Results tagged ‘ Bill Russell ’

Emotional first-pitch salute to Vin Scully opens 2016 season at Dodger Stadium

By Jon Weisman

In a breathtaking experience that traversed Dodger history from Don Newcombe to Clayton Kershaw, Vin Scully received an emotional tribute before the first pitch of his final Opening Day at Dodger Stadium as the team’s broadcaster.

Al Michaels, who was considered by some a possible successor to Scully four decades ago, hosted the tribute that mixed video (including messages from Henry Aaron and Kirk Gibson) with live presentations.

The roll call of Dodgers that took the field went as follows: Newcombe, Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Al Downing, Rick Monday, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Tommy Lasorda and Kershaw, with Magic Johnson and Peter O’Malley then escorting Scully on to the hallowed stadium grass, before an enormous standing ovation from the crowd.

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Top series by Jon SooHoo, bottom by Juan Ocampo

A baseball autographed by every participant was then passed down the line to Scully, who truly looked moved by the moment and said afterward he was “overwhelmed.”

Watching him from ground level, as the scoreboard camera circled around him for its closeup, I never felt more how much of a living legend we were privileged to know, and to call our own.


Turner’s postseason one of the best in Dodger history

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

A week removed from the end of the Dodgers’ season, it’s still staggering just how great Justin Turner was in the National League Division Series. The fact is it’s one of the greatest performances by a Dodger in a playoff series — ever.


Old-Timers Game: The 1970s infield reunited

The Infield

By Jon Weisman

Cey. Russell. Lopes. Garvey.

Not since the final game of the 1981 World Series has the legendary infield been in the same lineup together. That changes at Saturday’s Old-Timers Game at Dodger Stadium, when Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey reunite on the Orel Hershiser-managed home team.

There’s going to be a great turnout for the Old-Timers festivities, which begin at 4 p.m. with introductions honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1965 World Series championship team and the 60th anniversary of the 1955 World Series titlists. Among those scheduled for salutes are Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe, Tommy Davis, “Sweet” Lou Johnson, Al Ferrara, Wes Parker, Ron Fairly, Wally Moon, Roger Craig, Ron Perranoski, Ed Roebuck, Jeff Torborg and Dick Traceweski, along with Manny Mota and Charlie Hough.

Though there could be some trades before gametime, here are the current rosters for the two teams playing in the game itself, which also welcomes back MLB Ambassador of Inclusion and onetime Dodger Billy Bean:

LAD 2015 1965 World Series Replica Ring (side)Team Orel
Infielders/catchers: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Steve Sax, Steve Yeager
Outfielders: Pedro Guerrero, Mickey Hatcher, Jerry Hairston, Mike Marshall, Billy Bean
Pitchers: Orel Hershiser, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park

Team Nomar
Infielders/catchers: Maury Wills, Eric Karros, Nomar Garciaparra, Tim Wallach, Derrel Thomas, Todd Zeile
Outfielders: Shawn Green, Ken Landreaux, Rick Monday, Steve Finley
Pitchers: Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy John, Rick Honeycutt

After the Old-Timers Game, the Dodgers play the Rockies at 6:10 p.m. (with a 1965 World Series replica ring being given to the first 40,000 fans in attendance.) Don’t miss this great day of baseball.

Sandy Koufax to join Old-Timers Game celebration of ’65 title team

By Cary Osborne

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ 1965 World Series championship team, this year’s Old-Timers Game at Dodger Stadium on May 16 will be a celebration of that legendary squad.

LAD_15 Old-Timers Game logo w sponsor

The stars of that ’65 team — Sandy Koufax, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Wally Moon, Ron Perranoski, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Ron Fairly, Jim Lefebvre, Al Ferrara and “Sweet” Lou Johnson — are scheduled to take part in the festivities, prior to the 6:10 p.m. Dodgers-Colorado Rockies game.

The Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games to capture the 1965 World Series title. Koufax, the World Series MVP, pitched a shutout in Game 7 on two days rest, and Johnson hit a home run in that 2-0 victory.

Dodger greats Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Rick Monday, Reggie Smith, Eric Karros and Nomar Garciaparra will lead a host of Dodgers in the game following introductions beginning at 4 p.m. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a replica 1965 World Series ring (presented by Security Benefit).

In addition to saluting the 11 members of the 1965 team, the Dodgers will also acknowledge members of the organization’s first World Championship in 1955 when the team beat the New York Yankees in seven games, capped by a 2-0 shutout by the late Johnny Podres. Five members of the 1955 Dodgers will be part of the festivities — Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe, Ed Roebuck and Roger Craig.

The Dodgers’ Old-Timers rosters will also feature Chan Ho Park, Tommy John, Pedro Guerrero, Mickey Hatcher, Steve Sax, Tim Wallach, Steve Yeager, Rick Honeycutt, Eric Gagne, Charlie Hough, Manny Mota, Shawn Green, Ken Landreaux, Steve Finley, Todd Zeile, Mike Marshall and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (866) DODGERS.

Seasons: Maury Wills’ 1962 — not to be taken away

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers

Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

This marks the fourth in a series of stories where we look back in depth on some of the greatest individual seasons in Dodger history.

The 1962 National League Most Valuable Player award doesn’t belong to Maury Wills. That’s what Willie Mays tells the former Dodger great when he sees him. The seldom remembered 1971 film called “The Steagle,” which starred Richard Benjamin and the vibrant Cloris Leachman, in her much, much younger pre-“Dancing with the Stars” days, has a scene in which Benjamin argues that Mays should have won it over Wills.

