Monday, November 30, 2015

Important Game-Used Baseballs from Orel Hershiser's Career at Grey Flannel Auctions


Are you a big fan of the Bulldog?  Would a game-used ball from his career highlight your collection?

For those of you who remember the fantastic exploits of the Dodger right-hander and want to add something  to your collection that is a reminder of how great he was, then this current auction from Grey Flannel might be up your alley.  Featured here are several game-used Baseball for sale that come directly from Hershiser.

As shown above, this is a game-used ball from Orel Hershiser's 20th win from the year the Dodgers last won the World Series - 1988.  Check out the auction here.  On September 8, 1988 Hershiser blanked the Cincinnati Reds, 5-0, for his 20th win of the season.  As you know, he went on to win 23 games, was awarded the Cy Young and was the World Series MVP. 

On a side note, I wonder if this ball was decorated by Dodgers' Clubhouse Manager Mitch Poole.  You will notice that the writing on this ball is fairly ornate and very different from the other Baseball's that are for sale.  So, it might be fair to say that this is a Mitch Poole stylized Baseball since he was known to do that for the players.  Unfortunately, the auction description does not indicate this, but I can't help but think it is.
(Auction Link)

The balls above and directly below is a part of a three ball lot of game-used Hershiser Baseballs.  The jewel of the lot is the above ball from his very first complete game victory, dated June 29, 1984.  He beat the Cubs, 7-1, on eight strike outs, one walk and nine hits.  The other two balls include a 16th win ball from the 1985 season (dated September 17, 1985) and his 18th win from the same season (dated September 27, 1985).  Check out the auction here.


The Baseball directly below marks Orel Hershiser's 100th career victory.  Check out the auction here.  There are two Baseballs in this lot available from this game.  Hershiser went seven innings and struck out six batters to defeat the Cubs, 6-3.  As you can see he has both signed and wrote a description of the event on the ball.

BTW, there is also another group of seven different Hershiser game balls available in another listing that you can see here.  Those balls include his 2nd career shutout, 3rd career shutout, 4th career shutout, 5th career shutout, a two-hitter from 1985, a one-hitter from 1985 and another one-hitter from 1985.

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Blog Kiosk: 11/30/2015 - Dodger Links - Puig, Roberts and More


It was a Blue Friday celebration with Justin Turner at the Top of the Park store at Dodger Stadium this past holiday weekend.  I hear the lines were long, and those that got there early were lucky enough to get his signature.  BTW, every weekend until Christmas the Dodgers will be hosting free autograph opportunities, so be sure to check out my calendar for that information.  I will of course put together a post a few days before each event as a reminder.  Below is the upcoming schedule:
Saturday, December 5, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.                      Dennis Powell
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.                        Tim Leary
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.                          Eric Karros

Saturday, December 12, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.                     Ron Cey
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.                       Tommy Lasorda

Saturday, December 19, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.                        Tommy Lasorda
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.                          Eric Karros
Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
  • Why does there have to be this kind of Puig news during the off-season?  It's both tiring and disconcerting.  I won't go into details since I figure most of you already know about it.  I will add that video of the entire incident is out there, so we'll either be totally disgusted or relieved.  Suffice to say, this kind of stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum.  What I mean to say is that bad stuff tends to surround people who make bad decisions, and clearly this kind of thing does not bode well for his future in Dodger Blue. 
  • Ben Badler at Baseball America shares his "Los Angeles Dodgers Top 10 Prospects" list, here.
  • Chris Mitchell at FanGraphs shares, "KATOH’s Top 100 Prospect List for 2016," and nine Dodger players can be found on it.
  • Via David Hood at True Blue LA, "Dodgers top prospects 2016: No. 18, Brendon Davis."
The offensive profile might be the most appealing part of Davis’ game. Davis shows excellent barrel control and a contact oriented approach to hit for solid average. His swing plane is mostly level and he will hit to both sides of the field. As he gets stronger, he should see even more success with his line drive approach from gap to gap.
“I’m thinking this guy is going to make the drive up from Poway three or four times. He did it three or four times a week,” (Former GM Dan) Evans said. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow. This guy gets it.’ I kept waiting for those Friday excuses. We all make them. You know what the traffic can be like on Fridays. He never made one.

