Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Today's BirthdaysAnd a good set for a change — been going through a dry patch.
If you could change one thing in Dodger history, from the pitch to Bobby Thomson, to the trade of Pedro Martinez, to the elimination of the double-bagger peanuts at Dodger Stadium, what would it be?My emotional favorite — and it was something I didn't even realize until I read it — was Daniel Zappala's answer (see comment 374) of getting Reggie Jackson (more correctly, Lou Piniella, as Bob Timmermann points out in the next post) called out on interference in Game 4 of the 1978 World Series; that most likely would have resulted in the Dodgers winning the game and going up 3-1 on the Yankees.
But the other more realistic and recent chronological answer came in comment 9 of that thread (if I'm not mistaken, by the proprietor of Dodger Math), wishing to rid the past Dodgers of the influence of Kevin Malone. It's hard to argue with that one, as Malone was probably the single biggest disaster to strike the team. Incompetent as picker of manflesh, his inclination was to give out surreal contracts to players who often couldn't live up to those lofty dollars. Darren Dreifort was one such, as was baseball's first $100-million man, Kevin "Cap'n Happy" Brown. Yet in my mind, no player represented squandered money paid out for mediocre or worse performance better than Andy Ashby; in fact, Dreifort's threatened exit from the team drove the contract, putting the jittery Kevin Malone under the gun to sign a deal with some name, any name, and Ashby was a body you could stamp the label "starting pitcher" on. Five days later, Malone also re-signed Dreifort, and incredibly, said of the man who had started a grand total of 87 games and missed an entire season due to injury,
"Keeping him with the Los Angeles Dodgers was very important to us," Malone said. "We think now ... we have one of the better starting rotations, or at least comparable to anyone in baseball.Well, of course you just don't hand out $55M contracts to guys who haven't proven that potential, just as you don't hand out $22.5M contracts to 33-year-old mediocrities with the ability of a "third or fourth starter", as Malone himself confessed a few days after the signing. Malone was gone after 2001, but his lousy contracts continued to stink up the Dodgers up until last year, when Dreifort finally came off the books.
"Darren is a young starter, he is getting better, and he has the potential to be a No. 1 starter."
Billy Ashley LAN b. 1970, played 1992-1997. I just know that Jon would have something to say about Ashley, one of the Dodgers' alleged answers in the outfield in the Buttercup era; he had very nice minor league numbers in the thin air parks of the PCL, but those never translated to major league production. Buh-bye.
Clarence Blethen BRO b. 1893, played 1929, d. 1973-04-11
Brian Brady CAL b. 1962, played 1989
Dick Gray LAN b. 1931, played 1958-1959
Hal Gregg BRO b. 1921, played 1943-1947, All-Star: 1945, d. 1991-05-13. His time on the All-Star team wasn't anything serious as part of a middling 87-67 third-place Brooklyn squad. An 18-game winner that year, he was off the team two years later following arm troubles, and ended his career in Pittsburgh. His replacement at the head of the Dodgers rotation was none other than Ralph Branca.
Binky Jones BRO b. 1899, played 1924, d. 1961-05-13
Ed Ott CAL b. 1951, played 1981. Along with Ed Hug, has the distinction of having the shortest name in baseball history.
Milt Stock BRO b. 1893, played 1924-1926, d. 1977-07-16
Vito Tamulis BRO b. 1911, played 1938-1941, d. 1974-05-05
Donne Wall ANA b. 1967, played 2002. Wall's last stand in the majors was pitching a pair of innings in a 7-2 blowout by the Pirates, of all teams; he was released on June 15th so that Scot Shields could join the big club. Now that was an improvement.
Roster Notes And Silly Rumors Dep't
- Alfonso Soriano hasn't ruled out joining the Angels but what do you expect him to say?
- Howie Kendrick was named Deseret Morning News' Athlete of the Month following a June in which he hit over .400 for the season a good deal of the time.
- Steve Henson tells us how Brad Penny's nerve injury rededicated him to pitching, and hence, ten wins so far this season.
- Francisco Liriano and David Eckstein have been named as respective replacements for Jose Contreras and Jose Reyes on the AL and NL teams. Vernon Wells will replace Manny Ramirez.
- Milton Bradley may finally come off the DL on Wednesday.