February 2010

A Night to remember with Sandy Koufax !





Safe at Home .jpg

I don’t know where to start!  That was a once in a lifetime event and I loved every minute of the event!  

The event was put together to benefit the Torre’s Safe At Home Foundation to combat domestic abuse. 

I will never forget this night!   Thank you Sandy!  Thank you Torre, Thank you Simers and all that made the event posible!

I got home after the event and throughly enjoyed watching the playback!  

 

“It gave me goosebumps,” Torre said of the sold-out crowd of 7,100 at Nokia Theater, which included the likes of Ron Howard, Billy Crystal, Penny Marshall and Jon Lovitz and raised more than $750,000.

 Koufax and Torre at SAH.jpg

LA Times sportwriter T.J. Simers started his questions with “Where’d you go,” “I went home,” Koufax said, later explaining that it was something his grandfather taught him that has kept him out of the limelight.

“Your most precious asset is time,” Koufax said. “Spend your money foolishly, spend your time wisely.” 

And the reason he came back?

“Joe Torre,” Koufax said.

“It’s about friendship, a very special friendship,” said Torre, 69, of Koufax, even though the two were never teammates

Koufax and Torre when young .jpg

Simers finally asked if it bugged Koufax that people perceived him as “soft.”

“Oh … no,” said Koufax. “That didn’t bug me at all.”

“Then what did bug you?” asked Simers.

“Sportswriters like you,” replied Koufax to a thunderous ovation

Koufax and Torre at Nokia.jpg

At the John Wooden and Vin Scully, a kid was picked so that John Wooden would show him how to put his socks.  Mr. Wooden was very particular that no creases should be left from his players put on their socks before the shoes.  Well Simers wanted something similar to be done with Koufax.  So he said the crowd had been scanned and a tall skinny kid was spotted so he was summond to go up the podium. 

The Kid?  21 year old Clayton Kershaw! 

Here is Koufax  showing Kershaw how to throw the curball.  Kershaw said “OK, I’ll give it a try.”  

Koufax Kershaw SAH .jpg

Simers said “If you are good, I’ll get you a tryout with Arte Moreno.   Yep! Arte was in the audience.

Arte Moreno.jpg

Look at the size of Koufax’s hand in comparison to Kershaw!

Kershaw and Koufax comparing hand size.jpg

Here is Mattingly after Simers said Donnie Baseball showed up because he thought Torre was announcing his reti
rement.

 
Mattingly at Koufax event.jpg


 

Tommy Davis and Sweet Lou Johnson.  Sweet Lou got the only hit in Koufax perfecto. and got two homeruns in the  1965 World Series.  Koufax said Sweet Lou was a breath of fresh air.  

Sweet Lou and Tommy Davis at Koufax event.jpg

Peter O’Malley got the biggest standing ovation after Koufax and Torre. 

Peter O'Malley at Koufax event.jpg

When Simers asked Koufax about the two homeruns that Torre hit off of him.  His response was “We Brooklyn kids stick together.” 
 

Koufax and Torre hugging.jpg
 

“This man has been very special to me,” said Torre about Koufax. “We have never been teammates. We have played together on All-Star teams, but my first World Series, in 1996, when I walked into my office at Yankee Stadium, his was the first message on top, wishing me luck.”

“When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he was just about the first guy who called me.

When I got off the plane after saying goodbye to the Yankees, he was the first guy to call. It has been a very special relationship and one that we don’t have to talk to each other every day.

“It’s something that I treasure, and I’m so touched, and my wife, Ali, is very touched, and our foundation certainly thanks you for being here.”

With that, the two friends for almost 50 years walked off the stage together to another ovation.


Koufax and Torre at Nokia 2jpg
 

There I am in wearing blue and with my White and Blue Dodger bag(third row from the left).  In the next aisle to my left is my friend Amber who is a ticket checker at Dodger stadium.          

Crowd at Koufax event.jpg 

Black History Month: Sweet Lou Johnson

 

 

Lou Johnson pubtsn101665.jpgSweet Lou still has that infectious smile.  He is an integral part to the Dodger Community Relation department. 
 

Back in 2008, a friend from the InsidetheDodgers blog asked me if I knew if Sweet Lou Johnson had recovered his World Series Ring.  

