Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dodgers Notes from Spring Training: Position Players Report, Pitchers & Catchers Workout #5

Throughout Spring Training the Dodgers PR department sends out helpful daily notes from Camelback Ranch, and I am happy to pass them along.  See what they've written below.
(No, you!  Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

JUST A DAY AWAY: Today marked the report date for position players and was the fifth day of workouts for pitchers and catchers at Camelback Ranch – Glendale. The first full-squad workout of the 2014 season is scheduled for tomorrow.

WELCOME TO THE RANCH: In advance of tomorrow’s full-squad team meeting, Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten arrived at Camelback Ranch – Glendale today, along with Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda and Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Lon Rosen. In addition to a number of Dodger personnel, SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo, Vice President of Production Larry Meyers and Senior Producer Pat Becher arrived on site this afternoon.
(Lon Rosen at Tommy Lasorda, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014)

ALL DODGERS, ALL THE TIME: We’re just 12 days away from the launch of SportsNet LA on February 25, the new 24-hour-a-day network of the Dodgers. SNLA will televise all of this year’s Dodger Cactus League games, with the exception of two split-squad games, giving fans more Spring Training coverage than ever before. In addition to airing games during Spring Training, SportsNet LA will also air a nightly show, “Access SportsNet: Dodgers,” at 7:00 p.m. PT.
(pic tweeted by Alanna Rizzo)

NRI SPOTLIGHT: Outfielder Joc Pederson begins his first big league camp tomorrow (officially) as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America. The 21-year-old has posted solid numbers in four minor league seasons since being selected in the 11th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, compiling a .301 career batting average with a .394 on-base percentage, 51 home runs and 193 RBI in 320 games between five levels of the Dodgers’ system. Last season, Pederson was honored as a 2013 Double-A Southern League Mid-season and Postseason All-Star and also selected to the MLB All-Star Futures Game, batting .278 with 22 homers and 58 RBI in 123 games for Chattanooga. Pederson, who was also named the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year in 2012, hails from Palo Alto, CA.

“BLACK JACK” MCDOWELL: It was announced today that Jack McDowell will manage the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors in 2014, his first season in the Dodger organization and as a coach at the professional level. The Southern Californian native and former Stanford All-American was a former three-time All Star and 1993 American League Cy Young Award winner who pitched for the White Sox (1987-94), Yankees (1995), Indians (1996-97) and Angels (1998-99) in his 12-year Major League career. McDowell posted a career 127-87 record with a 3.85 ERA in 277 appearances (275 starts) and in 1993 with the White Sox, the year in which he won the Cy Young award, McDowell posted a 22-10 record with 10 complete games and four shutouts. From 1987-1999, he was among ML leaders in wins (127, T-9th), shutouts (13, 6th), innings pitched (1889.0, 9th), strikeouts (1311, 10th), ERA (3.85, 7th), and opponent’s batting average (.257, 11th).

INTERNATIONAL SIGNING: Today the Dodgers signed 18-year-old international outfield prospect Carlos Mosquera from Panama City, Panama (signing scout: Luis Molina).
(Don Mattingly, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers)

SPRING CLEANING: The circular displays honoring the 10 retired numbers in Dodger history are being moved from the outfield pavilion overhangs to the left field club level balcony, in a placement opposite the World Series banners on the right field side of the club level. In addition, the palm trees known as the Three Sisters, which were temporarily moved to protect them during the stadium improvements beyond the bullpen, will be moved back in next week, according to Senior Vice President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith.
(Here's a rendering of the retired numbers placement, via Dodger Insider)

AMATEUR HOUR: College baseball takes center stage at Camelback Ranch-Glendale this weekend when Seth Rosin’s Minnesota Golden Gophers face Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti’s alma mater, the Northern Illinois Huskies, in a three-game series to open their 2014 seasons. The Gophers and Huskies will meet in the Camelback Ranch main stadium at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow-Sunday, February 14-16. Admission is free and food and beverages will be available for purchase during workouts and the college games.

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1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklets - Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett

I just made an exciting (at least to me) acquisition to my collection, and I am happy to share it with all of you.  Featured above is a complete set of 24 - 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family booklets.

These little (5 1/2" 7 1/2") booklets were handed out at local Union Oil gas stations throughout the Southland.  A new book was release each week during the season.  They provide a biography of the players featured, as well as, tips about playing ball.  Pages are black & white, and are highlighted with red graphics.

Since it's likely that most of you have never seen them, I will scan every page of each booklet and post it up here for you to enjoy.  Stay tuned, I'll feature a different booklet every other day, or so.

To start, I figured I would begin with the best booklet of all.  Check out complete scans of the Vin Scully / Jerry Doggett booklet below.  Click any pic to embiggen.

UPDATE: Go here to check out scans of every booklet in this set.

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The Dodgers Part-Time Late 1880's Home Ballpark - Ridgewood Park

Several weeks ago, I wrote a little story about the Dodgers very first home field in Brooklyn - Washington Park I Stadium.  Go here to check that out.

Today, I wanted to share some information I was able to find out about their part-time home fields called Ridgewood Park. 

As a point of reference, below is a quick guide of past Dodger home fields:
  • 1883-1891 -- Washington Park I
  • 1886 -- Grauer's Ridgewood Park
  • 1887-1889 -- Wallace's Ridgewood Park
  • 1891-1897 -- Eastern Park
  • 1898-1912 -- Washington Park II
  • 1913-1956 1957 -- Ebbets Field
*Please note that the dates above may not be exactly correct.  Various sources I found conflicted on this, so consider it approximate.  Also, it appears that the team played at several different ballparks during some seasons.
From 1886 to 1889, the Dodgers played in a couple of other fields that they called home.  It's likely that Charlie Byrne, the Dodgers owner, saw an opportunity to expand his fanbase and sell more tickets by travelling to other parts of New York for Sunday matches.

