Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Gil HOdges

Visiting the Hall of Fame
Part 1: Brooklyn memories

It was a Cooperstown Surprise.

Last weekend brought me to the wilds of New York for family reasons, on a trip that had been planned for months but near the last minute unexpectedly left me with a free day. Staying only 90 minutes from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I rose at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, on four hours sleep after having traveled all Saturday from home, and made the drive to a little slice of baseball heaven. 

At age 51, this was my second trip to the Hall — my first came when I was 14. People have asked me if the Hall seemed different, but so much time has passed that the biggest compare and contrast I can make is doing the trip with my dad vs. doing it solo. 

That said, another major difference was having a cellphone, as opposed to only memories that would fade over time. I took more than 200 photos, and with this year’s annual induction ceremony only days away, there seems to be no better time for me to share some of them with you (with apologies for the quality). I’m going to divide them into multiple posts, starting with this one centered on the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

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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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In case you missed it: Baseball and ‘Fantasy Life’

Unique Tintype 16659 (8x10 inches): Sandy Koufax, Brooklyn Dodgers, by Tabitha Soren

Unique Tintype 16659 (8×10 inches): Sandy Koufax, Brooklyn Dodgers, by Tabitha Soren

By Jon Weisman

“Fantasy Life,” an exhibition by photographer Tabitha Soren (the former MTV journalist for people of my generation) that opens Saturday and runs through June 6 at the Kopeikin Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, explores the fantasies that define America through the lens of baseball.

“In a nutshell, my artwork visualizes psychological states, and ‘Fantasy Life’ is what it looks like to  try to touch greatness,” Soren said of the exhibition, which was 12 years in the making. “I’m using baseball as a metaphor to explore the American Dream.”

Images of Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax and Yasiel Puig are among the 92 in the exhibition, for which an opening reception is being held Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Here’s more …

This series explores the fantasies that define America: Manifest Destiny, the romantic idea of the restless wanderer, the hopeful idea that failure is just a step on the road to greatness, the notion that the pursuit of fame and fortune is also the pursuit of happiness, the belief that to secure one’s identity, one must seek to stand apart from the community. Fantasy Life expands upon these beliefs thought to be truths through a captivating series of portraits that engage the audience and shift their perspective of baseball.

Soren’s use of baseball is ingenious in its familiarity. In spite of the growing diversity and the ever-changing landscape of America’s demographics, the national pastime is relatable to everyone. The mystical nature of Soren’s work adds to its nostalgic appeal and to its representation of the myths and fantasies of a nation. This exhibit includes 92 images, including gelatin silver and C-print, plus 26 tintypes and 3 installations – one involving human bones.

For more information, visit Soren’s website.

Now, let’s take a trip around the web …

  • Since giving up the first two of Adrian Gonzalez’s three homers on April 8, San Diego’s Andrew Cashner has thrown 12 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, notes Alex Espinoza of Cashner, whom the Dodgers face tonight in San Diego, has allowed six unearned runs in that span, however.
  • Fun story: Yasiel Puig gets his bats from Dove Tail Bat Co. in smalltown Maine, writes Mike Lange in the Piscataquis Observer (link via Sons of Steve Garvey).
  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs has an interesting look at Dodger pitching and rising fastballs. Almost tangential to the story: Clayton Kershaw, despite his supposed rocky start to 2015, has a 1.93 xFIP.
  • If you made up an All-Star team from each of the six MLB divisions, the National League West would come out on top, concludes David Schoenfield at’s Sweet Spot.
  • “Branch Rickey’s Residual Legacy” is the subject of this thoughtful piece by Bill Felber at the National Pastime Museum (via Baseball Think Factory).
  • Tommy John’s elbow and ticket stubs from two Dodger-Giant games are part of Josh Leventhal’s “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects,” reviewed by Tom Hoffarth at the Daily News’ Farther Off the Wall.
  • Hoffarth also writes about “Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life,” while Bruce Markusen had an interview with writer Mort Zachter at the Hardball Times.
  • The New Yorker has a baseball-themed cover this week (but no, I’m not suggesting there are Dodgers on it).
  • A history of the color line and the Pacific Coast League is authored by Ronald Auther at Our Game.
  • Why are baseball games nine innings long? Mental Floss provides the answer (link via Hardball Talk).



