30 November 2014

watty clark was a dodger double dipper

if you were to consult baseball reference, as i have done, and looked at all the players who have suited up for the bridegrooms/grooms/bridegrooms/superbas/dodgers/superbas/robins/dodgers franchise, you might notice that watty clark was a pitcher for the dodgers over the course of 11 seasons - from 1927-1937.  that is true.  however, what that list doesn't tell you is that clark spent about a year with the new york giants during that span.  yes, he was a dodger double dipper.

[this is the eighty-eighth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon suttonralph branca, todd hundley, elmer dessensguillermo motajoe beckwithjamie hoffmannbabe hermanjoe medwickjuan castroron perranoskiclyde kingpaul wanerhughie jenningsron negray, broadway aleck smithgeorge smith, johnny cooney, jim faireyfrenchy bordagaraydoc casey, waite hoytluis olmoclyde sukeforthwillie keeler,  harry howellgermany smithjohnny allenmarv rackleybobo newsom, maury wills, dazzy vance, ray hayworthzack taylorjohn croninart herringbrian falkenborgbill reidy, john andersonvito tamulis, wally hood, jim bruske, bill dahlen, patsy donovan, and jamey wright.]

here's clark's 1990 target card
when i looked at that list to help me figure out who double dipped, i would look for inconsistencies between the 'years' column and the 'from' and 'to' column.  for example, double dipper dave anderson played for the dodgers for 8 years, from 1983-1992.  that's 10 seasons, so i knew (aside from my memory of the bad dodger 1992 team) that there was some double dipping going on.  it got a bit tricky with the players who served in the military during world war ii, but i felt pretty confident that i had identified all of the double dippers.  then along came watty clark, whose time away from the franchise spanned about 12 months, but not a complete season.

clark debuted with the robins in 1927, having previously pitched in the majors for the indians in 1924.  as a dodger, he led the league in losses with 19 in 1929, but he also won 20 games in 1932. overall, clark amassed a record of 84-69 before he was traded to the giants during the 1933 season.

as a giant, clark was 3-4 over the course of the remainder of the 1933 campaign (he did not pitch in the world series in which the giants were victorious), and then had a 1-2 record for bill terry's team in 1934 when the dodgers re-acquired him, almost exactly a year after they had traded clark away.  back with brooklyn, clark was 2-0 in 17 games to finish out the 1934 season.  he pitched for the dodgers into the 1937 season, and finished with a lifetime record of 111-97.

sunday morning target dodgers - the rifleman, a unibrow, and 12 others

only 14 cards from the 1990 target dodgers set today, because this particular sheet featured another dodger double dipper who gets his own post later on.

bobby bragan
bragan began his career as a shortstop with the phillies in 1940, but began catching as well, and after he was traded to the dodgers just prior to the 1943 season, catcher was his primary position.  he returned to shortstop for a bit in 1944, and then missed the 1945 and '46 seasons due to military service during world war ii.  when bragan returned to the dodgers in 1947, he signed the petition protesting the addition of jackie robinson to the major league roster, and even asked branch rickey for a trade.  bragan wasn't traded, and he soon changed his mind about being jackie's teammate.  in 1948, after appearing in just 9 games for the dodgers, bragan was offered a job managing in the organization's minor league system at fort worth.  bragan accepted, knowing that his roster spot had essentially been taken by roy campanella.  after several seasons in fort worth (where he made maury wills into a switch-hitter), bragan eventually managed in the major leagues for the pirates, indians, and braves.  he returned to fort worth, and became the oldest manager in professional baseball history when he managed a game for the independent cats at the age of 87 in 2005.

buster burrell
another catcher, burrell spent three seasons (1895-97) with the grooms/bridegrooms, although he never appeared in more than 62 games in a single season.  his best year was 1896 when he played in 62 games and hit .301.  burrell looks pretty intense, but he lived to be 95 before passing away in 1962.  so, in his lifetime, the entire history of professional baseball up until sandy koufax's 7th start of the 1962 season occurred.  crazy.

