31 August 2009

one post for every win

for post number 324, i salute a non-infielder member of the dodger teams of my youth, hall of famer don sutton.sutton is the winningest pitcher in dodger history, with 233 victories. for his career, he racked up 324 wins, good for 14th all-time. he is also 7th all-time in strikeouts with 3574.

i was lucky enough to see sutton pitch several times, including once in his final stint with the dodgers in 1988. he was clearly on his last legs then, but was still surprised to be released by the team during the heat of the pennant race. i can't blame him for being upset about it, but i think even he would agree that he was just about done.

he and steve garvey famously fought/wrestled/scratched each other in a clubhouse brawl that centered around what many believed to be garvey's fake image. apparently, sutton brought garvey's wife into the discussion and fisticuffs ensued.

but enough of that. here's to you, don sutton - the guy sandy koufax once referred to as 'the only 300 game winning teammate i ever had', and the only hall of fame player from the team of my youth!

28 August 2009

padrographs and autobiographs

rod from the great pacific northwest (and padrographs) sent me a package a while back. let's take a look at some of the goodness.

2005 donruss diamond kings steve garveywe'll start with a padre, which is only fitting. i don't believe garvey was ever featured as a padre diamond king previously. the injustice!

2000 topps gallery shawn green. i collected shawn green with such a fervor, yet i haven't shown too many of his cards to date. odd. he probably has more game used cards than any other dodger player ever.

1999 topps finest todd hundley.
this is from todd's first incarnation with the dodgers. he pretty much stunk in 1999, but actually rebounded quite nicely in 2000, after which he signed a free agent deal with the cubs. for some reason, the dodgers decided to bring him back in 2003, and even traded mark grudzielanek and eric karros to do so. bad idea, as hundley hit a-buck-eightytwo in just 21 games.

1994 mike piazza.
i was really excited when this set first came out - piazza's first non-traded set topps solo card. what i got was a washed out card with basically the same photo as the 1993 traded card. lazy topps.

1993 leaf lenny harris
turning two with former dodger willie randolph sliding in.

1991 topps ramon martinez.
you can kind of see the way ramon used to lean back, similar to what tim lincecum does. speaking of which, i am actually rooting for the freak to beat the rockies. just for today, though.

1976 topps willie crawford.
willie was a bad ass. no doubt.
1990 leaf juan samuel.
one of the many to parade at second base after steve sax left.

finally, here is the readerman card rod sent, which i filled out. i couldn't choose just one favorite.

thanks rod! and happy reading!

27 August 2009

roll out the trade

ed at roll out the barrel recently sent some cards my way in exchange for some brewers and/or stuff he needed. it's been so long i don't recall exactly what i sent, but luckily ed posted about it so i can see what went his way. anyway, he sent me a bunch of cards i needed from 1989 upper deck, 2009 opc, 2009 topps and 2008 upper deck timeline. the opc stuff is put away, but here are a few of the others.

2009 topps kevin slowey too bad he's done for the year - the twins could really use him right now.

2009 topps noah lowryegads, a giant! it's a set need, that's all. he has the same look on his face as slowey.

2008 ud timeline jose reyes i was just trying to finish this subset, but i think i might try for the whole set.

2008 ud timeline alexei ramirez is it a double play turn? i can't tell.

1989 upper deck matt williams another giant.

1989 upper deck frank viola (twins checklist) sweet music. the twins could probably use him right now, too.

and 2009 topps james loney with the giants forced to the background, as it should be.

thanks ed! let's do it again sometime - i promise to get things posted quicker!

26 August 2009

a (goose joak) call for arms

not 'to arms' - it's definitely a call for arms in mannywood these days. with kuroda down, we've relied on the knuckleball of charlie haeger, and in a couple of days we'll see if vincente padilla can be a positive force on the field. the padilla start may even be a start to keep first place, perish the thought.

here are a couple more goose joak originals for the file - first, charlie haeger

all haeger has done is go 7 innings in each of his two starts. he gave up 3 runs his first start (and lost) but held the cubs scoreless in his most recent outing picking up the win. it's always nice when you can bring up a guy to fill in and he does the job. just look at the mess the twins are in right now with their pitching. none of the minor league guys are able to give the bullpen any rest.

and then there's the aforementioned padilla.i went the o-pee-chee route with him, since he has yet to make his debut with the dodgers. i remember in 1988 when the dodgers traded pedro guerrero, and the word was addition by subtraction. i hope this isn't subtraction by addition. here's hoping he wears the dodger blue well.

