Category: tribute

Rod Miller (January 16, 1940 – November 8, 2013)

Reading the LA Times newspaper this morning on the train, the obituary  of  Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney.caught my attention.  She played a major  role in the completion of the Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.  RIP Diane.

I noticed Diane’s husband’s name is Ron Miller.  This made me think of Rod Miller, the Brooklyn Dodger that had only one at bat with the Dodgers.  Also I thought , the youngest Brooklyn Dodger alive.   After reading the newspaper, I moved to my Iphone to catch up with more news.   That is when I ran into the obituary of Rod Miller.  Rod passed away on November 8, 2013, he was 73.   Rest in peace Mr. Miller.

Rod_Miller

Here is the obituary http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rgj/obituary.aspx?n=Rod-Miller&pid=168087199#

The 17 year-old Miller was signed by the Dodgers out of Lynwood HS in SoCal on June 26, 1957.  He was brought up to Brooklyn in September.  He appeared in only one game facing the Philadelphia Phillies on September 28. Rodney Carter “Rod” Miller went swinging on his only major league at bat in 1957.

Walter Alston was the classiest human being I’ve ever known giving me a chance to bat. That one at-bat opened more doors for me than I could ever have imagined.” – Miller in “Once Around the Bases”

Rest in peace Mr. Rodney Miller

With the passing of Rod Miller, the youngest Brooklyn Dodger alive is Bob Aspromonte at 75, followed by Sandy Koufax who will be 78 on December 30.

Ref:  Baseball Reference.

Brooklyn Dodgers. Then and Now: Chris Haughey

Chris Haughey Then

Portrait of Chris Haughey

Chris Haughey was born in Astoria, New York on October 3, 1925.  he was pitching in the Queens CYO League when the Dodgers signed him midway through the 1943 season.

Without throwing a ball in the minors, Haughey made his major league debut on October 3, 1943 against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field – the last day of the season and Haughey’s 18th birthday. He hurled seven innings in the 6-1 loss but only three of those runs were earned.

Before the start of the next season, on February 15, 1944, Haughey entered military service with the Army.   Here is this from Baseballinwartimes.com:

He was assigned to a Cavalry Replacement Company at Fort Riley, Kansas, but a dispute with a commanding officer ruined his chances of playing with other professional players on the base team. For the next three years, Haughey was a communications instructor, training radio operators.

When he was discharged from the Army in 1946, Haughey was out of practice and his arm was out of shape. He was assigned to Montreal of the International League but released to Asheville of the Tri-State League in May where he was 0-2.

Chris Haughey Now

Haughey later obtained a degree in engineering from FordhamUniversity and worked as an operations manager for a New York oil company. He later spent 20 years as part owner of a men’s clothing store in Salinas, California before moving to Fremont where he continues to live.

I could not find a current picture.
Ref: Baseballinwartime.com, Baseball-fever.com, Baseball Prospectus

Haikus for Matt Kemp & Video of Giveaway Gifts to Cancer striken Dodger Fan

By now everyone has seen the video of Matt Kemp giveaway gifts to a cancer striken young Dodger fan.  I have seen it many times since yesterday.    If you have not here it is

So in honor of Matt Kemp here are some humbling haikus

Swept by the Giants
Kemp comes up big with a kid
He Hit a Grand Slam

Cancer striken kid
Received jersey, ball and cleats
from goodwill Matt Kemp

Kemp could have walked out
After Dodgers lost series
But Kemp made us proud!

Stripped of self-pity
“Life is bigger than Baseball”
Said Kemp afterwards

We love you Matty!

At Kershaw Cy Young Award press conference, Kemp taking the time to pose with me.

Here is Kemp with Alyssa, a beautiful little girl that passed away with Cancer.  Since that happened, Kemp updated his twitter profile picture with a picture with Alyssa.

Kemp stopped by to take a picture with me at the Bluetopia movie premier in 2008.

Here is Kemp again posing with me one day I was on the field prior to a game.

Brooklyn Dodgers. Where are they now. Tim Thompson

Getting back to my project of doing a post on all the surviving Brooklyn Dodgers.

This one is #12 of 42 going from oldest to youngest.

Tim Thompson then

Charles Lemoine Thompson (Tim) was a catcher. He was born in Coalport, PA on March 1, 1924. His debut was on April 20, 1954 and his final Game April 27, 1958. He wore uniform #21.

Thompson was finally called up to Ebbets Field with the Dodgers for the first time at age 30 in 1954. He talked about his big league debut. “My first game was the only time I ever played in the outfield. It was in St. Louis. Dick Williams was ejected, and I was the only one left on the bench. Steve Bilko lined a single and I thought I nailed Dick Schofield at the plate with a good throw, but he slid between Roy Campanella’s legs to score. I kidded Campy that if he had blocked the plate I would have been a hero.”

