30 September 2010

who shot the sherrill?

in 30 games with the dodgers in 2009, george sherrill pitched 27.2 innings, had an era of 0.65 and a whip of 1.08.  he struck out 22 batters, walked 11, and gave up just 1 home run.
in 63 games this season, he has pitched 34.2 innings and has an era of 7.01 to go with his whip of 1.96.  he has 21 strikeouts, 23 walks and has served up 4 home runs.  and it's not the result of a bad stretch - sherrill has been consistently bad all season.

not what i expected this year at all.

24 September 2010

in the beginning, there was only lasorda aka a primer on the evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers

after documenting the evolution of the infield that is this blog's namesake, i decided to do the same thing for the team that i first fell in love with, the 1977 dodgers, as depicted in the 1978 topps set. there are 29 cards in the 1978 topps dodger team set, featuring 27 different individuals (davey lopes is on the nlcs summary card, and there is the obligatory yet fantastic team card as well). this post is about the beginning of the road towards the fulfillment of that team set.

in the beginning, 1954 to be exact, there was only tom lasorda.
i thought about not including this card, since lasorda is a player, not the manager that he would be in the 1978 set. after thinking about what that would mean for the players that later became managers, i decided to include tommy's only topps card from his playing days.

lasorda debuted for the dodgers in august of 1954 against saint louis, relieving erv palica. the first batter he faced was future manager red schoendienst, who singled. in his three innings of relief lasorda gave up 6 hits and 3 runs, including a sacrifice fly to stan musial and a home run to bill sarni. in all, he pitched in 4 games (all in relief) and did not earn a decision.

he was back with the dodgers in 1955, although topps did not include him in their set that year. he made his first appearance, and his first career start, on 5/5/55 against the cardinals. while he struck out two and did not allow a hit, he pitched only one inning before being replaced. that's because he walked 2 and threw 3 wild pitches allowing a run to score. lasorda made 3 more appearances for the dodgers that year, two of which were against the cardinals. in all, lasorda appeared in 8 games for the dodgers, 4 against the cardinals, 3 against the pirates and 1 against the reds.

the kansas city a's purchased lasorda from the dodgers, and put him to work in 1956. he appeared in 18 games for the a's, starting 5, and had a record of 0-4. he did get to pitch against the yankees, and struck out mickey mantle twice out of the four times he faced him. for me, the really cool thing is that he struck out billy martin, his managerial nemesis in the 1977 world series, in their only head-to-head battle.

speaking of the yankees, they actually traded for lasorda during the 1956 season, but kept him in the minors. he was reacquired by the dodgers in early 1957 and was re-assigned to the minors. he had a great season for montreal in 1957, but never did get called up to the majors. so, his final record in the big leagues was a disappointing 0-4. i always wished that he would be activated for some september game to be brought in with 2 outs in the 5th inning of a tie game to get a shot at his first major league pitching victory.

tommy would go on to manage in the dodger minor league organization through the 1972 season, after which he would get the call to return to the majors, this time as a coach.

with no 1955, 1956 or 1957 topps cards for tommy, our next entry will be in 1963 when we see the first of the 1978 topps dodger players make their topps card debuts...

23 September 2010

filling in the blanks with the gcrl cards that should have been

sadly, these are the last of my 'cards that should have been' for a while unless i get some good news about data retrieval...

i had a lot of fun documenting the evolution of the dodger infield using their respective topps cards.  i did pause when doing the 1982 post to wonder why there wasn't a highlight card dedicated to their longevity.  their reign together was quite a topic in southern california at least, and one would think that it might rate at least as high as ron davis striking out 8 straight in relief which was featured on a highlight card.  east coast bias, i guess.  anyway, here is the (front and back) of the 1982 topps 1981 highlight card that should have been:
and, just to complete things, here is the 1984 topps traded davey lopes card that should have been
along with the version of his 1985 topps card that should have been:
instead of the 'now with a's' text.  the cool thing about this card is that it works with the back that topps actually created for his 1985 card:
here's to you, gcrl cards that should have been!