25 August 2009

the evolution of the manager

one of the things that i liked about the dodgers as i was growing up was how well they stayed connected with their past, and how close their past was to their present. the stability of the core players and manager allowed the fans to get from garvey to hodges in just a few steps. call it 'six degrees of walter o'malley'.

this hasn't been the case so much in recent years, and really since the advent of free agency, which makes sense. still, it's worth celebrating, so let's trace the dodgers' managerial roots, shall we?

i'll begin with burt shotton, primarily because i just scanned his 1990 target dodgers card.shotton was the manager in 1947, and then from the latter part of 1948 to 1950. branch rickey picked shotton to replace the suspended leo durocher for the 1947 season, and then tapped him again to replace durocher on a permanent basis after durocher failed to maintain the success in 1948 that shotton had generated the season before. choosing to manage in street clothes (although he would wear the team jacket and hat), shotton won two pennants (1947 and 1949) and came close to a third in 1950. despite this success, he was a victim of the power struggle between branch rickey and walter o'malley, and was replaced by charlie dressen.

charlie dressen (1951-1953) also won two pennants (1952 and 1953) and came darn close in 1951. that, of course, was the year of the 'shot heard round the world'. as detailed in roger kahn's 'the boys of summer', dressen believed that his success should be rewarded with a multi-year contract instead of the one-year deals o'malley liked to hand out. o'malley disagreed, and dressen was replaced with walter alston. dressen, who had previously managed the reds, would go on to manage the senators, braves and tigers, but would not win another pennant.

walter alston (1954-1976) won seven pennants in his 23-year tenure as manager; two in brooklyn and five in los angeles. in 1955 he led brooklyn to its only world series championship, and then won three more (1959, 1963, 1965) after the Dodgers moved to los angeles. he retired with 4 games remaining in the 1976 season, and was replaced by tommy lasorda. the dodgers retired his number (24) in 1977, and he was elected to the hall of fame in 1983.

tommy lasorda (1976-1996)
lasorda won the pennant in his first two full seasons as manager (1977 and 1978) but did not win the world series until 1981. a two-time nl manager of the year, he led the 1988 team to another world series crown. he also won four other division titles during his tenure, and his 61 post-season games managed ranks fourth all-time behind bobby cox, casey stengel and joe torre. lasorda's final game as manager was a 4-3 victory over the astros at dodger stadium on june 23, 1996. the following day he suffered a heart attack and formally retired a month later. he was replaced by the heir apparent, bill russell.

bill russell (1996-1998) finished the 1996 season as manager, compiling a record of 49-37 and earning the nl wild card. unfortunately, the dodgers were swept in the playoffs for the second straight year. in 1997, russell led the team to another second place finish in the nl west, but out of the wild card and playoffs. he was a victim of the fox takeover in 1998, and was fired in june shortly after the bungled mike piazza trade which was made without the knowledge of russell or the gm, fred claire. the dodgers promoted aaa manager glenn hoffman to take over. although it was a smaller sample size, russell's .537 winning percentage is higher than any other dodger manager that served between walter alston and joe torre.

glenn hoffman (1998)
finished the season as the manager with a 47-41 record. he remained with the club as a coach after fox and the sheriff (kevin malone) decided they needed a bigger name at the manager position and hired davey johnson.

davey johnson (1999-2000) finished just over .500 in his two seasons at the helm, including the first losing season of his managerial career in 1999. he was fired after a second place finish in 2000 and replaced with the mild mannered jim tracy. it is worth noting that johnson was the last player to get a hit off of sandy koufax.

