I could hardly wait to share the gem I discovered this week at archive.org. Available under ‘Old Time Radio Programs’ is a free download of a radio broadcast between the Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on
June 4, 1957.
You can listen to the game by clicking here.
The download is of the Dodgers’ broadcast and begins with Jerry Doggett, the radio man who joined the Dodgers’ booth in 1956 (and stayed with the team until 1987).
At the 7:00 mark Doggett turns the duties over to his long-time partner, and legendary play-by-play man, Vin Scully, who began his accomplished career with the Dodgers in 1950 (unbelievable!).
I was giddy with excitement to hear Scully’s voice crackle through the speakers, and he begins by informing the audience he’s just spilled a cup of coffee in his lap, and on a suite fresh from the cleaners no less!
On this Tuesday afternoon, the Cubs (who would go on to lose 92 games that year) fell to the Dodgers 7-5. The starting pitching matchup featured two players with ties to the Queen City. Cubs starter Dick Drott, a Cincinnati native, against a 21-year-old left-hander from the University of Cincinnati named Sandy Koufax. That, however, is where the similarities ended.
It didn’t take long for Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella to open up the scoring. Campanella, who would leave the game in the third inning after being plunked in the ribs by a pitch (which we’re later informed during the broadcast the team doctor says the catcher is ‘ok’), doubled home Snider and Hodges in the bottom of the first. The Dodgers plated another run in the inning and then scored three more runs in the third, including a solo HR by Snider, to knock Drott out of the game.
Hodges went deep in the fifth extending Brooklyn’s lead to 7-0 after five innings. The Cubs finally broke through against Koufax in the sixth on a line drive, 2-R HR by left fielder Bob Speake. Ernie Banks (.285, 43 HR, 102 RBI), now in his fifth season with Chicago, turned the trick two innings later taking Koufax deep for a 3-R HR, which concluded the scoring for the afternoon.
Koufax (4-2) earned the win lasting 7.2 innings allowing 5-ER on 4 hits. He walked 5 and struck out 12, fanning Banks in his first two at-bats. The eventual Hall of Fame pitcher, who started just 13 games in this season, finished the campaign (5-4, 3.88). Four years later he blossomed into one of the most dominating left-handed pitchers of all time.
The 1957 season was the Dodgers’ (84-70) final chapter in Brooklyn. Ebbets Field closed in Sept. after the season ended and was later demolished in 1960. And for those of you wondering, Jackie Robinson had already retired the year prior in 1956.
I wasn’t able to catch the entire broadcast, which lasts 3 hours & 2 minutes, and is why I included the game recap so you can skip along to hear some of the more exciting game action (the advertisement are a treat to listen to as well).
But whatever time you do have available, it’s well worth the listen, even though the Cubs lost. But, we’re use to that by now anyway.
Paul Schneider of Suicidesqueeze.com posted a list of the average ages of each major league team. The Cubs have the fifth youngest roster in the majors with an average age of 26.6.
Jorge Soler, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Sunday (Feb. 25), is the youngest cub on the 40-man roster. Starlin Castro, 22, whose birthday is March 24th, will likely remain the youngest player on the opening day roster.
As for the oldest player in the Cubs’ organization? It’s the soon-to-be, 38-year-old Hisanori Takahashi (April 2, 1975). The left-handed reliever was signed this winter to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
As for the current 40-man roster, however, it’s 37-year-old Shawn Camp (Nov. 18, 1975) who takes the Grey Beard Award. He’s roughly two months older than Alfonso Soriano, who was born on Jan. 7, 1976.
Seattle is tied with the Cubs for the fifth youngest roster, preceded by the Mets (26.4), Indians (26.3), Marlins (26.2) and Astros (25.7).
Interestingly, the oldest team in the league is the one with the highest payroll, the Dodgers, at 28.6. Former Cub, Ted Lilly, is the oldest player on their roster at 37-years-old.
Of course it’s possible the Cubs can make a push for the youngest team in the league by season’s end, if we see the departures of ageing veterans via trade such as Camp, Soriano, David DeJesus, Scott Hairston and Carlos Marmol.
We’ve talked a lot about the possible free-agent signings for the Cubs this offseason. How about some trade chatter?
