Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Erisbel Arruebarrena!

With Juan Uribe re-injuring his hamstring last night this announcement should come as no surprise.  Uribe has been put on the 15-day DL. 

What may be a surprise is who is coming in his place.  Instead of hot hitting Alexander Guerrero, sure handed defensive specialist and recent free agent signee from Cuba, Erisbel Arruebarrena is coming up to the big club. 

As you may know,  Arruebarrena is all glove and no bat.  So, it remains uncertain if he'll get any starts over infielders like Figgins or Turner.  On the other hand, what have the Dodger to lose?

If not for a certain incident at an Isotopes game yesterday, I suspect Guerrero would have been the player called up in Uribe's stead.  Unfortunately, Guerrero's recent surgery made it impossible for him to come up today.  Who knows, though?  Maybe in a few days he'll get called up to replace Arruebarrena.

BTW, with Ryu slated to be coming off the DL to start tonight's game, I suspect Chris Withrow will be sent back to Albuquerque.   An announcement has yet to be made, but reports are already being made from all over the 'net.

Via a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today recalled infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena from Double-A Chattanooga (pronounced Arr-ru-eh-BAHR-ena) and placed infielder Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list (right hamstring strain).

Arruebarrena, who will wear uniform No. 11, will be making his Major League debut and hit safely in six of his last seven games with the Lookouts, batting .379 (11-for-29) with a double, a homer and two RBI since May 11. Overall, in 25 games as the primary starting shortstop for Chattanooga, the 24-year-old committed just four errors and hit .208 with four doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBI. Arruebarrena was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent on Feb. 22 after posting a .276 batting average with 67 doubles, 25 triples, 27 homers and 171 RBI in 437 career games in six seasons for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional from 2007-2013.

Uribe was batting .303 with four homers and 18 RBI in 40 games this season.
In celebration of Arruebarrena officially becoming a Dodger for the first time today today, I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photo grabbed from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014 from Spring Training and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are Arruebarrena's minor league career pitching stats, via Baseball Reference:

And, here is a recent video of Arruebarrena batting in Chattanooga last week, via Christopher Blessing of on youtube.

Video Link:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A 1918 Semipro Championship Ring from a Forgotten Former Dodger at Legendary Auctions - Remembering Dodger Scout Artie Dede

Yesterday, I shared a bunch of Dodger memorabilia pieces I came across while perusing Legendary Auctions current offering.  You can check out that post here. But, I wanted to take some time to write this post about one particular item that I thought deserved some special attention.  The collectible itself isn't a Dodger item, but it once belonged to an important former Dodger who has long been forgotten by time.

This 1918 Semipro New York Section Shipbuilding Baseball Champions Ring was given to former Dodger catcher and highly regarded Baseball scout Artie Dede.
(Auction Link)

Artie was one of the great scouts that littered the Dodger ranks in the 40's and 50's.  He was credited with inventing a spring training innovation called the Sliding Dolly, a player would lay down on a platform with wheels and cords designed to show the proper sliding position for his feet and legs, and was a constant presence on New York borough ballfields in hopes of finding a future Dodger. 

In fact, he found one.  Dede was an important voice in the Dodgers pursuit of future Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.  The Baseball Hall of Fame scouting page credits him with signing Sandy.  I'll go into this a little later.

How Artie Dede became a Dodger is the stuff of legends.  He was one of those Moonlight Graham kind of players -- having recorded just a single at-bat in his Major League career.  In fact, Frank Graham Sr. (a sportswriter for the New York Sun) wrote in his 1981 book titled, "A Farewell to Heroes," that:
Dede was one of the sweetest men alive, everyone's idea of a gentle, twinkle-eyed, wisecracking grandfather.  None of us minded that his jokes were pure cornball; it was the manner and not the substance of his patter that brought out the laughs.  He had been a catcher for the Bushwicks and other semiprofessional teams of the World War I era and, responding to some long-forgotten emergency at Ebbets Field, had played in a single game for the Dodgers in 1916.
As I understand it, Dede was never really on the Dodgers playing roster.  Instead, he was a well regarded semipro catcher from Brooklyn who, based on his reputation as a knowledgeable player, got a gig as a 20-year old bullpen catcher for both the NY Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.  His work with those clubs gave him the opportunity to catch Major League pitchers, such as; Christy Mathewson, Rube Marquard, Al Demaree, Sherrod Smith, Jack Coombs and Nap Rucker.  He was also known to have traveled with the teams on occasion; having bunked with Jim Thorpe. 

