Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Fernando Valenzuela (Page 1 of 3)

Visiting the Hall of Fame
Part 2: On to Los Angeles

As I mentioned a couple days ago, on July 14 I made my second visit to Cooperstown, and first as an adult. I took tons of pictures, and couldn’t help wanting to share some with you. Today, here is a set of shots focusing on the Dodgers, dating from their move to Los Angeles. 

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The Hall of Fame, the Dodgers and the Harold Baines effect

So now Fernando Valenzuela has to get in. So now Gil Hodges has to get in. So now Orel Hershiser has to get in. So now Steve Garvey has to get in. So now …

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Who makes the do-or-die starts for the Dodgers?

On Sunday, Walker Buehler might making the highest-stakes regular-season start by a rookie in Dodger history. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

I’m writing about an event that likely won’t come to pass, an event that most Dodger fans hope doesn’t come to pass.

But as their three-game series at San Francisco begins tonight, the Dodgers could soon be facing as many as four consecutive do-or-die games to reach the National League Division Series.

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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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#VinTop20: No. 5, ‘If you have a sombrero …’

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Between now and Vin Scully Appreciation Day on September 23, the Dodgers are revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time, one at each home game. Here’s No. 5: the cap (or sombrero) to Fernando Valenzuela’s no-hitter.

— Jon Weisman

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Previously:

No. 6, Roy Campanella tribute
No. 7, Don Larsen’s perfect game
No. 8, Monday captures the flag
No. 9, ‘We go to Chicago!’
No. 10, Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter
No. 11, Joe Ferguson’s throw
No. 12, Fernandomania begins
No. 13, ‘The Squeeze!’
No. 14, Nomo’s No-No
No. 15, the 4+1 Game
No. 16, Don Drysdale’s streak stays alive
No. 17, Mike Piazza, Giant-slayer
No. 18, Yasiel Puig’s first slam
No. 19, Manny’s Bobbleslam
No. 20, Mark McGwire hits it way, way out

The 20 most pivotal regular-season moments in Los Angeles Dodger history

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Tommy Lasorda hugs R.J. Reynolds after the rookie’s unforgettable squeeze, whose 33rd anniversary is Sunday.

By Jon Weisman

Every Dodger fan is targeting the World Series, but you can’t get there without some regular-season magic.

The Dodgers have seen plenty in their 49 Southern California seasons, both in their favor and against them.

For good and for bad, here (in this Dodger Insider magazine story) are the ups and downs, the highs and lows — the 20 most pivotal regular-season moments in Los Angeles Dodger history.

Read the entire story by clicking here.

* * *

Beginning this year, the Dodgers merged their previously separate Playbill and Dodger Insider magazines into one publication (at least 80 pages per issue) with a new edition available each homestand plus one in October, 13 issues total. It is distributed at auto gates (one per vehicle) and via Fan Services for those who use alternate transportation. Dodger Insider magazine includes news, features, analysis, photos, games, stadium information and more. Fans who wish to subscribe for 2017 can do so at dodgers.com/magazine

#VinTop20: No. 12, Fernandomania begins

Vin 12

Between now and Vin Scully Appreciation Day on September 23, the Dodgers are revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time, one at each home game. Here’s No. 12: The pitch that launched Fernandomania.

— Jon Weisman

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Previously:
No. 13, ‘The Squeeze!’
No. 14, Nomo’s No-No
No. 15, the 4+1 Game
No. 16, Don Drysdale’s streak stays alive
No. 17, Mike Piazza, Giant-slayer
No. 18, Yasiel Puig’s first slam
No. 19, Manny’s Bobbleslam
No. 20, Mark McGwire hits it way, way out

Pitching history for Dodger All-Stars

My beautiful picture

By Jon Weisman

Six years have passed since a Dodger closer pitched in the All-Star Game. Kenley Jansen gets to end that streak tonight.

Jansen, overdue for his first All-Star Game, might not get to pitch the final inning, so it’s more likely than not that Jonathan Broxton’s save in 2010 remains the most recent in the Midsummer Classic by a Dodger. Nevertheless, Jansen should get a chance to etch his name among the team’s 76 previous All-Star appearances.

Of course, Jansen could also become the first Dodger pitcher credited with an All-Star victory since Jerry Reuss in front of the 1980 hometown crowd in Los Angeles. Since then, three Dodgers have been the losing All-Star pitcher: Chan Ho Park (2001), Eric Gagne (2003) and Clayton Kershaw (2015). Dodger pitchers have a 6-6 record in 12 All-Star decisions.

Certainly, it was nowhere to go but up for the franchise after its ignominious All-Star debut via Van Lingle Mungo, who allowed four runs plus two inherited runs in a six-run fifth inning by the American League in 1934. Not that Mungo had it easy: He entered the game with Babe Ruth on second base, Lou Gehrig on first and Jimmie Foxx at the plate. Two walks, three singles and a double later, the AL had gone from trailing 4-2 to leading 8-4.

The most famous Dodger All-Star pitching performance belongs to Fernando Valenzuela, who from the fourth through sixth innings in 1986 faced 10 batters, retired nine and struck out the first five — Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker and Teddy Higuera — all in a row. Kirby Puckett’s groundout was the first ball in play against Valenzuela, whose outing was marred only by a pop-fly Wade Boggs single in the sixth.

