Thursday, November 06, 2014

Adrian Gonzalez Wins his Second Louisville Silver Slugger Award

It's been quite an offseason so far for Adrian Gonzalez.  Just days after winning his fourth Rawlings Gold Glove, a second National Sports Award from Mexico and a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honor, Adrian Gonzalez has been named the Louisville Silver Slugger award winner for first baseman in the National League.  A complete list of winners can be seen here.

Adrian Gonzalez had this to say, via a press release:
"I'm excited to win the Silver Slugger Award, especially with so many deserving first basemen in the National League this year," said Gonzalez. "I'm grateful for the consideration and votes for this prestigious honor."
This is his second career Silver Slugger award; having won his first in 2011 as a member of the Boston Red Sox.  He is the first Dodger to win the award at first base since Eric Karros in 1995, and only the third Dodger ever to win the award at that position.  Eddie Murray won it in 1990.  Of note, he is the only player this year to have won both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove during the same season, and it's the fifth time a Dodger has won both awards at the same time.  Per Eric Stephen of True Blue LA on twitter:

Of note, Gonzalez edged out several other worthy first baseman; including Cubs sensation Anthony Rizzo.  In fact, Rizzo had bested Gonzalez in just about every offensive category (home runs, runs, batting average, on-base %, slugging % and WAR) except for RBI's.  Adrian drove in a Major League leading 116 runs over Rizzo's 78.

Which goes to show that voters valued AGon's knack for driving in runs over a broad statistical view.  BTW, this award was voted on by Major League managers and coaches only, so they likely valued Gonzalez's bat in key situations over anyone else's.  As the guidelines state:
Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the managers’ and coaches’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value (emphasis mine).  Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.
(PHOTO: Silver Sluggers in MLB Network Studio 42)

Graphic at the very top via @Dodgers on twitter:

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Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach is Now a Florida Heritage Landmark

Well... It's about time!

This coming Monday, November 10th at noon, a special ceremony will be held along a well-known path between Holman Stadium and Historic Dodgertown’s all-purpose conference center.  They will unveil a two-sided marker (shown above) that designates the Dodgers former Spring Training home, Historic Dodgertown, as an Florida Heritage Landmark.  It says:

Baseball and Dodgertown
Dodgertown was the spring training facility of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers.  Originally part of a World War II Naval Air Station, Dodgertown became the spring training home of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, when local business leader Bud Holman convinced the Dodgers to set up a spring training facility in Vero Beach.  Here, Dodger President Branch Rickey sought to create a "baseball campus" where players could live and play together.  Dodgertown was the South's first racially integrated spring training camp, where 600-plus players from the Brooklyn Dodgers 26 minor league teams played.  Hall of Famer players Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella were among the first African American players to train here.  In 1953, Dodger President Walter O'Malley privately built the 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, a state-of-the-art ball park at Dodgertown.  During its history, 6 World Championships and 14 National League Pennant-winning teams played at Dodgertown.  In 2001, the Dodgers sold Dodgertown to Indian River County, then leased it back until 2008, when their spring training facilities moves west to Arizona.  In 2012, the O'Malley family stepped up to manage historic Dodgertown as a year-round multi-sport complex.
For anyone who has ever visited Dodgertown you know how incredible the place is.  It's a quaint little baseball hamlet surrounded by palm trees and ball fields more reminiscent of a small town little league park rather than a Major League facility.  It's that kind of charm that endeared fans to Dodgertown, and transformed the former Naval Station into a must visit Baseball mecca. 

Over my life I've had an opportunity to visit during spring training on four different occasions and each time was an absolute blast.  There was no place better to chat it up with other fans, and no facility provided fans the kind of closeness it allowed to the players.  I still think back about how uniquely wonderful Dodgertown was, and feel bad that Dodger fans today will never have an opportunity to experience it.

Per a press release:
Participating in the ceremonies at noon are Hall of Fame Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda, as well as O’Malley and other Dodger legends, who are serving as instructors at the 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp from November 9-15 at Historic Dodgertown. Instructors include Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Ken Landreaux, Rick Monday, Jerry Reuss, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager. Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming will be guest instructors. Former Dodger scout Guy Wellman serves as the camp coordinator as he has since the first camp in 1983.
Per Peter O'Malley:
“This recognition is appropriate because of Historic Dodgertown’s significance in baseball history. It truly is unique and we appreciate the efforts of all those involved to gain this special designation.”
Here is something I did not know about Dodgertown.  Walter O'Malley built a golf course in Dodgertown called Dodgertown Golf Club and it was the first integrated golf course in Vero Beach.  O'Malley had wanted his African-American ballplayers to have an opportunity to enjoy the game, since they couldn't anywhere else.