“I think he has a chance to be really successful – and he doesn’t have to change. I’m a Dave Roberts fan, have been since the day we acquired him. I’m happy he’s not in our league. I can root for him until late October.”
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Friday, November 27, 2015

A Visual Checklist of Sandy Koufax Baseball Cards - 1960 to 1962

Attempting to catalog every Sandy Koufax card and collectible from his playing days is proving to be far more difficult than I imagined.  In fact, I'm scratching my aching head wondering what the heck I got myself into.  Nevertheless, I will endeavor to complete this task.  You can check out Part I (1955-59) here.  Below is Part II - which covers 1960 to 1962.  Click on any pic to embiggen.  BTW, if I am missing any card issues please let me know.

UPDATE: You can view Part III here.  It covers cards and memorabilia from 1963 to 1964. Part IV (covering 1965-1967) can be seen here.
--------------

#343 - 1960 Topps


#NNO - 1960 Danny Goodman - Dodgers Picture Pack - Blank Back
                 
The below photo came from a 20 photo set sold at concession stands during Dodger games.  They are commonly referred to as LA Dodger Picture Packs, but are sometimes called the Danny Goodman sets.  As you may know, Danny Goodman was the Dodgers Advertising Director for 25 years and the brains behind the multitude of Dodger collectibles and memorabilia available at the time.  In fact, his operation and consumer know-how vaulted the Dodgers to the top of the souvenir sales list.  To learn more about Danny check out Andy McCue's excellent biography at SABR, here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bobbleheads, Pins and a Justin Turner Chia Pet Highlight Dodgers' 2016 Promotional Schedule


Just as families prepare to enjoy a festive meal and do some holiday shopping the Dodgers decide to release their always anticipated promotional schedule for the upcoming 2016 Baseball season.  As you can imagine it's filled with a whole bunch of good stuff... Like some really awesome stuff.  Go here to check out the schedule.

There will be 10 bobblehead giveaway nights and 10 different pin giveaway nights commemorating the Dodgers’ retired numbers.  The Hollywood Stars game is coming back on August 27th and the Old-Timers Game will be on July 2nd.  BTW, a 1981 World Series tri-MVPs Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager bobblehead will be given out for the Old-Timers Game.  Also, Magic Johnson will be getting a gnome on August 14th.

Probably the most exciting giveaway is Justin Turner chia pet slated for April 30th.  Are you kidding me!  This might be the most awesome thing ever!

Other new items include a Vin Scully T-shirt on May 10th, kids’ batting gloves on May 15th, neck pillow on May 23th and Father’s Day Dodger boxers on June 19th.  Again, go here to check out the full schedule.

BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAYS
  • Clayton Kershaw on April 25 (vs. MIA)
  • Dodger manager Dave Roberts May 11 (vs. NYM)
  • TBD May 25 (vs. CIN)
  • Don Newcombe on June 8 (vs. COL)
  • Dusty Baker on June 22 (vs. WAS)
  • 1981 World Series tri-MVPs Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager on July 2 (vs. COL)
  • TBD July 26 (vs. TB)
  • TBD August 9 (vs. PHI)
  • TBD August 25 (vs. SF)
  • TBD September 20 (vs. SF).
RETIRED NUMBER PIN GIVEAWAYS
  • May 9 (vs. NYM)
  • June 4 (vs. ATL)
  • June 16 (vs. MIL)
  • July 5 (vs. BAL)
  • July 7 (vs. SD)
  • July 31 (vs. ARI)
  • August 8 (vs. PHI)
  • September 4 (vs. SD)
  • September 7 (vs. ARI)
  • September 22 (vs. COL)

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: A Blue Friday at Dodger Stadium with Ferrara, Davis and Justin Turner

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.