The Dodgers’ first true catcher-second baseman could be Austin Barnes

Dodgers who have played catcher and second or third base 
C-2b-3B 2
2014 Miami Marlins Photo Day

By Jon Weisman

Twelve players in Dodger history have played both catcher and second base. Ten have played catcher, second and third.

No one in Dodger history has played more than 10 games at catcher, second base and third base. Only Derrel Thomas has played even five games at all three positions, and Thomas was truly an emergency catcher.

Austin Barnes, who came to the Dodgers from Miami in December, has the chance to carve out a unique place with the franchise.

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Hodges, Wills, Allen denied Hall of Fame — but they’re not alone

Al Campanis and Walter Alston introduce Dick Allen as a Dodger before the 1971 season.

Al Campanis and Walter Alston introduce Dick Allen as a Dodger before the 1971 season.

By Jon Weisman

Given how difficult it is for former players to reach the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee, it’s not really a surprise that Dodger greats Gil Hodges and Maury Wills fell short of election today. In fact, none of the 10 candidates made it in.

Another former Dodger, though one less identified with the uniform — Dick Allen — came closest to election, joining Tony Oliva in finishing exactly one vote short.  Allen had a .395 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage with 23 home runs in 1971 (all team highs), his only season with the Dodgers.

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Video: Dodgers and the wars

[mlbvideo id=”33204293″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

On Memorial Day, the Dodgers premiered this video connecting Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Gleason with the team and their military service. A day later, it still is worth viewing.

— Jon Weisman

The funeral of Gil Hodges

By Jon Weisman

Gil Hodges died 42 years ago today, at the too young age of 47. He would have turned 90 on Friday, and one can only imagine what a wonderful birthday party could have been thrown for him at a Dodger home Opening Day.

Only Duke Snider hit more home runs in the 1950s than Hodges, who fell 44 votes short of the Hall of Fame in 1983, his final year of eligibility, and one vote short of election by the Veterans Committee in 1993. Hodges amassed more Hall votes than anyone on the outside looking in.

Above and below is raw footage from Hodges’ funeral, where you can see such mourners as Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Pee Wee Reese.


March 5 pregame: Inside-the-park homerless runs

[mlbvideo id=”31433525″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Dodgers vs. Reds, 6:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, CF
Carl Crawford, DH
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, LF
Alex Guerrero, 2B
Tim Federowicz, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
(Hyun-Jin Ryu, P)

By Jon Weisman

I keep risking a jinx, but 60 innings into the exhibition season, the Dodgers haven’t allowed a home run. They’re the only team that hasn’t been taken yard in 2014.

The shot that Joc Pederson flagged down in the video above wouldn’t have been a home run, but it’s about as far as anyone has hit one against Los Angeles so far. Let’s see what happens in the Dodgers’ first night game.

  • Scheduled to follow Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound today are Jose Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Matt Magill, Paco Rodriguez and Carlos Frias.
  • Ross Stripling had to have arthroscopic surgery today before he can have his Tommy John surgery on a future date. Ken Gurnick has details at
  • Zack Greinke threw off a mound today for the first time since injuring his calf February 27, Gurnick reports.
  • And to complete a Gurnick hat trick, a nice feature providing some welcome background on Dodger pitching prospect Red Patterson. Check it out.
  • Spring Training stats: All-glove, no-hit Miguel Rojas is batting .444 and fielding .895.
  • Former Dodger Trent Oeltjen will play for Team Australia in the March 20 exhibition against the Dodgers in Sydney, notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.
  • Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale are pictured during their 1966 holdout with David Janssen on the set of the movie “Warning Shot” in a post by Scott Harrison at Framework.
  • Peter Gammons has a long piece on the 2014 Dodgers at Gammons Daily.
  • Eric Gagne is managing the Team France baseball team that began a five-game Cactus League tour with an exhibition game today against Dodger minor leaguers.
  • Today in 1961 primary source material on the Dodgers at Ernest Reyes’ Blue Heaven: Gil Hodges.

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Join the Dodger Thoughts March Madness Tournament Challenge here.

