There was a survey conducted for this Halloween by the National Retail Federation listing the top-10 Halloween costumers for 2010. Though being a Dodger is a great Halloween idea, it didn’t make the list. But there certainly are Dodger connections to that list. Here goes:
1. Princess — Now the Dodgers have never had a princess, but they have had a prince — former catcher Tom Prince, who played for the Dodgers from 1994-98.
2. Spider-Man — Believe it or not, the Dodgers have had a spider — third baseman/outfielder Spider Jorgensen (1947-50).
3. Witch — This might be a stretch, but the Dodgers haven’t had a witch, tin man or scarecrow like in the Wizard of Oz. But they did have a Lyons, former catcher Barry Lyons (1990-91).
4. Pirate — The Dodgers once had what many consider to be the best Pirate ever. Before Roberto Clemente became a Hall of Famer with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was a Dodger minor leaguer.
5. Disney Princess — There may be no greater baseball Cinderella story than the 1988 Dodgers, who weren’t favored to win the National League West, but did. The New York Mets were supposed to run through them in the NLCS, but they didn’t. And the mighty Oakland A’s were heavy favorites in the World Series. Yet the Dodgers beat them, too.
6. Action/Super Hero — Where do we start? Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, etc., etc. etc.
7. Ghost — The Dodgers once had a player with a spooky ghost-like name — pitcher Mysterious Walker (1913).
8. Vampire — Today’s most popular vampire might be “Edward” from the Twilight movies. One of today’s most popular Dodgers is Kershaw, whose middle name is Edward.
9. Batman — The Dodgers’ main batmen in 2010 were Kemp (28 home runs and 89 RBI) and Rafael Furcal with a .300 batting average.
10. Star Wars Character — The Dodgers have had a Luke (Prokopec, 2000-01) and three Walkers (Dixie 1939-47, Rube 1951-58 and Mysterious again).
Some 45 years ago, in one of the brightest seasons in Dodgers history, Bryan Hayward was a batboy for the team. On Sept. 22, Hayward was back on the field at Dodger Stadium receiving recognition for a special accomplishment.
Hayward is one of 234 runners who have completed every single L.A. Marathon since the first in 1986. The West Covina resident, along with the other Legacy Runnerswere brought onto the field at Dodger Stadium prior to the Sept. 22 game. Hayward, though, was singled out and announced to the Dodger Stadium crowd.
Hayward got emotional after he was announced.
“I guess this is my cathedral,” he said of Dodger Stadium.
Hayward’s friend was the visiting team’s batboy at Dodger Stadium in 1965. He asked Hayward if he would be interested in being a batboy and he originally said no. His friend convinced him to come to the ballpark and check it out.
“First thing I did was walk to the dugout area and look onto the field and I was sold,” recalled Hayward. “I didn’t care what the job description was.”
The Dodgers went on to defeat the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series. It was a team of Dodger legends — Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres, Jim Gilliam, Wes Parker, Maury Wills, Willie Davis, Tommy Davis, “Sweet” Lou Johnson and manager Walter Alston. Koufax pitched a perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965 at Dodger Stadium.
“It was unbelievable when you think of the genuine superstars on that team,” said Hayward. “They were a very light-hitting team. A great example was when Koufax threw his perfect game. I think Drysdale was in Philadelphia or wherever they were going to play the next series. When he got the phone call that Koufax threw a perfect game, the first question he asked was, ‘Did we win the game?'”
Hayward said catcher Jeff Torborg took him under his wing. He used to break in new shoes for Wills. He also used to play pepper all the time with Willie Davis. That season was a great run for the Dodgers and for Hayward.
It was a mixed bag for the Dodgers’ minor league partners in 2010. Here’s a look at how the teams and some of their top players fared.
Almost was the case for the Dodgers’ Triple-A partner, the Albuquerque Isotopes, in 2010. The Isotopes finished the season one game out of the Pacific Coast League playoffs, finishing 73-71 — one game behind PCL American South winner Oklahoma City.
First baseman John Lindsey was the Pacific League’s batting champion, hitting .353. He also led the team with 25 home runs and 97 RBI. Third baseman Russ Mitchell was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. He ranked in the PCL top 10 in homers (23), RBI (87), doubles (38), hits (159), extra-base hits (63), total bases (270), runs (97) and batting average (.315). Left-handed reliever Juan Perez was named the club’s Pitcher of the Year after going 4-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 45.2 innings.
