Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms signing June 3 at Common Space Brewery

Hey folks – I’m pleased to announce my second signing event for Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition.

Following the May 5 event at the Central Library, I’ll be talking Brothers and selling/signing copies of the book starting at 2 p.m. June 3 at Common Space Brewery — the great new place founded by friend of Dodger Thoughts and True Blue L.A. denizen Brent Knapp —  located at 3411 W. El Segundo in Hawthorne.

The Dodgers are playing at Colorado starting at 12:10 p.m. that day, so with beer and books on tap, we’ll gather to hang out and watch the end of the game (after two hours at Coors Field, it might only be in the second inning), before moving on to a little Brothers in Arms discussion

Common Space is a production brewery in Hawthorne with a large taproom and outdoor beer garden that opened in February.

“We were very fortunate to find an amazing building in Hawthorne and were able to build what we believe is a beautiful brewery and taproom, with an immersive and wide open view of the full production facility,” Knapp says. “We believe that deep down we are all more similar than different and that beer has the power to help us all find a Common Space. Simply put, we’re about bringing people together and having lots of fun. We make a wide variety of fresh, delicious beers with a slight focus towards German lagers and West Coast IPAs. Come join us for a beer, a Dodgers game, and the chance to meet Jon Weisman. Cheers!”

Really looking forward to seeing friends old and new …

Bonus: Check out this week’s True Blue L.A. podcast in which I join Eric Stephen and Jacob Burch for an interview about Brothers in Arms. 

Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Eight: The Bullpen

Because we already used Clayton Kershaw’s birthday as an excuse to delve into Part 9 of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (order now!), our series of previews ends on Part Eight: The Bullpen.

Niftily, the position of relief pitcher emerged with the Dodgers around the same time as the Dodger pitching tradition itself took root.

For nearly the entire history of the Dodgers before the end of World War II, when their pitching tradition was incubating, almost every pitcher they used in relief was a moonlighting starter. Only three players in Brooklyn history totaled more than 200 innings in relief before 1940, and two of those were swingmen — Watty Clark and Sherry Smith, who started more games than they relieved. The lone exception, Rube Ehrhardt, did mainly pitch out of the pen from 1926 to 1928, with modest effectiveness.

Starting with Hugh Casey in the 1940s, the game changed, and the Dodgers began transforming pitchers who weren’t cut out to be fulltime starters into pitchers who were primarily relievers, and later purely relievers. In the history of Dodger pitching, they play a supporting but key role, occasionally grabbing headlines—some heartbreaking, some thrilling.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Seven: The Hired Hands

Part Seven of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (order now!) — “The Hired Hands” — is the book’s shortest section, but it takes us to another key transition point for the franchise.

Right up until the final decade of the 20th century, the Dodgers signed or scouted, domestically or internationally, every significant starting pitcher they ever had as an amateur — or parlayed that homegrown talent into a trade for one. While the best things in life aren’t always free, the Dodgers rarely risked big dollars on pitchers from rival area codes. You could say it was pride. Or a conservative streak. Or feeling scorched by the relatively fruitless expenditures on the Dave Goltzes of the world.

But as the 20th century neared an end, the Dodger pitching tradition couldn’t survive on its own momentum. The team had to begin to look elsewhere for talent.

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Brothers in Arms signing event May 5 at Central Library

With the publication of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, a few events have been in the works, and I’m pleased to announce the first, taking place Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. at the downtown Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library.

I’m really looking forward to discussing and reading from the book, taking questions and signing copies, which if you don’t already have will be on sale. Click the link for info on parking and transportation.

This event will take place just before the Dodgers take the field for their 4:10 p.m. game against the Padres in Monterrey, Mexico, so let this be your pregame. Hope to see you there!

Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Six: The International Rotation

Our journey through Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!) takes us to what I suppose serves as the beginning of dark days for the modern Dodger fan — the 1990s, when the team didn’t win a single playoff game.

Nevertheless, it was still a key period in the history of Dodger pitching, as I note in the introduction to “Part Six: The International Rotation.”

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Five: El Toro and the Bulldog

Back before I settled on the idea of writing Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), I was toying with doing a biography on a single Dodger pitcher. And among my first choices were the two men who end up appearing together in “Part Five: El Toro and the Bulldog” … Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser.

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Brothers in Arms update:
The shipping news

Clyde “The Glide” Weisman sniffs out the best parts of Brothers in Arms.

Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition wasn’t supposed to be released until May 1, but as it turned out, the printer got to it a lot sooner than expected. So this week, copies of the book began arriving in the mailboxes of Amazon customers (and perhaps others) …

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Nine: The Magnificent Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is 30.

