Wednesday, January 06, 2016

HALL OF FAME! Congrats Mike Piazza! Congrats Ken Griffey Jr.!

This announcement should be of no surprise.  Both Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza are now Hall of Famers!

Since I like to talk about cards I figured I'd share pics of their most sought after rookie cards.  Above is Piazza's 1992 Bowman card, and at the very bottom is Griffey's 1989 Upper Deck card. 

For whatever reason, I have never had the Piazza card in my collection, but I do have a 1989 Salem Dodgers minor league card somewhere in a box.  I'll have to fish that out.  As for the Griffey, I've had more than a few of them over the years.  That card came out during my heyday as a teenage card-dealing entrepreneur, and I bought and sold a small fortune in them.  BTW, Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily notes that the, "Graded Ken Griffey Jr Rookie Card Tally (is) Now Over 100,000."  That's a lot!  On another note, the Griffey rookie is one of the most over-produced cards in the hobby (trust me on this).  Nevertheless, they still sell for a heck of a lot - which tells you a bunch about how popular Junior remains.

Per a Dodger Press Release:
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced today the election of former Dodger catcher Mike Piazza to the Hall of Fame in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Piazza was named on 83.0 percent of voter ballots, surpassing the 75-percent threshold, and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in ceremonies July 22-25 in Cooperstown, New York.

Piazza will be the 48th player in franchise history to be enshrined in Cooperstown and the first since Pedro Martinez last year.

“Congratulations to Mike, an outstanding ballplayer and a great man,” said Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda. “I couldn’t be prouder of him after seeing his hard work to go from a 62nd round pick and converted catcher to one of the best ever at his position and now, a fellow Hall of Famer. I’d also like to congratulate Mike’s family and everyone back in Norristown (PA) on this honor.”

“Congratulations to Mike Piazza and his family—this is truly a special day for both Mike and the Dodger organization,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “We are very proud of the fact that the best-hitting catcher in baseball history began his Major League career in Los Angeles.”

The 12-time All-Star (1993-2002, 2004-05) compiled a .308 lifetime batting average with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBI in 16 Major League seasons with the Dodgers (1992-98), Marlins (1998), Mets (1998-2005), Padres (2006) and Athletics (2007). Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards during the course of his career, compiling 2,127 hits, 344 doubles, a .377 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage in 1,912 games. He leads all Major League catchers (min. 2000 PA) in home runs and slugging percentage, while ranking among the all-time greats at the position in batting average (2nd), RBI (2nd), on-base percentage (3rd) and hits (4th).

Piazza made his Major League debut on Sept. 1, 1992 and won National League Rookie of the Year the following season, batting .318 in 149 games with Los Angeles to earn an All-Star selection and setting franchise rookie records with 35 home runs and 112 RBI. In seven years with the Dodgers from 1992-98, Piazza batted .331 with 177 home runs and 563 RBI in 726 games and ranks among the all-time Los Angeles leaders (min. 3000 PA) in batting average (1st), on-base percentage (.394, 1st), slugging percentage (.572, 1st), home runs (177, 5th) and RBI (563, 10th).

The Norristown, Pennsylvania, native was selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft.

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2015 Panini Immaculate College - All the Dodger Cards

This set came out a couple of weeks ago, but I've only recently been able to capture pics of many of the Dodger-related cards.  Featured here is the Collegiate (four-sport) version of Panini's 2015 Immaculate set.  This is strictly a college set, so there are naturally fewer Baseball players inside.  In fact, in the base set I pulled out only three players of note; including current Dodger infielder Chase Utley, Dodger owner Magic Johnson and former coach Mark McGwire.  As for Dodger prospects, only Walker Buehler is available as an insert.  Go here for a complete checklist.

Base (#/99)

#25 Chase Utley - UCLA                #75 Magic Johnson - Michigan State

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Kirk Gibson, Cooper of the Lakers and a Couple of Kings

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.


Kirk Gibson will be in town this weekend, and he'll be signing autographs for fans at Frank & Sons on Saturday.  Go here or here for information.  BTW, Gibson will be signing from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Frank & Son Collectible Show
19649 San Jose Ave
City of Industry, CA 91748

Date: Friday, January 8, 2016
Time: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Lakers Legend: Michael Cooper (5:30pm - 7:00pm)
Location: LA Live Plaza (Directly across from STAPLES Center)
Cost: Free

Go here for information.

You can meet and get an autograph from two LA Kings players on Friday, January 8th from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Staples store in Burbank.  Milan Lucic and Jake Muzzin will be there.  Go here for information.
STAPLES – Burbank
2080 Empire Ave.
Burbank, CA. 91504

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Blog Kiosk: 1/6/2016 - Dodgers Links - Honeycutt, a Singing Kershaw and Maeda Issues

RMY has their newest vintage sports photograph auction up and it includes the above 1930 ACME press photo from Opening Day at Ebbets Field.  On this Tuesday afternoon we see the teams (the Robins/Dodgers in the foreground and Phillies in the background) lined up on the field just after the raising of the nations flag.

It's fantastic to see the stadium dressed up for the occasion.  It's even better seeing the boys from Brooklyn all wearing their team jackets.  Best yet, we get a full view of their fantastic socks.  The color sequence for them go from blue to red to blue.  I so wish this photo was in color in order to see them in all their glory.

Below are more links to check out:
  • Kershaw can't sing.  Via Kelsey at, "Watch Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw sing Alabama fight song in children's hospital challenge."
When Nick Saban and several Alabama football players were challenged to sing "A Whole New World" at a Dallas children's hospital, they gave quite the performance.

They followed up their karaoke session by challenging the next celebrity visitor – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw – to sing Alabama's fight song.
‘“He does such a great job,” said three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw. “I feel pretty fortunate that I’ve had him for as long as I’ve had him. We’ve been working together so long. I kind of feel like he understands what helps me and what doesn’t help me. He’s able to communicate that, which is really tough to find.”

Honeycutt is often credited for the impact he has made on the Dodger pitching staff. His studiousness, ability to filter information and communicate and his desire to tackle challenges are all part of what have made him and those around him successful. They’re all characteristics that go back to his playing days.
  • Have I mentioned that David Hood's prospect reports are excellent?  If I haven't, I apologize for the oversight.  He does great work and provides the exact kind of stuff I'm interested in reading when it comes to prospects.  Check out his newest report on Willie Calhoun here
If you’ve read this far, you can probably tell that offense is Calhoun’s calling card. The power was expected after the draft, but what surprised was Calhoun’s advanced approach at the plate and feel for hitting. Calhoun has a loose, easy swing with exceptional feel for contact. He has employed two timing mechanisms seen on film, one a toe tap and the other a leg lift, and may vary between the two depending on situation, count, etc.
In numerous interviews, Anthopoulos had mentioned his love for scouting and personally evaluating players. His first job with the Blue Jays was as scouting director.
The sides agreed to a deal before the new year, but a source told Crasnick that concerns arose over he pitcher's elbow during a physical. A source told ESPN's Jim Bowden that the Dodgers also see an issue with Maeda's shoulder and that a ligament in his elbow is indeed compromised. However, the 27-year-old has been pitching with both issues.

According to a source, the Dodgers know that Maeda will require surgery at some point but feel that signing him is still worth it if they can get three or four useful years out of him.
  • Panini released even more preview pics from their upcoming 2015 National Treasures Baseball set.  Check them out here.  Below are pics of an Tommy Lasorda and Corey Seager card.  This set officially comes out on Friday.

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