Two of those parks are commonly known as Grauer's Ridgewood Park and Wallace's Ridgewood Park.  Both of these parks are located near each other in Queens.

The above map is a modern aerial view of where the two parks were located.  Below is a 1915 map that show the locations of the two parks.
(1915 Map of Ridgewood, Queens, via Wikimedia Commons)
Grauer's Ridgewood Park

Grauer's Ridgewood Park and Athletic Base Ball Grounds was one of many parks in New York that flourished during the time.  From what I understand, entrepreneurs would purchase large swaths of land, enclose them and charged patrons to picnic on the grounds.  These areas were well kept and profitable for a time.  

In 1885, George Grauer (who happened to own a brewery) expanded his picnic grounds to include a new 10 acre plot for Base Ball.  BTW, his entire park is bounded by Myrtle Avenue, Cypress Avenue, Seneca Avenue and Decatur Street; in a area now called Wyckoff Heights.  In the aerial photo above you can see the entire park grounds.  The area denoted by an arrow is where the ballpark was located.

The next year, the Dodgers decided to play a Sunday exhibition game on April 11,1886 on the diamond at Grauer's Ridgewood Park. Via Brooklyn
Such places were particularly popular on Sundays- while Brooklyn had strictly enforced blue laws, those in Queens were a little more relaxed, and residents of Brooklyn would head across the county line to drink, or catch a ballgame.
That afternoon, 3,000 fans came out to watch the Dodgers (or the Brooklyn Grays as they were known then), and news reports indicate that they were surprisingly orderly.  So, Charlie Byrne scheduled official American Association League Sunday games at Grauer's Ridgewood Park. 

The Dodgers would only play Sunday ballgames at Grauer's for one season; eventually moving to nearby Wallace's Ridgewood Park the next year.  There are a couple of stories to explain the move.  Charlie Byrne complained about his inability to turn a profit for the move; whereas George Grauer claimed he could generate more revenue by turning the ballpark grounds into a dance hall.  It's likely both stories are true.  I suspect Grauer raised the lease price, so Byrne moved the team a couple blocks south.

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any photos available of the ballpark.  According to, the Dodgers played 14 games here.  Another source (Green Cathedrals by Philip Lowry) claimed the Dodgers played 15 Sunday games at Grauer's from May 2 to September 19, 1886.
Wallace's Ridgewood Park

Wallace's Ridgewood Park is located a couple of blocks south of Grauer's Ridgewood Park.  It was operated by William W. Wallace, who was secretary of the Ridgewood Athletic Association.  It is bounded by Wyckoff Avenue, Halsey Street, Irving Avenue and Covert Street.  Also, a railroad ran through the northern portion of the park.  As a result, the northern portion was used as picnic grounds, and the southern portion became the ballpark.

In the below map you can see where the grandstands were located.
(Sanborn maps 1888, via Brooklyn
In 1887, the Dodgers moved their Sunday ballgames to Wallace's Ridgewood Park, and remained there for three seasons.  According to, they played a total of 49 games there.

Per Brooklyn
The finest sequence for the Brooklyns at Wallace's Grounds took place on successive Sundays - May 20 and 27, 1888. First, Bob Caruthers pitched to the minimum 27 batters- allowing two hits but forcing a double play and benefiting from a man caught stealing - in defeating Kansas City 9 to 0. Seven days later, Adonis Terry did even better and pitched a no-hitter against Louisville before 4,872 fans. Four errors were made by Brooklyn, but Terry kept the shutout. The Brooklyns eked out a 1-0 lead in the sixth, and finally broke things open in the eighth to win 4 to 0 in "the finest exhibition of ball playing ever seen on the field since the park was opened."
After the Dodgers left in 1889 the grounds were used by the Brooklyn Gladiators of the American Association (they came to be after the Dodgers moved to the National League in 1890), the New York Highlanders (Yankees) for some exhibition games, various semipro ballclubs, the Negro League Royal Giants, soccer matches and football games.

Of special note, the highlanders (Yankees) signed a contract to play official American League games here in 1904, but the Brooklyn franchise claimed territorial rights.  As a result, the Yankees never played actual official Major League games here.

Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any period photos available of this ballpark.  Below is a 1922 photograph of the grandstands of Wallace's Ridgewood Park.
(pic via Wikimedia Commons, photo in public domain, taken by Eugene L. Armbruster)

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Blog Kiosk: 12/13/2014 - Dodgers Links - Maury Wills, Chris Perez and Koufax is Coming

Josh Tucker at Dodger Insider gives us a early peek at the Tuesday, July 29th stadium give-away.  It will be a Vin Scully 65th Anniversary microphone.  A sketch is shown above.
  • BTW, former Dodger hero and current adversarial coach of the Diamondbacks, Kirk Gibson, has just joined twitter.  I kid you not.  Go here and follow him, @23KGibby.
  • Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "After 64 spring training camps Maury Wills still enjoys his job".
  • Then, Ron at Think Blue LA provides an update to the construction work being done at Dodger Stadium, and includes a bunch of photos.
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Chris Perez hopes health is on his side in 2014".
“I feel great this year,” Perez said today at Camelback Ranch. “This time last year I was already hurt. It’s a lot better being healthy and being able to get my work in and work on stuff, instead of just going into the training room to get ready to go on the field. Compared to last year, I feel a night-and-day difference. It’s encouraging and it’s exciting.”

"I saw him the first day he walked into spring training right out of high school. He was a skinny little kid, but was probably the toughest guy I think I've ever seen on the field," Mattingly recalled. "He was competitive. He's been winning since he's got there."

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