guy cantrell
cantrell's nickname was 'gunner', and as a pitcher for the brooklyn robins in 1925 and 1927, he was 1-0 with a 2.93 era over 20 appearances.  cantrell was acquired by the philadelphia a's during the 1927 season, and finished his major league career with the tigers in 1930.  now we go from one 'gunner' to another…

chuck connors
connors was a brooklyn native who signed with the local club as a teenager in 1940.  he soon after went to college at seton hall and was picked up by the yankees.  in 1946, he wrote to branch rickey asking the dodgers to re-acquire him, and they did so after the yankees waived him.  connors wound up playing in the minor leagues, but also spent some time on the roster of the boston celtics from 1946-48.  he finally made his baseball big league debut in may of 1949 as a pinch-hitter.  with one out in the bottom of the 9th in a game against the phillies, connors pinch-hit for carl furillo.  gil hodges was on first base, so connors represented the tying run, as the dodgers were down 4-2.  unfortunately, connors grounded into a game ending double play, 1-6-3.  that turned out to be his only appearance as a dodger, but he was traded to the cubs and played in 66 games for the southsiders in 1951.  after that, connors played in the pcl for the los angeles angels, and was discovered by hollywood.  he eventually decided to pursue acting as a career, and landed the title role in the abc program 'the rifleman'.

jumbo elliot
elliot first pitched for the robins in 1925 after throwing just one inning for the browns in 1923.  after taking the loss in 2 of the 3 games in which he pitched in '25, elliot spent 1926 in the minors, but was back in the majors to stay in 1927.  he pitched both as a starter and a reliever for the robins through the 1930 season, which happened to be the only time in his career up until that point that he earned a winning record.  with a 26-36 record overall, the robins traded elliot to the phillies, with whom he promptly led the league with 19 wins in 1931.

dick farrell
farrell was better known as 'turk' during his playing days.  he spent the last few months of the 1961 season with the dodgers, but didn't ever get a complete card as a dodger from topps, so it is quite disappointing that this card fails to feature him in the correct uniform as well.  as a dodger, farrell was 6-6 with 10 saves in 50 appearances.  he was selected by the colt .45's in the expansion draft, and lost 20 games for them in 1962.

balvino galvez
galvez was once traded for billy beane, straight up.  i wonder if the a's general manager makes that deal today.  all of galvez's major league experience came as a dodger in 1986.  he pitched in 10 games and had a record of 0-1.  the first batter galvez faced as a big leaguer was none other than ron cey.  the penguin stroked a two-run, game-tying single off of galvez, and tommy lasorda removed the rookie pitcher from the game.  galvez was traded by the dodgers to the tigers during the 1987 season, and they sent him to the twins the following year for beane.

phil garner
garner doesn't look quite right without his bristle brush mustache, does he?  he joined the dodgers during the 1987 season following a trade with houston and wound up playing in 70 games for the club. he hit just .190 with two home runs (the last two of his career), and finished his major league career with 15 games for the giants in 1988.

jeff hamilton
hamilton was a backup third baseman who won the job during the 1988 season when pedro guerrero was moved to first base.  he wound up manning the hot corner for the dodgers during the world series, too, catching the final out of their pivotal game 4 win.  that was the game that, thanks in part to hamilton's presence in the lineup, caused bob costas to comment that the dodgers were fielding the weakest hitting lineup in world series history.  hamilton was the dodgers' primary third baseman in 1989, but was injured for most of 1990 and '91.  he attempted to convert to a pitcher, but was unsuccessful, meaning his only pitching appearance as a major leaguer remained his 1.2 innings of work in a 22-inning game against the astros in 1990 in which he struck out billy hatcher and ken caminiti, but was nonetheless saddled with the loss.

dale mitchell
mitchell's career started with a bang in cleveland - over his first 8 seasons with the indians, mitchell had 1201 hits, 60 triples (he led the league with 23 in 1949), and a .315 batting average.  beginning in 1954, however, he was relegated to part-time duty, and the indians eventually sold his contract to the dodgers during the 1956 season.  with brooklyn, mitchell hit .292 in 19 games down the stretch as the dodgers repeated as national league champions.  in the world series, mitchell was hitless four pinch-hit appearances against the yankees, the third of which resulted in the final out of don larsen's game 5 perfecto.

