Sunday, April 26, 2015

Visiting the Institiute for Baseball Studies -The Loot


A couple of posts ago, Wallet Card and I visited the Institute for Baseball Studies. You'll find that post, filled with plenty of intriguing baseball memorabilia here

It was my pleasure to meet and talk with Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, when I visited - and for an extra bonus, Terry generously shared some fantastic baseball memorabilia with me to take home.  Let's take a look at the new additions to my collection, THANKS to Terry and the Reliquary...

Below is a large card (5" by 8") that will be a giveaway to accompany the upcoming visit of Masanori Murakami to Whittier College and the Institute on Tuesday, July 7...

Terry then noted that I'm a Dodgers fan. He asked if I'm a Fernando fan...and he gave me a set of these...

I love those Fernando cards. I don't think I'll be opening up the set too soon, though. I want to enjoy them in their original packaging for a while. 

Then Terry really blew me away. He dropped an UNCUT SHEET of some very cool cards on me.  This was from a set of "Legends of the Minor Leagues". Check these out...

Look at these legends...Lasorda!  and Castro! (last row)

Yup, before Puigmania, there was Fidel, the original Cuban...

 Last - but as all card collectors know - absolutely not least,Terry dropped some unopen packs in my hand. Nice! 

1991 was right around the time I entered card collecting. Who might be waiting in these packs?

Nolan Ryan, the Big Hurt, Cheater Bonds, Junior was everywhere, Paul Molitor, Ricky Henderson.  Lots of great possibilities. 

Did I pull any of those guys? are the top cards, from Studio first...

I caught a Griffey...but...not Junior. 

Never a bad thing to pull a Dodger card. Eddie Murray is no slouch to be sure.

Boggsy was in a lot of packs back then as well. 

On to '91 Leaf. That was a hot pack full of Cubs and Phillies.

 Maddux! Pre-glasses and pre-umpires giving him an extra two inches off the plate, "just because"....

Nice to catch an Angel. 

One Cubbie to round it out....

 What a sweet bunch a baseball collector's loot. 

A million THANKS to you Terry, for the warm welcome you extended that day, our wonderful baseball conversation, and the awesome gifts that you shared. I'll surely be back to the Institute soon (as soon as Laker Dave and I can coordinate). 

Good evening and Aloha everybody!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wallet Card Goes To TheDodger Game

Aloha everybody,

Today the Giants came from behind to win and complete a sweep of the Dodgers at Giant Soda Bottle Stadium. 

On the bright side, the Dodgers remain in First Place as the Giants remain in last. I'll take some consolation in that, but it's not quite enough to erase the bitter taste of broom dust. In an effort to raise some cheer on a dreary night, let's take a trip with Wallet Card to Chavez Ravine. 

It was last Friday night, and I decided to give the honor of watching MVP and Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to my Fightin' Milton Bradley jersey. 

 I took the Metro to the game. On the way to Union Station in downtown L.A., the Metro runs right alongside a cemetery. 

You can't quite see them in this photo, but trust me on this one - out there among the graves was a group of roosters and hens happily clucking the day away...

Follow the "D" in Dodgers (down and to the left) to see them...

From Union Station we switched over the the Dodgers Express, the bus that will drive us to the stadium...

Right outside the gates are some very cool large-scale replicas of the Dodgers' World Series Championship rings. Although Sandy did not play in the 1955 series for Brooklyn, he was on the team. 

The next shot is the 1963 WS ring. Sandy not only played for the '63 club, he was the World Series MVP.  Of the six World Series championships the Dodgers have won, this was the only one to be clinched at home. 

The "4 straight" on the ring refers to the four game sweep of the Dodgers over the Yankees. The number four is also significant as four Dodger pitchers (Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johhny Podres and Ron Perranoski) combined to give up only four runs in the entire series. The scores from the four games are there too.

We entered the stadium as Kershaw was completing his warm ups...

A beautiful evening, Kershaw on the mound, and the ol' stadium looked more beautiful than ever...

Night, and the crowd settles in...

I had to take a walk if I wanted to view the game from behind the plate. Along the first and third baselines are logos for the Jackie Robinson, "Civil Rights Game", that was held a few nights before. 

Regular readers of ATBATT know that I toot the horn for equal rights for all, but in my opinion the "Civil Rights Game" is a dopey moniker. 

Beer prices are out of control at my stadium! How about yours?  
(And why is Korean beer only $7? Bud is equally watery.)  

Kershaw struck out a dozen, the Dodgers won, and we were treated to fireworks after the game...

Time to hop on the Express back to Union Station...

You can just feel the history all around you at Union Station... can get a snack for the rest of the ride home...

 Next time: The loot from the Institute of Baseball Studies

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wallet Card Visits the Institute for Baseball Studies - Is Blown Away!

Aloha everybody,

I featured a DVD in my previous post, which talked about the Baseball Reliquary and the Institute for Baseball Studies. As I mentioned in that post, I was inspired to visit the Institute, so I grabbed Wallet Card and my son, and we took a road trip to Baseball Heaven. 

The Institute is located on the campus of Whittier College. We stopped in on a Friday afternoon and found Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, visiting with someone who had just been gifted the wonderful box of Dodgers goodness that is shown above with Wallet Card. 

Here's a closer look...

This box - and its awesome contents - were given to her by a friend, who believe it or not is a Giants fan! Let's take a look inside. 

What's in the box???? 

 Just a bunch of Dodgers retro-coolness....

Drinking glasses with Dodgers from the 60's. You can see some of the names on the side of the box: Carl Furillo, Don Drysdale and Johnny (I hate Marichal) Roseboro. Also included are Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider and Wally Moon. 