20 September 2010

an open letter to ed goodson - answered!

dear mr goodson

i'm not here to beg, but i would really really really appreciate it if you would sign a copy of your 1978 topps card for me.
you see, i am a big fan of the dodgers' 1977 and 1978 teams, and the 1978 topps set is really the ultimate set in my opinion. it's the first set i collected after falling in love with the dodgers and the game during the 1977 season.

about a year and a half ago, i set out to collect an autographed 1978 topps dodger team set - preferably via through the mail requests. i have been quite successful in that time, getting most of your teammates to sign a card through the mail, along with a couple of them done in person (thanks to a couple of helpers), and have had to resort to acquiring only a handful of signed cards via ebay.

in all, i have the entire team set signed, with the exception of the late glenn burke and yourself. i even have 3 copies of the team card signed by red adams, mark cresse, and boog powell. a fourth copy is hopefully going to be signed by john hale, the last of the surviving people on the card that don't have their own (dodgers) card in the 1978 topps set.

i know 1977 wasn't your best season, and that it must have been difficult and/or frustrating to be relegated to pinch hitter status, but you did have a game winning home run against the braves that year and it didn't go unnoticed to this fan.

i sent a couple of cards to you about a year ago care of the dodgers as well as using a home address found online with no success. i am going to send another card to you via the dodgers, along with a donation, and i hope this one will make it back to me.  pretty please?

thank you in advance and congratulations on your career.

here's to you ed goodson!

[edit - mr. goodson did reach out to me, whether due to this post or not, and signed a couple of cards!]

13 September 2010

years go by, i'm looking through a hobby magazine...

...and there's my la dodgers on the pages in between!  no, they weren't the centerfold, and truth be told, i wasn't looking through a magazine.  instead, i bought them from teamsets4u as i was looking for a dodger team set of 1998 pacific online (future post warning) and figured this was my best bet to get these cards. 

long before topps heritage, topps made these cards were made using past designs and included them in 'baseball cards magazine'.  at some point in 1993, the magazine changed it's name to 'sports cards magazine', and the copyright tag on the back reflects this.  i don't think there is really any rhyme or reason to the method, though - 1989 was 1959 but 1990 was 1969 so it wasn't a year by year thing.  anyway, here are the cards:

1993 mike piazza
i suppose it's a piazza rookie.  or an 'xrc' since there was also this card:
also featuring 4a player billy ashley.  i like the variation in the burlap, just like the real 1968 set.

here's the last of the 1993 cards, eric karros in lovely dodger stadium
karros was coming off his roy campaign, and got a lot of love from card manufacturers in 1993.  then came piazza, and he got most of the dodger allotment of inserts and oddballs.  sorry eric.

1989 orel hershiser
squinty orel.  like karros in 1993, but only bigger, orel was in every 1989 set.  that's what a dominating season will do for you.

1990 orel hershiser
that's better.  the sun isn't as bright in wrigley.  even though orel's 1989 season was a relative disappointment, he still won 15 games.  he also threw way too much and his 1990 season would suffer for it.

1990 jose offerman/jose vizcaino
double jose.  i suppose some thought that this tandem would be our 'trammell-whitaker'.  nope.  the dodgers traded vizcaino to the cubs after the 1990 season and offerman was sent packing 5 sometimes painful years later.  both guys had their best years for other teams.

1991 ramon martinez
pedro's older brother won 20 games in 1990 and had 12 complete games.  he also struck out 18 braves in a game and finished 2nd in the nl cy young vote to earn his inclusion in this set. 

1991 eddie murray
ed-die!   his 1990 season was highlighted by his major league best .330 average, although he didn't win the batting title thanks to willie mcgee and the giants' trade of him to the a's.  still, eddie brought some stability back to the first base position after several years of a greg brock/mike marshall/franklin stubbs merry-go-round.

1991 darryl strawberry
it's kind of o-pee-chee in a way, without the text.  the straw, of course, signed a big contract with the dodgers in 1990 and then had a decent year in 1991.  his 1992 and 1993 seasons in la were a completely different story.  after hitting 28 home runs and driving in 99 in 1991, he hit a total of 10 over the next two years with just 37 rbi in that span due to injuries and drug problems.  the dodgers wound up releasing him with over 1 year left on his contract.

on a completely different note, this will likely be my last post for a while due to some hard drive issues and potential loss of my scanned cards.  we'll see.

