Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Exclusive: Interview with Old Hoss Radbourn

Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Gardner “Old Hoss” Radbourn began his earthly existence in 1854, made his major-league debut in 1880 and forsook his mortal coil in 1897. None of that, however, has prevented him from becoming one of the most lively presences on Twitter today.

Recently, the fogey-but-a-goodie kindly deigned to give Dodger Thoughts an exclusive interview, the contents of which follow herewith:

* * *

1) We have to start by asking what your reaction is to the ownership crisis in Los Angeles involving Frank McCourt?

I suppose there is some-thing to be learnt here about trusting one’s spouse with one’s property. My lass was given an ownership stake in a single place: the kitchen.

On a slightly more serious note, I suppose this is a useful lesson about carefully vetting one’s owners and making sure they are financially solvent. I am sure that no one in the upper echelons of base ball’s management will pay attention to this.

2) The Dodgers play in Los Angeles. What kind of appeal does this city hold for an oldtimer like yourself?

None, I am afraid. Base ball is meant to be played in nasty, inclement weather with angry, miserable louts for fans who take the sport too seriously and seek nothing more than to horse-whip you for making the slightest of mistakes. I believe this insane misanthropy has in recent years been mis-labeled as “passion.”

3) In 1884, you won 59 games for Providence (only 23 fewer than the Dodgers won in 2012). So my question is, if you were playing one-on-nine against the Dodgers, would you win?

As you know, J. Weisman, it is quite foolish to compare different base ball across the centuries. This is because my era was so much better. I would estimate, and I shall be conservative, that I would win a game by an approximate score of 17-4. I concede that one M. Kemp would account for at least three and likely four home runs, but otherwise I lose little sleep over the Dodgers’ line-up. Please note that my answer changes quite drastically based on the fellow named in question 7.

4) Who’s tougher — you or Tommy Lasorda?

I assume by linking “tough” and “T. La Sorda” you are referring to a toughness reminiscent of an old blubbery mound of lasagna, impossible to chew and tough to stomach for any amount of time. This well reminds me of T. La Sorda, and I must concede this title to him.

5) Lasorda bleeds blue. What color do you bleed?

This is quite difficult to answer, as I am dead. In my time some swore I sweated poppy juice, though this was but a deuced miserable rumor. I have always fancied myself a Gray, and view their collapse as a result of my departure from their team merely as an indicator of how important I was to the franchise.

6) What was it like facing Juan Castro?

You should ask J. Moyer this, who has been pitching for far longer than me.

7) Which current Dodger do you most admire, and why?

Watching C. Kershaw throw that beautiful looping parabola of a curve ball makes my bones ache. Good god he is a joy to watch take the mound.

8 ) Would you have enjoyed having Manny Ramirez as a teammate?

I would indeed. I rarely needed the assistance of my fielders, as I preferred to obtain outs on my own, and thus his comical adventures in left would hardly have been noticed. Had he made a mistake at a critical time, of course, after the contest he’d find a shiv in his back and a one-way ticket to the bottom of San Pedro Bay.

9) What, in your mind, is the most memorable moment in Dodger history?

Certainly changing their name from “Superbas” must rank rather highly. Another high point came on June 12, 1891, when Darby O’Brien — an Irishman!! — hit a three-run home run off of me in the bottom of the first inning in Brooklyn. This was the only home run I ever gave up to a member of that storied franchise. We should ignore that Mr. O’Brien only hit 19 additional such shots. He is not mourned.

On a more modern note, I have always been partial to Gil Hodges going 0-21 in the 1952 World’s Series. This is not out of some malevolent delight in watching a batsman suffer, though in truth what hurler would not enjoy this? Rather, it is a great appreciation for the sense of camaraderie and affection that existed for Hodges, a fellow who lived in Brooklyn and was something much more than what the term “fan favorite” connotes. The love that borough held for their first base man, even when mired in such an infelicitous slump, is one of the reasons generations of people still fondly reminisce about the Trolley Dodgers. Hoss must admit a soft spot for one G. Hodges.

