The Birth of a Benchmark

One of the reasons that baseball is the greatest game is there are so many ways to measure performances.  These measurements are burned into our collective consciousness.  When I was growing up, I was given a book that had most of the records and great stars through the history of modern baseball up to the early 1960’s.  Numbers like 56, 60, .406 and 714 had an almost legendary significance.  Some of those numbers, like Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak of 56 games and Ted William’s .406 batting average are still the record (the .406 season is the last season anybody batted at least .400.)  Babe Ruth’s single season and career home run records, which had existed for so many years, have been replaced.  The funny thing is, I don’t know how many homers Barry Bonds finished with.

I am not a baseball fanatic.  I just know that baseball and all of the numbers and legendary players just seemed so much bigger when I was a child.  As much as I admire the performances of Kershaw and Kemp this year, I stopped being in awe of major league players once I was older than they were.  The Cey, Russell, Lopes and Garvey group were the last players that I really looked up to.

I was in Little League (age 10-12) in 1963 through 1965, a time when the Dodgers were world champions 2 of those years.  From my screen name, you probably know my favorite players were Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.  I probably ruined my arm trying to pitch like Drysdale.  As a dominating pitcher in Little League, I loved to aim at the batter and watch him bail out only to have my curve or maybe it was really a slider break over the plate for a strike.  Those were the days before kids were warned not to throw breaking pitches.

1959 was the first time I remember being interested in the Dodgers.  This date in 1959 was when Sandy Koufax set the record by striking out 18 batters.  But I really did not follow the team until they were in the World Series.  I just remember that Larry Sherry was the hero that year.  But the 18 strike outs by Koufax set him apart from others even before his first really dominant season in 1962.

The records last until they are broken, but the feelings about the record holders from ones childhood remain.  Orel Hershiser broke Don Drysdale’s scoreless inning record but I am 32and53fan, I don’t even know Hershiser’s uniform number.

This Day in Dodgers History

August 31, 1959 – Tying a major league mark, Sandy Koufax fans 18 Giants to establish a new National League record for a nine-inning in a 5-2 Dodger win at the LA Memorial Coliseum. In 1938, Indians fireballer Bob Feller struck out 18 in a 4-1 loss to the Tigers.

87 Responses to The Birth of a Benchmark

  1. dodgereric says:


    I watched (actually listened to) Drysdale setting that record (Dick Deitz, anyone?). It was pretty bittersweet watching Hershiser break it, but Big D himself helped me get over it by being so excited himself when Hersh edged past him. I think I was just as impressed by his class at that moment as I was watching him pitch. Whatta guy!

    Oh, and forgive me 32, but as magnificent as it was, Williams’ .406 isn’t a record, it’s just the last time .400 was reached. Napoleon Lajoie holds what is probably considered the “record” by most at .426 in the modern era. Funny how that number isn’t one of those magical numbers as are the ones you mention. Perhaps it’s because of who established them as much as the numbers themselves.

    I love living in this country. You can disagree with the government and/or people in power and you can live without fear. You can disagree with friends and you can remain friends, as long as there isn’t any name-calling. By the way, I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid almost the same time I stopped drinking Kool-Aid, if you know what I mean. Being accused of being stupid and gullible is a little insulting.

    Enchanted, I think (no, I KNOW) this is who you were talking about last night from Eight is Enough: Dianne Kay. I was in love with her too. She was also in Steven Spielberg’s 1941. That’s her in the cute little “Navy” outfit being chased by Treat Williams.

    Also in the huge cast too numerous to name is the beautiful Nancy Allen.

    If you haven’t seen this movie, I love it. It totally bombed at the box office, but I appreciate it still. Slim Pickens just about steals this movie in this scene with the immortal Toshiro Mifune:

    Sorry I missed the number updates yesterday. I was moving my daughter to her new place in OC and I was flat-out exhausted and more than a little, um, emotional. I needed some rest.

    Game 69 attendance (2010): 37,080
    Yesterday’s attendance courtesy of trumom: 29,764
    Difference from 2010 (yesterday): -7,316
    Estimated no-shows (yesterday): 7,441
    Estimated turnstile attendance (yesterday): 22,323

    Game 70 attendance (2010): 43,046
    Tonight’s attendance courtesy of trumom: 36,589
    Difference from 2010 (tonight): -6,457
    Estimated no-shows (tonight): 9,147
    Estimated turnstile attendance (tonight): 27,442

    Greater than last year = 9 / Less than last year = 60
    15th straight game of negative attendance

    Games less than 30,000 this season – 10
    Games less than 30,000 in 2005 – 2010: none
    Last game was 9/14/2004 – 29,704

    Lowest attended game of the year: Game 8 – 27,439
    Largest single game drop: Game 18 (55,662 – 28,419 = 27,243)

    2010 attendance (70 games) – 3,126,726 (44,668 average)
    2011 attendance (70 games) – 2,576,288 (36,804 average) #10 in MLB
    Percentage attendance drop 2010/2011: -21.3655

    Drop of 550,438 total
    Average drop of 7863
    Extrapolated for 81 games – 636,935
    Projected 2011 final attendance – 2,981,133
    2010’s final attendance – 3,562,318 (#3 in MLB)