Here's Koufax...

The Duke...

And Wally (Moonshots) Moon...

How cool is this set of glasses? They're in mint condition as though they were made yesterday. What a lucky break it was for me to visit the Institute on the same day those glasses were there. 

Above is a shot of the lucky lady who owns those glasses and Terry. I cannot express enough what a friendly person Terry is, and what a pleasure it is to talk all things baseball with him. The time flew by like a fast breeze.

Check out that wild artwork over Terry's head. Here's a closer look...

It's the first baseball game ever! The mastadon is the batter, and beyond the center fielder you can see the outline of the old MLB logo. 

Here's another quirky baseball artwork...

This was made by a former semi-pro player. Take note of the baseball. It's an actual ball with a monkey skull. Yikes! 

Speaking of quirky artworks, the walls were covered in paintings from a Dodger fan whom Terry tells me makes a new painting for every game and displays them out in his yard....

The center painting above was specially made for the Reliquary.  Here are a few other jewels that are up on display...

You might recognize the large photo of Anthony Perkins as Jimmy Piersall from the film classic "Fear Strikes Out". As auspiciousness would have it, I happened to watch that film for the first time that very morning, so it was a treat for me to see that photo, which Terry says was a donation from a Hollywood studio that was about to toss it out! 

Of course most of you should recognize the photo prints right below Perkins/Piersall - it's Willie Mays' "The Catch".  

You heard about A League of Their Own. How about The Blessed Virgins League?  

Do you go to hell if your team beats them in the World Series?

Below is a banner from a special night for Shoeless Joe Jackson, in his home town...

Below is a tribute to the East Los Angeles baseball team, Los Chorizeros, who were part of the Mexican-American baseball leagues that played across the American Southwest from the 1920's until the early 70's.

Never heard of them? Me neither; I was born just as the leagues were dying out - and courtesy of their sacrilegious omission from Ken Burns' (now flawed in my mind) baseball documentary, most of America has remained uninformed of this great historical slice of baseball. 

Much like the Negro leagues, the Mexican-American leagues were formed because they too were kept out of The Show by all those guys who thought exactly like Al Campanis.

 For every lunch counter sign denying service to African-Americans in the south, there was an equal one denying service to Mexican-Americans in the southwest - particularly down home in Texas (my father's home state). 

Thanks to the Institute, word of these players' contribution to the American fabric of baseball will slowly be brought out to light. 

I'm personally glad that Terry had this display up on the day I visited, because it turns out the leagues were most popular in East L.A., right in the neighborhoods where I grew up, in the shadows of Dodger Stadium.

If not for the Institute, I may never have known of the Chorizeros, so named because of their connection to the Carmelita chorizo factory, which I am sad to say is no longer in business. The closing of Carmelitas was a personal blow to me because they made the BEST CHORIZO EVER, bar none. 

The Chorizeros were such a baseball powerhouse, they were referred to as The Yankees of the West. 

If you check the photo closely, you'll see the logo is a baseball playin' pig. That was the same logo on every package of Carmelitas chorizo. All my young life I wondered about why that pig loved baseball before giving up his life for the breakfast table.

Here's one for my buddy Matt....

Please pardon the slightly blurred image below. I chose to include it because of the interesting displays the Reliquary presented in the past...

That's not nearly everything I have to share from our visit to the Institute, but time is running short as Wallet Card and I will be going to the ballgame tonight to see Kershaw and the Dodgers battle the Rockies. 

We'll have to continue in the next post where I'll showcase my loot - the wonderful things that Terry gave to me on my visit. 

Here's a teaser...

Join Wallet Card and I next time for Part Two! 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Have You Heard Of The Other Baseball Hall Of Fame?

Aloha everybody,

Isn't this the best time of year? It's Opening week and all of our teams are in the mix. How's your team shaping up so far? As of this writing, the Dodgers are at .500 with 160 more games to go. Not a bad spot to be in. 

Have any of you seen the video below? My buddy Laker Dave lent this to me and suggested I watch it, as it's a "very cool video" and he knew I would enjoy it thoroughly. He was absolutely right.

The video is a documentary about the birth of the Baseball Reliquary and the Institute of Baseball Studies. The Reliquary is a sort of "People's Hall of Fame", but they call theirs the "Shrine of the Eternals". Best of all, this is no joke. 

Cooperstown honors the best strike out pitchers, the home run kings, and all of baseball's past stat-leaders. The Reliquary honors everyone else who made the game what it is today. In it's archives you'll find the heroes as well as the goats, the wild ones, the funny ones, the under-the-radars, and the sublime.

Unlike the honorees at Cooperstown, regular folk like you and I vote for the Eternals. I'll let them tell you what the Shrine is:

"The highest honor afforded by the Baseball Reliquary is election to the Shrine of the Eternals. Similar to Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Shrine of the Eternals differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not the principal criterion for election. It is believed that the election of individuals on merits other than statistics and playing ability will offer the opportunity for a deeper understanding and appreciation of baseball than has heretofore been provided by “Halls of Fame” in the more traditional and conservative institutions."
Dock Ellis was the first inductee. The video includes his touching induction speech, as well as the highly amusing induction of Mr. Pete Rose. If you love the sport of baseball, get your hands on a copy of this DVD pronto (try your local library), and watch it with ATBATT's full endorsement. Watch it with your kids and let them in on the other sides of baseball that many have forgotten or never even knew about. 

 It's my good luck that the Reliquary and the Institute for Baseball Studies are based here on the West Coast, at local Whittier College.

 Last week I stopped by the Institute for a visit, and I was absolutely blown away! Stop by for the next post as we go inside and drop our jaws in baseball awe.