The Dodgers’ Double-A partner, the Chattanooga Lookouts, had an up-and-down season, finishing 65-74 overall. The bright side is a lot of Dodger prospects took steps forward in Chattanooga. Kenley Jansen went 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA and struck out 50 batters in 27 innings before being called up to the Majors on July 23. Outfielder Trayvon Robinson finished in the Southern League top 10 in batting average (.300), on-base percentage (.404), walks (73), runs (80), stolen bases (38) and OPS (.842). Shortstop Dee Gordon finished in the top 10 in runs (86), hits (154), triples (10) and led the league in stolen bases (53). Jerry Sands, despite playing only half the season with Chattanooga, as he started the season with the Single-A Great Lakes Loons, was tied for fourth in the Southern League with 17 home runs. Jon Huber was a bright spot in the bullpen, going 3-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 18 saves.
It was a struggle overall for the Advanced Single-A Inland Empire 66ers, yet a couple of players made the most of their limited time there. Outfielder Kyle Russell belted 16 homers and knocked in 53 runs, while batting .354 before a promotion to Chattanooga. Aaron Miller, the Dodgers’ 2009 first-round pick, was the team’s most steady pitcher, going 6-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 19 games, 17 starts.
It’s hard to argue that there has been a better team in the entire minor leagues than the Dodgers’ other Single-A partner, the Great Lakes Loons. The Loons advanced to the Midwest League Playoffs after finishing 90-49 overall in the regular season, winning 45 games at home and 45 on the road. The Loons took care of business in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division Quarterfinals, eliminating the Fort Wayne TinCaps in three games, but lost in three in the Eastern Division Championship Series to the Lake County Captains . Outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez finished in the Midwest League top 10 in hits (156), home runs (16), RBI (77), stolen bases (43), slugging (.520), OPS (.863) and led the league in average (.318), doubles (43) and total bases (255). Pitcher Allen Webster finished in the top 10 in ERA (2.88) and innings pitched (131.1) and tied for the league lead in wins with 12. Outfielder Blake Smith led the team with 19 home runs and second baseman Rafael Ynoa had a stellar season batting .286 with 40 stolen bases. Five pitchers — Webster, Will Savage, Steve Smith, Jordan Roberts and Luis Vasquez — each pitched at least 40 innings for the club and had sub-3.00 ERAs.
He’s called the Little Baseball Star. The YouTube video of him consistently
hitting 80-plus MPH fastballs has been viewed 300,000-plus times. His father,
Luis, claims that 80 isn’t where he stops. He hits 90 MPH as well.
The Little Baseball Star is named Ariel Antigua, who recently came out to Dodger Stadium and later visited the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Show. Both visits he didn’t say much.
was invited to show his skill on the Jimmy
“He’s not that good on the mike, but get him in batting practice, he’ll do his thing,”
With a bat in his hand, Ariel impressed Dodgers like Ronnie Belliard.
“He’s unbelievable man. Hitting 90?” said Belliard. “He’s going to be a great hitter.”
Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly added: “He’s a natural. Can we sign him now?”
You can stand in the same place as Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp. Their coaches can even coach you.
The 2010 Jr. Dodgers Training Days were such a success, that thoughts are already on 2011. The first one-day clinic was held at Dodger Stadium on July 9, with instruction by Dodger coaches. The Aug. 19 and 20 clinics are sold out. To be notified of future Training Days, fill out the form at dodgers.com/jrdodgers.
What can you expect if you go to Jr. Dodger Training Days?
Kids at the July 9 training day were taught by Dodger coaches, including Larry Bowa, Mariano Duncan and Bob Schaefer, as well as former Dodgers “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Derrel Thomas and Wes Parker.
You’re in the bullpen throwing pitches, on the outfield grass playing a game with fellow Jr. Dodgers and learning the fundamentals of baseball. And you aren’t the only one getting fun out of it.
“The kids really enjoy themselves,” said Mariano. “It’s something I’m very glad I do. Every time you do something for the kids it’s always something good.”
The waiting list is forming. Don’t miss out.
Immediately after Laker center and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol filmed a quick promo for the Manny Ramirez Action Figure, which will be given out to the first 15,000 kids 14 and under at the July 22 game with the New York Mets, he asked if he could have an action figure of his own.
The 7-footer from Spain was at Dodger Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Dodgers’ interleague series opener with the New York Yankees on June 25. That was just eight days after Gasol helped lead the Lakers to a Game 7 victory in basketball’s biggest championship rivalry over the Boston Celtics.
Gasol was full of excitement for baseball’s biggest championship rivalry and commented about how pumped up he was to throw out the first pitch. So when he was asked to promote the Manny Action Figure, he did it with fervor.
He held up the action figure and said, “Go Manny, go!”
Then he did it in his and Manny’s native language of Spanish, “Dale Manny, dale!”
Then he took Manny home.
Matt Kemp has a special interest in the Dodgers’ upcoming series with the New York Yankees. This will be one of baseball’s budding stars’ first opportunity to meet some childhood heroes.