---------------------------

Why go through the aggravation of fighting with the crowds at the mall when you can do something more fun?  Go to Dodger Stadium on Black Friday... um... BLUE FRIDAY.

Once again it'll be a Blue Friday at Dodger Stadium over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.  Three players will be in attendance to sign autographs for fans; including Al Ferrara, Justin Turner and Tommy Davis.  Check out the schedule in the graphic below, or go here for more information.


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Blog Kiosk: 11/25/2015 - Dodger Links - Time Warner, Roberts and Turkeys


The Dodgers came out to the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton yesterday to hand out turkeys as a part of the 11th Annual Healthy Family Update and Turkey Giveaway.  Via Ben Platt at MLB.com:
"This is my first time at this event," said (Billy) Ashley. "I enjoy giving back to the community, and Thanksgiving is all about being thankful and I'm thankful to be a part of this and to put some smiles on people's faces and some food in their belly."

"This is my second year doing this," said (Tim) Leary. "I find it really rewarding and it's great that the Dodgers are involved, helping to keep families together or help putting someone who doesn't have a family with some food and other people is awesome."
Photo above via @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
Four heavy-hitter college baseball programs make up the field at the 2016 Dodger Stadium Classic.

The games will be played on March 6 at Dodger Stadium and will feature a 3 p.m. clash between crosstown and Pac-12 rivals UCLA and USC, after the Big 12’s Oklahoma Sooners play the SEC’s Mississippi State Bulldogs at 11 a.m.
  • Well this sucks.  Topps just announced their 2015 MLB All-Star Rookie Team and Joc Pederson did not make the cut.  Therefore, he will not be getting the ever-popular Topps Rookie Cup logo on his cards next year.  Check out the complete list here.
  • Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com, "Kasten: Roberts' hiring a 'collective process'" 
"At the very end with the last two guys, the owners met them as well, but it's fair to say we made a collective decision," said Kasten. "If there was one person whose decision mattered the most, I'd say it was Andrew. It really was a collective process, but most of it by Andrew along with Farhan and Josh."
So, as the vast majority of fans are celebrating the Dodgers’ first minority hire in its incredible history who also happens to have battled cancer and overcome being drafted in the 28th round, what better way to make Dilbeck feel better about himself than to tell everyone to calm down?

Again, though, everyone is aware of everything Dilbeck points out. We just don’t care at this particular moment.
Jonathan Atkin, an RBC Capital analyst, in a research report Tuesday, said that "state regulatory bodies are taking on more of an active role in the CHTR/TWC cable merger. In California, an administrative law judge decision is slated for May, with a vote slated for June 16, 2016. This delay of approximately two months vs. the original timeline reflects the (law judge) acceptance of public interest group arguments to introduce evidentiary hearings."
In other words,  since the deal won't close til the middle of summer, at the earliest, you shouldn't expect any movement on the expansion of SportsNet LA until then.  Heck, we might be looking at another year of Dodger baseball not being on TV.

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    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    2015 Panini Contenders Baseball - The Dodger Autographed Cards

    After waiting a week to see if I can finally nail down some of the remaining photos I still need featuring Dodger prospects in Panini's most recent set, I finally have given up.  For whatever reason, several of the autographed cards have yet to hit the marketplace.  So, I will just bite the bullet and share what I have collected so far.  Below are the Dodger autograph cards that are available in 2015 Panini Contenders Baseball.  Go here to check out all of my past post on this set.

    College Ticket Autographs

    #6 Walker Buehler                                   #47 Philip Pfeifer

    Blog Kiosk: 11/24/2015 - Dodger Links - It's All About Dave Roberts


    Dave Roberts is the rage right now.  He has taken over the town like a gaggle of zombies parading down main street.  Since the rumors and subsequent announcement broke there's hardly been room on the newswires for anything but Dave Roberts... And that's a good thing because, by and large, when news this momentous engulfs a city like Los Angeles and it's not bad, then you know you're on to something.  And that something feels like that old Dodger magic.

