September 2010

His Batboy Days

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.

Minor Matters

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.