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Preview: Blue Heaven

Dodgers Blue Heaven



Rest, Relax And Put Your Blue On. Dodger Blue passion mixed in with an obsessive compulsive desire to scour the world for rare and interesting Dodgers and Baseball collectibles.



Updated: 2017-02-27T17:35:39.215-08:00

 



2017 Topps Now - Road to Opening Day Team Set - Kenta Maeda

2017-02-27T15:23:01.263-08:00


Last week I briefly mentioned the first Topps Now cards of the 2017 season.  It is part of a set called "Road to Opening Day" and each team in the league has their own 15-card set available.  Furthermore, there are two different sets -- a normal 15-card offering and the same 15-card set plus a mystery autograph card (either Maeda, Toles or Seager).  Go here or here to check them out and order.  They will be available for sale throughout spring training.

So far only one card in the set has been revealed.  It is of Kenta Maeda, and you can see it at the very top.

BTW, the set could expand beyond the initial 15-card set.  Bonus cards will added depending upon the success of the team in 2017.  Below is a list of milestones that will expand this set:
  • Dodgers place first in division at MLB All-Star Break
  • Dodgers pitcher tosses no-hitter or perfect game at any point in regular or postseason
  • Dodgers hitter hits for cycle at any point in regular or postseason

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A Collection of Claude Osteen Items at Lelands Auctions

2017-02-27T13:24:01.767-08:00

As previously promised, here is a quick peek at some of the items from the Claude Osteen collection currently available at Lelands Auctions.Claude Osteen was a workhorse of an starting pitcher for the Dodgers from 1965 to 1973.  In that span he recorded 147 wins against 126 losses, a 3.09 ERA, 100 complete games, 34 shutouts, a 3.15 FIP and a WHIP of 1.217.  In other words, he provided some needed innings and ace workmanship after the Dodgers struggled to compete following the retirement of Sandy Koufax in 1966.Fortunately, he was able to enjoy the fruits of victory with Koufax at the helm during in his first two years in Los Angeles, and ended up pitching magnificently in two World Series playoff series'.  In fact, if not for his efforts in the 1965 the Dodgers may not have won the crown.  He threw a five-hit shut out against the Twins after both Drysdale and Koufax got beat in games 1 & 2.  Overall, he went 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA in two World Series games that year. Per Gregory H. Wolf at the SABR biography project:“(My teammates) had confidence in me. I was sitting with my wife on the airplane. Players went up and down the aisle and tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘You’ll get ’em.’ By the time I got off the plane I was a nervous wreck.”In honor of this and his service to the team he was awarded the Charles DiGiovanna Award by the Dodgers after the 1969 season.  It is currently available for sale at Lelands Auction. (Auction Link)  This award is bestowed upon the player who “most typified Dodger tradition.”  As you may know, DiGiovanna was an onetime Dodgers batboy and clubhouse manager who died of a sudden heart attack at age 28.Also available at the auction is the below 1990 Dodgers 100th anniversary pin made by Tiffany.  (Auction Link)Lastly, no player collection is complete without a few game-used items in the mix.  (Auction Link)  Below is a 1972 home jersey, a Dodgers satin jacket, Osteen's glove and a bat.* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 2/27/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-02-27T09:39:00.765-08:00