    Featured above is one of many photographs dug up by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo and shared on his blog.  Go here to check out a bunch more from him.

    Below are more links to check out:

    • How did I ever miss this?  Back in August Gabe Kapler wrote that men should...LOL... Well, men should make that extra effort to get some sun.  Via Kevin Draper at Deadspin, "Gabe Kapler's Advice To Baseball Players: Get A Nice Tan On Your Nuts." Wha?  (Hat Tip: reddit u/DOCKhobo)
    Kapler writes about how vitamin d—which you mostly get from sunshine—is important for testosterone production, and that baseball players likely don’t get enough of it because they’re suited and booted with a cap on out in the field. Kapler’s solution to this problem is for baseball players to sunbathe in their birthday suit and get some sol on their cojones. 
    If they don’t acquire a lefty reliever with a good slider, it’s possible Liberatore gets a long look at the opening day bullpen. Having a lefty who can throw a good slider against left-handed hitters is far from a bad thing to have. And I know we’re all waiting for Howell to pumpkin, because everything is seemingly going against him being as good as he’s been the last few seasons. Maybe he’ll prove everyone wrong, which would be for the best.
    • BTW, here are some more praises for Dave Roberts:


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    Monday, November 23, 2015

    Past and Present Dodgers' Respond on Twitter


    Accolades are coming in from all around the Baseball world regarding the recent hiring of Dave Roberts as the new Dodger manager; including congratulations and encouragement from several former and current Dodgers'.  Check some of them out below: 
    The former Dodger broadcaster is obviously happy with the choice... And so is former teammate David Ross:

    Welcome Back to the Blue, Dave Roberts!


    I can hardly contain my excitement.  This is fantastic news.  The old codger inside of me that still values Dodger-family, Dodger-loyalty and Dodger-lineage loves this move.

    Dave Roberts, who might not have come up through the Dodger ranks but is still a Dodger through and through, will be the 10th manager in LA Dodgers history and the 28th overall skipper in the franchises history.  WooHoo!

    Best yet, he comes back to Los Angeles having worked in a front office and as a coach on the Major League level.  Roberts also has the energy, the communication skills and apparently the backing of several Dodger veterans.  Via a tweet from Bob Nightengale:
    Per a Dodger press release:
    “We’re extremely excited to bring Dave Roberts on board as the next manager of the Dodgers,” said Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “We could not have been more impressed with him through this process. His energy is infectious and he has the rare ability to make a genuine connection with every person he comes across. He has developed strong leadership qualities and accumulated a breadth of baseball experience over his career as both a player and coach. He is a "baseball man" and "people person" in the truest sense of those words. We feel fully confident that he will effectively lead our team in pursuit of its ultimate goal -- bringing a world championship back to the city of Los Angeles."

    Roberts, 43, served as the bench coach for the San Diego Padres the last two seasons and prior to that, he was a special assistant for San Diego’s front office in 2010 and the club’s first base coach from 2011-13. He filled in as manager for one game this past season, following the departure of Bud Black. Roberts, who is of African-American and Japanese descent, becomes the Dodgers’ first-ever minority manager.

    “It’s hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Roberts. “This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The Dodgers are the ground-breaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A.”
    In celebration of his hiring I made the above fantasy card of him.  The photograph was taken by Dodger photographer Jill Weisleder/LA Dodgers 2004 and I used the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

    Below are his career statistics, via Baseball-Reference:


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    Blog Kiosk: 11/23/2015 - Dodger Links - Wills, Scully and a couple of new International Dodger Prospects


    I figured the best way to start this morning was by sharing this fantastic AP action photograph of Maury Wills attempting a tag on Pirates runner Bob Skinner in 1960.  Unfortunately, the throw from catcher Johnny Roseboro was far off the mark, so the outfielder slid in safely for the steal.

    Of note, this photograph was a part of "The George Michael Collection" who was a noted collector of Baseball sliding press photographs and former host of the once popular Sport Machine that aired opn television before the advent of ESPN.  It was a nationally syndicated Sunday evening show featuring the best sports highlights of the week.