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Jansen, Kershaw, Seager named to NL All-Star team

All-Stars

By Jon Weisman

The wait is over for Kenley Jansen, and it never began for Corey Seager.

The Dodgers’ veteran closer and rookie shortstop have each been named to their first National League All-Star team, where they are joined at least in spirit by Clayton Kershaw — who despite his current back injury earned his sixth consecutive All-Star spot.

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In his own words: Fernando Valenzuela’s MLB debut

Fernando

For our special section in the 2015 Dodger Yearbook dedicated to him, Fernando Valenzuela described his initial promotion to the Major Leagues in 1980 and the unforgettable start that launched Fernandomania in earnest in 1981. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

Emotional first-pitch salute to Vin Scully opens 2016 season at Dodger Stadium

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By Jon Weisman

In a breathtaking experience that traversed Dodger history from Don Newcombe to Clayton Kershaw, Vin Scully received an emotional tribute before the first pitch of his final Opening Day at Dodger Stadium as the team’s broadcaster.

Al Michaels, who was considered by some a possible successor to Scully four decades ago, hosted the tribute that mixed video (including messages from Henry Aaron and Kirk Gibson) with live presentations.

The roll call of Dodgers that took the field went as follows: Newcombe, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Al Downing, Rick Monday, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Tommy Lasorda and Kershaw, with Magic Johnson and Peter O’Malley then escorting Scully on to the hallowed stadium grass, before an enormous standing ovation from the crowd.

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Top series by Jon SooHoo, bottom by Juan Ocampo

A baseball autographed by every participant was then passed down the line to Scully, who truly looked moved by the moment and said afterward he was “overwhelmed.”

Watching him from ground level, as the scoreboard camera circled around him for its closeup, I never felt more how much of a living legend we were privileged to know, and to call our own.

 

In case you missed it: Tale of two Uriases

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Julio Urias

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Spirits soared with Julio Urias’ first inning on a Cactus League mound this year, before his second inning reminded us of his youth.

Taking the mound in the seventh inning today against the Angels, Urias struck out the side — before allowing a single, double, triple and walk to the four batters he faced in the eighth inning of what became an 8-4 Dodger loss, recapped by MLB.com.

Urias told AM 570 Dodger Talk’s David Vassegh that he struggled with his fastball command in his second inning of work. Hopefully, it wasn’t from his coffee run earlier today.

The Dodgers lost despite holding the Angels hitless from the second through seventh innings. Zach Lee gave up three hits in the first inning, including a three-run homer, but then faced the minimum over the next two innings. Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Pedro Baez and Louis Coleman each pitched an inning of hitless ball. They were helped by Charlie Culberson, who made two outstanding plays at shortstop today.

What else have we got?

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Dodgers Love L.A.: And here come the pretzels

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By Jon Weisman

Day 4 of the Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour (presented by Bank of America) was comfortably comestible, with Dodgers Kiké Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner giving away Dodger dogs and pretzels in downtown Los Angeles.

Pretzel man Justin Turner, by the way, was just labeled the fifth-best third baseman in MLB right now, by MLB Network.

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Los Angeles Dodgers Love LA Tour at Wetzels Pretzels at Union Station

While there, Pederson spoke to MLB.com about Dave Roberts and the upcoming season.

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For more images from the day, visit LA Photo Blog.

Earlier in the day, Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization (and, oh yeah, Dodger legend) Fernando Valenzuela was on a White House conference call to discuss the launch of the White House Regional Convenings on New Americans, aimed at assisting local immigrant and refugee efforts.

“It’s a great honor for me to be here, to be a citizen and a Presidential Ambassador,” said Valenzuela. “In this role, I want to share with the United States and the city of Los Angeles the many rights that come with being a citizen. I’m excited to get to vote in my first presidential election. It’s important for the Los Angeles community to know how important it is to vote.”

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The Dodgers Love L.A. Tour heads to City Hall this morning, to see if Vin Scully Avenue becomes officially official.

Talking shop with Dodger photogapher Jon SooHoo

Fernando Valenzuela, pitching against USC in an exhibition game before the 1981 season. (Jon SooHoo)

Fernando Valenzuela, pitching against USC in an exhibition game before the 1981 season. (Jon SooHoo)

Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo, who last year completed his 30th season chronicling the team, will be part of a Samy’s Photo School seminar with Angels photographer Matt Brown on February 13 at the Petersen Automotive Museum. (For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.)

SooHoo looked back at his career, which began in some ways with the above photo of Fernando Valenzuela, in this interview.

— Jon Weisman

Valenzuela, Scioscia in special event January 21

Scioscia congratulates Fernando

By Jon Weisman

There are limited spaces available for “An Epic Evening with Mike Scioscia and Fernando Valenzuela,” taking place January 21 and hosted by Art of the Game at a vintage hotel in Hollywood.

The evening includes:

  • On-stage Q&A with Scioscia and Valenzuela
  • Professional 11″ x 14″ photo of you and your guest, along with Scioscia and Valenzuela
  • Limited edition, licensed photo canvas signed by both greats
  • Valet parking, buffet dinner and open bar

For more information, visit Art of the Game.

Also: See below for Valenzuela’s responses in today’s live #Ask34 Twitter chat …

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