Friday was photo day for the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch - when media groups around the country come into town to capture the "Boys in Blue" on film (or bytes, if you will).  Above is Adrian Gonzalez with his emoji, taken by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017.  Go here to check out more pics he took on photo day; including practice on the field.You can also check out pics by Jon SooHoo from Saturday (link here) and Sunday (link here), as well.  Below are more links to check out:This Day in Dodger History:  In 1932 the Brooklyn Dodgers signed future Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt to a free agent contract.Happy Birthday, Roy Hutson, Rube Melton, Carl Warwick, Henry Cruz, Willie Banks & Carlos Triunfel!Via Sarah Wexler at Dodgers Digest; "Giants who became Dodgers, part 1: 1890s to 1910s." Check out Cecil Cooperstown's drawing of the 1979 Dodgers prospect card featuring Pedro Guerrero and Rudy Law.Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Baez set back by bruised right thumb."Via Paul Feinberg at UCLA Newsroom;"Baseball franchise is stronger than ever, L.A. Dodgers CEO tells crowd at UCLA."“The baseball business has never been stronger,” said (Stan) Kasten. “We bought the team for $2 billion five years ago, and everyone perceived it was too much. But we spent so much because it was worth so much more.” Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Dodgers' Urias coping with innings ration.""It's a decision they're going to make and I respect whatever decision they make, but who doesn't want to be in the big leagues?" said Urias. "Personally, I would rather watch my innings and be on the big league club, but if that's not the decision, that's something I have to respect. And I'm grateful they are looking after me and taking care of me." Via Barry M. Bloom at MLB.com; "Pain-free A-Gon eagerly anticipating Classic.""I'm planning to play," said the lefty-swinging first baseman, whose older brother, Edgar, is managing the team. "I'm hoping for it. We've taken all the right precautions. I've got to get cleared by the doctors, so we'll see." Per Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider; "Hyun-Jin Ryu is out to reclaim his spot."“There’s no doubt there’s a burning desire for me to get back again because I’ve been absent for so long,” Ryu said. “Looking at my teammates and the organization, we have a very capable group of players, so I just want to go out there and compete.” Baseball America's prospect report for this morning includes a little blurb on Cody Bellinger:The No. 7 prospect in the game and L.A.’s top dog, Bellinger hit a ball out of Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday in the Dodgers’ 10-8 win over Milwaukee. Bellinger is a plus-plus defender at first base, but the Dodgers so like his power bat that they will play him in the outfield as well this spring, looking for ways to get him in the lineup with Adrian Gonzalez manning first base through 2018. BTW, Bellinger said this about his homer yesterday, via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:"I had no idea it went out of the stadium until they told me after the game," Bellinger said. "Can't wait to watch the video of it." Via Dennis Lin at the San Diego Tribune; "Tony Gwynn Jr. to join Padres broadcast team."  Tony was part of the broadcast team for the Dodger Talk postgame show last season.“Broadcasting is something I’ve been interested in since I was a little boy,” Gwynn, who also played two seasons for the Dodgers, told the Union-Tribune last spring. “I can recall broadcasting imaginary games plenty of times. It’s a good fit. It’s something I’ve always been interested in, honestly.” Gary Ashwill at Agate Type tells us a bit about an early-20th century black baseball team called; "The Alexander Giants of Los Angeles."* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Ron Cey, Fleetwood Mac and a Lamp

2017-02-24T14:05:30.662-08:00

You never know what you're going to find on eBay.  In fact, if you search long enough you'll no doubt see something weird.The lamp in this post is a good example.  Featured is a circa 1982 working lamp made especially for the band Fleetwood Mac.  It features a penguin dressed up in Dodger Blue, and it has been signed on the lampshade by the Penguin himself, Ron Cey. (eBay Auction Link)  As you may know, Fleetwood Mac's mascot is a penguin.  In fact, their seventh album (released in 1973) is called Penguin.  Additionally, Ron Cey's nickname is that as well, so a friendship between the two seems to be a natural fit.  As the story goes, via the seller on eBay, these lamps were made for the band, and one of them was presented to Cey as a parting gift after being traded by the Dodgers to the Cubs. From what I understand, this particular lamp somehow found its way into the archives of Dick Clark, and was eventually put up for auction in late-2000 at Lelands.  It did not sell at the time (auction link here).  A few years later the lamp made it's way to the seller and now you can add it to your collection.I've never seen this before, or even ever heard of it.  But it's awesome.  And if not for the high price tag it would already be in my collection.  Heck, someone give Night Owl a ring.  This thing is screaming out to him. * Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Dodgers Memorabilia at Lelands Current Auction