    BTW, I thought this photo was apt considering the recent news of Dave Roberts' hiring as the new Dodger coach.  As you may know, Wills and Roberts have an extremely tight bond.  Via David Vassegh on twitter:
    Below are more links to check out:
    Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully was named winner of the Esurance MLB Award for Best Call, TV during the Dodgers' balk-off win over the Rangers on June 18.

    The Dodgers have an agreement to sign 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz for $15.5 million. Since Diaz is subject to the international bonus pools, the total price tag for the Dodgers will be $31 million, since they will have to pay a 100 percent overage tax on their pool signings. Even before reaching an agreement with Diaz, the Dodgers were already over their bonus pool, which means they won’t be able to sign any pool-eligible players for more than $300,000 for two years once the 2016-17 signing period begins on July 2. MLB.com first reported the agreement.

    Diaz, who ranked No. 17 on Baseball America’s Top 20 Cuban player rankings in April, is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds with a lively, athletic frame and a track record of hitting well throughout the Cuban junior national leagues. After playing on Cuba’s 18U junior national team in 2013 and 2014, Diaz was a rookie with Industriales this past 2014-15 season in Serie Nacional. Diaz ranked sixth in the league in batting average, hitting .348/.447/.440 in 65 games with 36 walks, 33 strikeouts and seven stolen bases in 15 attempts. He almost certainly would have been the league’s rookie of the year had he not left the country soon after the season ended, but the award went to shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez instead.
    “Estevez was kind of under the radar tools-wise, but he can hit,” said one scout. “It’s playable defense and he’s not the most agile guy to be in the middle of the diamond, but he has a polished bat. It’s not an athletic body, it’s not what you get excited about, but the way he recognizes pitches, his approach—you don’t see a lot of kids his age doing that.”
    • Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "Dodgers’ other broadcaster set to return in 2016."
      Longtime Dodgers employee and former MLB manager Kevin Kennedy will be returning to the AM 570 LA Sports radio broadcast booth on a part time basis for the 2016 season.

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    Saturday, November 21, 2015

    Blog Kiosk: 11/21/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends


    Clayton Kershaw is seen with Easton Corbin and his band in the photo above, as tweeted by Kershaw's Challenge.  The other night, Kershaw and his charity Kershaw's Challenge held their 2nd Annual Live Benefit Concert in Dallas, Texas and Corbin was there to help out.  Check out the Kershaw's Challenge website here.

    Below are more links to check out:
    The Dodgers took home the first award of the day on Friday when it was revealed on social media that they were the recipient of this year's Best Video Board Moment Award.

    It stems from an Aug. 28 game against the Cubs, when Dodgers partner Magic Johnson and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel delivered the news that beloved Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully would be returning in 2016 for his 67th season.

    Sborz jumped between starting and relieving while at Virginia, but the Dodgers drafted him with the intention of returning him to the rotation. It’s easy to see physically why he should work in the role. Sborz is a well-built 6’3, 225 lbs. that isn’t in need of any additional physical projection. He has demonstrated solid arm strength in college and was often used as a multi-inning reliever, so stamina should not be an issue in converting to starting.
    • FYI, the Dodgers palced Ross Stripling and Jharel Cotton onto their 40-man roster; thereby protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft
    Eric Stephen at True Blue LA adds:
    Stripling: "In minor league baseball, there really isn't a whole lot of transparency as far as knowing where you reside in an organization's mind, so this would be a great indicator to see exactly what they think of me what my future is as a Dodger."
    Cotton: "It's an honor to be given this opportunity," Cotton said. "I've been working hard towards this, had a few bumps in the road but that's what made the pitcher I am today."

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    Friday, November 20, 2015

    Some Willard Mullin Drawings at SCP Auctions


    SCP Auctions is at it again with their 2015 Fall auction and it includes several fantastic original Willard Mullin drawings that I just had to share here.  As you may know, Mullin was an legendary New York area editorial sports cartoonist who was the brainchild of the famous Brooklyn Dodger "Bum." 

