Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Tommy John

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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Hyun-Jin Ryu’s comeback unique in Dodger history

Since 2017, Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 113 ERA+ in 142 1/3 innings. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Sometime in the next six or 12 months, Julio Urías will attempt to return to the big leagues from major shoulder surgery.

In the meantime, with much less fanfare than one would anticipate for Urías, Hyun-Jin Ryu is making one of the most impressive and odds-defying comebacks ever by a Dodger pitcher.

Ryu is …

  • the first Dodger since Darren Dreifort to make 25 starts after missing more than a season with an injury. (Dreifort was actually a reliever in 1994-95 when he made his first extended stay on the disabled list.)
  • the first Dodger starting pitcher since Orel Hershiser to miss more than a year (April 1990-May 1991) and then return to the rotation to make at least 25 starts.
  • the first Dodger starting pitcher since Tommy John to sit out an entire season (1975) and then return to the rotation for at least 25 starts.

John went 21 months between starts, from July 17, 1974 to April 16, 1976. Ryu missed 22 months, from September 2014 to July 2016, made one MLB appearance — then went another nine months without throwing an official pitch.

And now, Ryu has thrown nearly 150 innings since nearly being mothballed. At least dating back to the franchise’s move to Los Angeles, no pitcher in a Dodger uniform (and there have been several remarkable ones, I hear) has done anything like it.

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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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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).



Farewell, Dr. Frank Jobe

[mlbvideo id=”28946647″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
frank.jobeBy Jon Weisman

It doesn’t seem possible to appreciate Dr. Frank Jobe’s importance to baseball. You’d be better off trying to take a closeup of Kilimanjaro.

Think of how many innings, how many careers — how much joy — that Jobe’s innovation brought to the world of this sport.

Somehow, Jobe isn’t in the Hall of Fame, although in essence, he reached exponentially beyond the 300-win and 3,000-strikeout plateaus that typically serve as qualifiers.

Jobe died this morning at the age of 88. You can find an obituary from Ken Gurnick at Here’s what I wrote about Jobe and John in 100 Things Dodger Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die:

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Hall of Fame passes on Garvey, John

It’s no surprise, but former Dodgers Steve Garvey and Tommy John missed on their latest (and perhaps best) chance of making the Hall of Fame.  The expansion committee vote also left out the most deserving candidate, Marvin Miller – by one vote – while choosing to elect longtime executive Pat Gillick.

Garvey and John each needed 75% of the 16 votes, but did not cross the 50% barrier.

Eyes on the ayes: Twelve votes would put Garvey, John in Hall

Maybe the Dodgers will retire a number this year after all …

  • Steve Garvey and Tommy John are among a group of 12 eligible for the Hall of Fame if they can earn 12 out of 16 votes from a special committee, according to Inside the Dodgers.

    … The 12 individuals who will be considered by the Expansion Era Committee in December for Hall of Fame Induction in 2011: Former players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; former manager Billy Martin; and executives Pat Gillick, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner. Martin and Steinbrenner are deceased; all other candidates are living.

    The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot features: Hall of Fame members Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg and Ozzie Smith; major league executives Bill Giles (Phillies), David Glass (Royals), Andy MacPhail (Orioles) and Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox); and veteran media members Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun), Tim Kurkjian (ESPN), Ross Newhan (retired, Los Angeles Times) and Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated). …

    I’m skeptical that Garvey gets (or should get) the support he needs, though certainly it’s as good a look at the Hall as he’s ever had. Personally, I think Miller is most deserving.  The results announcement will come Dec. 6

  • Jared Massey of LADodgerTalk did some research and thinks that an abrupt change to Jonathan Broxton’s slider caused his 2010 downfall.
  • Stadium Review offers a mixed review of Dodger Stadium, though correspondent Drew Cieszynski did say the fans were loud. You might quibble with some points, but overall it’s a pretty fair assessment.
  • Paul DePodesta is moving from San Diego to the New York Mets as their vice-president of player development and amateur scouting, once again working for Sandy Alderson, the new Mets general manager. I’m always nervous about posting DePodesta news for fear that it will reignite a tired debate, but I didn’t want to ignore it.  Congrats to Paul.
  • End of an era: Next year, for the first time in more than two decades, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan will not be doing Sunday Night Baseball telecasts for ESPN, though Miller might stick around to do radio. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times believes that next year’s booth might be Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.
  • Rob Neyer of made note of the Toronto Blue Jays trading a player to be named later for Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo, whose option they bought out for $500,000. For that price (and an offer of salary arbitration they expect to be denied), the Blue Jays expect to pick up a supplemental first-round draft pick.
  • Matt Bush, known for years as the disastrous No. 1 overall choice of the 2004 draft (by San Diego), has been making a comeback, having converted from shortstop to pitcher. Tampa Bay has added Bush to its 40-man roster, notes David Brown of Big League Stew, after he did his best Kenley Jansen imitation, striking out 20 in 13 2/3 innings over 10 minor-league games this season.

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