Thursday, December 03, 2015

2014 & 2015 Panini Black Friday - All the Dodger Cards

As I was preparing this post featuring the Dodger Panini Black Friday cards given away at local cards shops to eager collectors this past weekend it came to my attention that I never wrote about the promos that were given away last year.  So, this post will include the Panini Black Friday Dodger cards from this year and the last.  First, let's start with 2015.

I have yet to see a complete checklist that includes all the relic and patch cards that are available.  If a Dodger player is included I'll update this post.  In the meantime, check out the base card and Panini Collection card that is available below.  The autographed Pederson card is a parallel to its base card and is numbered to only ten copies.


#48 Joc Pederson

Welcome to the Blue, Turner Ward!

With Mark McGwire moving down to the southern pastures of San Diego the Dodgers found themselves in need of a new hitting coach. Apparently, they have located their man.  Via a tweet from Buster Olney and an article by OC Register report Bill Plunkett, Turner Ward will now man the position. 
Ward was an twelve-year Major League veteran outfielder, the most recent hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and an inductee to the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in Alabama.  He began his post playing career as a manager for an Pirates Class-A team.  Then, he managed the Mobile BayBears, the Diamondbacks Double-A club, in 2011 and eventually earned Southern League Manager of the Year honors.  In 2013 he became Arizona's assistant hitting coach and quickly transitioned to the head hitting coach position the following year.  In his second season as the Diamondback's hitting coach (2015) the team ranked second in runs and slugging percentage, third in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS.

He was only made available due to what appears to be an contract dispute with the club.  Via Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports:
Ward was the Dbacks’ hitting coach for three years but left last month after a disagreement over the contract the club tendered him for 2016. Some have reported that Ward was lowballed by the Dbacks on his renewal.
Those of you with long memories will remember Ward as the fellow who got into a bit of a scrap with Dodger reliever JP Howell during a melee in 2013.  Zack Greinke had gotten hit with a pitch by Ian Kennedy, benches cleared and a raucous brawl ensued.  At one point, JP Howell and Turner Ward faced-off; with Ward getting the worst of it.  Howell was throwing right-handed upper-cut blows to Ward's midsection and eventually bent him over a railing.  Watch it below.
Yeah, that was one vicious scrap.  For his part in it he was ejected from the game, but not suspended.

In celebration of his hiring I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  On the left, the photograph by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports and I used the 1986 Topps Baseball card design.  On the right, the photograph is by 2015 USA TODAY Sports Images and I used the 2015 Topps Baseball card design. 

Below are his career statistics as a player, via Baseball-Reference:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 12/3/2015 - Dodger Links - McGwire, Rizzo and AJ Ellis the Hunk

Talk 'bout breakin' up the play.

Check out this fantastic vintage "United Press" press photo, dated August 28, 1956, of Cubs outfielder Pete Whisenant with an aggressive slide against Dodger second baseman Charlie Neal.  To use hockey parlance, it looks like Whisenant hip-checked Neal off the base.  Fortunately, the missed opportunity to get the extra out didn't lead to a run, but the Dodgers did lose the game, 4-3.  Photo above via an eBay auction.

Below are more links to check out:
  • I'm a huge AJ Ellis fan, so this is welcomed news. Via Mark Saxon at ESPN, "Catcher A.J. Ellis will return to Dodgers in 2016."
They retained one of the most popular players in the clubhouse, agreeing to a $4.5 million, one-year contract with catcher A.J. Ellis on Wednesday.
  • BTW, AJ Ellis isn't just a catcher and positive clubhouse presence.  He is also a reality tv actor.  Via Robin Reed at Yahoo TV, "Dodger A.J. Ellis Makes House Call to Lisa Vanderpump on ‘RHOBH’"  There's a video to gawk at, and plenty of material to make you smile.  The best line of all was:
"The LA Dodgers have sent over this gorgeous hunk.  AJ Ellis who, ya know, let me play with his balls... or practice, at least."
''As a player I pretty much went through anything a player could ever wish upon as far as success, and all the failures,'' he said. ''You learn how to be a man through adversity and failure. The game is built on failure. I know how to bust through that. ... I'm ecstatic about this new role. It's a great challenge for me, moving up in the game.''
  • Wow!  According to Erika Owen at Travel + Leisure, Dodger Stadium is the 5th most Instagrammed place in the world.
  • SportsNet LA/Dodgers Broadcaster Alanna Rizzo is the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) “HOPE Rising” honoree at their 26th annual awards dinner tonight.  Adrian Gonzalez is expected to introduce her to the masses.  Go here for more information about this event.  Per a Dodger press release:
“I am truly honored to be receiving the HOPE Rising Award,” said Rizzo. “When an organization like HOPE, that for 26 years has been working to advance and amplify the voice of Latinas, notices your work and the impact it has on others, it only elevates my commitment to continue to work harder to open the doors for young Latinas that follow in my footsteps.”
Nicasio led all Dodger relievers in 2015 in innings pitched, finishing the year with a 3.86 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings. He had a 2.92 ERA through August 30, before allowing nine runs in his final nine innings and ending up off the Dodgers’ playoff roster.

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