    At top is probably my favorite of the bunch.  Undated, although suspected to be from late 1954, it features the hearty swing of Roy Campanella.  It it titled "Fate's Left Hand" or "The Hand of Fate," and it includes a comment box pointed at Campy's left hand; noting:
    Maybe "they should ought to of had Spooner sooner"... But it says here the focal point of the Dodger hopes lies in Campanella's ailing duke.
    Prior to the start of the 1954 season Campanella fractured his hand and tried in vain to play through it.  He lasted until May when he finally had surgery.  Unfortunately, he returned far too early.  He clearly was not fully healed; as evidenced by his inability to firmly grip the bat.  As a result, Campanella went on to have the worst season of his career.  He batted .207 with only 19 home runs.  The Dodgers failed to win the division.  In reference to Spooner, Karl came up from the minors late in the season to win his only two starts in convincing fashion.  If only he was brought in sooner, Spooner might have been enough to give the club another chance at the World Series title.  Check out the auction for the above drawing here.

    These next two Mullin drawings are being sold together in one lot. 

    The drawing on the left is from 1947 and features the "Bum" discovering the fact that last years club was devoid of power.
    My Gosh!  Th' most homers any of our bums got last year wuz ELEVEN!
    Then there's speculation that maybe future Hall of Famer Johnny Mize is the answer to the Dodgers' struggles.

    The next drawing (on right) is titled "The Wings of Spring."  It notes that the old Spring adage that "the pitchers are ahead of the pitchers" has never been more true.  Apparently, there had been three no-hitters thrown that March already.  The Bum notes:
    "But they don't have t'be that far ahead... They might of given us one little scratch single... It's hoomilleratin'"

    These final two drawings includes Mullin's mascot for the NY Giants with the Brooklyn "Bum."  Per the auction description:
    Drawing on left:  Great piece of 1950's Willard Mullin signed original newspaper artwork entitled "New Man in the Act" pictures the New York Giant mystified by "St. Louis Swifty" doing tricks in front of him. The Brooklyn Bum is in the background saying "Everybody wants t'get in'tha ack".
    Drawing on right:  Great piece of 1950's Willard Mullin signed original newspaper artwork featuring the New York Giant and Brooklyn Dodger carrying off a treasure chest as the Pittsburgh Pirate is looking at a treasure map with the Polo Grounds as the treasure's spot while his friend is busy digging an empty hole.

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    Discovering Former Dodger Ernie Burch on an 1887 Old Judge Card


    Who was Ernie Burch?

    I had to find out after running into an 1887 Old Judge Baseball card of this former Brooklyn Grays/Dodgers left fielder.  It had recently sold at Bagger's Auction for $95.00.  The card, as you can see above, shows Ernie sprawling for an imaginary ball next to the wooden stands built upon the bank of old Washington Park stadium on 4th and 5th Avenue's in Brooklyn. 

    He's sporting a fantastic uniform complete with pillbox cap, collared jersey with laces for buttons and what must have been a stylish-for-time mustache that would make hipster's of today green with envy.  This man was the picture of late 19th Century awesomeness, and as such is deserving of a brief spotlight some 120 years later.  Unfortunately, information is scant, so I'll do my best.

    Ernie Burch began playing professionally a bit late in life (although, this was rather common during these days) at the age if 26.  Originally from Illinois, he started out for a club called the Peoria Reds of the Northwestern League before moving on to the Cleveland Blues of the National League in 1884.

    He failed to impress while there; slashing just .210/.240/.242/.482 in 124 at-bats.  The next year, though, he broke out and caught the eye of Brooklyn scouts who signed him up to play in the borough for the 1886 season.  His first season for the Gray's he hit .261/.321/.349/.669 then .293/.395/.388/.784 in 1887.  Then, he all but disappeared from the Majors.  Why?  I dunno.