jim tracy (2001-2005)
had 4 winning seasons in his five years as manager, including 2 90-win seasons. he was what i figured alston was - kind of quiet and not much of a motivator, but the team won. i don't know if that is really a proper comparison, though. anyway, to me it seemed that tracy began to make some strange decisions late in his reign which corresponded with an apparent dislike for gm paul depodesta. during the 2004 season, a season in which the dodgers won 93 games and advanced to the nlds, tracy was seemingly distraught by the trade of paul loduca, and even switched his number from 12 to 16 in tribute to the steroid-aided catcher. after the dodgers lost to the cardinals in the nlds 3 games to 1 (lima time!), tracy led the team on the field for a post-game handshake a la little league. then, in 2005, he continued his strange allegiance to players like jason grabowski, jason phillips, oscar robles, and mike edwards while eschewing hee seop choi. not surprisingly, 2005 was a disaster, and tracy stepped down after the season ended. shortly thereafter, new gm ned colletti brought grady little in to replace tracy.

little (2006-2007)
led the dodgers to the nlds in 2006 where they were swept by the mets. in 2007, the dodgers had two significant slumps late in the season which doomed them to 4th place in the division. this was the year where the generational conflict occurred between veterans such as luis gonzalez (boo!) and matt kemp (yay!) over playing time. frank mccourt and colletti seemed to leave little twisting in the wind following the season as they publicly courted joe girardi and joe torre. in the end, little resigned clearing the way for joe torre to be the new manager.

it's so far, so good for joe torre (2008-present). in his first season as dodgers manager, he led them back to the nlcs for the first time in 20 years, and here in his second year he has them sitting atop the nl west with the best record in the national league. while i am not complaining at all about torre's performance, there is a part of me that wishes russell could have continued the tradition of longevity as the dodger manager, but it wasn't meant to be. it would at least have been nice to hire a dodger like mike scioscia. it looks like he knows what he's doing.

thanks fox.

24 August 2009

bill buckner through the mail success!

there are two things that i am woefully behind in right now - posting about trades and posting about ttm successes. i am keeping up pretty well with sending trades out, but i am not doing so well in posting about the cards that i receive in return. i hope to get back on track shortly. with ttms, it's the same thing. i'll try to do better.

anyway, here's a nice return from bill buckner. buckner is pretty much a sure thing (it took only 9 days), but he charges $10 per auto. that's ok with me; i think he's earned it.

with that in mind, i sent a 1972 topps and a 1978 topps for him to sign.

the 1972 card

is his first solo issue, after two years of multi-player rookie cards, and comes complete with the topps rookie cup.

his 1978 card is his first with the cubs, but that's how i will always picture him, because the 1978 card was the first of his that i ever saw. buckner was part of the dodgers' legendary draft of 1968, and was traded to the cubs in the rick monday deal after the 1976 season. he wound up playing 8 seasons for the cubbies (same as he did for the dodgers, if you count his one at bat in 1969), and led the league in batting average in 1980.

we all know about buckner and the 1986 world series (i choose to blame bob stanley and calvin schiraldi, not billy buck), but let's not forget that this guy played in four different decades and retired with over 2700 hits, good for 55th all-time. not too bad.

thank you bill buckner!

21 August 2009

al downing final tribute - the card that should have been

al downing spent 7 years of his 17 year career in dodger blue. beginning in 1971, he won 46 games for the dodgers, finishing his career with 12 appearances in the 1977 season. he wound up with 123 wins and 1639 strikeouts.

i mentioned recently that he lacked a proper 'final tribute' card - a 1978 topps (he doesn't have a 1977 topps card either, for that matter). that all seems wrong, so here is my rendition of a 1978 topps al downing.the card would fit right in with the high number of spring training shots the dodgers have in their 1978 set, although the picture is of a younger downing, probably circa 1974 or so. still, topps has been known to re-use photo sessions.

i should note that all of these final tribute cards i have created should have a back with the final career stats (that's the whole point of a final tribute in my mind) but i just don't have that much time or patience. i did make an exception with downing since it's a 1978 card. i did print one out and sent a note explaining the card and asking him to sign it so i could add it to the modest 1978 topps dodgers autograph project, but he returned it unsigned with a note that he was not a member of the 1978 team.

still, i think it's a nice looking card that al downing deserved to have made.

here's to you, al!

19 August 2009

jay johnstone through the mail success!

