14 May 2015

los angeles dodger managerial autographs managed

the los angeles dodgers have had only 9 managers in their 58-year history. compare that to the marlins, who have employed 13 managers (including two interim guys with just one game apiece) in their 23 years of existence.  all but one of the la dodger managers are still with us, and so obtaining autographs from each is not too difficult.

i've finally found the final piece to this collection, and so i will now display a complete set of la dodger manager autographed dodger cards.

1968 topps team (walt alston)
smokey passed away in 1984, so this card is obviously one that i purchased.  he first started managing the dodgers in 1954, and he won a total of 7 pennants and 4 world series, with 5 of those pennants and 3 of the world series titles coming in los angeles.  alston was at the helm for 2040 dodger wins - most all-time - and is enshrined in the hall of fame.  he gave way at the end of the 1976 season to tommy lasorda.

1978 topps tom lasorda
tommy signed this card for me through the mail, which was fantastic.  from the last four games of the 1976 season until his heart attack during the 1996 season, lasorda's dodgers won 1599 games, 4 pennants, and two world series titles, and lasorda himself was twice named the national league manager of the year.  he is second behind alston on the franchise's all-time managerial wins list, and he, too, is in the baseball hall of fame.  following the aforementioned heart attack in 1996, lasorda retired and bill russell took over.

1987 topps bill russell
like lasorda, russell signed this card (a final tribute) through the mail.  there is one card of him as a manager, and it comes from the 1997 mother's dodgers set.  i will try to get that one signed, but i don't believe ropes is signing through the mail anymore.  anyway, russell took over for lasorda in 1996 and led the team to a wild card berth. they were swept in the nlds, and were out of the playoff picture the following year which was russell's only full season at the helm of the club.  after 74 games in 1998, russell was fired by the fox regime about a month after the mike piazza trade.  it was the first time since leo durocher was relieved of his duties in 1948 that a dodger manager was fired during the season.  russell's 173 wins as the dodger skipper puts him 17th on the franchise list, and his winning percentage of .537 is good enough for 9th all-time (7th if we ignore interim managers clyde sukeforth and ray blades who won all three games they managed).  russell was replaced by glenn hoffman

1988 topps glenn hoffman
hoffman is (currently) the last of the former dodger players to manage the club.  he signed his 1988 topps card for me through the mail, and i may try to get him to sign a 1998 mother's dodgers card as well - it's the only one of him as a big league manager.  hoffman's dodgers finished out the 1998 season with 47 wins in 88 games, and those wins are the 25th most (out of 31) among the franchise's managers.  his .534 winning percentage puts him at 11th (or 9th), just a tick ahead of joe torre.  after the 1998 season, the fox boys were looking for a name, and they hired davey johnson to be the dodger manager.

2001 topps davey johnson
once again, the dodger manager in question signed a card for me through the mail.  johnson's debut as the dodger manager was a game for the ages.  on opening day, raul mondesi hit a 3-0 pitch into the stands for a game-tying three-run homer with two outs in the 9th, and then hit a two-run homer to walk-off the diamondbacks in the bottom of the 11th.  good times.  johnson wound up managing the team for two years, and the dodgers were 163-161 during his tenure (163 wins puts johnson 19th among the franchise's managers).  in 2000, they finished well behind the giants for second place in the nl west, and were 8 behind the mets for the wild card, and so johnson was fired after the season ended.  jim tracy was hired to take over.

2002 topps jim tracy
this is another through the mail autograph success, by the way.  tracy managed to manage the dodgers for five seasons, with the team winning 93 games and the nl west in 2004. although they lost to the cardinals in the nlds that year, they did win their first postseason game since 1988 (thanks to lima time!).  overall, tracy's dodgers were 427-384, and if it weren't for an awful 2005 season (you'll not be able to convince me that tracy wasn't trying to get fired that year - the second worst season for any la dodger team), his winning percentage would have been better. tracy ranks 6th all-time in wins for the franchise, behind five hall of famers, but he will probably be passed by don mattingly later this season.  the dodgers hired grady little to replace tracy following the 2005 season.

2007 topps grady little
i had to purchase this signed card.  

*update* little returned my ttm request after a fair amount of time with both his 2007 topps card 
and 2006 upper deck card 
signed.  very happy to have this success! *end update*

little's 170 wins in his two seasons as the team's manager puts him right between bill russell and davey johnson on the franchise's all-time list.  the dodgers won the wild card in 2006, but were swept in the nlds, and then finished 3rd in 2007.  little resigned as the team's manager after the 2007 season as it seemed apparent that frank mccourt wanted to hire joe torre to take over.

2009 topps joe torre
hall of fame manager torre, who signed this card through the mail, came aboard and led the club to two straight nl west titles and national league championship series berths.  the team faltered in 2010, however, and torre retired after that season. his 259 wins are 12th best among the franchise's managers, and his winning percentage is sandwiched by hoffman's and little's on the leader board. torre's bench coach, don mattingly, was picked to be his successor.

2014 topps heritage don mattingly
this card was the final card i needed for this post.  i had previously received a couple of signed mattingly cards through the mail with some help from reader cory, but i wanted a card of mattingly in dodger gear signed as well.  turns out i had to buy one.  mattingly is the current dodger skipper, and he has the team in first place this year, his fifth at the helm.  the team has won the nl west and made the postseason each of the last two years under mattingly, and they made it to the nlcs in 2013.  mattingly currently ranks 7th in managerial wins and tenure for the franchise, but should pass jim tracy in both of those categories by game 2 of the 2016 season.  after that, he's looking up at five hall of famers - alston, lasorda, wilbert robinson, durocher, and ned hanlon.  that's not bad managerial company.


Tony L. said...

Those are some great looking autographs.

defgav said...

That's a nice run!