Friday, August 31, 2007

Porter Back on the Air with KLAC

From DodgerThoughts
by Jon Weisman

Former Dodger announcer Ross Porter is returning to the [Los Angeles] airwaves on a regular basis, shortly but sweetly.

Beginning October 1, "Real Sports Heroes with Ross Porter," 90-second vignettes produced and narrated by Porter, will air every weekday afternoon on KLAC at 5:25.

"I've been in sports all my life," Porter said in a press release. "I'm tired of getting up every morning and reading the sports pages or listening to the sports talk shows when the stories are about an NBA referee fixing games, an NFL quarterback torturing dogs, cyclists being kicked out for the Tour de France because they're using drugs, and an allegedly tainted slugger breaking the home run record ... and on and on and on.

"There are people in sports who are doing positive things, and we want to focus on them. I think the public is craving for good news. We have been very fortunate in finding some fantastic and inspirational stories."

Porter developed the idea with his wife, Lin, and his agent, George Green.

[Editor's note: See]

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Richard Lally Spends Five Minutes With...Clete Boyer

According to most defensive metrics, Clete Boyer, and not Brooks Robinson, was the greatest defensive third baseman in the history of baseball. A former New York Yankee and Atlanta Brave, Mr. Boyer died from a stroke at the age of 70 on Tuesday, June 4, 2007. In memoriam, the Baseball Library presents portions from six interviews Richard Lally conducted with Mr. Boyer between 1980 and 2002.

RL: We've talked about this before, Clete, but now we have numbers to support the argument. Does it surprise that the new statistics of baseball place you over Brooks Robinson among defensive third basemen?

CB: Don't get me wrong. Brooks Robinson was a hell of player, a great third baseman and a real gentleman, but I'm going to tell you something and I think he'd tell you the same thing. From 1960 to 1966, I got to more balls than any third baseman in both leagues, but he won the Gold Glove every season and some of those babies should have been mine.

RL: Why do you think you were overlooked?

CB: Because he was a great player for one thing. Every year, he had numbers that qualified him for the award. It's not as if they were giving it to someone who couldn't play. Brooks always had a great fielding percentage. I made more errors, but that's because I got to more balls. And he hit better than me, which does help. It gets the attention of the voters. Part of that for me was Yankee Stadium. Being a righthanded hitter, the Stadium killed me. I look at someone like Graig Nettles and I see myself turned inside out. Had I been a lefthanded hitter I would have a hit more homeruns, a lot more. When I finally got out of here and went to Atlanta, I hit 26 homers and I could have done that every year in another park. I wouldn't have given you a real high average, but I had some power.

RL: You also finally won that Gold Glove after switching leagues...

CB: Yeah, I won it but I don't have it. I didn't bother picking it up.

RL: Why not?

CB: Because by then, I didn't deserve it. They should have given it to Doug Rader, so I figured, "Hey, if you couldn't give me the award when I should have won it, you can keep it now."

RL: You worked with Darrell Evans on his fielding when he came up to the Braves, even though he was young third baseman and was in line for your job...

CB: Oh, you can't think like that! The whole idea is your part of a team and if you can make your teammate better, you have a better chance to win. That's why you play. If Evans could take my job, fine. I'd move to shortstop or help the team off the bench. You can't think about yourself. I can't say I did all that much for him, anyway. I could see he had talent as a hitter and the skills to play third, but he was raw. So I just taught him the basics, getting closer to the ground, positioning. But you know the biggest thing I did? I told him he was good. Every time we worked in the field, no matter what kind of day he had, I told him he was good. And, son of bitch, after a while, he believed it and he became an excellent third baseman, really underrated with the glove as far as I'm concerned. You know, everybody who comes up here has ability. You can't get to the majors without talent. But you have to believe in your talent. If you tell a guy he's good long enough, eventually he'll believe in himself and the talent will come out.

RL: You're known now as one of the top third base coaches in baseball and I remember you're saying the Giants' third base coach cost San Francisco that World Series against the Yankees in 1962..

CB: I don't know if he cost them the Series, but he cost them a chance to win the Series. In the ninth inning of game seven, Matty Alou led off with a bunt single but Ralph Terry stuck out the next two batters (Felipe Alou and Chuck Hiller). Up comes Willie Mays and drive the ball the other way, into righfield and it looks like it's going all the way into the corner. But Roger (Maris) made a great play, cutting it off and he hit Bobby Richardson with that perfect relay. Bobby threw a seed to Ellie (Howard) for a strike. A hell of a play but look at the films from that game. Matty Alou should have scored standing up! I saw the whole thing and as the ball was coming in, I'm thinking, "Screw it, the game is tied." But the third-base coach held Alou up, a mistake in our favor. I would have sent Alou and the game would have been tied, because there was no way we would have nailed him. He was just too fast."

RL: So Willie McCovey comes up as the tying run...

CB: Oh, boy, was that scary. Ralph (Houk) comes out to talk to Terry. I was the only infielder who came to the mound for that meeting, because I had this bad feeling. I figured Terry would intentionally walk McCovery to load the bases and pitch to Cepeda. I'd had a good Series to that point, and I always wanted the ball hit to me. As far as I was concerned, I was the Ted Williams of defense. But now, all I could think was that Cepeda was then going to rake a grounder to me that would hit off my ankle or knees, then bounce through into left field for a two-run single and the ballgame. Or that I would field Cepeda's grounder and throw away the ball. The wind in Candlestick Park must have been blowing forty miles an hour, and even the most accurate throw could get carried into the dugout. Either way, if Cepeda got up, I was going to be the goddmaned goat. Honest to god, my knees started shaking thinking about it.