wally moon
all hail the unibrow!  moon was the 1954 national league rookie of the year for the cardinals, who traded him to the dodgers after the 1958 season for gino cimoli.  moon immediately made an impact for the dodgers in 1959, hitting .302 while leading the league in triples and launching his 'moon shot' home runs at the la coliseum as the dodgers won the pennant and the world series.  moon hit .299 in 1960, and then .328 in 1961 (his .434 obp led the league that year), but his performance tapered off after that.  his final appearance as a dodger came in the 1965 world series, where he was hitless in two pinch-hitting appearances.

bill posedel
posedel didn't reach the majors until the age of 31 when he debuted for the dodgers during the 1938 season.  he made 17 starts, finishing 6 of them (one was a shutout), and also relieved in 16 games.  he finished with a record of 8-9 and was traded to the braves during the offseason.  he was sometimes known as barnacle bill due to his two stints in the navy - one prior to the start of his big league career, and one during his career to serve in world war ii.

howie reed
the dodgers acquired reed from the kansas city a's in 1961, buy he didn't make it to the club's big league roster until 1964.  he was 3-3 as a starter with a no-decision, and 0-1 with a save as a reliever in 19 other appearances that year.  in 1965, reed pitched in 38 games (5 as a starter) and had an overall record of 7-5 plus a save.  he appeared in two games during the 1965 world series, but had just one appearance for the dodgers in the 1966 season before he was traded to the angels.

rj reynolds
robert james reynolds received a september call-up from the dodgers in 1983, but was with the team for most of 1984 and 1985 up until the time he was traded to the pirates for bill madlock.  he played for the pirates through the 1990 season, and then went to japan where he found some success.  as a dodger, reynolds is best remembered for his walk-off squeeze bunt on september 11, 1983 that beat the braves and put the dodgers 3 games up on atlanta in the nl west. that was a big two-game swing in the standings, and the dodgers held on to win the west.

27 November 2014

i am thankful for what may quite possibly be my last 1978 topps through the mail autograph successes and all that yaz

i've sent out only a handful of ttm requests this past year, most of which were of players featured in the 1978 topps set.  i've had pretty good success with those requests, since they were prompted by recorded successes at sportscardforum.  as always, i am thankful for the former players who took the time to respond.  here are some of them.

wilbur wood
i love this card.  it's the last card in the first set that i ever put together. it's got the big lapels and a red jacket underneath the jersey.  fantastic.

paul mitchell
not the guy who started a hair care empire (he passed away in 1989).  did you know that it is that paul mitchell's business partner who went on to make patron tequila?  this paul mitchell was a first round pick by the orioles in 1971 and wound up spending six years in the majors. he was part of the trade between the orioles and a's that sent reggie jackson to baltimore.

tom murphy
murphy was also a 1st round pick, taken by the angels in the 1967 secondary draft.  he spent 12 years in the majors, and even garnered an mvp vote while pitching for the brewers in 1974.

pete mackanin
mackanin was once traded for willie davis (by the rangers to the expos).  he's been an interim manager for both the pirates and reds, and most recently has been a coach for the phillies.

gene pentz
looking like mr. kotter. pentz was in the pirates' organization when they won it all in 1979, but he wasn't on the major league roster.

in addition to the through the mail successes, i bought a lot of signed cards from the set.  here are the cards from that lot

ron cey
cey is a fantastic through the mail signer. this one doesn't have his uniform number inside the 'r', which is a bit curious.

don sutton
i've had a couple of 1978 topps successes with sutton in the past

bill bonham
now we are getting to the reason i bought the lot.  i didn't have a bonham card signed, and his card always intrigued me as a youngster.  my brother and i thought that his hair looked like the hulk's and that perhaps bill bonham was an alias for bruce banner.

there were some cards signed with ballpoint pen, like this larry christenson
and this dave goltz
both of whom have signed for me through the mail.

bob knepper's card is also signed in ballpoint
and he was one of the cards that i wanted out of this lot.  i saw knepper pitch against the dodgers a few times,  and i followed his 1978 season pretty closely thanks to a neighbor who was a giants fan and tried to convince me that knepper was better than sutton (knepper did have better numbers in 1978).