I’ll tell you all about the ring, but first let me give you a little history on Sweet Lou. 

Sweet Lou Johnson was born September 22, 1935 in Lexington, Kentucky. 

He played in the Negro Leagues in 1955 with the Indianapolis Clowns and The Kansas City Monarchs.  

Sweet Lou was a journeyman outfielder, promoted from the Dodgers triple-A Spokane at the age of 30, only when Tommy Davis broke his ankle early in the 1965 season.

1965 Sweet Lou and Koufax.

  • He hit the decisive home run in Game 7 of the World Series against the Minnesota Twins with Koufax on the mound.  
  • he collected the only hit in the 1-0 perfect game thrown by Dodger ace Sandy Koufax on September 9, 1965.  
  • He hit only 12 home runs that year–but that was enough to tie for the team lead! 

He played three more seasons but never equaled the magic of 1965. 

Losing and Recovering his World Series Ring.

Two years after he retired in 1969, desperate for a cocaine fix, Johnson gave his World Series ring to a Seattle drug dealer as collateral.

He drove across town for the money

When he returned two hours later, the drug dealer and the ring were gone.   

 

 

One day in 1980, Johnson had two phone numbers written on a piece of paper. One belonged to Don Newcombe.

Johnson intended to dial the other number but, under the influence, mistakenly called Newcombe, who had kicked his own alcohol problems and was working for the Dodgers as a counselor.


Newcombe
arranged for Johnson to attend, at the Dodgers’ expense, a treatment center. Johnson became clean on Nov. 9, 1980, and after he completed the program, Newcombe arranged for him a job in the organization.
Thumbnail image for lou_johnson6.jpg

For the past 30 years, Johnson has worked in community relations, speaking to schoolchildren about his experiences and acting as a goodwill ambassador for the team.

And he hasn’t slipped once.  

Here is Sweet Lou working with kids from Sober College in Woodland Hills, CA. 

Don Newcombe told me, ‘If you ever take another drink, I’ll break your legs,’ and they ain’t broke yet,” Johnson said with a laugh. “What the Dodgers did was they put some pride back in my life.”

They also got his ring back. It was discovered in an unclaimed safety deposit box and was being auctioned on the Internet. Johnson didn’t have the $3,500 to buy it, so the Dodgers bought it for him.

The ring made Johnson complete again when it was returned in 2001, 30 years after he lost it, an act that further indebted Johnson to a Dodgers organization he credits for saving his life. 

Sweet Lou:  You are very dear to us Dodger Fans!

 

 

Thumbnail image for DFW 274 Sweet Lou Johnson 2008.jpg

Ref:  Daily News (los Angeles), Bill Plaschke of the LA Times.

 

 

This is My Town ! Dodgertown !

This is so cool!   The Dodgers send us an email, you enter your First Name, Last Name and Jersey number.  

There I am with my homeboy Andre Ethier.   Note that I put Crzblue on this one with #42

This is my Town jersey billboard.jpg

And Amaya on this one with Koufax’s number.  


This is my town jersey Emma.jpgI LOVE LA!

WE LOVE IT!! 

LOVE IS BLUE!!

Update: 

So the transplanted Red Sox fan that sits infront of me at work sent me the following IM after I sent him a picture that Manny had already reported to Spring Training:

“You win, dam it, why isnt manny being manny.”    LOL!

Dodger Pitchers and Catchers and then some have reported!

Happy New Season everyone!   Pitchers and Catchers have reported!!  Woohoo!!!

Now is a new count!   11 day and 20 hours before the first Spring Training game!

Yesterday I was going to go to MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton but I got sick :-(.   Southern University (Baton Rouge, La) was playing against my sister college Cal State Northridge.  And in the second game  Bethune-Cookman University was playing against UCLA.   Anyone catch the games on MLB Network? 

Rod Carew, Don Newcombe and Frank Robinson threw out the first pitches. 

kid-480.jpg

Today it will be

1 p.m.: Cal State Northridge vs. UCLA
2 p.m.: Southern University vs. Bethune-Cookman

Yesterday it was a beautiful day and today is still a beautiful day after rains last night and this morning.  