“I’ve never met Derek Jeter or A-Rod. A lot of those guys we’ve never played against them,” said Kemp. “To meet some of my favorite baseball players and to play against them is going to be cool, especially Derek Jeter.”
The 2009 World Champions will visit Dodger Stadium this weekend for the second time since interleague play began in 1997. The Dodgers took two out of three games from the Yankees in 2004.
At the time, Kemp was just 19 years old and in his second year of professional baseball and playing for the Columbus Catfish in Georgia. Alex Rodriguez was in his first season with the Yankees, Joe Torre was the manager and the team had a glut of stars — Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Gary Sheffield and of course, Jeter.
Jeter was in his 10th season, on his way to his sixth All-Star Game and first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
“He was one of my favorite players growing up and A-Rod,” said Kemp. “It’s going to be really cool to play against that organization.”
By Aaron Bensoua
The All-Star Game is coming and your favorite Dodgers need your help. The annual Midsummer Classic is taking place on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and now is the time to vote in the starters for each team. This year, as it’s been since 2003, the winner of the All-Star Game gets home-field advantage in the World Series. The American League is on a 12-game winning streak, but the National League, with help from the Dodgers, is looking to start a new streak.
However, the only way a Dodger can become a starter on the team is if the fans vote them in. Between now and July 1, voting is underway and you can vote up to 25 times at dodgers.com/vote or look for the All-Star Game kiosks at Dodger Stadium to vote as many more times as you’d like.
Several young Dodger fans shared their opinions on which one of their favorite Dodgers deserved to go to the game.
“Andre Ethier is the best Dodger. He definitely deserves to go,” said Charlie, 10, of Los Feliz. His younger brother Oscar, 4, had a different Dodger outfielder in mind.
“Manny Ramirez! He hits a lot of home runs!”
So whether you want to see Ethier, Ramirez, or Matt Kemp in the All-Star Game, the only way they can start is if you vote. You have the power to see which players play in this very important game.
Of course, you don’t always need on-the-field reasons to pick a Dodger. Carly, 17, of Simi Valley had her own special reason for voting for Russell Martin.
“I’m going to vote for him because he’s really cute,” she said.
The e-mail ends:
“Jonathan hugged that glove after the game as if it were attached to his body. He was trembling with emotion. He told me it was one of the greatest moments of his life.”
Dodger reliever George Sherrill made the unique moment happen on May 5 at Dodger Stadium. After giving up two runs in the ninth inning to the Milwaukee Brewers, Sherrill walked toward the dugout to a chorus of boos.
Yet one 14-year-old boy named Jonathan Kramer stood up and shouted: “Don’t worry, George, you’ll get ’em next time!”
Sherrill looked up to the boy and tossed him his glove, prompting a letter from a Dodger season ticket holder named Bruce Nash, who was sitting with the boy.
“Once a year or so, a glove kind of runs out of outs so I toss it away,” said Sherrill. “After something like that, you definitely hear a mixture of stuff, guys rooting you on or the others booing and stuff. It’s definitely nice to have fans like that who stick by you no matter what. That’s definitely what you need more than a fair-weather person. It’s definitely great to make a kid’s day like that.”
The next night, Sherrill met Jonathan before the game and left an even greater impact on him with his outgoing personality. The following night, as Sherrill was exiting a game into the Dodger dugout, he tipped his cap in the youngster’s direction as a salute to his biggest fan.
Nearly two weeks later, Sherrill read the letter. It left an impact.
“You want to keep the future of the game going and there’s no telling what a certain kid’s going through. Any little thing you can do can help,” said Sherrill. “To us it’s just a glove, but to them, it could mean something more.”
Sherrill had just one concern, though.
“I hope he’s left-handed,” he said.”
Christy Moya said there have been hundreds of dance practices and recitals in her 10-year-old daughter Alexandra’s past and maybe more in the future. But according to her mother Christy, anything that has happened in the past or will happen in the future pale in comparison to Alexandra’s experience as a Jr. Dodgers Dancer.
Alexandra joined the Jr. Dodgers Dancers last year and was able to perform at Dodger Stadium, prior to a game, and this year accepted an award from legendary Dodger Don Newcombe.
The Jr. Dodgers Dancers experience was rewarding on multiple levels, both for Alexandra and her parents.
“It was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Christy. “It was the coolest thing because it was a way for us and for her to express her love for the Dodgers and feel a part of their organization, not just to be a fan from a distance.”
Christy added that the pride wasn’t only felt by the Moya family, but by their neighbors, who came out to the game to support her.
“It almost became like a community thing,” she said.
One other advantage was that it gave her daughter a sense of belonging and helped her develop a new love.
“It’s a good way for girls to embrace the love of sports,” she said. “It piques their interest in baseball as well.”