    What I do know is that he eventually reemerged with the club that gave him his start in 1890.  Via Dave Anderson at the NY Times who briefly recounts his career:  
    ''Burch is regarded as a fine fellow by those who know him,'' it was written. ''But fine fellows do not always make fine players. I am told that this is especially true in Burch's case. Mike Scanlon told me that Burch is not the fielder and batter he is cracked up to be and Mike wonders at the avidity with which the local clubs sought to secure Burch's services."
    So, he flamed out.  Such is life I suppose.

    One day you're the peach to the pie... the luster to the gem... the vibrato to the fiddle.  Then the next you're like that first round draft pick that never got past double-AA.

    BTW, I did discover while briefly researching Burch that there is a famous Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus clown with the same name.  He performed under the name of Blinko the Clown and was featured in a Cecil B. DeMille film in 1951 called "The Greatest Show on Earth."  He was even honored by colleagues as the King of the White-Face Clowns, and worked at Circus Circus in Las Vegas from 1977 to 1990. 

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    Blog Kiosk: 11/20/2015 - Dodger Links - Jansen on Donnie, Honey on Greinke and some Puig Gossip


    Dodger alumni Eric Karros and Ron Cey spent yesterday afternoon hanging out with some young patients at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.  As you can see they brought gifts, smiles and some needed encouragement.

    Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to see more pics from Jon.  Below are more links to check out:
    “For me, Donnie was always good. He understood as a person who I am and he always helped keep me positive. That’s one big thing I had with him. I always could be myself with Donnie. I understand the organization’s decision. I understand for Donnie, too. I’m happy for him that he’s with Miami now.”

    Jansen said he and Mattingly had a long discussion, and added the need to push forward. “We’re still here for one thing and that’s to win a championship. I’m pretty confident in what Andrew and Farhan are doing,” he said.
    • Oh, My!  Via Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk, "Andy Van Slyke is spreading Yasiel Puig-related gossip."  Apparently, a certain high-paid player went to management to suggest that a certain Cuban outfielder needs to go.
    If this isn’t true and if Van Slyke is just trying to sound wise he probably owes an apology to Kershaw. If it is true, and Kershaw is telling the front office that Puig needs to go, it’s gonna make life a lot of fun for the Dodgers’ next manager. Because Puig, whatever else you can say about him for bad and for good, is not in a great place to be traded right now, coming off of an injury–plagued season.
    • Dodgers Night at the Clippers game has been scheduled for Monday, November 30th.  Get your tickets here.  Use the promo code "Dodgers" for a ticket and limited edition Dodgers/Clippers t-shirt.  I am unsure if any players will be at the game. 
    • Via Anthony Irwin at Dodgers Nation, "Dodgers News: Grandal Says He’s “Ahead of Schedule”
    • Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com, "Honeycutt: Greinke can be like Maddux."
      "You've seen him each year we've had him, and each year he gets better as the season goes on," Honeycutt said of Greinke. "He's in great shape, he adds and subtracts to his pitches when he wants to. He can continue to pitch just like Maddux into his 40s. He has that ability, because he has the pitches already and makes the adjustments with the pitches he has.

      "There's no doubt in my mind he can go as long as he wants to go. For five years, I don't see him having any issues after being with him the last three years. He's very intelligent, he takes care of himself. A lot of guys have talent, but you have to have the smarts to go with it, and he certainly has that. He's got a lot of game."

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    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    Blog Kiosk: 11/19/2015 - Dodger Links - Saito, Gordon and Veteran's Batting Practice


    A group of 300 military veterans visited Dodger Stadium yesterday for batting practice with Kenley Jansen, Dodger alumni like Billy Ashley and Al Downing and fellow veterans Don Newcombe and Roy Gleason. Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
    "The players understand we're not as young as we used to be, but to give us the attention makes me feel happy," said (Ret. Lt. Col. David) Friend, who retired after 30 years of service. "I was particularly happy to see Don Newcombe. When I was going overseas, I saw him at a base in Virginia."
    Via Anthony Irwin at Dodger Nation:
    Kenley Jansen, who was at the park for conditioning, also took in the festivities before getting to work. He ran the stairs as the batting practice took place on the field. 