Dodgers at Mariners, 12:05 p.m.
Justin Sellers, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
James Loney, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Cory Sullivan, CF
Josh Fields, DH
Matt Treanor, C
Alex Castellanos, LF
(Nathan Eovaldi, P)

Former NFL defensive back Jarrad Page from UCLA earned a minor-league deal with the Dodgers following their open tryout. Bill Shaikin of the Times points to this 2005 Ben Bolch story about the two-sport athlete, now 27.

In other news, the Lakers have offered a contract to Matt Kemp. (Not really, but I’ve heard worse ideas …)

* * *

David Pinto of Baseball Musings points to a New York Times online piece that offers audio of the Mets’ first Spring Training game in their history. In part of the excerpt, Howard Cosell talks about and to Gil Hodges.

* * *

At Opinion of Kingman’s Performance, Evan Bladh remembers umpire Harry Wendelstadt, who passed away Friday.

President’s Night links

Because the night belongs to links …
Because the night belongs to us …

  •’s new Dodger blog, Dodger Report, has launched with the great Tony Jackson at the helm. Here’s his introductory post.
  • Here’s video of Vin Scully at Spring Training 1988, supplied by Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew.
  • Today in Jon SooHoo: a nice salute to photographer Herb Scharfman.
  • Recently in Jon SooHoo: Darren Dreifort 1998 pretends to be Mike Scioscia 1988.
  • Yep, Manny Ramirez and the A’s have agreed to that minor-league deal, for whom he’ll be eligible to play after serving out a 50-game suspension. Here’s reaction and analysis from David Schoenfield of and Eno Sarris of Fangraphs.
  • Ned Colletti would like to sign Andre Ethier to a long-term contract, he told Fox in this video interview embedded by Steve Dilbeck of Dodgers Now.
  • Steve Yeager has taken the role of special-assignment catching instructor, reports Ken Gurnick of
  • Kansas City reliever Jonathan Broxton (yep, that looks funny) seems confident enough about the 2012 season, in this Associated Press story.
  • As expected, Blake DeWitt has remained in the Cub organization, notes MLB Trade Rumors.
  • has a roundup of stories on several other new ex-Dodgers, such as Rafael Furcal.
  • Dodger minor leaguer Blake Smith was interviewed by Dustin Nosler of Feelin’ Kinda Blue.
  • Former Dodger manager Jim Tracy has received, unexpectedly in my mind, an “indefinite” contract extension from Colorado.
  • The LFP found a great picture of Frank Howard, Gil Hodges and Gil Hodges Jr. from 1961.
  • Keith Olbermann explores a mystery about 1964 Mickey Mantle baseball cards at Baseball Nerd.
  • Robert Lipsyte penned a first-person remembrance for the New York Times on the Mets’ first Spring Training, 50 years ago.
  • Such sad news: Fox sportscaster Chris Myers’ 19-year-old son died in a car crash last week (via FishbowlLA). Please keep their family and friends in your thoughts.

Latest Hall of Fame chance emerges for Gil Hodges, Buzzie Bavasi


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Ron Santo and Luis Tiant are among 10 candidates for the baseball Hall of Fame who will be on the Veterans Committee ballot next month.

Former players Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Allie Reynolds as well as former Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi and former Athletics owner Charlie Finley also will be on the Golden Era ballot, which will be voted on by the 16-member committee on Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Dallas.

This year’s committee will consider candidates from the so-called “Golden Era,” from 1947-72.

An eight-time All-Star, Hodges helped the Dodgers win seven pennants and two World Series, then managed the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969. His 63.4 percent vote on his final BBWAA ballot in 1983 is the highest percentage for a player who didn’t enter the Hall in a later year.

Those voting on their Hall of Fame chances include Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tom Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton and Billy Williams, executives Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Roland Hemond, Gene Michael and Al Rosen (retired) and veteran reporters Dick Kaegel, Jack O’Connell and Dave Van Dyck.

Candidates must receive votes on 75 percent of the ballot to be elected. Those elected will be inducted on July 22 along with any players voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Jan. 9.

The pre-integration era (1871-46) will be considered at the 2012 winter meetings and the expansion era (1973-present) in 2013, when retired managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre are likely to be on the ballot.

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