10 September 2010


no offense to mr. labine, but the 1959 'hitter's foes' (johnny podres, clem labine, and don drysdale)
were upgraded to the 'dodgers' big three' in 1963
when sandy koufax replaced him.

labine was finished by 1963, pitching in just 3 games for the lovable '62 mets and posting an era over 11.  with the dodgers, he did have 14 'saves' in 1958, but his era was over 4 and he really didn't strike out batters at a great rate (he had 43 k's in 104 innings).  this is not to besmirch clem labine, and i suppose any pitcher is a 'hitter's foe.'  besides, i can't really blame topps for not putting sandy koufax on the 1959 card, as he posted a 4.48 era in 1958, with a .500 record and 17 wild pitches to go along with his 131 strikeouts in 158+ innings.

they sure got it right in 1963, though, as koufax had led the league in era and whip in 1962, and was on his way to his first pitching triple crown.

as for the other two guys, podres had a sub-.500 year in '58 (13-15), as did drysdale (12-13), so maybe i shouldn't read too much into that 1959 card.  podres actually had a slightly worse era in '62 when he reversed his 1958 win-loss record, while drysdale had his best season, winning 25 and the cy young award.

what would have been really cool is a 1967 card with drysdale, koufax, and sutton since all three hall of famers were teammates in '66, although i am guessing that claude osteen would have been included before the rookie sutton.

09 September 2010

getting caught up with the out of place guys

as fas as out of place guys go, luis gonzalez didn't have that bad of a season with the dodgers in 2007
however, we dodger fans resented him for blocking matt kemp and then complaining about losing playing time late in the season to the bison.  after 15 home runs and a .278 average, gonzalez went back to florida.
that opened the door for ned to inexplicably sign andruw jones for the 2008 season
jones hit .158 in 75 soul sucking games for the dodgers.  it's hard to believe how long it took joe torre to sit andruw down.
thankfully, ned resisted the urge to sign some other washed up outfielder for the 2009 season.  instead, he brought in orlando hudson to replace jeff kent. 
things started out well for hudson - he hit the first dodger cycle since 1970 in the dodgers' home opener and made the all star team.  but, as the season went on, he fell out of favor and was actually benched in favor of ronnie belliard.  he and his gold glove wound up in minnesota.

along with another out of place guy from 2009 - jim thome
ned wanted a matt stairs of his very own, and got thome from the white sox just before rosters expanded.  in 17 games, which means 17 pinch hit appearances, thome had 4 hits (all singles), 3 rbi and 7 strikeouts.  he was also 1 for 3 in the postseason (also just a single).  still, it's cool that there are a number of cards featuring thome as a dodger and i am happy he is doing so well in minnesota this year.

that brings us up to date with the evolution of the out of place guys (i profiled this year's entry garret anderson previously).  i can't wait to see who ned brings on board next year...

08 September 2010

team collector dilemma - the rick honeycutt chronicles, volume 2

volume 1 of the rick honeycutt team collector dilemma was a slam dunk.  i'm not too sure about this one.  it's his 1988 score card:
he's a dodger, right?  well, look at the back:
honeycutt was traded to the a's late in the 1987 season for a player that turned out to be tim belcher.  not a bad deal for the dodgers.  while score was able to get a head shot of him in an a's cap, they chose to use a action shot of honeycutt still in a dodgers' uniform.  couple that with the lack of a team affiliation on the front of the score card, and you see the dilemma.  my take is that it's a dodger card.

these days, honeycutt is the dodgers' pitching coach
so that makes things easy.

here's to you, rick honeycutt, as long as i can tell which team you're on!