Here is a picture from Jon Soo Hoo.  His caption:  What awaits the Dodgers at the end of the rainbow this season?    

Here is another pic:   “Catchers and Catchers reporting”   Russell Martin and Brad Ausmus are looking good!!!!   I LOVE IT!!!!

Thank you Jon!  You are the best!!

 

So this transplanted Red Sox fan at work wanted to bet me that Manny will show up late to Spring Training.  Guess what?  He is already reported so come Monday I will collect on the bet!!

 

The pitcher that is late reporting is Ron Belisario as he again has trouble with his visa.    

Happy P&C Day!  Happy Sunday!  

Black History Month: Meet Connie Morgan

morgan.jpgMeet Connie Morgan, The woman that replaced Toni Stone at second when Toni was traded from the Indianapolis Clowns to the Kansas City Monarchs.  

 

On this picture:  From left) King Tut with a huge mitt, manager Oscar Charleston and Connie Morgan.  

Connie was born October 17, 1935 in Philadelphia.  She died in 1996.  

In addition to Baseball, Connie played basketball for a well known city-wide team, the Rockettes.

 Morgan_Connie.jpg

Morgan initiated the signing herself with the Indianapolis Clowns.  When she read a newspaper article about women playing for the Clowns, she wrote Syd Pollack directly and asked for a try-out.  When the Clowns went to Baltimore in 1954 to play an exhibition game with the Orioles, Pollack invited her to come down and show what she could do.  

Pollack was impressed with Morgan’s ability and signed the nineteen year-old to a two year-contract. 

The 5’4″ 135 pounds second baseman hit around .300 sharing second base duties with Ray Neil and batting third in the line-up.  

Clown’s manager Oscar Charleston called her “one of the most sensational” female players he had ever seen.  

The highlight of Connie Morgan’s careeer came on July 12, 1954 when she returned to her home town for a game with the Kansas City Monarchs in Phladelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium.  

She was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. 

I had fun reading about all the three women that played alongside the men in the Negro League.   

Is still two more days till Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training for the Dodgers.  The wait has been long, especially reading that alot of teams already reported.     Hurry boys!  We are starving for some news!    

SOLES 4 SOULS: Changing HAITI One Pair (of Kicks) At a Time

Soles4Souls SOLES 4 SOULS: Changing HAITI One Pair (of Kicks) At a Time

 Here is another way to help Haiti

http://www.urb.com/2010/01/25/soles-4-souls-changing-haiti-one-pair-of-kicks-at-a-time/

The link is also on the right side. 

Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 5.5 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 9 seconds.) Last year alone, Americans discarded more than 300 million pairs of shoes. (eco side note: When these shoes break down in our landfills, the toxic glue that holds the shoes together can leak into our water supply and atmosphere.) Imagine if those shoes went to 300 million people in need of them. Start donating to Soles4Souls today kids, CLICK HERE, to find out a drop off location or HERE to learn how to start your own (company, school, community) shoe drive.

Where I work we have done the Souls4Souls and donated the shoes to a local school.  This time we are doing the drive again to benefit Haiti but if you want to donate your slightly used shoes, click above where it says HERE and enter your zipcode.

Thanks!

 

Black History Month: Mamie “Peanut” johnson

Mamie Johnson book a Strong Right Arm.jpg
Mamie Johnson (Peanut) was born Mamie Belton on September 27, 1935 in Ridgeway, SC.  She was the second woman, and the first female pitcher to play with the men in the Negro Leagues. 

She played for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953 to 1955 and had a 33-8 W-L record

Here is a cover of a children’s book titled: “A Strong Right Arm:  The Story of Mamie “Peanut Johnson by Michelle Y. Green.  Grades 4-6. 

 Despise the hardship, there were memorable highlights for Johnson.  The great LEROY SATCHEL PAIGE helped her perfect the curveball.   Don’t squeeze the ball so tight, Paige told her. and let it break to the outside.  