Tim, who had just two base hits in 13 at-bats for the Dodgers would spend the rest of the year with the Montreal Royals hitting .305 in 75 games. He spent 1955 with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association, hitting .313 and catching 121 games. This got him traded to the Kansas City Athletics on April 16, 1956 for Tom Saffell, Lee Wheat and cash. Thompson spent 1956 and 1957 with the Kansas City Athletics and would finish out his major league run with he Detroit Tigers in 1958 with a career .238 batting average in 187 games. He also finished with a fine fielding percentage of .990.

Thompson would spend the remainder of his active baseball career with the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs retiring from active play after 1962 with a 14 year minor league career .293 batting average in 1,426 games and a fielding percentage of .991.

 

 

Tim Thompson now

Following a few years as a player-coach and manager at Toronto, he was a scout and later a supervisor of scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1964 to 1994. He spent the rest of the 1990s in the Dodgers organization as a scout and since 2000 he has worked in the same capacity for the Baltimore Orioles. As of last notice he was residing in Lewiston, Pennsylvania. Note: I could not find a current picture of Mr. Thompson.

Ref: Baseball-reference.

Brooklyn Dodgers. Where are they now. Pat McGlothin

Pat McGlothin then

Name DOB Birthplace Uniform #
Pat McGlothin 10/20/1920 Coalfield, TN 23

Ezra Mac “Pat” McGlothin was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He pitched in 8 games during the 1949 and 1950 seasons.  His major league debut was April 24, 1949 and his final game on April 18, 1950. 

He spent time in the Minors with Mobile, St Paul and Montreal, pitching three career no-hitters in those venues.  The Dodgers had 26 farm clubs in those days.

In a heroic effort, Pat pitched 19 innings in a 5-4 game, knocked in three runs including the game-winner in the bottom of the 19th, and held Ted Williams without a hit in seven tries.  Pat had a hit to tie the score in the 17th before ending the contest in the 19th.

Pat McGlothin now

Pat McGlothin, owner of Mutual Insurance company has been serving customers in Tennessee  since 1954.   He enjoys exercising and watching baseball games.  

Pat showing his collection of baseballs:

ref.  www.govolsxtra.com , www.Baseball.Examiner, http://www.mutualinsurancetn.com/http://marksephemera.blogspot.com/

Brooklyn Dodgers. Where are they now. Jean-Pierre Roy

Jean-Pierre Roy Then

Name DOB Birthplace Uniform #
Jean-Pierre Roy 06/26/1920 Montreal, Canada 34

I went straight to SABR to read about Jean-Pierre Roy because I had read the bio project in the SABR website http://sabr.org.   Rory Costello wrote this one too just like the prior one on Olmo.

What interesting lives these men have led.  They played in  the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and let’s not forget serving their country.    If they were not holding other jobs in the offseason they were off to play elsewhere in the Winter Fall, any time!

This French-Canadian played just three big-league games in his career but he like Rory Costello says “hopscotched” around Cuba, Mexico, Brooklyn and Montreal

I would like to read more about this Mexican magnate Jorge Pasquel and his brother who raided the American leagues luring players to jump to the Mexican leagues.   Roy jumped but he never played because he was not eligible.  But back in Cuba, other men were.  Guilty by association got him suspended from Organized Baseball in 1947.

For this “Ladies Man” it was joining and rejoining teams in Canada, US, Cuba (one of his favorite places), Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and even Panama.  From this SABR Biography project at:  http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/154a8e59

For the 1950 summer season, Roy rejoined Hollywood, where he went 2-2, 4.09. Off the field, he was also performing for a different crowd. The suave crooner’s nightclub act included numbers in English, Spanish, and French — “things like ‘Bésame Mucho,’ which was popular at the time, and ‘La Vie en Rose.'” Jean-Pierre recalled to Ronald King in 2004, “The manager, Fred Haney, didn’t like that. So I bought back my contract and went elsewhere.” [40]

Even Luis Olmo then Manager in Santiago, Cuba invited him but he slipped in the dugout and hurt his elbow.  He went back to Montreal where he made one last fling with the Provincial League in 1955.

Jean-Pierre now

from the SABR article:

In 1956, Roy did some TV broadcasting for the Royals on CBF-TV. [47] He’d previously noted his intention to continue his nightclub singing career. Perhaps it was on a related note that he moved to Las Vegas, where he spent roughly 10 or 11 years in jobs ranging from croupier to real-estate agent.

In 1968 when the Montreal Expos joined the National League, Jean-Pierre became an analyst on both radio and Television.

From the same SABR Biography project on Roy:

Since retiring, the elder statesman of Montréal baseball has received several honors. In July 1995, he was inducted into the Expos Hall of Fame, and the Québec Sports Pantheon did likewise that September. In April 2001, the Québec Baseball Hall of Fame followed suit.

These days Roy spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Jane Duval Roy (his prior marriage ended with no children) head back north to Canada from May to October. There they live in the town of Nicolet, across the St. Lawrence from Trois-Rivières. Jean-Pierre has been working on an autobiography, and it will surely be a pleasure to hear this raconteur tell his own stories in full.

Read the rest of the Biography  Jean-Pierre Roy from SABR.   Is a fascinating read.

ref: SABR.org

Brooklyn Dodgers. Where are they now. Mike Sandlock

This year I decided to do a post for each of the Brooklyn Dodger players that are alive giving us a little history of their playing day and If possible, where they are now.

