February is Black History Month so I thought I honored a few Dodgers for their contribution on the field and off the field.
Let’s start with Maury Wills.
His perceverence paid off! Maury emerged from the Washington D.C. projects. He was one of 13 siblings, he went without shoes for much of his childhood. He spent eight years in the minors before joining the Major Leauge club. He’d go on to win an MVP award, two Gold Gloves,be named to five All-Star Games and lead the NL insteals six times.
Go! Go! Go! In September 23, 1962, Dodger shortstop Maury Wills broke Ty cobb’s record of 96 stolen bases in one season. Dodger Stadium would erupt in
chant of “Go! Go!’ whenever he was on the basepaths. The exciting Wills ended up with 104 bases swipes and woudl go on to win the National League MVP.
Maury became the manager of the Mariners but after he got fired in 1981, he turned to alcohol and drugs.
Maury credits God, and the Dodgers, for saving his life. His personal angel was another Dodger legend, Don Newcombe. Alcohol had ruined Newcombe’s brilliant career 20 years earlier. When he got sober, Newk set about saving others.
He contributes not only to baseball but to help others make that cross to sobriety.
Last year I attended the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)dinner where Maury Wills was given the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
At the dinner, my friend Erik and I chanted “Go! Go! Go! when Maury’s name was announced! Larry King commented “There is your fan club Maury!”.
I do wish his number would be retired at Dodger Stadium. We Love you Maury!
ref: maurywills.com, dodgers.com
Next: Don Newcombe
RBI Dinner at the Biltmore Thursday 2/5/09.
My friend Erik convinced me to go to the RBI dinner because this is a good cause. In this case RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in inner cities. See also the very nice report from Ben Platts from MLB here http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090206&content_id=3803558&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. This comment from James McDonalds makes it worthwhile supporting this event “They were here for me at times when I didn’t have much. They paid for me so I could play baseball and always made sure I had good grades,” said McDonald, recalling his years with the program. “They taught me how to act right, and I truly believe this is one of the best programs in baseball right now. Coco Crip’s comment from the article says “”Without RBI I wouldn’t be in the big leagues,”
“I played on three through RBI before I actually played on a big league team,” said McDonald, who made his Major League debut last September. “I played my first game at seven years ago through RBI.”
It was raining a lot when we left and the traffic was pretty bad. Since Erik and I both commute to and from work and have monthly passes, I decided the best way was to leave the car at Union Station and from there take the Red line. Pershing Square is where we got off. Here is a link with pictures of Pershing Square and a little history and some old pictures of the Biltmore hotel. http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare/photos.htmlThe Biltmore hotel is magnificent and has lots of history. I love the gorgeous old architecture. Speaking of beautiful architecture, the Los Angeles Central library is only a block away from there. check out the website at http://www.lapl.org/ They have wonderful tours daily including Saturday and Sunday.
A lot of people were running late as a result of the rain and heavy traffic. there was a nice room with lots of items for auction from the Dodgers, Lakers, football items as well as other sports. There were also various hotel stays for auction and nice memorabilia from other celebrities.
, an RBI alumni, showed up looking very handsome in his suit. James MacDonald was also there with his girlfriend. Later on I saw Larry King, D , Coco Crisp, Maury Wills who was being honored along with Darryl Thomas. Sweet Lou was also there and Charlie Steiner. There were some other baseball players from other teams that I don’t remember the names now.
Someone from the Dodgers personnel commented that he did no recognized me without my Dodger gear! I went and said hi to Frank McCourt. I talked with John Soo Hoo _ the Dodger photographer, Dr. Steinberg and Mr Dennis Mannion (COO)and MLB reporter Ben Platts, . We took pictures with James Loney and with Maury Wills. Both Erik and I don’t like to overdo it so we stopped after the two pictures.
We were told that our table was #39 which I automatically thought “Roy Campanella’s number!”. I tend to associate numbers with player’s numbers, or years of Dodger or baseball events. It helps me remember it better. Later on Ben Platts came to sit next to me. I always see him at Dodger Stadium with or without his son. He was telling me that he & his wife had become parents for the second time when his wife gave birth to twins! He proudly showed me a picture of his beautiful new daughter and son.
In addition to the room with auction items, there was a live auction after the dinner. We could not believe it that some items went for a low price like a base signed by and a suite at Dodger Stadium. The auction items went so fast that I barely had time to close my mouth of seeing how fast they performed auctions. Yep, you guess it, I never been to a Live auction like that. I’ve only gone to the silent auctions at Dodger Stadium.
When the event was over it was still raining hard outside. We waited where everyone was waiting for valet to bring their car. We were just waiting for the rain to die down a little bit before we started walking to take the Red line home. I spotted so I started talking to him. Also Sweet Lou was there and when he heard that we were just waiting for the rain to quiet down, he offered to give us a ride to Union Station but then we noticed the rain was now lighter so we thanked him for the offer and off we went under the light rain. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and were glad that the weather had not deterred us from attending.