2017-02-24T10:05:18.976-08:00

Lelands current auction, dubbed the "Steel Curtain" auction due to large number of Pittsburgh Steelers jersey's available, includes several fantastic Dodger items.  I'll highlight a couple of them here and focus on a group of other stuff from the collection of former Dodger pitcher Claude Osteen later on.  I love vintage sports editorial drawings, and whenever they pop up I can't help but share them here.  Featured at the very top is an original drawing that appeared within the pages of The Sporting News in 1955.  (Auction Link)  It was drawn by west coast based artist Karl Hubenthal and focuses on Duke Snider's fantastic start to the season.  The drawing has been titled "The Duke's Scepter".  Dialog boxes say the following:"The Duke's Scepter" ... One glance at Duke Snider's standing among the NL batters is all you need to understand why the Dodgers are running away from the rest of the league...The "Dook" from Compton has now blasted a four-bagger against every rival club this year -- Is right on the pace of Babe Ruth's fabulous season output of 60 HR's.The Dodgers success and eventual World Series triumph was due in large part to the efforts of the Dodger centerfielder.  We whacked a total of 42 home runs and drove in a league leading 136 runners.  And as the drawing above suggest, at one point during the season (likely during the half-way point) was even on pace to break Babe Ruth's home run record.  Below is Pedro Guerrero's 1981 World Series MVP Trophy.  (Auction Link)  As you know, this year three Dodger players were named co-MVP's.  Along with Guerrero, Steve Garvey and Ron Cey also received this award.  Pedro slashed .333/.417/.762/1.179 during the series (going 7 for 21), hit two home runs and drove in seven.* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 2/24/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-02-24T11:35:48.194-08:00

The Dodgers 2017 yearbook is now available, and it features both Dave Roberts and Corey Seager on the cover.  Go here to order online.  Also, limited quantities will be available at Camelback Ranch.As for current spring activities, the Dodgers held their third full-squad workout yesterday.  Julio Urías, Adam Liberatore, Grant Dayton, Josh Sborz and Yaisel Sierra all threw their first live bullpens.  Scott Kazmir and Hyun-Jin Ryu are throwing live bullpens today.  BTW, Cactus League play begins tomorrow with the Dodgers playing the White Sox at Camelback Ranch -- starting at 1:05 PM and will be aired on SNLA.  Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood are scheduled to pitch in the game.  (Kenley Jansen, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017)Go here to check out a bunch of pics taken by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo from yesterday.  Below are more links to check out:Thia Day in Dodger History:  In 1940 the Dodgers got soon-to-be fan favorite and Brooklyn mainstay Pee Wee Reese from the Red Sox for some players to be named later (none of whom amounted to much), $35k in cash and a rusty bus (just kidding).  In 2001 the Dodgers traded Devon White to the Brewers for Marquis Grissom.  Happy Birthday, Nancy Bea Hefley, Con Lucid, Fred Sington, Gary Moore, Eddie Murray & Miguel Rojas!YouTube:  Claudia Gestro of the LA PostExaminer Interviews Sergio Romo. (link here) Via Eno Harris at FanGraphs; "How Would You Comp Yasiel Puig?"Via Fabian Ardaya at MLB.com; "Baseball bonds Kiké and dad from early age.""At the beginning, it was a hassle for me," he said. "I kind of felt obligated because I didn't know how to say no to my dad. After that, we created a habit, and I was really looking forward to it every day. I couldn't wait to get out of school and bond with my dad." (pic via Quintana Roo Tigres)Per Eric Gomez at ESPN; "Fernando Valenzuela adds team owner to list of accomplishments.""Baseball has been everything to me," Valenzuela said after the deal was announced. "[As] a businessman, I now have the opportunity to remain [in baseball] with a club that has great tradition and fans that have identified with it."Per The Eastsider; "Man pleads in Dodger Stadium assault."“On Oct. 9, 2015, a group was confronted by Papayans’ mother as they were heading to their car following a Dodgers-Mets playoff game. She yelled epithets shortly before Papayans joined in a verbal dispute with the group. Papayans then punched a 50-year-old man in the head, knocking him unconscious. As the victim fell to the ground, he hit his head on the pavement, causing him to sustain serious head injuries.” With apologies to the Daily Show, below is your moment of Baseball zen: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ft0j0zxyvIo" width="500">Video Link:* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 2/10/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-02-23T09:33:07.277-08:00