Johnson_Mamie_Peanut.jpg

 

According to Johnson her most unforgettable moment came in a game between the Clowns and the Kansas City Monarchs.  Facing off against third baseman Hank Bayliss with a runner on first, Johnson threw a called strike.  the second ball was high and outside.  Johnson’s third ball was another strike.  According to Johnson, Bayliss then called out to her on the mound with a voice so loud, the crowd could hear him.  “YOU’RE NOTHING BUT A PEANUT”, he alledgedly yelled.  Johnson reared back and threw a third strike–gaining a strike out and a nickname at the same time! 

 

 

 

After her baseball career ended, she was a nurse for 30 years, and also coached youth baseball. When she retired from nursing, she was the manager of a Negro Leagues memorabilia shop. She was also a guest lecturer at a Library of Congress symposium in October 2009.

Here is Mamie as a young girl and in uniform in 2007.    

johnson_young.jpg 

 

Mamie with her  uni.jpg

 

ref:  African American Lives. Michelle Green’s book. 

 

 

Black History Month: Women Baseball Players of the Negro League

Three Women played with the men in the Negro League.  They were:

TONI STONE, and accomplished athlete from Minneapolis, who was contracted to play second base in 1953 and took over for Hank Aaron when Aaron left the Indianapolis Clowns for the majors.

MAMIE “PEANUTS” JOHNSON, a right-hander pitcher from Washington D.C., was the second female signed.   she was a pitcher for the Clowns. 

CONNIE MORGAN, from Philadelphia, became the third woman to be signed to a Negro Leagues contracts when Toni Stone was traded in 1954 to the Kansas City Monarchs.  

.  
Toni-Stone_courtesy-of-the-NBHF Cooperstown-NY_350px.jpg


Tony Stone.jpg
Toni Stone
. (January 21, 1921  – November 2, 1996) was born in West Virginia and spent her childhood in St Paul, Minnesota

Her married name was Marceni Lyle Stone Alberga.   Alberga, a man 40 years her senior, like her parents was not in favor of Stone playing professional baseball.   “He would have stopped me if he could,” Stone later said.  “But he couldn’t.”   

Stone was quite proud of the fact that the male players were out to get her. She would show off the scars on her left wrist and remember the time she had been spiked by a runner trying to take out the woman standing on second base. ‘He was out,’ she recalled. 

 

 

 

When Pollack, the owner of The Clowns asked her to play in a skirt,  she refused!  She also would not consent to play in shorts and made it clear that she would dress in the same uniforms as her male teammates did. 

The highlight of Stone’s career came during her first season with the Clowns when she got a single off legendary pitcher Satchel Paige during an exhibition game in Omaha.   Stone was almost as surprised as Paige.  The clean single over second base was “the happiest moment of my life,” she said. 

 

 

She was delighted in 1985 to be inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation International Sports Hall fo Fame. 

Toni Stone died of heart failure at age 75, in Alameda California.   A baseball field in her hometown of St. Paul was dedicated in her memory in 1997.  

We salute you Toni Stone!

 

 

next:  Mamie “Peanuts” Johnson.

p.s.  I am having fun learning about these female baseball players!   

SIx days ’till Pitchers and Catchers report for the Dodgers!

ref:  African American National Biography, MLB.com   

 

Pitchers and Catcher report in 8 days! My Blog One Year Anniversary!

 8 days till Pitchers & Catchers report!
21 days till the first Spring Training game!
50 days till Opening Day!

 :celebrate :celebrate :celebrate
:banana :banana :banana:banana
 
And more good news:  The Dodger Dog will make its debut at Camelback Ranch!  
 

dodgerdog1004.jpg 
 
February 13th is my one year anniversary with my blog!   How time flies when you are having so much fun!
 

there are so many things that Baseball brings to us and in particualr our teams but another one has been the friends that I have made along the way! So a BIG THANK YOU to all that I have met in person and online, you have made me a better person.

 
I dedicate my post to our captain Pee Wee Reese
 
In 2009, I have made the following blog rankings and dedicated it to the following Dodger players/coaches that wore that number
 
#26  My first one!   I dedicated it to HOF ’64 Heini Manush. 
#34.  Dedicated to El Toro, Fernando Valenzuela.
#45.  I hope you are wearing a halo around your head Johnny Podres!  
#46   Dedicated to “Happy” Burt Hooton and his worthy foundation.
#26.  Long time pitching coach Red Adams and Doug Mientkiewicz.
 