07 September 2010

the final tributes that should have been - gcrl in 1988, part 2

i didn't break any wax in 1988 for the first time since 1978.  if i had, i would have been a little peeved at not finding any steve garvey or ron cey topps cards.  sure, they both failed to finish the season (cey was released by the a's and garvey was injured in may) but i had never collected a set without them in it.  garvey, at least, got a card in the 1988 score set, but the poor penguin got no final tribute.  it's time to right that wrong.

first up, though, is the 1988 topps card that should have been, as created by travis at punk rock paint.
awesome.  i did my part by creating the back
that's 2332 games played, with 1143 runs scored, 2599 hits, 272 home runs and 1308 rbi.  only 479 walks, which is one of the big complaints you hear about the garv when it comes to the hall of fame question (he topped out at 43% in his third year of eligibility).  he was the 1974 mvp, the mvp of the 1974 and 1978 all star games, the 1978 and 1984 nlcs mvp, won 4 gold gloves, and played in 5 world series in 11 years (winning 1) and hit the biggest walk-off home run in padres history.  his number 6 is retired by the padres, but not the dodgers, although it was in mothballs for quite some time after he left.

he still holds the national league record for consecutive games played, ranks 76th all time in hits, and is in the top 100 in a bunch of categories - good and bad. as far as the dodgers' leaderboard goes, he is 9th in games played, 5th in hits, 3rd in doubles (first in los angeles dodger history), 6th in home runs, 5th in rbi, and the list goes on.

it's tough to find a photo of ron cey in an a's uniform, other than the one on his 1987 topps traded card.  i finally succeeded, and so here is his 1988 topps card that should have been:
it didn't turn out too badly, i don't think.  here's the back with complete penguin stats:
the penguin played in 2073 games and hit 316 home runs.  he was an all star 6 times, played in 5 post seasons, including 4 world series (winning 1) and was the co-mvp of the 1981 fall classic.  he hit more home runs off of tom seaver (8) than he hit against any other pitcher, with steve carlton a close second.  his 316 homers is currently good for 110th all time, which isn't too bad.

cey shows up on the dodger franchise leaderboard quite a bit as well.  he is 6th in the all important war category (behind 4 hall of famers and willie davis), and is 9th in extra base hits.  his 228 home runs as a dodger were the most in los angeles dodger history until eric karros came along, and he still sits 5th all time in that category for the entire franchise history.

next month, i think i'll fill in some of the gaps in the history of the infield, like the missing 1984 topps traded davey lopes card.

06 September 2010

they came, they saw, they moved on

nick green was a dodger for 5 glorious games in may this season.  that's enough to warrant a 2010 goose joak original, since topps total isn't coming around anytime soon.
green went 1 for 8 in those 5 games with an rbi and 2 strikeouts.  he was released in june, picked up by the blue jays who released him in july, and he's now the property of the padres.  one more team and he ties dave kingman.

we had high hopes for james mcdonald, and at this point it's hard to believe we traded him for octavio dotel.
mcdonald was 0-1 in 4 games (1 start) for the dodgers this year.  he's doing better (relatively) in pittsburgh, and his walks are down so maybe there's hope.  i feel badly for the guy because he found out about the trade by watching espn in the clubhouse before a game.  ned forgot to tell him, i guess.

remember ramon ortiz as a dodger?
ortiz appeared in 16 games for the dodgers during april and may of this year.  he was 1-2 with a 6.30 era and had two spot starts (his last two appearances as a dodger) that went bad.  he was released, picked up by the mets, released again, and is now in tampa bay or wherever the rays keep 6th starters.

yes, there was a jack taschner sighting at dodger stadium this year.
taschner was with the pirates at the beginning of the season, but became a free agent in june and was picked up by the dodgers.  in his 3 appearances as a dodger, taschner faced 6 batters, recorded one out and walked 3 while giving up a single run.  he was released in early august.

their tenures may have been short, and their performance subpar, but they were dodgers, dangit, and these goose joak originals are the proof! 

04 September 2010

taste like dodgers

i recently completed a trade with taste like dirt.  here is but a sampling of the dodger goodness i received.

1993 upper deck jose offerman
offerman was coming off of his first full season as the dodgers' shortstop in 1993.  i remember hoping that he had forgotten that he had hit a homerun in his first big league at bat and that he would start hitting the ball on the ground more.  but alas, his gb/fb ratio worsened (to a low of 0.78 in his final year as a dodger).  i blame dennis martinez.

1999 fleer tradition roger cedeno
this is awesome.  not cedeno - the card.  cedeno is listed as a met but still in dodgers' clothing.  this card doesn't show up on any team set checklist, so i would never have sought it out. the dodgers sent cedeno to the mets in the deal that brought todd hundley to la (the first time).  like cedeno, he had his better years away from the dodgers, including his 1999 season with the mets when he stole 66 bases and hit .313.

