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By Jon Weisman
If you didn’t get to hear Vin Scully at FanFest on Saturday, above is a special video capturing his words, where you can hear about his nightmare of “being chased by a giant clam screaming ‘Linguine!'” That’s right.
And now for more news about us mortals …
- Rehabbing from two surgeries, Chris Withrow is hoping to make it back to a Major League mound sometime in 2015, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “When I began tossing Nov. 2, my arm felt incredible,” Withrow said. “But you know the back has bothered me off and on for years and it had gotten significantly worse. We just felt it made sense to get it taken care of as long as I was already out.”
- Joel Peralta had a customs nightmare in Miami that prevented him from attending FanFest, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
- The Jaime Jarrin Scholarship is being established by Servite High School in Anaheim for Latino students with leadership potential. “I feel extremely and humbly honored,” the Hall of Fame announcer said.
- In a chat, Bill James suggested the 1942 Dodgers as the best second-place team of all time. His explanation:
The ’42 Dodgers went 104-50, but finished 2 games behind the Cardinals. You know, mathematically, one team in 8,000 should be strong at all 13 positions (8 regulars, 4 starters, relief pitchers). Since there are only about one-third that many teams in baseball history, then probably there should be no team that is above-average at every position–and, in fact, there isn’t, although I think one can argue for one of the Yankee teams of the 1990s. Anyway, there isn’t, but the 1942 Dodgers are very close to being strong at every position, with Hall of Famers at second (Billy Herman), third (Arky Vaughan), short (Pee Wee Reese) and in left field (Medwick). Their first baseman was Camilli–1941 MVP. In center field was Pete Reiser, an outstanding player for a couple of years; in right field was Dixie Walker, who had something close to Hall of Fame ability, athough his career was broken up at the start by a serious injury and fouled at the end by his infamous role in the Jackie Robinson story. Anyway, 7 really good starters; the 8th was catcher Mickey Owen, who was a good player. Starting pitchers Kirby Higbe, Whitlow Wyatt, Curt Davis and Johnny Allen–all of whom had good careers and were effective in 1942, relief ace Hugh Casey. It’s as close to a perfect team as there has ever been. Larry French was the starter/reliever swing man; he went 15-4 with a 1.83 ERA. . ..he also had an outstanding major league career.
In the same chat, James addresses who would win between a team of nine Clayton Kershaws and nine Mike Trouts.
- A career retrospective of Buzzie Bavasi at In Pursuit of Pennants comes from Mark Armour and Dan Leavitt, who rank Bavasi the No. 7 general manager in MLB history.
As good as the Dodgers were, Bavasi is perhaps underappreciated because he made fewer trades than his contemporaries. “Why play poker,” he said, “when you’re the only one in the game with any money?” The Dodgers developed their own talent, and Bavasi was rarely called upon to find more.
- Carl Erskine will play the National Anthem on his harmonica before Friday’s Pacers-Cavaliers NBA game in Indianapolis. Dana Benbow of the Indianapolis Star has a nice feature on the Dodger great, including stories you probably haven’t heard before.
- Dodger senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith will join team historian Mark Langill in presenting an insider’s tour of Dodger Stadium, complete with dinner, drinks and a Q&A, on Tuesday for $50, through a special deal with Master Card.
- Across the country, Smith will also be giving a talk at the Albany Institute of History & Art on February 22, as part of a special baseball exhibition there. Friend of Dodger Insider and official MLB historian John Thorn will also be speaking there on Sunday.
- “The Story of Billy Bean,” a one-hour documentary hosted by Bob Costas about former the one-time Dodger’s experience as one of two MLB players to publicly come out as gay, will premiere Tuesday at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. At one point, Bean talks about being sent down to the minors on the same day in 1995 that his partner died.