Results tagged ‘ Tommy Davis ’

Corey Seager’s breathtaking, record-breaking year

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By Cary Osborne

Williams, DiMaggio, Pujols and now Seager.

Corey Seager has had one of the greatest rookie seasons in Dodger history. But it’s bigger than that. The argument could be made that it’s one of the great rookie seasons in baseball history.

Over the course of this year, it seems like every game we’re coming up with a new record he has set or different elite company he has joined.

Here’s an accounting of it.

After Tuesday’s game, Seager is now hitting .316 with 185 hits, 25 home runs and 40 doubles. The only rookies in Major League history, according to Baseball Reference, to hit at least .300 with 25 homers, 40 doubles and 185 hits as a rookie are: Albert Pujols (2001), Nomar Garciaparra (1997), Tony Oliva (1964), Ted Williams (1939), Joe DiMaggio (1936), Hal Trosky (1934) and Dale Alexander (1929).

He is on track to having the greatest OPS+ by a rookie shortstop all time. Chicago Cub Charlie Hollocher (1918) is the current record holder at 134.

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Hyun-Jin Ryu struggles in return

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By Jon Weisman

The question with Hyun-Jin Ryu tonight, or at least one of the big ones after he spent more than a year recovering from shoulder surgery, was about the effectiveness of his fastball.

The San Diego Padres didn’t have much trouble answering it, knocking eight hits and scoring six runs over 4 2/3 innings, the length of Ryu’s first big-league appearance since the 2014 playoffs, in a 6-0 victory.

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Tommy Davis cherishes memories of Jackie Robinson at Muir field dedication

Davis poseBy Mark Langill

Tommy Davis ended his day at Muir High School on Wednesday by trying to tiptoe off the new baseball field surface with reverence.

Although the former Dodger two-time National League batting champion looked more like a museum patron sneaking across a priceless carpet with Army boots, he couldn’t help feeling the joy of being a kid again at age 76.

“This is Jackie Robinson’s high school,” Davis exclaimed, gazing at his surroundings as he walked from left field to the first-base dugout. “Jackie went to school here!”

robinson_jackie_slideIt was an afternoon of speeches and celebration, history and future generations as the Dodgers dedicated a newly renovated baseball field at Robinson’s alma mater. The $260,000 project was coordinated by the Dodgers, Baseball Tomorrow Fund, the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Nick English, Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Educational Foundation. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) managed the reconstruction of the field.

But for Davis, the trip was personal. A native of Brooklyn, Davis was a sports standout at Boys High School in 1956 when the Yankees offered him a chance to work out at Yankee Stadium any time he wanted. Davis was poised to sign with the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers pulled off the ultimate sales pitch. Davis received a phone call at home from Jackie Robinson, who said he should sign with the Dodgers.

“I was pointing at the phone and whispering my mom, ‘Jackie Robinson is on the phone.’” Davis said. “I’m a Brooklyn guy and I was watching Jackie all the time. He was so exciting. I forgot about the Yankees and signed with the Dodgers.”

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Greinke, Kershaw not alone in post-award arguments

Mike Piazza in 1997. Todd Warshaw/Allsport/Getty Images

Mike Piazza in 1997. Todd Warshaw/Allsport/Getty Images

By Cary Osborne

After Wednesday’s Cy Young Award announcements, we know that Zack Greinke has the best pitching season by a Dodger to not get recognized with a Cy Young Award. And it might be the best ever by a pitcher who didn’t win the prize. Clayton Kershaw’s season might be the second best by a Dodger who didn’t win the Cy Young Award.

They’re not alone. Other Dodgers have had strong arguments for season-ending awards and were left empty-handed.

Looking back at some of the best seasons by Dodger pitchers who didn’t win a Cy Young Award, it’s easy to see why they were passed over.

Reliever Ron Perranoski had an incredible 1963 out of the bullpen — a 16-3 record, 21 saves and a 1.67 ERA in 69 appearances. Perranoski even finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. Some guy named Koufax won the Cy Young that year.

Don Sutton had a 2.08 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 272 2/3 innings in 1972 and finished tied for fifth. No one was beating Steve Carlton with his 1.97 ERA and 310 strikeouts in 346 1/3 innings.

But there are some former Dodgers who could look back at the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards and share argument stories with Greinke and Kershaw. Actually, Kershaw could argue twice about the Cy Young Award.