aurelio rodriguez
rodriguez passed away after being hit by a car in 2000.  this looks like other examples of his signature, so, if authentic (as is the case with all of these autographs), it would be a great addition to my collection.

aside from the bonham, knepper, and rodriguez cards, the other big draw was this one of carl yastrzemski
the signature here doesn't look too far from some older examples i have seen, but it lacks the tell-tale 'y' that circles the 'c' in carl in his more recent autographs.  maybe that's just when he signs on a single line, rather than stacked. still, i don't think this is legit.  the facsimile auto on his 1975 topps card (which obviously came out before this card was signed) is more like his recent stuff, while this one looks more like his 1967 topps facsimile auto.  good thing i only paid a few bucks for the lot.

i'll finish this post with the most recent 1978 topps ttm success i've had.  it came from thad bosley
and was over 3 years in the making!  i sent the card to bosley in may of 2011 when he was a coach for the rangers.  i received the signed card in october of this year.  so maybe this won't be the last of the 1978's for me, as there are a few older requests still out there…

signed cards aren't all that i am thankful for, by the way.  happy thanksgiving everybody!

26 November 2014

a 2000 topps card that should have been for the 1978 topps dodgers

once again, there were no managerial cards in the topps flagship set, so i decided to make one featuring those members of the 1978 topps dodgers who managed in 2000.  that would be, of course, johnny oates, dusty baker, and davey lopes, who was hired by the brewers in november of 1999.

i scanned some cards from the set as seen below
but once again decided to take an easier route and use a prospects card
i modified it a bit, just so the text could be read, and came up with this card that should have been
dusty led the giants to the national league west title in 2000, with the no-cals winning 95 games and finishing 11 games ahead of the second place giants.  unfortunately (or, fortunately if you are a dodger fan) the giants lost in the nlds to the wild card champion (and eventual national league champion) mets. still, he won his third national league manager of the year award.

oates, on the other hand, had a rough go in 2000.  the rangers dropped from first to last place in the american league west in 2000, winning only 71 games. even so, oates was kept on the job and led the team into the 2001 season.

lopes was brought in to replace interim manager jim lefebvre following a 74-87 season in 1999 which saw the brew crew finish 5th in their second season in the nl central, just as they had in their first.  the good news is that lopes led them to a third place finish in 2000, however the team posted a record of 73-89.  not really an improvement at all.  however, like oates, lopes remained on the case for 2001, when topps decided to bring manager cards back for our enjoyment.

25 November 2014

who carries reggie smith's career torch?

reggie smith's signature is on my short list of favorites.  harmon killebrew used to preach the importance of a nice signature to young twins players, and i can see reggie doing the same to players for whom he served as a mentor.  i recently bought this 2004 upper deck usa baseball 25th anniversary signature card of reggie
for about $3.  money well spent as far as i am concerned.

reggie was a coach for team usa, and for the dodgers, too after his playing days were done.  i wonder which active major leaguer is carrying his career torch...

on october 3, 1982, reggie suited up for a major league game for the last time as a player. unfortunately, he suited up in a giants' uniform, as his 1983 fleer card attests.
smith ended his big league career that day against the dodgers with an 8th inning fly out against former teammate terry forster who, an inning earlier, had allowed a home run to joe morgan that effectively ended the dodgers' hopes of tying the braves atop the national league west to force a playoff.

terry forster pitched through the 1986 season, getting his last taste of big league action on october 2, 1986 as a member of the american league west champion angels.  here's his 1986 fleer update card.
forster pitched two innings that day, getting oddibe mcdowell to ground out to end the 7th and bring an end to his pitching career as well.

oddibe mcdowell, of course, was himself a member of team usa back in 1984 during the olympics held in los angeles.  here's his 1985 topps team usa subset card.
the olympic baseball games were played at dodger stadium (the dodgers wore an olympic patch in 1984), and team usa lost to japan in the final.  there were no medals given, however, as baseball was just a demonstration sport at that time.

one thing about that 1985 topps mcdowell card - when i first opened some packs in '85, i took a look at the couple of checklist cards i had pulled and reviewed the 'hero' numbers to see if steve garvey was given any respect from topps (his 1985 card is number 450, so yes, he was respected) and i saw that card number 400 was oddibe mcdowell.  i followed major league baseball pretty closely, but did not know who this guy was and actually freaked out a little bit that a player i did not know could command such a number on topps' checklist.

