Monday, December 02, 2019

Blog Kiosk: 12/2/2019 - Dodgers Links - New Robinson/Shuba Statue to be Created

Mark this on your calendar. April 2021 will mark the 75th anniversary of the historic 1946 handshake between George Shuba and Jackie Robinson, and to honor it Youngstown, Ohio will unveil a statue to celebrate. Dubbed "the handshake of the century", they are aiming to raise $400,000 to complete the 7 foot statue. Go here to help out. Per a press release:
"A handshake at home plate by players of different races is no big deal in America today, but in 1946 it was a historic moment," said Herb Washington, a local businessman and one of the co-chairs of the committee. "We want to memorialize that moment in a way that inspires people to relate more respectfully to those of other races. We need more Americans to follow the examples of Jackie Robinson and George Shuba."
"In our book, George is quoted as saying he didn't think at the time that shaking a black player's hand was a big deal," said Greg Gulas, a retired Youngstown State University sports information director and another committee co-chair. "He had played with black and white guys at Chaney High School and in sandlot games in Youngstown for years. He shook Jackie's hand because he had just hit a three-run homer. George was proud to be Jackie's teammate for the Royals and the Dodgers, not because Jackie was black but because he was an incredible baseball player."
Photo above via -- "Connecticut sculptor Marc Mellon recently created a rough early study of the Robinson Shuba statue. Plans call for the Jackie Robinson and George Shuba likenesses to stand nearly 7 feet tall in the actual statue planned in Youngstown, Ohio." Below are more links to check out:

  • Via -- "Former Le Moyne star Josiah Gray speaks about his great start to pro career."
  • Per Andrew Dampf at AP News -- "Mike Piazza taking cues from Tommy Lasorda for Italy’s team." As you may know, Piazza is recently named the manager for Italy's national baseball team. You can watch an interview with Piazza here.
“His style may be a little dated for lack of a better term, but he was very inspiring and the way he ran the team was he inspired you to achieve more than you thought you were capable of achieving,” Piazza said of his mentor, a fellow Italian-American. “So that’s the one thing I want to bring in.”
In a dispute over a pair of Jackie Robinson contracts, the Los Angeles Dodgers told a New York federal court that it transferred its purported interest in the contracts to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
As we reported in October, the Dodgers entered a legal dispute over two of Jackie Robinson’s historic contracts. One is his 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The other is his 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate.
Davis was scouted by several teams, including the Phillies, Dodgers, and Yankees. The Yankees rolled out the red carpet for Davis, telling him that he could work out at Yankee Stadium whenever he pleased.  “I would hit with the pitchers and shag when the regulars hit,” Davis remembered. “I probably did that three or four times.”   He was leaning towards signing with New York despite pleas from Dodger scout Al Campanis that he couldn’t forsake his native Brooklyn.   Campanis also pointed out how the team’s black players enjoyed the atmosphere on the Dodgers.
A personal phone call from Jackie Robinson on the Sunday of the week Davis planned to sign with the Yankees sealed the deal.   Davis signed with the Dodgers for $4,000 – the highest bonus a player could get without being compelled to spend two years in the majors.   Another Brooklyn signee, Bob Aspromonte, also got $4,000 – plus some cash under the table.  “I don’t remember what Jackie talked about. Probably the advantages of signing with the Dodgers,” Davis said. “The important thing was that he took the time to call. I was going to sign with the Yankees on a Tuesday night. Instead, I signed with the Dodgers on a Tuesday afternoon.”
  • Via Richard Goldstein at The New York Times -- "Seymour Siwoff, Master of Sports Statistics, Is Dead at 99: As head of the Elias Sports Bureau, which he took over in 1952, he supervised record-keeping for baseball, football and other professional sports." 
When Mr. Siwoff took control of Elias, it was tallying basic baseball records for newspapers and wire services. At the time, the Brooklyn Dodgers were evidently the only team with its own statistician, Allan Roth, who tracked the performances of the Dodgers’ players.
“Statistics can be cold and trivial,” Mr. Siwoff was quoted as having said in the 1970s in “The Numbers Game: Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination With Statistics” (2004), by Alan Schwarz, a former reporter for The New York Times. “But they can also be alive and full of drama.”
  • Via Nick Diunte at Forbes -- "Houston Astros Sign-Stealing Allegations Are Suspiciously Similar To Another Iconic Baseball Moment."
“When recently acquired but seldom-used reserve infielder Hank Schenz told Durocher about how he used to hide in the Wrigley Field scoreboard and spy on the catcher’s signs when he was with the Cubs, and oh, by the way, he still had the high-powered telescope that facilitated that signals-intercept operation, Leo Durocher was intrigued,” author Bryan Soderholm-Difatte wrote in The Golden Era of Major League Baseball.
“They’ll find out who I really am,” Branca said in 2011. “I’m not the goat; the goat is the Giants team. They did the most despicable act in the history of the game by going off the field, using a telescope— using a buzzer system, which nobody else did. Stealing signs on the field is part of the game, and that includes the dugouts, but to go in your locker room and hook up a buzzer system … that’s totally despicable.”

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