Born March 19, 1988 — seven months and one day before the Dodgers’ most recent World Series title — Kershaw has long been the prodigy, the exceptional, otherworldly wonder. But today, he enters baseball middle age.

Because of this big birthday, I juggled the order of my previews for Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), jumping ahead to the end. The final chapter of the book is on Kershaw, and Kershaw alone — such is his stature in the history of Dodger pitching.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Four: The Modern Classicists

With Part Four of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), we head directly into the pitchers of my own childhood, the ones I can describe to you first-hand. This section of the book is titled “The Modern Classicists,” underscoring that while we were a long way from the black-and-white era of the Boys of Summer, there will always be something pristine and Old School about the pitchers who carried the Dodgers from the 1970s into the ’80s.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Three: The Post-Koufax Generation

As we move forward in previewing the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), we leave behind “The Two Emperors” and find out in Part Three how the Dodgers transitioned on the mound from the 1960s to the 1970s without Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

Three men who were teammates of the Hall of Fame duo — along with one extraordinary pitching coach — paved the way.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Two: The Two Emperors

Associated Press

In this week’s preview teasing the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), we come to two pitchers that you’ve heard a little bit about and then some: Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. It’s possible that more words have been written about those two than any other hurlers in Dodger history. So what could Brothers in Arms possibly offer?

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part One: The Kings of Brooklyn

Hi again. Next in this series of teases for the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!) is a preview of “Part One: The Kings of Brooklyn,” focusing on the beginnings of the Dodger pitching tradition and running through the man who finished off the franchise’s first World Series title.

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Brothers in Arms prologue: Dazzy Vance and the days before the Dodgers pitching tradition began

Hi there! To get you warmed up for the May 1 release of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (pre-order now!), from time to time I want to share some behind-the-scenes tidbits about, for lack of a better phrase, “The Making of Brothers in Arms.” Think of these as if they were the DVD extras. Ideally, you’ll find them of interest even without the book in your hands.

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Follow @dodgers_tradition
on Instagram

As another means of keeping you updated and spreading good cheer about my upcoming book — Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition — I’ve created a new Instagram account with the handle @dodgers_tradition. There, I plan to share not only book-related news, but fun historical tidbits, behind-the-scenes extras and more about the Dodgers to get you excited not only about the book but the upcoming baseball season. Enjoy!

***NEW BOOK ALERT***
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition

Brothers cover
I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this news: Triumph Books has officially scheduled a May 1 publication date for my new book, Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, and it’s ready and available for pre-order at sites including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph.

Contents 1aTo paraphrase a famous saying, everybody talks about the Dodger pitching tradition, but nobody’s ever written anything about it — not a book, anyway. So beginning while I was still working for the Dodgers, I did the interviews and research that ultimately led to this fascinating and comprehensive journey through the formation and flowering of that tradition, from its birth to its current heights in the form of a certain left-hander wearing No. 22 in Los Angeles.

Contents 2b

Starting with the earliest days of baseball in Brooklyn, Brothers in Arms lays out how a scattershot franchise, occasionally and almost coincidentally graced by great hurlers, became a focused organization generating superb pitchers almost at will. Divided into nine parts (I was tempted to call them innings), the book takes a deep dive into the exploits of the most important pitchers to wear the Dodger uniform since the pitching tradition began to take hold near the end of World War II.

With each chapter, I tell the story of how each athlete came to be the type of pitcher (and personality) that he was and place their accomplishments into context, individually as well as in the pantheon of Dodger and baseball history. I wanted to bring to life those who pitched too long ago for contemporary fans to have seen, and provide new insight into those who are more familiar. To do so, I conducted more than 25 interviews with names from Carl Erskine to Clayton Kershaw, and worked my way through thousands of pages of books, periodicals and websites.

Each chapter became a portrait of a pitcher that stands on its own — you can feel free to jump around the 384-page book if you like — but also holds a specific place in the narrative of baseball and the Dodgers. In addition, several of the section introductions delve into less prominent but incredibly crucial contributors to the Dodger pitching tradition, including catchers, pitching coaches, managers, scouts and the front office.

While the Dodgers were rushing headlong toward the World Series in 2017, my free moments were largely spent diving into the past, working to tell the tale of Dodger pitching in the most meaningful way possible. I’m really grateful to those who spoke with me and helped me along the way, as well as Dodger announcer Joe Davis for writing the forward. I can barely wait for you to see the book, and am happy it will be out in time for Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day gifting, among other things. (However, I like to think it’s good for any occasion …)

Watch for more details to come, here at Dodger Thoughts, via my Twitter feed @jonweisman or on Instagram @dodgers_tradition. In the meantime, pre-order the book today!

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