Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Mailbag: A Larry King "Fans of the Game" Autographed Card

I've been a huge fan of the "Fans of the Game" autographed cards put out by Donruss/Playoff for a long time.  So, when this Larry King card came up for bidding on eBay I knew I had to take a run at it. 

As you can see, King claims an allegiance to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He was born in the NY borough in the early 30's, so he had an opportunity to grow up with the "Boys of Summer".  Nowadays, you can spot him at Dodger Stadium taking in a game.

At one time he threw his hat into the ring as a potential buyer of the Dodgers.  He had this to say, via Tony Jackson at ESPN LA:
"I think Frank got caught up in the L.A. aspect of the life," King said. "The Dodgers became secondary to the ... lifestyle of being Frank McCourt, Dodger owner. He liked that image of walking into a room. Basically, he is a nice guy, I don't think he is an owner. I just don't think he is cut out to own a baseball team. He is cut out to be a real estate guy who does deals. He is a deal guy … .

"I am a fan. I'm paying over $300 a seat for every game, I have six seats. I'm putting this money into the team, I hope they do well. I would like to see the owner do well. But instead of bidding for the top free agents, he's buying another house. ... If I run into Frank, I'm kind, I smile and I say hello, and he says hello. He has been to my house for dinner when he first got the team. But ... he's not cut out to be an owner, and I think the league made a mistake, frankly, in giving him the franchise."
This card is a 2004 Playoff Honors "Fans of the Game" card that I was able to snag for about $15 delivered.  I don't think that's too shabby.

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A New Hartland Roy Campanella Statue Commemorating a 1951 Game that Dodger Fans Would Rather Forget

Hartland is a name that many vintage Baseball collectors are familiar with.  From 1958 to 1963 they produced a series of baseball, football and TV western plastic statues which have become iconic treasures to figurine collectors. 

Well, Hartland Plastics Company has not disappeared from the hobby landscape.  Instead, they continue to live on as one of the nation’s oldest producers of figurines and collectibles.  Today, they are called Hartland of Ohio and they recently have been active in creating figurines that celebrate the Negro Leagues and other historic events.

Just a few of days ago they announced their newest historic events statue and it features Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella attempting to tag out Boston Brave outfielder Bob Addis.  You can order here.  Apparently, this was an highly contested play-at-the-plate that resulted in a controversial call that affected the infamous pennant race of 1951.

As you probably know, 1951 was the year the Giants came back from 13.5 games to tie the Dodgers, and eventually win the pennant in a moment dubbed the "shot heard 'round the world".

Unfortunately, I had no familiarity with this September 27, 1951 game, so I'll let Tom Conmy at Behind the Bag tell you more about it.  With the game against the Braves tied at three at the bottom of the 8th inning:
Preacher Roe, a winner of 10 straight going into the game, began to tire, and the first two Braves reached with singles. With men on first and third and none out and the Brooklyn infield in, “Specs” Torgeson grounded one sharply to Jackie Robinson at 2nd, who fired a strike to Campanella to cut off the go-ahead run. Then, according to the Times account:

“As Dascoli spread his arms in the safe sign, Campy jumped up and down in violent protest and slammed his glove on the ground. Dascoli instantly thumbed the catcher out, then the dispute grew quickly.”
Tempers flaired.  Dodger players and coaches swarmed around the umpire.  Soon, more Dodgers were given an early exit to the showers.  First there was coach Cookie Lavagetto, then the entire Dodgers bench who were not already on the field were ejected.

That's right, the home plate umpire threw out every Dodger player and coach who were not already on the field. 
The ejection of Campanella, with his .326/32/107 numbers, turned out to be particularly damaging in the last frame as Pee Wee Reese led off the 9th with a double, but instead of Campy coming to bat with Reese having advanced to 3rd with one out, Wayne Terwilliger grounded to 3rd as Reese held, then Andy Pafko struck out to end it.
As they say, the rest is history.  The Giants ended up 1/2 a game behind the Dodgers, and would eventually tie them to force a playoff pennant series. 

The Hartland statue of this controversial play-at-the plate appears to be limited to just 100 copies and will be signed by Bob Addis - the man who scored.  It is available at $125.00.  Go here to order.

Also, be sure to check out Tom Conmy at Behind the Bag story for more details that include fines, a broken door to the umpire's locker room that almost resulted in suspensions, and a ton of vintage photos.

Pic above via @HartlandLLC on twitter:

UPDATE:  Hartland just passed along a press photo of this controversial play on twitter.  See it below.

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Blog Kiosk: 9/3/2013 - Dodgers Links - Michael Young, Paco Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez to Start

The Newest Dodger, Michael Young, met with reporters in the Dodgers clubhouse for the first time yesterday.  He got into his first game for the Dodgers as a pinch-hitter, but struck out on three pitches.  Pic via @Dodgers on twitter.
“They did (tell him what his role would be), but they didn’t have to,” Young said. “You could probably ask every guy in this locker room if he would like to have five at-bats a game, and they would say yes. But it’s a winning team, and I just want to contribute. And with it being a National League ballclub, I will have a chance to contribute every day.”
"In that situation I thought he's bring Wilson in, but I know they have confidence in me. When Honey came out I knew it was all mine. We came up with a game plan, and it was one of those things. Once you know they have trust in you it just makes you that much more confident in yourself," Rodriguez said. "I'm just happy there is confidence in me, that I'm able to do that job."
Mattingly was impressed with Volquez's bullpen session Sunday, which would put Volquez in line to start Wednesday. That would bump Hyun-Jin Ryu, Wednesday's scheduled starter, to Friday and give him two extra days of rest.

It is a side of the great Cobb that few have ever seen. The book portrays the aging Tiger Hall of Famer as a man deeply dedicated to his grandchildren.  The book provides a rare glimpse into the private life of the Georgia Peach – a retired ballplayer who still loved the game he helped make the National Pastime. Hersch warmly recalls that Granddaddy Ty would often listen to ball games on the radio: “It really didn’t matter who was playing, so long as the company of his past was with him.”
  • Kershaw's Challenge recently shared a video on their blog that features two kids they sponsor in Zambia.  They tell their story about where they came from, and what life is now like living in the Arise Home.
  • Dodgers team photographer Jon SooHoo shares some of his favorite photos from the last few decades.

Video Link:

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