Check out the Historic Dodgertown website here for information about the facility.  Today, it is a year-round, multi-sport training site and conference center for all manner of sport.  You can also check out a bunch of photos from my past Dodgertown spring training adventures here.

The photo at the very top courtesy of Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Fla.

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Kershaw Wins Warren Spahn Award for 3rd Time

This might be the coolest looking award in all of Baseball.  Just look at it (photo on the right).  It's a big brass looking sculpture of the great Warren Spahn in the midst of delivering one of his nasty fastballs.  That image is glorious, and this trophy couldn't have gone to a more deserving lefty.

Announced this afternoon, Clayton Kershaw has been named the 2014 winner of the Warren Spahn Award.  It is given to the best left-handed pitcher in all of Baseball.  Via a press release:
“It is an honor to be the recipient of the 2014 Warren Spahn Award,” Kershaw said. “I’m humbled to be recognized by the Bricktown Rotary Club again this year – the prestige of this award isn’t lost on me. I am also grateful for the opportunity to play alongside so many awesome teammates who provide the support and confidence for me to do my job. Warren Spahn was a great pitcher with a legendary career. To be recognized in his honor is pretty special. Thank you for the privilege of representing this award for the 2014 baseball season.”
This is the second consecutive time he has been given this award, and the third time over the past four years.  Wow, Kershaw will now have three of these trophies on his shelf.
“It is obvious from his performance on the field that we are witnessing a special pitcher each and every time Clayton Kershaw takes the mound,” said Greg Spahn, son of the late Warren Spahn. “This was another outstanding year for Clayton. He is truly one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and it’s this type of performance every season that explains why Clayton is a multiple winner of this award. The Spahn family will proudly present Clayton his third Warren Spahn Award.”
The reception for the awards gala will be in January at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame & Jim Thorpe Museum.  Go here for more information.

Photo at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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Blog Kiosk: 11/6/2014 - Dodger Links - Another Kershaw Magazine Cover and Uribe Wins Defensive Player of the Year Award

Clayton Kershaw will be on the cover of the December 2014 issue of Beckett Baseball magazine, pic above via Chris Olds at  Also at the link to the left, Chris Olds puts together his list of the Top-5 Kershaw cards to own. 

Below are some more links to check out:
  • Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider, "Gonzalez, Uribe win Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honors."  Congrats to Uribe.  He deserves the recognition.
  • Mark Saxon at ESPN writes, "How one subtlety could seal A.J. Ellis' fate," and I do not agree with the assessment.  I think it's far too simplistic to believe one skill (pitch-framing) will be the ultimate bellwether for determining Ellis' role or any catchers role with the club.  Certainly, he hasn't been great at it, but I do not feel that it alone will put him in the doghouse.  It's a series of skills behind the dish that determines if a catcher is effective.  With Ellis, I believe he excels in other aspects of the game.  His leadership with the staff, pregame preparation, quarterbacking on the field and pitch-calling are just as important, if not more so, than framing. 
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers 2015 arbitration projections, Andrew Friedman & 'file and trial.'"
  • Gasparino may also join the Dodgers.  Via a tweet from Padres reporter Corey Brock, Gasparino was given permission yesterday to interview with the team:

  • Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digests takes a closer look at Billy Gasparino.
  • Twitter/social media is so stupid sometimes.  Former Dodger Ryan Theriot said a mean thing about 'Moneyball' and the Dodgers recently hiring Zaidi, so the stat-heads on twitter ran for their pitchforks.  I'm left to wonder, what the heck is wrong with everyone? 
  • Via Craig Durham at, "Rays, Dodgers prospects make splash Down Under."
Also among the standout performers for Adelaide in the opening weekend were Dodgers prospects Brandon Dixon and Aaron Miller. Dixon, a 22-year-old second baseman from Murrieta, Calif., finished his first weekend of ABL play with five hits, three RBIs and a pair of stolen bases. Miller, a 27-year-old pitcher-turned-outfielder, went 6-for-19 with a home run, four RBIs and two steals. The pair were teammates this past season, playing for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League, where they combined for 23 home runs and 106 RBIs.
  • A very good read.  Via Ken Arneson, "10 Things I Believe About Baseball Without Evidence."
  • This is the greatest idea ever!  Via Chris Olds at Beckett, "Topps adds baseball twist to Garbage Pail Kids."
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