1999 fleer tradition scott radinsky
similar to the cedeno, this radinsky card is really a card on card, as radinsky joined the cardinals as a free agent.  unlike the cedeno card, i actually did seek this card out a few months ago since it's one of the few radinsky cards ever made.

1999 fleer tradition eric weaver
here's another awesome card - awesome in the same way that the cedeno card is awesome (i would never have suspected there was an eric weaver card, let alone one of him in a dodger uniform) but also awesome because we see the outfield fence at dodger stadium.  in particular, we see the homage to the world champion 1959 dodgers.  weaver pitched pretty well for the dodgers in 1998 - he went 2-0 in 9+ innings of work with a 0.93 era and 1.14 whip.  the dodgers traded him to the mariners for scott prouty, a 19 year old prospect who didn't pitch professionally after the trade.  not sure what happened there.

i should note that there was another dodger uniformed/non-dodger affiliated card in the package, but it was bobby bonilla so i won't bother to show it.

instead, here's a 1999 topps dave mlicki
the dodgers acquired mlicki from the mets in the hideo nomo deal.  he pitched fairly well for the blue in 1998, going 7-3 in 20 starts.  the dodgers traded him to the tigers in mid-1999 for some middle relief.

2007 topps heritage wilson betemit
man, the braves seemed to sour on betemit pretty quickly, didn't they?  one minute he was uber-prospect, and the next minute he's being traded for danys baez and the unstable aybar brother.  over at jon weisman's dodger thoughts, references to betemit during his stint with the dodgers were often made with pearl jam's 'better man' included.  i find it interesting that the royals play that song when he comes to bat.

2007 topps update & highlights hong-chi kuo
that's all star hong-chih kuo to you.  it's too bad that kuo is probably scheduled to blow his elbow out any day now.  he has made george sherrill even more obsolete than sherrill has made himself this year.

2008 upper deck baseball heroes nomar garciaparra
ooh - the charcoal parallel.  if only nomar could have swung a hot stick in the playoffs.  he was the tying run in game 2 of the 2007 nlcs and lidge made him look bad.  not just bad, but old.  that sucked.  this card doesn't suck, though.

thanks jim!

03 September 2010

number 55 from the number 5 type collection

matthew over at the number 5 type collection recently (by recently i mean in the last 6 months or so) sent me some 2008 topps allen & ginter miniature dodgers, including number 55, russell martin
with black borders to boot.  this card may as well have 'tbd' as the players' name since coltrane may not be back next year.  where have you gone carlos santana, dodger fans turn their lonely eyes to you.

speaking of gone, here's derek lowe
i have pretty much already forgotten that he was a dodger. 

matt kemp
here's to a better 2011 and beyond (all in a dodger uniform, i hope).

andre ethier
i wonder what would have happened this year if ethier hadn't injured his finger.  he hasn't been the same since he returned from the dl.

speaking of the dl, here's rafael furcal.
could furcal have put together a full season of high level performance rather than just a couple of months?  who knows.  is it out of the realm of possibility that dee gordon is our shortstop next year?

matthew also sent a 2010 upper deck blake dewitt
and we are still looking for that second baseman to replace steve sax.

i also received a 'dodgerbobble' of the aforementioned russell martin.
it's available for sacrificial duty, should there be any belief that something like that would restore things to a 2007 level of play.

sadly, there were no cards of jim lefebvre or jose vizcaino. i know, i know, it's not that kind of number 5 collection.

thanks matthew! i hope you enjoyed the cards i sent your way too.

the man with two heads

don drysdale can't believe his eyes on this 1961 topps nl era leader card.
he is mesmerized by the appearance of the two-headed pitching machine that was known collectively as 'big daddy warrior'.
with bob "warrior" friend securely attached to the right shoulder of stan "big daddy" williams, the national league had no choice but to credit each with the others' 3.00 era.  i am assuming that friend traveled with the dodgers on his non-pitching days and vice versa.

while some averted their eyes (mike mccormick), drysdale was just glad bob gibson was nowhere to be seen.