I slacked off a little during the offseason, but I still was able to make the top 100 blogs in 2009! 
 
Thank you to everyone that have visisted my blog! 
 

 Happy Friday!
Happy Chinese Year of the Tiger!
Happy Valentines Day!
Happy President’s day!
Happy Fat Tuesday!
Happy Ash Wednesday!
 
 
 

2010 Road Trip! Going to Fenway Park ! !

I am going to Boston to watch my beloved Dodgers!!  Woohoo!

My friend LuvtheDodgers23 (Lore), her niece and I will be in Boston in mid June to cheer our beloved Dodgers!   We are doing the DodgerLife event!  

Thanks Lore for making the arrangements.  I will look into flights tonight!

Road Trip

 Hit the Road with the Dodgers in 2010!   The package include hotel, exclusive Dodgers brunch, game tickets to all three games, a tour of Fenway Park, and a Dodgers Road Trip Polo Shirt. 

I have been to Fenway once when after a business trip in N.H., I stayed in Boston on a Friday night so that I could see Fenway Park.  I saw the Tigers that Friday night.   I wrote about it here in a too long post.   http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/06/my_trip_to_fenway_park_82605_a.html

Funny that when I was in Toronto for a few days taking a class, I happen to catch the Red Sox at Roger Centre.  Again, I made the trip by myself to catch me a game.    

I can’t wait!  

Ok, on to look for flights.  

 

Dodgers Caravan 2010 2nd part.


First of all I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to all that participated in the Dodger Caravan and to all those that helped put the event together and those that worked the long hours from the morning event at the Children’s hospital event, to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles luncheon, to Best Buys to play video games with the fans and sign autographs to going to Olvera Street in the evening!  I could see how tired some of you look so THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your hard work!   

Ok, on to some more pictures!

El Senor Jaime Jarrin, the voice of the Dodgers in Spanish!   He is just a class act! This will be his 51st year with the Dodgers!  

Dodger Caravan 2010 Jaime Jarrin.jpg

Matt Kemp at Best Buys playing games with a young fan.  We made quite an impression on Matt Kemp that he said at Best Buys “”Hey, you guys made it here  too!”.  We had an unforgettable day!    

feb 2010 Matt Kemp at Best Buys .jpg

Jaime Jarrin taking the mike en la Plaza de Olvera Street. 

Dodgers Caravan Jaime at the Plaza .jpg

Dylan Hernandez, Dodgers Beat writer for the LA Times

Caravan 2010 Dylan Hernandez.jpg

I asked Dylan if he wanted to ring the Bell at Olvera Street

Update:  I did not know the significance of the Bell but I found this (Thanks Greg!)

Bell of Dolores

Text from plaque:

This replica of the “Bell of Dolores” was presented to the City of Los Angeles by the Republic of Mexico in 1968. This cherished relic of Mexican history represents not only Mexico’s bid for freedom, but also the beginning of democracy here in California. This bid for freedom began not in Mexico City, but in the little village of Dolores. And it was here that Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was assigned as parish priest, where he became active in politics and sided with the less fortunate of Mexican society. On the night of September 15, 1810, at 11 p.m., Father Hidalgo rang the parish church bell, now known as the “Bell of Dolores” to summon patriots to fight for their independence from Spain. Every year on September 15, the President of Mexico tolls the original “Bell of Dolores” now hung at the National Palace in Mexico City, and cries out “Viva la independencia…Viva America…”, Father Hidalgo’s call to arms beginning the Mexican War of Independence

Caravan 2010 Olvera Street bell.jpg

Matt Kemp at the tables signing autographs.  Notice the 55 since ’55 patch.  All of the players were sporting the patch on their jersey 

Dodger Caravan 2010  Matt Kemp at Olvera Street.jpg 

Here is the patch

55 since '55 patch.jpg  

That is all folks!

Football prediction on this Super Sunday:

Colts 31

Saints 28.

Everyone have a wonderful Sunday.  I am heading to the hospital to visit tia Marina for her birthday celebration with a Mexican trio singing to her in the lobby. 

Thank you to my friends Erik, Lore (LTD23) and Elisa for contributing to a great day!     

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