Friday, January 08, 2016

To Wear Jackie Robinson's Cap


I've always been a bit envious of David Wells. 

Not because he was a Major League ballplayer - which is cool in its itself. 

I just always thought it would be fun to do what he did that one Friday summer evening in New York when he faced the Cleveland Indians in 1997.  For those who don't recall, the Yankee pitcher, who's an avid Yankee fan and collector, put on an real game-worn cap that once sat on the head of the great Babe Ruth during a game he pitched.  It happened on June 27th, and if I recall correctly he only wore it during the 1st inning.  BTW, he was pitching against Orel Hershiser that day.

Anyway, currently available at Goldin Auctions is said to be an actual game-worn cap of Jackie Robinson, and seeing it caused me to flashback to Wells moment. 

After all, how cool would it be to put this cap on and go to a game?  Sure, I can't exactly copy what Wells did (considering how non-athletic and how I'm a non-ballplayer), but I can do the next best thing. 

I can sit in the stands at Dodger Stadium - or, how 'bout Ebbets Field lookalike CitiField when the Dodgers are in town - with this cap on my head. 

I'm tellin' ya, it would be glorious.

Featured here is a 1949-50 Brooklyn Dodgers cap that has all the hallmarks of a classic.  It is described as once being worn by Jackie Robinson; although, the auction house doesn't provide the kind of provenance I'd like to see to verify its authenticity.  In fact, they don't mention how this cap came to their possession at all.  Instead, they had MEARS, a well known game uniform authentication firm, provide their opinion.  Per the auction description:
To the untrained eye most Brooklyn Dodgers caps look the same, however there are a few identifiers that MEARS used to date this cap to 1949-1950. The first is the Rawlings label. The Dodgers ordered Rawlings caps during the 1949-1951 seasons. MEARS was able to further narrow down the date of this cap due to the style of "B". The "B" on the cap is embroidered on a blue base which was then sewn onto the cap - this process was used on Brooklyn caps made by Rawlings only during the 1949-1950 seasons. The following year Rawlings changed the design of the "B" and embroidered the letter directly onto the cap. MEARS was able to authenticate the cap's use by Robinson through the application of his famous number "42" found under the brim. The ink was examined and determined to be worn and set into the fibers consistent with its age. MEARS also compared the number application with a 1949 -1950 cap worn by Wayne Belardi whose number is applied in the same fashion as this cap.
That's a lot of circumstantial evidence there.  Nevertheless, if I had the dough I'd make a run at it (at least to a certain value), and be happy with the thought that I've got Jackie's cap on my head.

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

Getting to Know Kenta Maeda on the Tweet Seat

It was a busy day for the Dodgers and their newest import yesterday.  They held an afternoon press conference to introduce Kenta Maeda to the media and hosted an online #TweetSeat session with fans online.  As I am wont to do, below is a collection of some of his responses on twitter.

As you know, the Dodgers have done this numerous times over the past several years.  Go here to check out all of my past post on them.  Previous guest include Farhan Zaidi, Vin Scully and Corey Seager.

Since this #TweetSeat is a "get to know you" session fans naturally want to know who was his idol growing up:
(twitter link)

Masumi Kuwata was a right-handed pitcher with the Yomiuri Giants starting in 1986.  He played for 21 season, won the Sawamura Award (their Cy Young) in 1987 and the Central League MVP in 1994.  He had always wanted to play ball in America and finally fulfilled that dream in 2007 as a 39-year old rookie with the Pirates.  Unfortunately, he was not particularly effective; giving up 22 earned runs over 21 inning pitched out of the bullpen.  Kuwata is currently a coach at the University of Tokyo.

Blog Kiosk: 1/8/2016 - Dodger Links - Piazza and Maeda

Here's an fantastic photo of Kenta Maeda in his Dodgers Blues at Dodger Stadium, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016Go here to check out more photos taken by Jon from yesterday press conference.  Via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“Obviously, we spent a lot of time evaluating and scouting Kenta over his very successful career in Japan,” Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We feel like the pitch mix will play here — obviously the fastball, slider is kind of his out pitch, his changeup has really come on, very good feel for a curveball. The ability to show so many different pitches and command them, coupled with the kind of athlete he is — he’s a tremendous athlete, fields his position well, holds runners well, can hit — obviously helps in the National League.”
Below are more links to check out:
  • Via an AP report on ESPN, "Dodgers assured of Kenta Maeda's health; rotation 'pretty well set'" 
Maeda and the Dodgers acknowledged that his physical revealed unspecified "irregularities." Maeda has had elbow issues but said he's confident he will be able to pitch a full season in the major leagues.

"Despite the fact there were some irregularities found, the Dodgers made a decision to make a long-term commitment to me and that was meaningful to me," Maeda said through a translator.
“Well, I think it’s important to say I have absolutely no animosity or negative feelings towards the Dodgers. That will always be a huge part of my past as far as coming up, they gave me the opportunity. Coming up and going to Spring Training and seeing Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella, Johhny Rosoboro and Maury Wills, that was not only inspiring but the instruction that I got was huge. We had a falling out and parted ways, and I think both of us were definitely at fault.”
  • I'm sure this is something a lot of folks are wondering about.  Via an ESPN report, "Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza make Hall hat choices."
Ken Griffey Jr. will go into the Hall of Fame with a Seattle Mariners cap, and Mike Piazza will have a New York Mets hat.

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