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Zero celebration for 1962 scoreless streak

Walter Alston with Duke Snider, whose Dodger career ended in 1962.

Walter Alston with Duke Snider, whose Dodger career ended with the fateful conclusion to the 1962 season.

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Zack Greinke, P

By Mark Langill

My middle school math teacher is retiring in June after 40 years in the South Pasadena school district. But while Doug Buhler (I can type his first name, but it remains “Mister Buhler” when spoken) made a career out of solving math problems, he never deciphered a string of traumatic zeroes during his childhood.

While rooting for his Dodgers in 1962, Buhler watched the joyride to the National League pennant derailed by a late-season swoon that included a still-standing Los Angeles franchise record for futility – 35 scoreless innings – during the final homestand of the season.

Ahead by three games with six remaining, the Dodgers went 1-5 against the expansion Houston Colt .45s and the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing San Francisco to tie L.A. at the end of 162 games. The Dodgers blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth inning of the third playoff game, and the Giants’ four-run rally and 6-4 victory ruined the home team’s first season at Dodger Stadium.

The 1962 scoreless streak suddenly became topical because of the 2015 Dodgers’ three consecutive shutout losses at San Francisco and current string of 31 scoreless innings.

But it’s easier to forget about a scoreless streak in May. It if happens in October, one forever wallows in misery.

The 1962 scoreless streak included three consecutive shutout losses – by scores of 2-0 and 1-0 against St. Louis and 8-0 in the first playoff game at San Francisco. The first shutout loss on September 29 began with the Dodgers leaving two runners on base in both the first and second innings, wasted opportunities as St. Louis pitcher Ernie Broglio (pre-Lou Brock trade in 1964) didn’t allow a hit over the final seven innings for the victory.

The Dodgers still had a chance on a Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals, but veteran Curt Simmons pitched a five-hit shutout. The only run off L.A.’s Johnny Podres was an eighth-inning home run by Gene Oliver, who would receive a trip to the World Series in San Francisco, courtesy of a group of grateful Giants fans.

The three-game playoff with San Francisco was considered an extension of the regular season.  Billy Pierce pitched a three-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory at Candlestick Park, and it looked like L.A. was finished when it fell behind 5-0 at home in the sixth inning.

But the Dodgers ended the scoreless streak with a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning, highlighted by Lee Walls’ bases-loaded double off reliever Billy O’Dell. The Giants eventually tied the game at 7-7, but L.A. pushed across the winning run in the ninth on three walks and a sacrifice fly.

Tommy Davis

Tommy Davis

I called one of Doug Buhler’s favorite players from 1962 and asked what he remembered about the final week of the season.

“Why would you call me about that crap?” asked an incredulous yet dutifully cooperative Tommy Davis, the 1962 National League batting champion (.346) whose 230 hits and 153 RBI remain Los Angeles single-season records. The normally good-natured Davis listed a series of bad memories, his voice rising with each recollection. “Houston won one of those games on a home run by Al Spangler. And didn’t Gene Oliver get some sort of trip to San Francisco with his home run against us? I remember we couldn’t do anything right … it was unbelievable.”

The math teacher was more succinct when e-mailing his memories of the 1962 scoreless streak:

“Ugh, awful.”

Remembering ’65: Tommy Davis goes down, ‘Sweet Lou’ comes up

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By Jon Weisman

By May 1965, the Dodgers had already survived one major injury scare with Sandy Koufax, who came back to pitch 29 innings in the first month of the season with a 2.17 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

With outfielder Tommy Davis, they would not be nearly so fortunate.

tommy_davisDavis, who had 574 hits and a 132 OPS+ over the previous three seasons, started slowly in ’65 — 9 for 49 with one double and two walks through April 28 — but he had begun to come out of it by going 6 for 10 with a triple and a steal in his next three games.

Then came May 1. May Day.

Wrote Frank Finch in the Times:

The Dodgers beat the Giants for the third straight time Saturday night, 4-2, but they may have lost the pennant.

Cleanup hitter Tommy Davis, major league batting champion in 1962-63, broke and dislocated his right ankle on an ill-fated slide into second base in the fourth inning.

Dr. Robert Kerlan said the big bopper will be out of action for at least three months and, possibly, the rest of the season.