This is going to be fun and is a way for me to learn more about the Brooklyn Dodger players and at the same time pay tribute to them.

We will start with Mike Sandlock who is the oldest one at 97.

Name DOB Birthplace Uniform #
Mike Sandlock 10/17/1915 Old Greenwich,CT 1, 4

When I look at the uniform numbers Mr. Sandlock wore, I think of the retired numbers of #1, Pee Wee Reese & #4, Duke Snider.

Mike Sandlock Then

Mike Sandlock professional career began back in 1938 for the Huntington Bees of the Mountain State League. He spent 14 years in the minors and played parts of five seasons in the majors.

Mike made his major league debut as a September call-up for the Braves in 1942. He came in late in the game and collected his first big league hit, a single off of Giants reliever Bill McGee. Mike’s roommate in the Minors, Warren Spahn, was also called up that September.

In 1943 Mike missed the entire season due to his services in WW II.

On August 12, 1944, the Braves traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for minor league second baseman Frank Drews. Sandlock went back to the minors with their Triple-A affiliate in ST. Paul where he batted over .300 and added switch hitting to his offensive repertoire.

Sandlock, a catcher, was a shortstop early in the season, Pee Wee Reese was still in the Navy.  When Mickey Owen joined the service in May, the Dodgers were forced to use their backup catchers, but it wasn’t until July that they moved Sandlock back behind the plate and gave him regular playing time.

That 1945 season would end up being his best season in the majors. He played a career high 80 games, hitting .282 with 17 RBI’s in 195 at-bats.

His 1946 season would be his last in the majors for awhile.. He lasted with the Dodgers until July before he was sent to St Paul. Despite the fact he barely played and hit just .147 in 19 games, Sandlock has a funny story about that year. Here is the account as reported by John Dreker of http://blogs.piratesprospects.com:

The Dodgers had a young hard-throwing pitcher named Rex Barney at this time. He threw hard but it was anyone’s guess where the ball would go once it left his hands. Long after their retirement, Sandlock kidded Barney about how wild he was and Barney came back with “The reason the Dodgers got rid of you was because you couldn’t catch me.” Mike said that he couldn’t catch him because he never threw anything close to the plate. Yogi Berra once asked Mike what Barney threw, knowing he was his catcher for one season and Mike said ” I don’t know because I was never able to catch anything from him. I’ll let you know when I do.”

In 1947 Mike was the backup catcher for a young Roy Campanella, while playing for the Montreal Royals. He also met Jackie Robinson. They both shared a love for Golf.
With his time in Brooklyn done, Mike embarked on a career in the minor leagues that brought him to Hollywood for four years and many great memories.

Mike Sandlock joined the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1949, spending four seasons with the team before his return trip to the Majors with the Pirates.
Mike Sandlock playing for the Hollywood Stars
Mike playing for the Hollywood Stars.

Two people were very influential in getting Mike back to the Majors: The team manager, Fred Haney and knuckelball pitcher Johnny Lindell.

Mike developed a reputation for being an excellent receiver of knuckleball pitchers.  When Johnny moved to the Majors so did Mike.

The Pirates had 3 to 4 pitchers who threw knuckleballs.   Mike shared catching duties with Joe Garagiola and Heisman Trophy Winner Vic Janowicz. Late in the season the Pirates sold Lindell to the Phillies. the following year Sandlock was a Phillie but it was not to be for Mike as he was involved in a home plate collision during a Spring Training game.   Phillies shipped him to San Diego. That 1954 was his final year of his baseball career.

Mike Sandlock Now

Mike Sandlock, Brooklyn Dodger

Here is a video from Nick of Examiner.com

Mike still follows the game. Recently he said ” The Mets guy(R.A. Dickey) now, throws his harder, but Lindell’s broke more.”

Sandlock offered this advice to catchers trying to contain the knuckler “You have to have good reflexes to be a knuckleball catcher. You can’t go reaching for it, you have to wait for it.” but even he was quick to admit it was a difficult task “It was like catching flies, I called it a butterfly.”

Sandlock feels the modern game moves too slowly compared to when he played.

He feels too much time is spent today with pitchers walking around the mound, the catcher going to the mound then the entire infield going to the mound and guys constantly adjusting their batting gloves and stepping out of the batter’s box.

He attended a Yankee game recently when Freddy Garcia was on the mound and said he could not wait to leave because of how long Garcia took to deliver each pitch.

“Do you see how slow he goes?” he asked. “He gets the ball, walks around the whole mound then throws a pitch, gets the ball back and it’s the same damn thing. There is no desire.”

Mr Sanlock was honored at Citi Field when the Dodgers were playing the Mets last July, 2012


Mike Sandlock with Don Mattingly at Citi Field.   Mr. Sandlock still lives in the place where he was born.  As of last year, Mike was still playing Golf once a week .

ref: http://Examiner.com,http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/, http://www.greenwichtime.com/sports/, http://baseballinwartime.blogspot.com/