11 days is all it took for jay johnstone to sign and return 3 of the 4 cards i sent to him. he kept the 1986 topps card i sent, which is fine with me, but signed his 1978 topps1981 fleer and 1982 fleercards for me. i did include a $10 donation for his charity - sporthings and more, and he also included a note thanking me for the donation and asking me to spread the word to other autograph seekers about 'kids of class baseball' which i assume is connected to sporthings and more.

johnstone had two stints with the dodgers - first from 1980 to mid 1982, and then again in 1985 which would be his final season. he played well in the post season - first for the phillies in 1976 and 1977, and then for the yankees against the dodgers in 1978 - but he saved his biggest post season hit for the 1981 world series as a dodger against the yankees. in the bottom of the 6th inning in game 4, johnstone hit a 2-run pinch hit home run off of ron 'whiplash' davis to tie the game at 6. the dodgers would score 2 more runs in the 7th, and would wind up beating the yankees 8-7 to even the series at 2 games apiece. they would win the next two games to claim their first championship since 1965, and johnstone would go on to perform on solid gold with his teammates steve yeager, jerry reuss and rick monday. i shudder to think what might have happened had johnstone not hit that home run...

thanks jay!

18 August 2009

random is as random does...

...and david at indian cards, for whatever length of time has done some random. first, i asked for and received some random angels. then, i put in for some true all around randomosity. here are some highlights:

1993 upper deck jay buhner.buhner is crashing jr's party, much like eric karros is known to do.

1992 fleer ultra jose oquendo
that's eddie murray halfway in the shot.
1996 topps shawn green. in triplicate!

1996 pinnacle summit gary disarcina
a double play turn against the dodgers!

1989 upper deck mark mclemore
another double play turn

2008 upper deck chone figgins season highlights
figgins is in there somewhere...

2008 topps stadium club john lackey
in yankee stadium. i think if lackey pitched on the east coast he would be much more appreciated.

2007 topps allen & ginter jered weaver
at least it's not jeff.

2007 topps allen & ginter gary matthews jr sketch card
the angels seem to make their 4 outfielder rotation work a lot better than the twins do.

2005 upper deck flyball garret anderson
i thought this guy would finish his career in anaheim. i liked edmonds and salmon more, but ga has outlasted both of them.

2002 donruss originals darin erstad

1999 upper deck encore mo vaughn
the best part about this card is the gene autry patch mo is wearing.

2005 upper deck robb quinlan
the former gopher is the epitome of the 26th man or the aaaa player.

2001 topps heritage darin erstad
still scrappy.

1999 skybox thunder charles johnson
from piazza to johnson to hundley in two seasons. yikes.

1996 pinnacle jim abbott.
this guy was such a fan favorite - there was much rejoicing when they brought him back.

1995 upper deck minors luis raven
sponsored by molson. i used to have a canadians hat that looked like that helmet, but i felt too much like a hot-dog-on-a-stick worker to wear it in public.

1994 topps team stadium club salomon torres
i was happy to see torres have a decent career because the dodgers crushed him on the last day of the 1993 season (his rookie season) with a postseason berth on the line.

1994 score rookies and traded gold rush bo jackson
bo knows parallels.

1994 leaf ken griffey jr.
jr's earring is really shiny on this card.

1993 donruss bryan harvey
a bit of an opc flavor. harvey certainly had the moustache to be a closer.

1991 upper deck greg brockthe heir apparent to steve garvey playing out his career in milwaukee, back when it was an al city.

1991 topps stadium club casey candaele
candaele looks all of 5'1" in this picture.

1991 upper deck kirk gibson
another former dodger in a small market al central team's uniform.

1991 topps stadium club dave winfield
another former gopher.
1991 score tom niedenfuer
go crazy folks, go crazy!

1990 classic bert blyleven
bert was sticking his tongue out well before michael jordan made it fashionable.

1987 fleer reggie jackson
must kill the queen...must kill the queen...
1991 opc premier dave winfield
winfield had the funkiest swing i think i have ever seen. it was effective, though.

1989 upper deck wally joyner
anaheim's answer to fernandomania. he made people forget that rod carew existed, unfortunately.
1986 topps buddy biancalana
just because.
1991 score john wetteland
i love the black bordered 91 score cards. i wish the whole set had been black borders.

1992 leaf brett butler
a card that doesn't show butler bunting!
1991 score pat perry.
i'll take pat perry for $100, alex!
thanks so much david! these were a lot of fun to go through!