Thursday, August 29, 2019

Camera in a Clubhouse -- Andy Carey's Snapshots of the 1962 Dodger Clubhouse


I must confess that I had set a vastly different course for this blogpost. Originally, I wanted to write an exasperating story about how much of a "bada**" Sandy Koufax looks like in the above photo -- which I found in a current auction at Small Traditions auction (link here). As I quickly found out, though there's much more to the photo than a cocky Koufax (yes, he has a cigarette in his mouth as he flaunts his prowess with the bat).

(Reverse of Koufax pic)
What we have here is one of twenty photographs that were originally sold at Dodger Stadium concession stands - likely in 1963 and possibly beyond. They feature fun and improvisational pics taken by teammate and journeyman infielder Andy Carey during his final season in the Majors -- 1962. Per the auction description:
And thanks to utility infielder Andy Carey, playing in his 11th and final season in the big leagues, we have some of the clubhouse antics of the Boys in Blue captured on film. As Dodgers team historian Mark Langill noted in his eponymous book on the historic ballpark, Carey's behind-the-scenes photos started off as a gag, but became a documentary of the season, all taken on the veteran's Polaroid Land Camera. Twenty of Carey's photos were sold at the stadium and marketed under the title "Camera in a Clubhouse."
Wow!

Here's more information about this, via A Tale of Three Cities by Steven Travers (p. 74):
Andy Carey of the Dodgers parlayed his journeyman career into a photography business. A business-savvy fellow who wore three-piece suits to the park after having conducted meetings beforehand (he was also a stockbroker), Carey began a side business called "Hero of the Day." 
"I'd always been avid photographer and I had my own portrait studio," recalled Carey. "So one day I brought my Polaroid camera with me to the park and thought if I took some shots it'd loosen the guys up. Well, we won the game and the next night we won again and I took another 'Hero of the Day' picture. After a few more wins, it kinda got to be old hat just taking pictures with the guys in their uniform, so I went to John the clubhouse man for help." 
John "Senator" Griffin, the clubhouse man, was an old-school guy with a Hollywood twist. He would wear outrageous garb like grass skirts, flowered hats, loud ties, and kimonos, leaving the respective items on as long as the Dodgers continued to win. He had more props than a costume designer -- hats, gag glasses, mustaches -- and let Carey borrow them for his pictures. Players had photos taken wearing wigs, cigars, shaving cream, and other clown acts. The team went on a winning streak, and Carey's "assistants" -- Darryl Spencer and Lee Walls -- helped him take pictures after wins all year. At season's end Life magazine ran the best of them. 
I do not recall ever seeing, or even being aware of this set. So naturally, I had to hunt them all down. BTW, the back of each photo has a description of the event shown. For the above Koufax pic it says:
"June 13 ... Sandy did it alone today. Not only did he pitch a three-hitter but he blasted a homer as we all had to watch him flex his muscles with a pile of lumber after the game."
Below is a look at the drawing found on the envelope that held these pics.

Below is another Sandy Koufax photo from this set, and I am certain all of you have seen this one before. It celebrates Sandy Koufax's no-no that season. On a side note, I had always assumed that this specific pic was a press photo, but now I realize it's an original from Andy Carey.

Here are some more photos I came across as I searched the web.

On the above left we see Tommy Davis with shaving cream on his chest celebrating his 100 RBI season, and to its right is Maury Wills celebrating his 60th steal. Below is Don Drysdale celebrating his 26th birthday with the team.

Lastly, below are a group of pics representing the entire set (found in a Worthpoint listing). Unfortunately, these are the best pics I've been able to find so far on the rest of the set. If you happen to have better pics please pass them along. Additionally, I am not sure what these photos are worth, but they appear to be scarce.



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