10) Would you say Vin Scully is one of baseball’s great broadcasters, or is he still too young and needing to prove himself?

I will never say a harsh or jocular word about former Providence Grays bat boy V. Scully.


Dodger Thoughts is moving


Dodger Thoughts: Where no one thinks about the Dodgers


  1. Really, good.  Enjoyed this

  2. Anonymous

    Good luck Jon – no doubt you’ll prove people can go (sort of) home again!

  3. Anonymous

    Haha! Very funny.

  4. Excellent! Reminds me of that one Conan O’Brien sketch where he played with some “old timey” league in upstate New York. 

  5. Anonymous

    Is the RSS feed available only through a Google homepage?  I’m still on Yahoo! (and not terribly bright, truth be told).

    • G B

      You can get the new RSS feed down at the bottom (below the comments section in the dark grey bar) under “Meta.” Click “Entries RSS” and it should give you the option to add that feed to Yahoo or Google. Does that make sense? If not, I’ll try to explain further.

  6. One of my favorite Old Hoss tweets came on mothers day:

    “A dying woman once asked me to ‘hit a home run for her.’ I told her she was crazy. It was really hard to hit home runs! Sorry, mom. RIP.”

    • Anonymous

      I loved this recent zinger: “I am very excited about “Madonna” performing at the Super Bowl. I have not seen her live since her 1863 USO Concert at Chancellorsville.”

  7. Anonymous

    (delurking after a lengthy stay in the shadows)

    Good stuff.
    Loving the new site so far… feels like home. Congrats Jon!

  8. Anonymous

    Aaaannnnddddd, the best thing about you moving here iiissssss, you can no longer “like” your own posts!

  9. Anonymous

    Good one Jon, thanks for the humor, like the new site!

  10. Anonymous

    Glad Old Hoss kept it PG.

  11. Superb work by Steve Henson at Yahoo: Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall hasn’t let cancer disrupt the best workplace in sports:

    • thanks for that – I am getting to work

    • Anonymous

      Jon, any word on who replaced Josh Rawitch as the Dodgers PR director when he left for the Diamondbacks?

      • That position hasn’t been filled, and I don’t think it will be filled in any meaningful way until the new owners are in.  Right now, it’s being filled by committee.

    • That’s a great story, all right. And near the bottom was this little ray of sunshine:

      “It’s why several of the groups seeking to purchase the Dodgers have contacted Hall to become the CEO should their bid win.”

  12. Anonymous

    You could have asked Hoss what he thought of Moneyball.  Missed opportunity Jon.

  13. Anonymous

    Really enjoyed this Jon. Great way to start. This place feels like home already and it’s nice to be back. All the best to you.

    And yes to t-shirts, if you’re happy to send them long distance again :-)

  14. JeffreyThomasIII

    Just checking in to say I will no doubt be visiting this page multiple times daily as I have past DT locations. It’s too bad I’ve lost all my DT commenter cred, nobody will know who I am! Formerly Zissou_Steve over on ESPN, and honestly can’t remember what I commented as before then.

    Cheers Jon and good luck with the new location!

  15. Anonymous

    Packed up trailer to follow you.  Cant seem to make a Jack_Dawkins account though, says there is already one!

    The Real Jack_Dawkins

  16. Anonymous

    Welcome back – nice to be on familiar ground

  17. Anonymous

    Great to have the “real’ you back, Jon.  I too miss those great commenter days, and have lost touch with a fair amount of friends from the old Toaster.  Thanks for this interview, cheered me up today. :)

  18. Brock Brockerson

    The new DT looks awesome!  

  19. Anonymous

    Wow, Jon changes sites and all of a sudden we get a SamDC, GoBears and Brock sighting

    • Brock Brockerson

      Well, to be honest, I’ve been looking for a good place to discuss Downton Abbey.  That Matthew is a delight!