    “It’s just great to be here for them. They’ve given so much for us, I just want to give back,” he said.
    Featured in the pic above is Don Newcombe welcoming the crowd, via the Dodgers on twitter.  Check out more photos from the days activities by Jon SooHoo here.  Below are more links to check out:
    • Congrats to Jake Arrieta for being selected the 2015 NL Cy Young winner, via BBWAA.  He edged out Zack Greinke by just 22 points.
    • Eric Stephen at True Blue LA shares the final numbers on the Dodgers 2015 payroll.  It's striking how many of the top paid players didn't play for the Dodgers at all... So many dumped contracts.
    • An old friend to join San Diego - Takashi Saito.  Via Dennis Lin on twitter:

    Gordon, through his Flash of Hope program, is working with children in Miami-Dade County who have lost a parent from domestic abuse, just as he lost his mother 20 years ago.

    “I went through it, and when I went through it, I didn’t have anybody,” Gordon said. “Nobody could relate to me. So now I just want to relate to kids and give back my time.”

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    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Clippers Guard Austin Rivers

    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.


    ---------------------------

    Clippers guard Austin Rivers will be signing autographs on Saturday November 21st from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM in Tarzana at Valley Sports Cards.  Go here for information.

    Valley Sports Cards
    19640 Ventura Blvd. 
    Tarzana, CA 91356

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    That Rascally Rabbit from Brooklyn


    I know this stuffed rabbit doll looks nothing like the famous Looney Tunes character, and it certainly is not licensed by the vaunted animation house.  Still, when I first saw this vintage plush currently at auction at Inside the Park Collectibles my mind immediately raced towards childhood memories of sitting in front of the tube watching Bugs Bunny and his various cartoon friends. 

    Just check out that hat.  That's got to be the Brooklyn "B"... And those pinstripes hearken back to the days when they use to wear pinstripes on the field... And when you consider that Bugs was born in a warren under Ebbets Field, at least that's the story, the answer is clear. 

    This is Bugs Bunny - albeit an unofficial creation of the lovable hare.  Check out the auction here.


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    Blog Kiosk: 11/18/2015 - Dodger Links - Captain Joe Shoemaker Wins Coolbaugh Award


    O Captain!  My Captain!

    Accolades from all circles are coming in for longtime Dodger minor league manager, teacher and mentor Joe Shoemaker.  He was named the recipient of the eighth annual Mike Coolbaugh Award - presented annually to those who have shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field.  That pretty much describes Shoemaker to a "T". As you may recall, he was appointed “Captain” of Player Development this past September for his dedication through the course of 39 years with the club, and now dons a "C" on his jersey.

    He said the following about winning the award, per a Dodger press release:
    “With numerous qualified instructors eligible for this award, I feel extremely fortunate to be the recipient of this year’s Mike Coolbaugh Award,” said Shoemaker, who led the Ogden Raptors to a 43-33 mark in his 22nd season as a manager in the Dodgers organization. “Past, present and future winners of this award have the distinct privilege on honoring the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who throughout his career displayed passion, determination and perseverance, all valuable traits for a professional athlete. I am grateful to Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball, the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization and most importantly, the Coolbaugh family for recognizing me with this award.”
    Photo at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Below are more links to check out:
    • Kik√© Hernandez has begun rehab, via his tweet:

    On Thursday, Kershaw and his wife Ellen will host their second annual benefit concert in Dallas to benefit Kershaw’s Challenge, the nonprofit charity they founded to transform at-risk communities and the lives of children worldwide. Country music artist Easton Corbin is the featured performer.
    Dodgers pitcher and Dallas native Clayton Kershaw made a personal financial donation toward construction of the Texas Rangers MLB Urban Youth Academy in West Dallas.
    ...
    "Kershaw's Challenge is all about giving kids an opportunity," Kershaw said. "We never expected to have a partnership with the Rangers, but it's awesome. We just wanted to do something here in our hometown … in our backyard. It's an incredible partnership."

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