careers of minor league back-up catchers usually are short-lived, but Ellis beat those incredible odds.
He certainly has paid his dues, and is now reaping the rewards. 

Below is a video from the day.

Video Link:

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Dodgers Blog Kiosk: 1/22/2013

AJ Ellis visited his college ball team, Austin Peay State University, yesterday via twitter @APSU Athletics.
"It is great to be in a place like this and do the service that Dr. King asked us to do many years ago," former Dodgers outfielder Al Ferrara said.

"As far as the painting though, I may be in a little bit of trouble. When I was in high school, I flunked a drawing class. I'm trying to make amends."
Jerry Reuss told me that he used to listen to Scully’s broadcast—while he was playing—as it leaked out from thousands of transistors at Dodger Stadium. He said one time he even stepped off the mound to let Vinny finish a story before his next pitch.

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Koufax to be Special Advisor as Dodgers Appear to be Cutting Ties to Fox: Are these Connected Stories?

Today brought about a couple of interested tidbits regarding the Dodgers.  First, Bloomberg announced that Time Warner has made a deal with the Dodgers for cable television rights.
An announcement of the agreement is imminent, although no deal has been signed yet, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. The games will be carried on a new regional sports network developed by Guggenheim Partners, which bought the Dodgers for $2.15 billion last year. Time Warner Cable will be a partner in the project and won’t own the television rights outright, the people said.
Then, we hear from Ken Gurnick at MLB.com that Sandy Koufax has officially rejoined the Dodger ranks as a Special Advisor to Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter.
Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax has returned to the club as special advisor to chairman Mark Walter. Koufax will spend a portion of Spring Training working with the club's pitchers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and consult during the season.

"I'm delighted to be back with the Dodgers," Koufax said. "I'm looking forward to spending time with the team during Spring Training and to contributing in any way I can to help make the team a success for the fans of Los Angeles. Some of my most cherished memories came at Dodger Stadium."
At first glance, it doesn't appear that the two reports could have any relation to the other.  But, upon further reflection, I wouldn't be surprised if they were connected.

Think back to the days of the Fox ownership of the team.  There was an incident surrounding Sandy Koufax and News Corp. (parent company of Fox and the Dodgers at the time) that caused a significant rift between the two.  As I remember it, an official biography was being put out on Sandy Koufax that would be published by a News Corp. company.  This in itself was rare since Koufax was known as a intensely private individual, so knowing the he endorsed this project was exciting news for fans.  Unfortunately, those good feelings would dissipate fast.

As a marketing tool, the News Corp. publisher, or some other related entity felt is necessary to spread a baseless rumor about the upcoming biography as a way of generating more interest and potentially higher sales.  Like the whisper campaign that sank John McCain's Carolina election chances, rumors spread that Sandy Koufax was a closeted homosexual.

That's right folks, those idiots from News Corp. knowingly spread a false rumor about Sandy Koufax to generate higher sales, and Sandy Koufax was not happy about it.  In fact, he was so unhappy and disgusted by the tactic that he formally cut all ties to anything owned by News Corp.  This even included the Dodgers. 

For the first time, Sandy Koufax would not visit his old friends during Spring Training.  He would not provide advice, or do anything for the team.  Frankly, I felt that this was one of the darkest moments in Dodgers history.

When Fox eventually sold the team to the McCourts, Koufax slowly came back into the fold.  His boycott was over.  Now, we hear that Sandy is a Special Advisor to the Dodgers Chairman as the team negotiates a new cable television contract, and I have to wonder if he relayed his experience dealing with a News Corp. entity (Fox Sports) directly into his ear.

Could this possibly be Sandy's greatest act of revenge against Fox?

Frankly, this kind of orchestration is too devious for a single man to put together.  So, I doubt he was the mastermind that steered the Dodgers away from Fox.  Still, you have to figure that Sandy would have spoken highly of Time Warner over Fox if he was asked.  And, you've got to believe nobody is more happy about this recent development than him.

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A Don Drysdale Junior High Yearbook on eBay

How's about this for a strange and unusual Dodgers memorabilia item?

I recently stumbled upon a 1950 Junior High yearbook from Van Nuys that happens to include future Dodger and Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.  He was in the 8th grade, and as you can see below, was already nurturing that deathly stare that would scare the heck out of Major League hitters.

See the auction here.
(auction link)

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Some Burt Hooton Autograph Cards

Burt Hooton was a very good pitcher for the Dodgers.  He was known for his mastery of a knuckle-curve that allowed him to win 112 games as a Dodger in 10 season.  Overall, Hooton started 265 games in Blue, completing 65 of them, while recording a 3.14 ERA, an ERA+ of 113, and a WAR of 24.3.  Burt Hooton will also be remembered for a great nickname- "Happy".  I guess with the kind of numbers described above, you've got to be happy camper. 

Featured here are a handful of Burt "Happy" Hooton autographed Baseball cards in my collection.  Above and directly below is a 2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Nickname Greats autographed card of Hooton.

Below are a couple of 2005 Upper Deck Past Time Pennants autographed cards of Burt Hooton.  As you can see, there are two different versions shown below.  The card on the left is a silver variation, and on the right is a bronze variation.  From my understanding, a gold variation also exist.

Below is what the reverse of the cards look like.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

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