11 March 2011

dodger greats, easily forgotten

you wanna talk about an oddball set?  how about the 1989 smokey dodgers greats set. 
stadium giveaway? check.
sponsored by a non-profit forest fire awareness group? check.
image of cartoon bear on the front? check.
at least the team logos weren't airbrushed out.

the real oddball part comes in to play with the set numbering.  the set was distributed at dodger stadium in a sheet of 100 cards.  plus a strip of 4 additional cards.  yes, there were 104 cards in the set.  usually when you see the sets up for sale, they are offerering just cards 1-100 (although there is an auction up on the bay for all 104 right now).  the last 4 cards were easily lost or forgotten about and can be hard to find.

at least it's not like the last 4 cards were koufax, jackie robinson, snider and garvey.  no, they are lindstrom,
and robinson
not exactly a dodgers' murderers row. 

fred lindstrom is really a giant, having played for the 1936 brooklyn dodgers for a total of 26 games.  he is a hall of famer, but certainly not a dodger great.  perhaps a really good player who ended his career with a short stint as a dodger.  but that text is too long to fit in smokey bear's blue ribbon.

ernie lombardi is more of a red great.  while he started his career in 1931 as a brooklyn robin (more on that in a minute), he was traded to cincinnati where he would go on to multiple all-star appearances and win the 1938 nl mvp award.  like lindstrom, his photo even depicts him in his more familiar cap.

mike marshall - that's mike a. marshall, the non-pitcher - was at least a dodger for about 90% of his career.  still, he is more of an albuquerque duke great as he destroyed the pcl his last couple of years in the minors.  in the big leagues, not so much.  he ranks 32nd all-time in dodger history in slugging percentage (just ahead of ron cey) and 50th in ops (well behind cey and just behind joe ferguson).  he's 35th in games played - less than adrian beltre, but more than ken landreaux, and is tied with jackie robinson for 16th place in all-time dodger home runs.  now that i look at it, marshall may be in the top 40 of dodger players, all-time.

finally, wilbert robinson.  aside from alston and lasorda, no man has managed the dodger franchise longer than robinson's 18 years at the helm.  he is in the hall of fame having won two nl pennants and 1399 regular season games (including one year as baltimore's manager).  the dodgers' franchise had been known as the superbas since 1899 (except for a two-year stint as the dodgers in 1911-1912), but when uncle robbie took over in 1914, they took the name 'robins' in tribute to their skipper.

i'm glad that doesn't happen anymore - i don't think i could really root for the los angeles mattinglys.

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