back to mdowell's career now.  mcdowell did not play in the majors for three years following the 1990 season, but he made his way back into the rangers' lineup in 1994.  on august 10 of that year, in what turned out to be the final game of the season due to the players' strike, mcdowell went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice.  that sac bunt, against the mariners' jim converse, was the last time mcdowell went to the plate in his big league career.

converse (seen here on a 1995 topps stadium club card)
returned after the strike, and continued to pitch into the 1997 season.  on may 15, 1997, he was with the kansas city royals and relieved jeff montgomery in a game against the tigers.  converse faced four batters that day, the last of which was jody reed who drew a walk.  converse was pulled from the game and did not pitch in the majors again.

jody reed, the man who spurned the dodgers' free agent offer which led to the pedro martinez/delino deshields trade, saw his career end on august 22, 1997 in a laugher against the brewers.  he's a padre (and turning two) on his 1997 topps card
but he was with detroit when he saw the last of his big league action.  the tigers won the game 16-1, but reed was 0 for 2 including a strikeout in the 9th inning against alberto reyes that turned out to be his final big league at bat.

alberto reyes last pitched in the majors in 2008.  i don't think he had too many cards over the years, so here's a 1996 upper deck collector's choice card from early in his career.
he was with the devil rays when he finished a game against the indians on august 5 of that year.  he faced four batters, the last of which was andy marte who struck out to end the game.  he did not appear in any games after that, and about a week later, reyes was granted free agency.  he signed with the mets, but did not make any appearances for them, either.

andy marte stuck with cleveland through the 2010 season (this is his 2007 topps heritage card),
but hadn't played in the majors since that season until he surfaced with the diamondbacks earlier this year.  he hit a pinch-hit home run in his first big league at bat in almost 4 years, but a few days later on august 6, 2014, he struck out against the royals' greg holland to end the game.  marte became a free agent shortly before the end of the season, so  that may well have been his final big league at bat.  if so, then greg holland (seen here on his 2014 topps update card)
will carry the torch for reggie smith (and terry forster).  i'd say his signature has potential.

rivalry week?

well, ucla played usc this past weekend, but even though that was the college football rivalry i knew growing up, around these parts it's rivalry week when the golden gophers take on the badgers.  minnesota and wisconsin play this upcoming weekend, so i decided to wait until now to show a few cards i've obtained from the 2013 panini hometown heroes rivalry insert set.

the concept is similar to the topps 'who would have thought' series in the 2001 and 2002 traded sets, except these card focus on players who have played on both sides of a specific rivalry.  like dusty baker, who played for the dodgers and giants
i believe that both photos come from his dodger days, by the way.  in his lone season with the no-cals (1984), baker hit .276 against the dodgers.  during his time with the braves and dodgers, he hit .283 against the giants.

tommy john pitched for both the dodgers and the yankees
he faced the bronx bombers in the 1977 and 1978 world series.  he took the loss in game 3 of the '77 fall classic, but won game 1 in 1978 and also pitched well in game 4 that year.  unfortunately, the dodgers fell to the yankees both times.  john jumped to the yankees for the 1979 season, and wound up pitching against the dodgers in the 1981 world series.  he shut them out for 7 innings in his game 2 win, and then threw two more scoreless innings for the yankees as a reliever in game 4.  john got the start a few days later in game 6, but was prematurely pulled from the game for a pinch-hitter after allowing just one run in 4 innings of work.  bobby murcer flew out to end the yankee's half of the fourth, and the dodgers went on to win the game and the series.

like baker, orel hershiser wore both dodger blue (twice) and giant orange
the bulldog spent the 1998 season with san fran, and was 2-1 against the dodgers.  they were the only team against whom he had more than one victory.  over the rest of his career (which includes a season with the mets and three with the indians in addition to his dodger years), hershiser was 22-9 against the giants.  that's the highest victory total he posted against any opponent, which is nice.

i knew that there wouldn't be a steve garvey card in this insert set (the padres don't rank as a rival for the dodgers), but i did sort of hope for a duke snider card since he finished his career as a giant.  other possibilities included reggie smith (he also finished as a giant), juan marichal (he finished his career as a dodger), and if panini really wanted to be a bit out of the ordinary with the checklist, moose skowron (he helped the dodgers sweep his former yankee teammates in the 1963 world series).

good luck to the gophers this weekend - they are going to need it.

