Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Gary Cypres - Dodgers Most Impressive Collector Sits Down for a Interview

Tom Hoffarth at the Long Beach Press-Telegram wrote a great piece the other day featuring super-collector Gary Cypres.  As you may know, he owns and operates the Sports Museum of Los Angeles.  His museum is filled with all kinds of sports memorabilia; including a huge collection of Dodger goodies.  It is, without a doubt, the most impressive grouping of True Blue memorabilia I've ever seen.

Well, Cypres sat down with Hoffarth to talk a little bit about the museum, as well as, the state of the hobby in general.  To this collector, I found it utterly fascinating to read.  Check it out here.  BTW, there is also a short video to watch.

Below are some highlights:
Q: You've probably seen some of the things the Dodgers franchise has in its own collection. They've considered opening its own Hall of Fame or museum on its property. Is there any working relationship about either you or them buying items that come up in auctions?
A: No, because I think the Dodgers usually refer things that come up to me. Their view of it is mostly to duplicate things. For their purposes, it was quicker and more efficient to do that. That's not me. The heart of any museum is the real stuff. The Dodgers have their view and I have my view. I collect very deeply, anything with the Dodgers from balls to bats to contracts to correspondence, hats, trophies. I have a different purpose and different collecting feel as to what I want and what's important to me.

Q: If someone doesn't have the financial means to start collecting things the way you have done it, do you have a suggestion on how they can get started without bankrupting themselves?
A: I think you start with the idea that it's the collecting that's fun. If you have limited resources, even within the baseball world, there are all kinds of things to collect that doesn't have to be high-end stuff. Think of all the bobbleheads or other giveaways over the last 20 years for just the Dodgers. A funny story: A senior judge in the state of California came by here one day, very distinguished man, impeccable credentials, Ivy League educated -- he collects football programs. You'd never know what people collect. Football programs don't involve major dollars, but here's someone, an intellectual, sure as can be, just this quiet collector. It doesn't matter what profession. Collectors are collectors, in their blood from when they were little.
I though I would add a few photos that were passed along to me earlier this year by a reader named Cathy from an event at the museum.  I had originally posted these photos here.

A Brooklyn Dodgers Sym-Phony bass drum is on the top left, and a real Babe Ruth Dodgers jersey is on the top right.  Below are Don Newcombe's Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year awards.  Click any pic to embiggen.

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RIP, Dick Gray - The Man Who Hit LA's 1st Home Run

The Dodger family received some sad news yesterday.  Dick Gray, LA's first starting 3rd baseman, died on Monday.  He was 81 years old. 

Dick Gray began his Baseball career as an 18-year old kid out of Jefferson, Pennsylvania.  For the first 3 years he rose up the Brooklyn Dodgers farm system until he entered military service during the Korean War.  Upon returning in 1955, he rejoined the franchise and started to show some pop in his bat.  In 1956, Gray belted 24 home runs for the Fort Worth Cats - the Dodgers AA club.  Then in 1958, the Dodgers first year in Los Angeles, he earned the starting 3rd baseman job to start the season.

It was while in Los Angeles that he forever chiseled his name into the Dodgers record books.

On a Wednesday evening on April 16th, Dick Gray hit the very first home run in LA Dodgers history.  It was against the San Francisco Giants at Seals Stadium.  He was a huge contributor in that early season victory as he went 3 for 6 with 3 RBI's and 2 runs scored.  The Dodgers walloped the Giants 13 to 1.

To further solidify his Dodger legacy, Dick Gray also hit the very first Dodger home run at the Dodgers home field in the Coliseum.  On April 18th he cranked out his 2nd homer of the season in the 7th inning of a very close game.  It was the last run the Dodgers would score that afternoon, and would eventually be the winning run as the Dodgers squeaked by with a 6 to 5 victory.

Unfortunately, his stay in Dodger Blue would be short lived.  In the middle of the 1959 season he would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Chuck Essegian and Lloyd Merrit.

When he retired from Baseball he went on to live in Anaheim and joined the Buena Park School District.  He retired from there in 1993.  As far as I know, his last public appearance was in April of 2012 at the Frank & Son's show.

RIP, Dick Gray.
Above are some vintage pics of Dick Gray in LA Dodger Blue, via Baseball Birthdays.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

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Blog Kiosk: 7/9/2013 - Dodgers Links -

For some reason the pic above sent by Yasiel Puig via Instagram had me singing the Grateful Dead tune Casey Jones.
Casey Jones, you better watch your speed 
Trouble ahead, trouble behind 
And you know that notion just crossed my mind
  • Orel at Vin Scully is My Homeboy passes along Vin Scully's story about a batting out of order event from 1950.
  • This might be the best T-Shirt design I've seen all year.  From Eephus Blue - Kershaw and Ellis in a Calvin & Hobbes style.  See it on the right.  As a huge fan of that comic strip, I say "Awesome!"
  • Christopher Jackson at Examiner.com writes a 2 part interview with the Dodgers Director of Player Development, De Jon Watson.  See Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.
  • OK, photoshop geniuses! It's time to use your creative energy to help a Dodger out.  Via Mike Oz at Big League Stew, they have issued a "Reader challenge: Design a campaign poster for your favorite All-Star ‘Final Vote’ participant".  The best campaign poster win an All-Star jersey.
  • Eric Becker at Eric's Dodger Blog was in the Bay Area this past weekend and shared a couple of videos he took to document the experience.  He promises many more in the near future.
  • Via Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, "Clayton Kershaw: Mets Ace Matt Harvey Should Start All-Star Game".
“He should (start),” Kershaw told FOXSports.com. “There’s no reason, especially if it’s in New York, that he shouldn’t start. That’s what the fans will want. I’ve got no problem with that.”
As an older pitcher, Nolasco’s fastball isn’t going to get any better. But by placing it in the right place and using it less often, Nolasco is having the best season of his career. There’s evidence that he’s changed his position on the mound and it’s helped against lefties, too. 
  • Sports Collectors Daily has a great story about a wounded veteran who has been using sports card sorting as a way to rehab from brain injury.
  • Watch as Hanley Ramirez goes one-on-one with Jerry Hairston.

Video Link:

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