Before 32 and 53…

November 4, 2011

…there was 14.

One of my first memories of the Dodgers was listening to the 1959 World Series with my brother.  Larry Sherry generated a lot of excitement because of his excellent performances coming out of the bullpen which contributed greatly to the Dodgers winning the World Championship.  For position players however, my favorite was Gil Hodges, who proudly wore uniform number 14.  I enjoyed reading the yearbooks that touted his Brooklyn background both on the field and at home.  Along with Duke Snider, Hodges provided much of the power during the 1950’s and his 1001 RBIs were the most for any player in that decade apart from Snider.   He hit 30 or more home runs every season from 1950 to 1954 and over 100 RBIs every year from 1949 to 1955.  He won three Gold Gloves as the Dodger’s first baseman.  On October 10, 1961, I was sad when the New York Mets selected Hodges in the National League Expansion Draft.  He was warmly received as a hometown favorite upon his return to New York.

Here is some news out of Cooperstown, NY as reported by ESPN.com:

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 last few years have seen an up-swell in support for Hodges to be voted into the Hall of Fame.  Hopefully the veterans committee will do what the BBWAA failed to accomplish and honor this great Dodger.

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August 13, 2011

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This Day in Dodgers History

On August 13, 2006 – LA’s Greg Maddux and SF’s Jason Schmidt hook up in a classic West Coast pitcher’s duel, reminiscence of match-ups of Koufax and Marichal, as the Dodgers beat the Giants, 1-0, thanks to Russell Martin’s 10th inning walk-off home run. When Giants slugger Barry Bonds lines into a double play in the first inning it marks the only time in baseball history, a 300 game winner pitches to a batter with over 700 homers.


Can Kershaw Match Van Lingle Mungo?

July 26, 2011

Vin Scully put up a graphic during Monday’s game that showed Dodger pitchers who have led the league in strikeouts. He posed the question, “Can Clayton Kershaw maintain his current lead in that department throughout the year?”

Hideo Nomo was the last Dodger to be the N.L. strikeout champ, fanning 236 in 1995. Fernando Valenzuela led with 180 in the strike-shortened 1981 season. Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale dominated the 1960’s (starting in 1959) with the former leading the league four times, while the latter accomplishing that feat three times.
Don Newcombe topped the list in 1951. Dazzy Vance led the National League in strikeouts every year in an amazing string from 1922 to 1928!

The only other Dodger to make the list was the pitcher with the best name of them all – Van Lingle Mungo, who prevailed in 1936. No other Dodger ever inspired the title and chorus for a cool jazz song. And Mungo was doing a high leg kick in his delivery before Juan Marichal was even born.

 

This Day in Baseball History

On July 26, 1948, Babe Ruth makes his final public appearance. Ruth visits the film premiere of “The Babe Ruth Story.” Ruth will succumb to throat cancer only three weeks later.


Kershaw takes on Jhoulys Chacin of the Rockies at 7:10 tonight.