Tommy, who’d made six safeties in his last nine trips, beat out an infield hit and on Ron Fairly’s bouncer to Orlando Cepeda he took off for second base.

Davis hit the ground prematurely, his spikes caught in the dirt, and he never reached the bag. … Trainer Wayne Anderson sprinted over to take care of Tommy.

“When I got there, the bone was sticking out at a right angle, and I popped it back into place,” said Andy.

Carted off the field on a stretcher, the 26-year-old slugger said ruefully, “I don’t know what happened. I thought there was going to be a play on me and I came in with a new kind of slide. When I looked down, I thought my ankle was in rightfield.”

Three days later, the Dodgers brought up Lou Johnson from Spokane. Johnson was 30 but hadn’t been in the Majors since 1962 and in his entire big-league career had played only 96 games with 47 hits.

johnson_head“I thought Peter O’Malley was kidding when he telephoned me Monday and told me I’d been purchased by the Dodgers,” Johnson told the Times.

Said Pete Reiser, who began the season as Spokane’s manager: “Lou’s a good hitter and outfielder, but you’ve got to play him day in and day out.”

In fact, Johnson came off the bench in five games before making his first Dodger start on May 10, singling and scoring the winning run in the 10th inning of a 3-2 victory over Houston. By May 19, when he went 4 for 6 with two doubles and a game-tying eighth-inning single in what would be a 14-inning Dodger victory over the Astros, “Sweet Lou” was a fixture in the Dodger lineup — and of course, a future World Series hero.

Coincidentally, the Dodgers moved into a tie for first place in the National League the day Johnson arrived, took over sole possession the night of his first game and didn’t give up the lead for more than two months.

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 dodgers.com/tickets 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.

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Seasons: Tommy Davis’ 1962 — thou shalt not pass

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

By Cary Osborne

The RBI is like the vinyl record of baseball statistics.

Traditionalists love it — still find beauty in it and won’t let go of it. The modernists have less regard for it and think of it as analog in a digital world because the stat is dependent on other factors, namely the ability of the guys ahead of the line to get on base.

But like an audiophile might tell you that there is no sweeter sound than needle meeting spiral groove, a batter might tell you that there is no better satisfaction than bat meeting ball and run crossing the plate.

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Who’s got their number?

By Mark Langill

Even if the pennant or division title isn’t at stake, the final games to complete a season schedule can still bring some statistical drama. In the late 1970s, the annual question was whether first baseman Steve Garvey could reach 200 hits. Garvey always seemed to cut it close: 200 in 1974, 210 in 1975, 200 in 1976, 192 in 1977, 202 in 1978, 204 in 1979, 200 in 1980.

Dusty Baker’s 30th home run on the final day of the 1977 season gave Los Angeles baseball’s first “30 Home Run Quartet” with teammates Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32) and Ron Cey. The “30 Home Run Quartet” was duplicated on the final weekend of the 1997 season at Colorado when Raul Mondesi (30) joined Mike Piazza (40), Eric Karros (31) and Todd Zeile (31).

Here are some other random end of the regular season notes involving Dodgers and various milestones:

  • Tommy Davis won his first National League batting crown in 1962 without putting pressure on himself during the final three games of the season. His secret? He didn’t realize the best-of-three tiebreaker with the San Francisco Giants counted in the final statistics. When the regular season ended on September 30, Davis was batting .347, four points ahead of Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson (.342). In the three games against San Francisco, Davis went 3-for-13 to finish at .346.
  • Davis remains the only L.A. Dodger to win a batting crown. But two other Dodgers entered the final weekend with a chance, including Steve Sax and Eddie Murray. Both finished second: Sax in 1986 to Montreal’s Tim Raines (.334 to .332) and Murray in 1990 to Willie McGee (.335 to .330), who was traded by St. Louis to Oakland on August 29 but still had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.
  • Entering the final day of the 1976 season, the National League ERA title was between the Cardinals’ John Denny (2.58) and Dodger left-hander Doug Rau (2.54). Denny allowed one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh and he finished with a 2.52 ERA. Knowing Denny’s updated ERA, the Dodgers inserted Rau in relief to start the eighth inning of a 2-2 game against San Diego at Dodger Stadium. Rau needed to retire four batters, but he allowed a run on one hit and four walks in two-thirds of an inning to finish at 2.57.