“He hit 49 home runs that year, and the Giants won the pennant. But little Maury got it, though,” Wills says.


Kenley and Co. spinning records


Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Last night, Kenley Jansen hit the century mark with career saves, becoming the sixth Dodger in franchise history to reach 100 saves in a Dodger uniform. It got us thinking about Jansen and other Dodgers climbing the club’s all-time lists.

  • Jansen ranks sixth all-time in Dodger history in saves. He is one behind Ron Perranoski and should settle in at fifth all-time by the time the season ends. Jim Brewer is in fourth place at 125. Eric Gagne is the all-time saves leader with 161.
  • Only three Dodgers have cracked the 40-save mark in a single season: Eric Gagne (2003: 55, 2002: 52, 2004: 45), Todd Worrell (1996: 44) and Jeff Shaw (2001: 43).
  • Clayton Kershaw has 1,400 career strikeouts, which puts him at sixth place in Los Angeles Dodgers history. Orel Hershiser is in fifth at 1,456. Kershaw is seventh in franchise history.
  • Kershaw is two wins away from tying Johnny Podres for 10th all-time in L.A. history with 95 wins.
  • Kershaw has lowered his career ERA from 2.60 coming into this season to 2.50. That’s first in L.A. history. Sandy Koufax is second at 2.64. Kershaw is still third in franchise history behind Jeff Pfeffer (Brooklyn 1913-1921: 2.31) and Nap Rucker (Brooklyn 1907-1916: 2.42).
  • After last night’s outing, Kershaw’s season ERA is 1.73 — or to be more precise, 1.7293. In 1966, Koufax had a 1.7275 ERA, which ranks third in franchise history. Rube Marquard (1.58, 1916) and Ned Garvin (1.68, 1904) are at the top of that list.
  • Matt Kemp’s 173 career home runs put him fifth in L.A. history. He passed Shawn Green (162), Raul Mondesi (163) and Pedro Guerrero (171) this season. Mike Piazza occupies fourth place with 177. Kemp is ninth in franchise history behind Piazza.
  • Kemp’s 170 stolen bases rank fifth in L.A. history. Brett Butler is next on the list at 179.
  • Kemp cracked the L.A. top 10 in hits this season and has 1,154, which puts him at 10th place, just above Dusty Baker’s 1,144.
  • Kemp is at 622 career RBI, right behind Andre Ethier and Bill Russell, who are tied for fifth with 627.
  • Ethier’s 1,231 hits put him in seventh place in L.A. history. He passed Davey Lopes (1,204) and Steve Sax (1,218) this season.

Dodger position switches through the ages


Walter Alston managed Bill Russell’s first eight seasons as a player from 1969-76.

By Mark Langill

Dee Gordon’s attempt to play second base in 2014 is a natural experiment for a Spring Training camp setting and the latest in a long line of Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers who switched positions during their careers. Most notably in recent years, current closer Kenley Jansen signed with the Dodgers as a catcher in 2005 and converted to pitcher in 2009 at the Single-A level.

Here is a look back at some Dodgers and their not-so-famous positions:

  • Gil Hodges: The longtime first baseman originally broke into the Majors as a third baseman in 1943. After his service in World War II, Hodges in 1947 played 24 games at catcher. When the Dodgers recalled Roy Campanella from Triple-A St. Paul in early July 1948, Hodges switched to first base.
  • Jackie Robinson: After playing second base at Triple-A Montreal in 1946, Robinson made his historic Brooklyn Dodger debut at first base in 1947. Robinson primarily played second base from 1948-52 and rotated among several positions (first base, second base, third base, outfield) for the balance of his career through 1956.
  • Bill Russell: The all-time Los Angeles leader in games played by a shortstop (1,746) originally made his MLB debut in 1969 as an outfielder. Russell even tried switch-hitting during the first half of the 1971 season.
  • Davey Lopes: The longtime second baseman also started his Dodger career as a minor-league outfielder. His transition was assisted by longtime Dodger coach and former minor league infielder Monty Basgall.
  • Steve Garvey: The team’s Opening Day third baseman in 1970 and 1971 was at the crossroads of his career by 1973 when throwing problems reduced his role to pinch-hitter. According to Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers offered Garvey in a trade for Philadelphia’s Willie Montanez, but the Phillies declined. An injury to outfielder Von Joshua opened the door for Garvey at first base when Bill Buckner agreed to switch to left field.
  • Juan Samuel: When the Dodgers acquired the second baseman from the New York Mets prior to the 1990 season, the plan was to make Samuel the team’s center fielder. Samuel played 31 games at the position until L.A. traded Willie Randolph to the Athletics on May 13.
  • Kal Daniels: Trading for outfielder Eric Davis prior to the 1992 season left the Dodgers with a crowded outfield picture: Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Brett Butler and Kal Daniels. The team tried Daniels at first base in spring training as a backup to newly acquired Todd Benzinger. Daniels played eight games at first base, but the position eventually was taken in late May by Eric Karros, who went from third-string status to N.L. Rookie of the Year.
  • Eric Gagne: The relief pitcher who inspired the “Game Over” slogan during his MLB-record streak of 84 successful save opportunities between 2002 and 2004 began his Dodger career as a starting pitcher. After a promising September audition in 1999 (1-1, 2.10 ERA in five starts), Gagne struggled as a starter in 2000 and 2001. Manager Jim Tracy in spring training 2002 penciled Gagne and veteran Jesse Orosco as closer candidates after the offseason departure of Jeff Shaw, but Gagne quickly flourished in his new role and a lefty-righty platoon wasn’t necessary.