First in a series. And this is where Howard spills his guts. Not all at once, but during the series, which will run throughout the course of the 2012 pennant race.
As I’ve been saying proudly in the various About Us pages of my blogs since the year 2000, I am the son of Brooklyn parents. More on my mother in an another post. My father, Mort, was shall we say, a serious Dodger fan. I am one of literally millions of fans who inherited the love of baseball from his father.
Mort died in October of 1964, almost exactly a year following and a year before a Los Angeles World Series victory, and days after the team finished in the second division. Appropriately enough.
I don’t really remember him – not really – but I know he loved baseball, and loved the Dodgers like nobody’s business, and I am forever grateful that I managed to grasp the concept and hold on for dear life during our short time on the planet together.
Mort kept scrapbooks. Oh man, did he keep scrapbooks. My brother, Don, and I take turns possessing them, he for a few years, and then me. It’s my turn now, and with the benefit of the wonderful world of scanning, I thought it was time to digitize the collection, and little by little, share it with my readers.
There are about a dozen scrapbooks in all, manufactured by Fairfield Publications, “especially designed to accommodate pages and clippings from the Fairfield papers – Women’s Wear Daily, Daily News Record, Home Furnishings Daily, Footwear News, Men’s Wear, Electronic News and Supermarket News. Additional scrapbooks at $1 each are available from Fairfield Publications, Inc, 7 East 12th Street, New York 3, New York.”
Inside are contents from whatever paper my father chose to clip that day. Since he was in L.A. for the majority, it’s primarily Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald Examiner stuff – headlines, game stories (many by Times’ beat writer Frank Finch), standings, Top Batters, Dodger Averages and the like. With the Dodgers playing mostly 8:00 p.m. games in those days, and because of the niceties of the papers’ print capabilities, boxscores were generally a day late. I’ll show you some of those along the way.
The books are too large for the scanner, but I’ll get the hang of it as we move through the summer. Sometimes you’ll see a headline and parts of a game story, often too small or worn to read, numbers in other posts. Each time I’ll highlight whatever strikes me as I look at it, and share it here.
I’m not going to go in chronological order, and yes, 1962 is, well, 1962. But I happened to grab this particular book first, open it to August by chance, and this seemed like a good place to start.
On the morning of August 9, 1962, your Los Angeles Dodgers stood at 78-37, 5 ½ games up on San Francisco, in an eight-team National League. New York’s Mets were in last place, of course, at 30-82, 46 ½ games back.
L.A. beat Philadelphia, 5-1, the night before in front of 34,729 (that’s actual paid attendance) at Dodger Stadium. Stan Williams went the distance on a seven-hitter for his 11th win, Jack Hamilton took the loss for the Phils.
Those Dodgers, like our lovable ones of today, didn’t hit much, getting by with a meager four-hit attack, which included a two-run home run from John Roseboro, along with Maury Wills’ 59th and 60th of what would be his record-setting 104 stolen bases.
Tommy Davis led the team with a .345 average and 112 RBIs, Don Drysdale paced the staff at 21-4, on his way to an eventual 25-9 finish, and the NL Cy Young Award.
Stan Musial led the league in hitting fifty years ago today, at .354, Willie Mays was first in homers with 34, and Davis led in runs batted in.
The Dodgers took the series finale against Philly the next night, before getting swept three by the Giants at Candlestick immediately after.
We’ll talk more about 1962, I imagine, because there were some good things. But it didn’t end well, OK, and I’ll let my father rest in peace.
What’s next from the scrapbook file, I have no idea, but I hope you’ll enjoy it. Until then, remember, glove conquers all.