  20. Anonymous

    and bigcpa too!

  21. Anonymous

    For some reason can’t comment from work computer

    • Do you get an error message? Or are you unable to log in? I can imagine that there might be problem if your browser blocks third-party cookies.

      • Anonymous

        No error message so it must be my browser. There is no place to establish a new log on. There is a log in button at the bottom but I do not have a log in ID.

        SPC CARES

        Ray Pearce

        Operations Manager Pomona SPC

        (Shared Purchasing Center)


        • Ah, you’re not seeing the Disqus content, you’re seeing the content Disqus is supposed to replace.  Lemme go see if I can find a Disqus FAQ on that.

        • OK, it looks like your work computer probably has JavaScript turned off.  You’re not going to be able to comment without JavaScript turned on.  Disqus depends on it.

          I need to fix it so the site fails more robustly when JavaScript is turned off.

  22. Anonymous

    Image test

  23. FYI to avoid any confusion..I am the same guy as JasonUngar04, JasonUngar08 and :-)

    • Anonymous

      Can you prove that?

      • No, I guess I can’t..I suppose I can take a new pic and upload it. I tried for like 2 seasons to get that old pic from espn off the site and would fail each time.

  24. Good luck with the new/old digs Jon. Got a couple good chuckles with the interview with ol’ hoss.

  25. Hi Jon, been a follower for a long time and will continue to do so on your new site.  You are my #1 choice when I need to read a sound Dodger opinion of current events.  Wishing you much success!

  26. Anonymous

    I will always follow Dodger Thoughts.  Is it spring training time yet?

    • 3 weeks!  “Pitchers and Catchers report”, there is no cooler phrase in sports.  That includes “ensuing kickoff” and “Start your engines”

      • Anonymous

        The only phrase that comes to mind is:  “It is my pleasure to introduce the new owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers…”

        • that’s a one off – I am talking about a regular known and well used phrase “Clayton Kershaw Cy Young” would apply

      • “Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good afternoon to you, wherever you may be.”

      • How about “Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good (afternoon/evening) to you, wherever you may be.” or, of course, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”

        EDIT: Dammit, i should finish reading the thread before commenting. Sorry David Young!

        • yeah, I mostly really like the commenting system, but some way to indicate when a new reply was made to an older comment would be nice

    • Anonymous

      I grew up just south of a Duarte Road in Monrovia

  27. Kevin Lewis


    So excited for this new phase.  I have always been reading…thanks for keeping it up (Kevin Lewis)

  28. Anonymous

    Want to add my $.02  to WBB’s earlier remark: Kudos to all for NOT dumping a truckload of Flash here, can’t tell you how much that means to me.

    • Anonymous

      Speaking of $.02, and forgive the indelicate question, but aside from purchasing a T-shirt, how else can we contribute to the financial well-being–and perpetuation–of this concern?

  29. Funny stuff Jon. Congrats on getting out of the evil EastCoastBias networks auspices. Always enjoy your work and now will tart to comment some as well.

  30. Anonymous

    Pitched last 27 games, won 26. Old Hoss would probably earn $100 million per season based on innings-eaten alone… My all-time favorite of the baseball legends.

  31. He is not mourned…. Brilliant.

  32. Phil Gurnee

    All we need now is the Griddle. Great interview

  33. Anonymous

    Will there be Game Day Open Threads?

    Whatever, so great not to have to deal with ESPIN…

      • Anonymous

        Yay, Jon!

        So looking forward to the de-McCourted Dodgers, another season of Vin, Clayton and Bisonball – and some of the best comment threads anywhere in sports!

  34. Marvelous stuff, Jon. And Hoss! Glad to have that ghostly base baller’s contribution. He could show today’s player a thing or two — with his fists.  Follow him on twitter, too, folks, if you’re not already.

  35. New post up top.

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