Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Sandy Koufax (Page 1 of 5)

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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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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59 since ’59 — Remembering Sandy Koufax’s record-setting breakout game in Los Angeles

Sandy Koufax wasn’t unknown when he arrived in Los Angeles from Brooklyn, but it was on this date in 1959 that the fans out West caught their best glimpse of the future Hall of Famer.

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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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‘Welcome to my Thanksgiving’: In moving ceremony, Los Angeles begins its final farewell to Vin Scully

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By Jon Weisman

We might need time. We might need 67 years to get over this one.

Emotionally charged from the opening video salute to the final blue-carpet walk lined by Dodger players and coaches, tribute was paid to Vin Scully tonight, in an hour-long ceremony infused with heartstopping thoughts from guest speakers and heartwarming words from the man himself.

It was a valediction for Vinny, and a validation of our love.

In an evening that would conclude with John Williams conducting members of the Los Angeles Philarmonic in the National Anthem, so many moments played like perfect notes in a symphony.

“Vin is that favorite sweater of yours that you can’t wait to put on on a chilly day,” said Dick Enberg in the video.

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#VinTop20: No. 2, Koufax’s perfect game

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In the Vin Scully Appreciation Day pregame ceremony this evening, the Dodgers finished revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time. Here’s No. 2: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game.

— Jon Weisman

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Previously:
No. 3, Henry Aaron’s 715th
No. 4, Returning after 9/11
No. 5, ‘If you have a sombrero …’
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

Farewell, Alan Young — and remembering ‘Mr. Ed’ at Dodger Stadium

Today, we remember Alan Young, the “Mr. Ed” actor who passed away Thursday at age 96. Young and his horse companion made a memorable visit to Dodger Stadium for the 1963 season premiere, highlighted above. Sandy Koufax, Willie Davis, Leo Durocher, Johnny Roseboro and more appear.

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.

 

Sandy Koufax: ‘I’m still part of the Dodgers … see you Opening Day’

Sandy Koufax shakes hands with Carl Crawford during the Dodgers' workout Friday.

Sandy Koufax shakes hands with Carl Crawford during the Dodgers’ workout Friday.

By Jon Weisman

Since it was revealed that Sandy Koufax no longer has an official, formal role with the Dodgers, there has been some concern. Koufax released a statement today through the Dodgers to address that:

“I’m 80 years old and I have retired.  I have not quit.  I’m still part of the Dodgers organization and always will be especially as long as Mark and Kimbra Walter are part of ownership.  I will do most of what I have done in the past with no official title.  I hope all the players, coaches, manager and everyone else in the clubhouse have successful and healthy seasons with a spectacular ending.  See you Opening Day.”

Clayton Kershaw spoke Friday about Koufax to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

“Whether or not he’s officially here, he’s still around,” Kershaw said of Koufax, who has ended his three-year stint in the front office but visited the club on Friday. “I don’t think it will change much for me. Sandy cares about us as a team, and I think he will be around when he can, and he’ll watch our games.”

In case you missed it: Sandy salute

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Though the legendary Sandy Koufax no longer has a formal role with the Dodgers, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes, that doesn’t mean he can’t stop by Camelback Ranch for a nice hello.

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Bridges to history: Last links to retired numbers

Reese Fairly

By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers celebrating their 10 retired numbers in a pin series this year, I was curious who was the last active player to take the field with each of these legends. Here’s what I found:

1 Pee Wee Reese
Ron Fairly, who was 19 when making his debut with the 40-year-old Reese as a teammate on the 1958 “Welcome to Los Angeles” Dodgers, was 40 himself when he played his last big-league game in 1978. Years between Reese’s first game and Fairly’s last: 38

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Brandon McCarthy’s Players’ Tribune mailbag

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When I think of the Players’ Tribune, my mind goes back to the old Players Club ads with Telly Savalas. This is where I picture all these athletes hanging out, catching a show in the lounge while writing their pieces for the PT.

Surely, that was the setting for this jaunty Players’ Tribune mailbag from Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy. It’s impossible to pick out my favorite response, but for Dodger fans of all ages, surely this recap of his first encounter with Sandy Koufax works:

First off, he looks about 25 years younger than he is, so my first thought was to ask him about his skin care regimen. Deciding that was too personal, I said something like, “Crazy weather we’re having,” because it was overcast in Arizona. He might have said something in response, but I forget what it was, and honestly it’s not relevant to my story.

Sensing that he was dealing with a social dunce, he asked me about my curveball grip. I showed him, and he quickly showed me a much better way to hold it. My instincts to talk about the weather almost kicked in again before he continued talking about how important the grip is and how he used to hold his depending on what type of curveball he wanted to throw. We talked about the curveball for about half an hour even though I was cold, because it was overcast in Arizona. It will forever be one of my favorite career experiences.

Here’s a short peek into his thoughts about his lost 2015 season:

I wish I had a funny or better answer to this question other than “I don’t know,” but I don’t. I forgot to pack my sinker when I came to spring training and I think I was fighting against that. I was unable to get ground balls so I had to throw more four-seamers, leading to more strikeouts and more fly balls. Sample size for the season was so small and I was hurt for two of the games, so I choose to not look at last season as much of anything.

Read the entire mailbag here.

One more look at the 1965 Dodgers

1966 yearbook cover

Having spent this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 World Series champion Dodgers — review all the posts here — I thought I’d take one last look at the season through some selected pages of the 1966 Dodger yearbook.

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Next season, Clayton Kershaw could become NL’s youngest with 2,000 K

NLDS GAME FOUR-LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS NEW YORK METS

By Jon Weisman

What historical milestone awaits Clayton Kershaw in 2016, other than hopefully his first World Series title?

If the lefty ace can strike out at least 254 batters by the end of the regular season October 2, he will become the youngest pitcher in National League history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts — by more than a year.

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