Fortunately, the circumstances surrounding his lone Major League at-bat has not been lost to time; as Frank Graham had mused above.  Through the wonder of the internet we find a July 17, 1947 Brooklyn Daily Eagle story about it from Jimmy Murphy

In 1916, during the second to last game of the season, Dede had his chance to enter the record books.  The Dodger catchers (Chief Myers, Otto Miller and Mack Wheat) had banged up fingers, so the team decided to give them a spell.  They brought in Artie Dede as an emergency catcher out of the bullpen. The Dodgers were on their way to winning their very first pennant of the century, and they likely decided it was best to rest their backstops before their World Series matches against the Boston Red Sox. 

Artie Dede faced Giants pitcher Slim Sallee, and also got onto the field for an inning.  Other than recording an out, I do not know what was the outcome of his at-bat.

Dede would continue playing for and coaching various semipro league teams in the New York area for several decades.  During WWI he enlisted in the Motor Transport Corps and remained in the trucking business for 24 years, thereafter.  Then, a Dodger scout by the name of Turk Karum, recognizing Dede's reputation, passed along his name to Mickey McConnell, Director of Dodger Promotional Works, in 1941.  They quickly signed him up and had him running tryout camps in Lodi.  He stayed with the team until the Dodgers departure for Los Angeles in 1958.  He then became a Yankee scout til his death in 1971. 

Over the years, he has been credited with signing Cal Abrams, Billy Loes, Joe Pignatano and Joe Pepitone.  And, to return back to Sandy Koufax, Ed Gruver, wrote in his 2000 book entitled "Koufax", the following:
Upon reading the Campanis Report and conferring with Dodger scout Art Dede, team president Walter O'Malley gave Brooklyn general manager Buzzie Bavasi permission to sign Koufax.

"Everyone was high on him," Bavasi remembered.  "I hadn't seen him play of course, but his father came in asked for $14,000.  So I called Arthur in and said, "Arthur, Mr. Koufax wants $14,000."

He said, 'If I had it, I'd give it to him.'

"That was enough for me."
Clearly, if not for Artie Dede, Sandy Koufax might not have been a Dodger.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Yeager, Bret Saberhagen and Star Wars Night

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


Hey!  It's Star Wars Night at the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game on Saturday!

Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager will be signing autographs at Frank & Sons on Saturdays.  Go here for information.
Frank & Sons
19649 San Jose Ave 
City of Industry, CA 91748


Pitching Ace Bret Saberhagen is signing autographs at Harry's Dugout on Sunday.  Go here for information.  Only 100 autographs are available, and I'm not sure if any are available currently.  Be sure to contact the store to find out.
Harry's Dugout
10715 Beverly Boulevard
Whittier, CA

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 5/21/2014 - Dodger Links - Uribe Re-Injured and may be Headed to DL

Juan Uribe appeared to have re-injured his hamstring in last nights game.  I wonder if Hanley Ramirez had something to do with that.  Pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  The timing of the scuffle in AAA couldn't come at the worse time for Alexander Guerrero.  With Uribe potentially heading to the DL, he was the most logical choice to be called up.  Now, with his ear bitten off and just coming back from surgery, who knows?
Uribe doubled down the left field line in the ninth inning, but limped into second base. He left the game after conferring with team trainers. 
Now the reason for his early AM call: "If Sandy's there tonight, I want you to ask him a question for me." His wasn't a reference to Alderson, Duncan, Dennis or Alomar. There's only one Sandy he recognizes. "I wanna know if he ever thinks what it would have been like if the Dodgers had stayed."
"No," Sandy Koufax said. "I've never thought about it, and if I dreamed it, I don't remember."
  • Guess who showed up on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon?  That's right... Don Mattingly in a vintage 'stache.  BTW, Josh Tucker at Dodger Insider has a full rundown on most of the events the Dodgers participated in during their off-day in New York on Monday.

Video Link:

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *