Thursday, March 20, 2014

Snapshots in Time from a 1966 Dodgers Spring Training

It's been awhile since I've shared some of the unique things I find while perusing eBay.  That place is like a giant flea market filled with unusual memorabilia and collectibles that would be difficult to find anywhere else.  For instance, check out the group of 4 photos below that I found at this auction.  Click on the pic to embiggen.
(eBay Auction Link)

These are fan taken photos taken of several beloved Dodgers during Spring Training at Vero Beach in 1966.  They reflect distinctly personal and intimate snapshots of several moments in time.  They are like memories that have been captured to allow us to recall or imagine the day.

When I saw these photos, I was immediately transported to Dodgertown.  I could see myself walking the grounds like a child with a new toy.  Exploration and discovery would be my goal, and as I came across some of these 'Boys in Blue' I would smile and wave hello.

"Can I get a photo with you," is what I would say.  Or, "how about a John Hancock, please?"

Man-O-Live... I do miss going to Spring Training, and one of these days I'll make my way out to Arizona to see the Dodgers there.  Fortunately, I still have my memories from the trips I took many years ago, and I can always look back at the photos I find throughout the 'net to assuage my thirst for those uniquely special moments.

In the photos above you see Jim Lefebvre on the top left, Ron Fairly on the top right, Jim Gilliam on the bottom left and John Kennedy on the bottom right.

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The Charlie Neal 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet

Here is another post featuring the 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet set.  Go here to see my past post showcasing this set; including complete scans of both the Vin Scully/Jerry Doggett and Sandy Koufax booklets.  This time I share the Charlie Neal Booklet.

Charlie Neal started out playing ball in high school for a amateur traveling ballclub organized by his father out of Longview, Texas.  He was able to showcase his skills while there, and was subsequently drafted by the Dodgers in 1950.  After 6 years of Minor League ball, Neal made his debut in Dodger Blue in 1956.  He immediately impressed the club with his speed and his defensive prowess at 2nd base and short stop. 

His finest year came in 1959.  Charlie Neal won the Gold Glove at 2nd base, was an All-Star and lead the league in triples with 11.  The best was yet to come, though.  During the 1959 World Series match up against the Chicago White Sox, he belted two home runs in Game 2 of the series to help them win the game 4 to 3.  Overall, he batted .370, OPS'd 1.037, had 6 RBI's, 2 home runs and 2 doubles.

Via Sportswriter Roy Terrell in Sports Illustrated (from Baseball-Almanac):
"Charlie Neal doesn't look like a man who would hit two home runs in a year, much less one game. He weighs only 156 pounds and his wrists are thin. Yet he has hit 41 home runs in the last two seasons. He has played with the Dodgers for four years and is regarded as one of the best second basemen in the National League. In the dressing room as reporters questioned him, Neal looked embarrassed. What pitches did he hit? He didn't know, he said, and when the reporters looked puzzled, he said he was sorry. A photographer asked him to make a muscle, and he looked embarrassed again as laughing teammates compared it to a bee sting. But their kidding was gentle; it was that bee sting which had tied the Series at a game apiece."
Below are complete scans of every page from Charlie Neal's 1961 Union Oil Dodger Family Booklet.  Click any pic to embiggen. 

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Blog Kiosk: 3/20/2014 - Dodgers Links - Dodgers BEat Team Australia

The Dodgers line up for the start of this mornings exhibition game against Team Australia, pic via Dodgers on tumblr.  The team beat the Aussie's 4 to 2 on the back of Yasiel Puig, via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA.  Check out two gif's below to see Puig's home run and his throw to the plate.  Both gif's are via the Dodgers on tumblr.  Unfortunately, Eric tells us that Adrian Gonzalez left the game early due to lower back tighness.

Hot Clicks: Are there any players you’re mentoring now?
Adrian Gonzalez: I try and talk to all the young kids. Last year the organization put my locker next to Yasiel [Puig] for that reason and we have a good relationship. There’s a kid here in camp I really enjoy watching and talk to him about different things. His name is Joc Pederson and he’s a left handed hitter so it makes it easier for me to talk to him. But I always try and be there for the younger players and help them when I can.
  • Via Chris Ocotillo on twitter, the Dodgers have been fielding numerous calls for recently designated reliever Javy Guerra.  The team has until March 25 to work out a deal, or he gets claimed for no compensation.  I liked Guerra, and I believe he'll be effective in the bullpen for another team.  No doubt, we haven't heard the last of him.
  • Via Ken Gurnick at, "Blue grit: For Mattingly, toughness breeds success".
"You look at baseball and you don't think of the game in terms of toughness," said Mattingly, who got a three-year extension in January. "People think of football, hockey -- in this country, rugby. Baseball is more about mental toughness, getting ready to play day in and day out, with travel and getting into town late and all kinds of things. It's not easy to do."
In Thursday morning's Sydney Morning Herald, there is a rooting guide to the Opening Series. It said that, if the Dodgers lived in Australia, they "would spend most of their time sipping lattes at Bondi. The payroll at the Dodgers is US$245 million compared to $110 million for their rivals Arizona. If you like the idea of hanging with celebrities in Hollywood and strolling down Rodeo Drive, the Dodgers are your team." 

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