Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Historical Jackie Robinson Contracts Fail to Sell Again - Were They Pilfered?

Like a lot of collectors, I've been fascinated with the Jackie Robinson player contracts being billed as the founding documents of the American Civil Rights Movement. After all, it's not hyperbole to make the claim. Robinson was one of the first to buck cultural norms, and his importance to the movement had been acknowledged by Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King -- saying that he was, “a pilgrim that walked in the lonesome byways toward the high road of freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

So the existence of these contracts -- his 1945 Montreal and 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers documents -- have significant historical importance. That being said, I do believe it's unfortunate that they remain in private hands. They should reside in a museum somewhere -- anywhere.

Of course, I'm not advocating that they be taken from the owners without compensation. After all, these contracts, with prior claims that they originate from the Robinson family, were legally sold and transferred. At least, that's what we were told to believe.

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Don Newcombe and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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.


The great Don Newcombe will be signing autographs for fans at the Cardboard Legends store in Van Nuys on Sunday, March 4th from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Go here for more information. This is a pay per autograph event.
Cardboard Legends
17218 Saticoy Street
Van Nuys, CA, 91406

2018 Topps Heritage Baseball - All the Dodgers Base Cards

The ever-popular Heritage brand Baseball card set from Topps is now officially available in stores. This years set borrows its design from the 1969 Topps flagship set. Below is a look at all of the Dodgers' base and variation cards that are available. (UPDATE: Only 3 variations indicated below. There are actually 9 of them. Go here to see them all.) I've also included a checklist for the Base Chrome & Mini Parallel insert cards. Go here for a complete checklist.

There are several notable subsets available here. First, there are World Series Highlights cards that feature the three Dodger wins in the recent Fall Classic. Overall, there are eight cards in this set; including one for each game played and one celebration card for the Astros.

Another notable subset is the puzzle back set featuring Cody Bellinger. What you do is take the ten National League Topps News All-Star cards to form one large Bellinger portrait. I'll share this checklist and a look at the entire puzzle in a post tomorrow. In the meantime, check out all the Dodger base cards below.

Base Cards

#2 Blackmon, Justin Turner & Murphy -- LL

Blog Kiosk: 2/28/2018 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

Featured above is as harrowing a scene as you can imagine on a ballfield. Laying sprawled on the dirt is Dodgers left fielder Joe Medwick -- after having been beaned in the head by former teammate Bob Bowman of the Cardinals. In fact, Medwick was traded from the Cardinals to the Dodgers just a week prior to this incident. Per Charles F. Faber at SABR:
Batting cleanup for the Dodgers, Medwick faced his former teammate Bob Bowman in the first inning, with two runs already in and a runner on base. Bowman’s first pitch was a high, hard one on the inside. It struck Medwick in the head, knocking him unconscious. The Dodgers rushed out of their dugout, intent on wreaking vengeance on Bowman, who they believed had beaned the outfielder deliberately. Some tried to punch him. Even Larry McPhail, the Dodgers president, got in a swing, knocking off the pitcher’s hat. Medwick was carried off the field on a stretcher and taken to the Caledonian Hospital, where it was discovered that he had a concussion but no fracture. He tried to get out of his hospital bed and go after his assailant. Meanwhile, Bowman was removed from the game and escorted by policemen back to his hotel. 
One reason the Dodgers were so irate about this incident is that Bowman had been in a verbal confrontation with Medwick and Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in the hotel the previous morning. The pitcher had shouted, “I’ll take care of you! I’ll take care of both of you.” Bowman said he meant that he would hold them hitless in the game. The Dodgers’ version was that the pitcher had threatened them with beanballs. Acting on this belief, McPhail appealed fruitlessly to National League President Ford Frick to ban Bowman from baseball for life. Further he attempted to have Bowman arrested for assault. The Brooklyn district attorney investigated and found no evidence of criminal intent on the pitcher’s part.
The photo above is available on auction at RMY (auction link). Below are more links to check out:
  • This Day in Dodgers HistoryIn 1966 the great Koufax/Drysdale contract holdout commences. They are seeking a collective three year $1MM contract -- to be split evenly. In 2002 the Dodgers signed free agent Japanese starting pitcher Kaz Ishii after posting a $11.26 million bid to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for the right to negotiate with him. He would eventually sign a four-year $12.3 million contract with the team.
  • Happy BirthdayAl HumphreyOrlando Alvarez & Trent Oeltjen!