24 November 2014

umpire black armbands for lee weyer and perhaps dick stello, but definitely for augie donatelli and bill kunkel

just a few weeks before the 1988 all-star game, national league umpire lee weyer died of a heart attack. at the midsummer classic, the umpires wore black armbands in his honor.  this 1989 t&m umpires card of the all-star crew
shows the armband on the right sleeves of the nl umps, as well as one of the american league umpires.  here's a posthumous card of weyer from the same set,
with the ump holding court in dodger stadium.  the back of the card tells his story
i believe that the national league umpires wore the armbands for the remainder of the season, and that the reason that they wore them on their right sleeve was because they already had a black armband on their left sleeves.  here's a card, also from the 1989 t&m umpires set, of nl ump greg bonin that shows the dual armbands.
and here's a getty images photo that shows one of the umpires (randy marsh, i believe) at the 1988 all-star game
with an armband on each sleeve.  the fact that the american league umpires only had the black armband on their right sleeve, along with the fact that gary darling is wearing only one armband on his 1989 t&m umpires card (and it's on his left sleeve)
tells me that it was the one added for weyer.

so, for whom were the umpires wearing the armband on their left sleeves for?  well, national league umpire dick stello had been killed in november, 1987 in a car accident.  he was standing between two cars on the side of a road in florida when the rear car was hit by another vehicle, crushing stello to death.  yikes.  stello, who was once married to chesty morgan, had been an umpire in the senior circuit since 1968, and i would expect that the umpires would have worn an armband in his honor.

here's another card from the 1989 t&m umpires set, featuring tom hallion
the card only shows the armband on the left sleeve, but he would also be wearing the one on the right since this photo comes from a game played on august 18, 1988.  kevin gross is walking off the field in the background, as the dodgers beat the phillies 2-1 that day with hallion calling balls and strikes.

i found another card that shows the armband on the right sleeve - this 1989 upper deck ron gant card has a play at third base on the back, complete with an umpire present
with the armband.  that photo comes from a game in september of 1988, since that was the month that the braves moved gant to third, and that also comes after the all-star game when the armbands were added to the right sleeve.

now that we've got the memorial armbands for weyer and stello figured out, i am a bit perplexed by john kibler's 1990 t&m umpires card
he's wearing an armband on his right sleeve.  sure, this could be a photo from 1988 post-all star break, but the stadium in the background looks kind of spring training-ish.  any ideas?

a couple of years later, in may of 1990, former umpire augie donatelli died at the age of 76.  in august, national league umpires began wearing black armbands in his honor, as seen on the back of todd hundley's 1991 upper deck card
that photo comes from either august 25 or 26, 1990, and features either bob davidson or charlie williams crouched behind mike scioscia.  i'd guess it's from the 26th with williams behind the plate, because the only time hundley hit with scioscia catching on the 25th was in the top of the 14th inning, and it would have been dark(er) by that time, with a likely smaller crowd on hand.

anyway, donatelli had been a national league umpire for 24 years, and was the founder of the major league baseball umpires association.  he officiated in five world series and four all-star games, and may be best remembered for his penchant for ejecting managers and also for absconding with a couple of cardinal hats following their 1967 world series win.

i'll finish this post with a note regarding another umpire honored with black armbands.  following his death in may of 1985 after a long bout with cancer, american league umpire bill kunkel was honored by his fellow umpires who wore a black armband during the 1985 all-star game (and perhaps during the regular season).  i've found a getty images photo of one of the umpires during the 1985 all-star game with the armband visible on the left sleeve
kunkel had been a pitcher in the major leagues for a short time before turning to umpiring.  he began his big league umpiring gig in 1968, and also served as a referee in the nba for a time.  he was 48 when he passed.

in recent years, the umpires have gone to wearing initials as memorials (as they did for a. bartlett giamatti in the 1989 world series) which makes it a bit easier to dissect.