McCovey, on the other hand, there was no fucking way he'd hit a hard grounder to me off Ralph (Terry). He was strictly a pull hitter back then. The best he could do on any ball hit my way would be to pop it up. So I was hoping Ralph would pitch to him. I swear, I didn't care if McCovey hit a three-run homer over the fucking scoreboard, I would have traded that rather than be the goat. When Ralph said he wanted McCovery, I patted him on the back and said, "Go get him, big guy!" I was the happiest man in the park.

RL: And it worked out...

CB: Yeah, it worked out. McCovey hit that rope to Bobby Richardson, but everybody has that wrong. The way it reads today, Bobby had to range far to catch the ball, but he had McCovey played perfectly. He had moved over into the hole as Ralph went into his windup. Bobby was a great second baseman. He knew what he was doing out there and he didn't have to move much to catch that ball. McCovey did hit it hard, though. Bobby doesn't catch it, it goes right through him.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wes Parker Joins Rawlings Gold Glove Team

Wes Parker won six Rawlings
Gold Gloves in his nine-year career

Wes Parker, a former Los Angeles Dodger first baseman, was named to the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team which was released Wednesday. He played his entire nine-year career for the Dodgers from 1964-1972.

He was a career .262 hitter, with his best season coming in 1970 when he hit .319 with 10 home runs and 111 RBI. For his career, Parker made just 45 errors at first base in his career and 49 overall. In 1,263 games he posted a .995 fielding percentage.

A few words from Wes:
This award wraps up my career in the most beautiful way possible. I did not expect it. I had a shorter career than the other honorees, have been retired the longest (one year longer than Willie Mays) and was not sure fans would remember me after 35 years away from the game.

Also, I am the only one of the nine who is not, or will not soon be, in the Hall of Fame, so am thrilled to have won.

I took great pride in my fielding. The first base position, I think, has been slighted over the years by players thinking they have only to catch throws and dig balls from the dirt to play it well. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dedicated first basemen charge bunts, range to their left and right for grounders, dive for balls, run all over the place for pop-ups and use their arms aggressively. They take risks, go after everything and defend their ground with pride and determination. And in doing all this they expand the position from one of passivity and conservatism to one of action, excitement, daring, beauty and grace.

I was lucky to have been born with good eyesight, quick reactions and a younger brother, Lyn, who for ten years smashed ground balls at me in our front yard. We were just two kids doing what we loved but that period between the ages of eight and 17 clinched for me the respect I have always felt for good defensive play and tried to exhibit during my nine-year career with the Dodgers.

Six months ago, when I first heard of my nomination, I was excited to be the lone Dodger representative among the other 50 and to be included among such fine men and long-time friends as Bill White, Brooks Robinson and the great Roberto Clemente. I am even more excited today to have learned that I finished on top at my position and for this I thank the many voting fans and friends around the country for recognizing my contributions. I also thank the O’Malley family for giving me the chance to play this wonderful game at the big league level, and the current Dodger organization for believing that I deserved to win.

Lastly, I thank Rawlings for their 50 years of honoring defensive excellence. I am proud to bring this award home to Los Angeles, prouder still to call it my own personal Hall of Fame.
Wes Parker

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


By Brent Shyer

Savvy music fans know that numerous legendary performers and performances have taken place at Dodger Stadium, beginning with The Beatles on August 28, 1966, to Elton John on October 25-26, 1975, to the heavenly voices of “Encore -- The Three Tenors” concert on July 16, 1994.

But, not many aficionados would know that in 1966, another famous American idol was at Dodger Stadium. It was not on the Dodger Stadium field, however, but in the parking lots.

Rock ‘n’ roll superstar Elvis Presley was at Dodger Stadium for three days to film sequences simulating road races in “Spinout”, his 22nd feature movie.
The negotiations between the Dodger organization and Dutch Horton, location manager for MGM Studios were started by Dick Walsh, Vice President Stadium Operations and subsequently turned over to Jeane Hoffman to complete.

Walter O’Malley had hired Hoffman as Assistant to the President — the first woman department head of the Dodgers — in May 1965. She was to find creative ways to promote and utilize Dodger Stadium for non-baseball activities on a limited basis, such as rentals from movies/TV, conventions, alternative sports and concerts. Hoffman’s name was well-known in Los Angeles, as she had been an award-winning sports writer for the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Mirror. In addition, she served as executive editor of the Police Gazette.

When MGM needed a place to simulate the “Santa Fe Road Race” in the “Spinout” movie, the Dodgers were happy to accommodate the production from March 9-11.

Click here to read more and see pictures, film poster and a parking lot diagram of race track.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August 20, 1913, This Date In Baseball History

August 20, 1913, This Date In Baseball History
1913 - White Sox ace Jim Scott‚ on his way to a 20-20 record‚ shuts out Boston to win‚ 1-0. The loser is rookie Fred Anderson‚ who will go 0-6‚ before going to the FL next season.

Patrolling CF is Edd Roush‚ in his major league debut‚ the start of an unsuccessful 9-game trial with Chicago. Roush will play CF tomorrow‚ his only 2 games in the Sox outfield. But the September 6‚ 1913 edition of The Sporting Life notes that Roush "is the only ball player who carries two gloves with him.

When he plays left field he throws right-handed and wears his left-hand glove. When they shift him over to right field he throws left-handed‚ and sports the right-handed glove." As asked by Bill Deane‚ which glove does he wear when he plays CF?