    Next game’s (71) attendance in 2010 – 48,220

    Crowds less than 30,000 in 2010: none. 2011: 10
    Crowds 30,000 – 39,999 in 2010: 14. 2011: 43
    Crowds 40,000 – 49,999 in 2010: 45. 2011: 12
    Crowds 50,000 – 55,999 in 2010: 7. 2011: 2
    Sellouts (56,000) in 2010: 4. 2011: 3

    • 32and53fan says:

      Eric, I knew .406 was not the record, but it was the last time .400 had been reached, as you indicated. But it is one of those magical numbers that we all (those of a certain age) remember.
      And we know the story behind it. On the last day of the season, Williams was batting .39955 which would round up to .400. His manager offered to let him sit out the final games, a doubleheader. He said it wouldn’t mean anything if he didn’t play so he went 6 for 8 in the doubleheader and finished the season at .406.

      I remember Drysdale waiting in the dugout to greet Hershiser the night he broke the record. That was a classy move.

    • trublu4ever says:

      I was teasing you, Dodgereric. I knew you were busy 😉 I know it’s rough when your kids move out.

    • That would be her! 🙂 Cute as a button wasn’t she?!!

      I had a real thing for blondes when I was a lad…

    • vl4eccjr says:

      I loved that movie! It was a turd at the box office though.
      Slim Pickens was a one of a kind character actor. He was awesome in ‘Blazing Saddles’ too.

  2. grizzy says:

    Damn. We may make it to .500 yet.
    And a couple of chances to stick it to the giants are coming up.

  3. trublu4ever says:

    I guess I am a baseball fanatic….I watch games even if I don’t like the teams playing (like Yanks/Sox) just because of the game. I’m not much of a statistician, however, like Dodgereric and some of you are…I just like the game. Before the marvels of TV and computers, I found myself listening to Dodger games on an old radio that I had to keep moving around the house in order to pick up the signal. Vinny, even then, made the challenge worth it.

    So, I say, “Play Ball!”

  4. trublu4ever says:

    I think Eugenio4ever is making his mark on the bench 😉

    • trublu4ever says:

      Shit…..Velez in lineup today (2b) and no Dre 😦 And, with Lilly on the mound…I don’t see a victory.

      • trublu4ever says:

        I’m figuring since Donnie is new at this manager thing, he doesn’t know the term “sweep”!

        • Un-freakin-believable. Its like Donnie’s a little league manager and everyone has to get a turn to play.

          Just because Ned’s a jackass and has him on the team doesn’t mean you have to be stupid enough to play him.

          Velez represents everything that’s wrong with this organization and its non-committment to putting the best players on the field.

  5. nellyjune says:

    More videos blocked. You people are just nasty – LOL!!!
    Dodgereric – For the last couple/few of nights, everytime I heard a car go by with loud music, I would say “Michael’s home!” to the dog, cat or hubby, but it wasn’t him :(. I know the feeling.

  6. trublu4ever says:

    GrrRear was placed on paternity leave and Lindlom called up.

  7. trublu4ever says:

    Damn, almost forgot….today is throw-up uni day!

  8. JhallWally says:

    Today’s Dodgers lineup:

    Sellers SS,
    Gwynn LF,
    Kemp CF,
    Rivera RF,
    Blake 3B,
    Loney 1B,
    Barajas C,
    Velez 2B,
    Lilly P

    • dodgereric says:

      Heya jhall!

      Another way to say that is……….

      Today’s Dodgers lineup:

      .250, 1 HR
      .261, 2 HRs
      .321, 31 HRs
      .290, 2 HRs
      .253, 4 HRs
      .273, 9 HRs
      .237, 14 HRs
      .000, 0 HRs
      .087, 0 HRs

      ……..and that’s about as good as it’s looked all year.

  9. JhallWally says:

    OK OTD, will Velez get a hit today?

  10. trublu4ever says:

    One inning down, amd, no dinger from Lilly….yay!

  11. trublu4ever says:

    Tattoo, Tattoo!

  12. dodgereric says:

    Uh-oh………..lock up Ned. More failed ex-gnats are available:

    “It seems that theOutfielder Aaron Rowand and infielder Miguel Tejada were designated for assignment Wednesday by the San Francisco Giants, a major shake-up for the stumbling defending World Series champions.”

  13. trublu4ever says:

    I forget, why is Lilly on the team?!

  14. trublu4ever says:

    Way to go Rod!

  15. trublu4ever says:

    0 – 29…..make that 0 – 38 going back to last year!

  16. trublu4ever says:

    Damn you Lilly!

  17. Watched the replay of Barajas’ homer – WHAT A CROWD!!!

  18. trublu4ever says:

    Wow…some bat work, eugeio4ever!

  19. Oh good. He can’t bunt either.

  20. JhallWally says:

    Eugenio turns 30!!! Poor kid….

  21. JhallWally says:

    Wow, what a cluster f*ck that was.

  22. I like to think of Lilly as our stopper.

    He stops any winning streaks we might have going.