Training and preparation continues apace at Camelback Ranch for the Dodgers.  There are a total of 63 ballplayers now in camp; including 31 pitchers and 32 position players.  Kenta Maeda, Sergio Romo, Luis Avilan, Josh Fields, Pedro Baez, Brock Stewart and Chase De Jong all threw their first live bullpens of the spring yesterday.  Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Steve Geltz, Josh Ravin, Jacob Rhame, Fabio Castillo, Madison Younginer and Patrick Schuster threw regular bullpen sessionsBTW, tomorrow the Dodgers will hold their annual Photo Day in the morning.  Players will be posing for Dodger team photographer Jon SooHoo, SNLA, MLB Photos, MLB.com, Topps, Getty Images, Associated Press, USA Today and LA Times.  This is where many of photos used for Baseball cards released later this year come from.Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017.  Go here to check out more pics by Jon from yesterday.  Below are more links to check out:This Day in Dodger History:  In 1960 the demolition of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn begins.  In 2009 the Dodgers signed free agent first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to a minor league contract.Happy Birthday, Grant Thatcher, Phil Haugstad, John Shelby, Bobby Bonilla & Luke Prokopec!Podcast:  The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Michael Baumann talk to Dodgers setup man Grant Dayton. The interview starts at about the 4:15 mark.  (link here)Audio:  Listen to Dodger prospect Cody Bellinger at AM570. (link here)Via Curtis Carpenter at TCPalm; "Remembering the Dodger days" at Vero Beach.  Per Eric Stephen at True Blue LA; "Contract details for Chase Utley & Franklin Gutierrez."Scott Boras has added another young Dodger stud to his stable.  He current represents Ryu, Seager and Urias.  Per a tweet by Robert Murray:Agent News: #Dodgers top prospect Cody Bellinger is now represented by Scott Boras.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 22, 2017 * Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]



Blog Kiosk: 2/9/2017 - Dodgers Links - Some Odds and Ends

2017-02-09T09:30:41.209-08:00

The rosters for the various WBC teams were announced yesterday, and eleven Dodgers' will a part of all the fun.  Five players will be a part of Team Mexico:  Adrián González, Vidal Nuno, prospect Alex Verdugo, yet-to-be-officially-signed Sergio Romo and Julio Urias.  Kiké Hernandez will play for Puerto Rico, Rob Segedin and prospect Drew Maggi will represent Italy, non-roster invitee Ike Davis and prospect Dean Kremer will play for Israel and Kenley Jansen will join the Netherlands.  Furthermore, both Urias and Jansen are part of the designated pitcher pool; which makes them inactive for the first round.  On a side note, former Dodger closer Eric Gagné will play for Canada and recently traded pitcher Jose De Leon will join Puerto Rico.Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2017 @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:Happy Birthday, Wally Hood, Buzz Boyle, Harvey Green, Erv Palica, Jim Campanis & Dioner Navarro!These folks are very savvy.  Per Scott Soshnick at Bloomberg; "Los Angeles Dodgers Owners Want to Sell Part of the Team."“During our five years with the Dodgers, we have had a steady stream of inquiries from different parties interested in becoming a part of Dodger ownership,” Chief Executive Officer Stan Kasten said.“With continuing developments in the sports and entertainment industry, both domestically and internationally, we thought this might now be a good time to examine some of the opportunities more closely.”From the looks of it they will seek to sell a minority stake in the club and will relinquish zero control of the franchise.  MLB must approve a partial sale like this.  All I ask is that Frank McCourt NOT be involved. NO!  This is a dumb idea.  Via Jeff Passan at Yahoo; "MLB plans to test new extra-innings rules in rookie ball, with Joe Torre's approval."Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.Just stop it... Okay!  Don't mess with the game!   Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Kazmir, Ethier look to bounce back in 2017.""It feels like [my body] is back to Tampa Bay-live," Kazmir, 33, said at the recent FanFest. "I'm three weeks ahead of schedule. I want to be at the top of that rotation. The way things went last year, I have a chip on my shoulder, and I want to prove to the fans and the front office that brought me here that they made the right decision."Per Steve Douglas at Hot Stove Baseball Talk; "Dreaming of Spring-Conversation with Trevor Oaks."“My body is feeling really strong and ready to go. I feel like I’ve picked up right where I left off. My arm feels fresh and ready to go! I’m excited to get going on this next season.”  Per Tim Brown at Yahoo; "Brian Wilson eyeing MLB return as a knuckleball pitcher."What would seem different about Wilson’s knuckler is that he throws it from several arm angles. Also, he grips it with the tips of his fingers, so does not bury his fingernails into the ball, and then does not push the ball as much as he throws it as he would a fastball. On Wednesday morning, he changed speeds with it, commanded it on both sides of the plate, up and down, threw it over the top and sidearm, and generally beat the hell out of the guy trying to catch it. The rest will be left for the hitters to decide, assuming Wilson gets into a team’s camp, which shouldn’t be so hard.* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes ** Like Dodgers Blue Heaven on facebook ** Dodgers Blue Heaven home page * [...]