  23. 32and53fan says:

    Good luck Dodgers. I need to go and do the finishing touches on my rental house project:

  24. Caulk the baseboard in the main bathroom
    Install toilet paper holder on wall in master bathroom
    Install missing machine screws in wall heater
  25. Catch you all later…
    Bathroom Before

    Bathroom After

  • trublu4ever says:

    Very nice!

  • Sure hope they find Carroll a new home after the game.

  • vl4eccjr says:

    I see it’s a freebie on MLBTV today.

  • trublu4ever says:

    McDooDoo…..screw you!

  • Donnie sure learned how to use the bully from JoJo. No way you should blow through 4 relievers in a game like this (assuming McDogshit gets out of this inning and Guerra the next.)

  • trublu4ever says:

    27,767 announced paid attendance, Bull-shit!

  • trublu4ever says:

    Woo-hoo, Dre!

  • If Ned was smart (and we know he isn’t), he’d be trying to move Blake and Barajas after the game as well as Carroll and Gwynn if anyone was interested.

  • trublu4ever says:

    Way to go boys. Thanks for the save Javy.

    Now, we are……On The Road Again!

  • vl4eccjr says:

    Now we find out who goes & who stays.

  • Can we email Ned some brains so he can make wise choices or will it be the usual “knee-jerk” reaction?

  • trublu4ever says:

    The Dbacks fans should be ashamed of themselves. I swear there are less people there than were at our game. Here is a good team with a good manager and, for cying out loud, they are in 1st Place! What the hell is wrong with you people?!

  • Hi OTD
    When I was growing up Ruth, (although retired), DiMaggio, Williams, Musial, Robinson were almost compared to Sts. Anthony, Joseph, Francis and a lot of other saints. I use to think that they were statues to worship.
    At Ebbets Field from the left field stands I’d stare at Jackie and say, to myself “That’s him”.
    In the years that I followed the Dodgers in Brooklyn, I never thought of losing, in advance, like I do now. I expected to be in the World Series every year playing the Yankees.
    1951 was the worst year and 1955 was the best.
    Oh to be a kid again.

  • dodgereric says:

    Finally, a Plaschke article I can get behind:

    “In a season of bad, it’s the worst…….It’s the smallest crowd I’ve seen in my 23 years of following the Dodgers…..

    “The official attendance is 27,767, the second-lowest of the season, but that accounts for the number of tickets sold, not the number of actual people in seats.

    “This is surely the worst. This is surely not even close. Eleven sections are completely vacant. Most of the pavilion sections are in single digits. The left-field corner section, previously known as Mannywood, is Deadwood, inhabited by precisely 20 people.

    “There are maybe 8,000 folks here, and if you want an idea about the no-shows, listen to George Aldana, an insurance guy who is sitting with co-workers among the tumbleweeds of Deadwood.

    “Aldana had an extra ticket, so he phoned his sister, Lisa, a longtime Dodgers fan.

    “I offered her the ticket and she said, ‘No, I’m not giving any money to Frank McCourt,’ ” he says.

    “Saldana replied that he was giving her the ticket for free.

    “She said, ‘Yeah, but then once I get there, what if I buy a beer? That’s still money in McCourt’s pocket. No way.’ ”

    “There has surely been no greater example of fans giving up something they love to spite an owner they despise.”,0,7437893.column

    Well, after that, here are the latest. I charitably continue to use the 25% estimated no-show rate.

    Game 71 attendance (2010): 48,220
    Today’s attendance courtesy of trumom: 27,767
    Difference from 2010: -20,453
    Estimated no-shows: 6,942
    Estimated turnstile attendance: 20,825

    Greater than last year = 9 / Less than last year = 61
    16th straight game of negative attendance

    Games less than 30,000 this season – 11
    Games less than 30,000 in 2005 – 2010: none
    Last game was 9/14/2004 – 29,704

    Lowest attended game of the year: Game 8 – 27,439
    Largest single game drop: Game 18 (55,662 – 28,419 = 27,243)

    2010 attendance (71 games) – 3,174,946 (44,718 average)
    2011 attendance (71 games) – 2,604,055 (36,677 average) #10 in MLB
    Percentage attendance drop 2010/2011: -21.9232

    Drop of 570,891 total
    Average drop of 8041
    Extrapolated for 81 games – 651,298
    Projected 2011 final attendance – 2,970,823
    2010’s final attendance – 3,562,318 (#3 in MLB)

    Next game’s (72) attendance in 2010 – 43,758

    Crowds less than 30,000 in 2010: none. 2011: 11
    Crowds 30,000 – 39,999 in 2010: 14. 2011: 43
    Crowds 40,000 – 49,999 in 2010: 46. 2011: 12
    Crowds 50,000 – 55,999 in 2010: 7. 2011: 2
    Sellouts (56,000) in 2010: 4. 2011: 3

    Stop hiding behind the bankruptcy judge and SELL THE TEAM!

    • Nellyjune says:

      That is what needs to be said about the attendance. Fans of other teams think the drop in attendance is because of their place in the standings, but when the real reason is explained, they totally understand.
      Thanks for the updates!!!

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