The Dodgers’ surplus in starting pitching could make Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang available this winter according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Neither player is a ‘perfect fit’ for the Cubs, but that shouldn’t stop Chicago from exploring trade possibilities.
Capuano and Harang are a bit long-in-the-tooth (both are in their mid 30s) but both are healthy, have manageable contracts, are coming off productive seasons and would provide an upgrade to the Cubs’ rotation.
Assuming the Dodgers have a reasonable asking price, that’s pitching worth trading for–if the Cubs are truly committed to being more competitive in 2013.
If I had to pick one over the other I’d lean towards Capuano because of his left-handedness (he’s also a year younger). But add either one with Scott Baker, who the Cubs signed on Tuesday, and Chicago suddenly has the minimal of two starters it was looking for this offseason.
That would be a good start to an offseason in which Team Theo is in hot pursuit of starting depth, most of which will come with considerable risk, like Baker, who’s recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Capuano and Harang have their drawbacks, too. But landing one of these guys gives Chicago the potential to field a competitive rotation next year, and that’s worth the cost of giving up a Carlos Marmol or a Josh Vitters to have that chance.
As crazy as the Dodgers and Red Sox deal is financially for Los Angeles, I like the fact Magic’s group is going all in.
The Dodgers are one game back in the NL Wild Card and two-games back of the NL West leading Giants. But they essentially became favorites to make the postseason overnight with the arrivals of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto this weekend.
The expectation, of course, is for Los Angeles to make a deep run in the playoffs–if not appear in the World Series. Anything less would seem an embarrassment of riches.
However, this deal doesn’t just set the Dodgers up in the short-term. They’ll be in position to remain contenders for years to come, even if the financial effects are haunting down the road.
If there was a price tag on repairing the damage done by the Frank McCourt era, this deal was it. And although it hardly makes sense on the ledger, it doesn’t have to if the Dodgers win it all.
EPSTEIN’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER BOSTON TRADE
The Red Sox, meanwhile, hit the reset button on the mess partly created by none other than Cubs president Theo Epstein.
Had it not been for Epstein’s outlandish free agent contracts doled out prior to his departure, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t need to tap out of the choke hold that was the $262.5M dollars they just shipped to Chavez Ravine.
Epstein, presumably against better judgment, had succumbed to the win-now mentality in Boston, one that works in direct contrast to his build-from-within strategy that ultimately ended the Curse of the Bambino and landed the franchise a second title three seasons later.
That’s exactly the approach Boston aims to return too given its new found financial freedom: renew a homegrown spirit, develop from within and spend a season or two rebuilding in favor of spending lavishly on the free agent market as Epstein had done.
While I truly believe Epstein was all about accepting the challenge of rebuilding the Cubs franchise, I also have to believe Epstein was fully aware of the situation he created in Boston.
His careless ways had turned to quick sand–a pit he wouldn’t climb out of—not without a lifeline from Tom Ricketts. “You haven’t won in how many years? Okay, sure…pull me out!”
Fitting how quickly Epstein is to remind Cubs fans ‘there are no shortcuts to rebuilding’. He would know. The colossal Dodgers & Red Sox deal proves it.
Ted Lilly is shaping up to be the best July trade of 2010.
Since joining the Dodgers, Lilly is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA through his first four starts.
Still a victim of the major’s worst run support, Lilly has received two or fewer runs in three of his four outings. But unlike the Cubs, L.A. has found ways to win close ballgames behind the 34-year-old.
He tossed a two-hit shutout Thursday against Colorado, retiring 19-straight at one point, walked two and struck out a season-high 11.
Not since Kaz Ishii won his first six starts in 2002 has a Dodger pitcher won his first four starts with the club.
Despite Lilly’s ace-form, the Dodgers are all but eliminated from the playoff race. They’ve lost seven of ten falling a distant eight-games back of both the West leading Padres and Wild Card leading Phillies.
Lilly, however, is positioning himself to be a top free agent this offseason, which makes it tougher financially on the Cubs to regain his services for 2011 and beyond.
But if Teddy is open to a return to the North Side, Tom Ricketts would be wise to open the purse strings to resign him.
The Dodgers’ main trade piece in return for Ted Lilly & Ryan Theriot is Blake DeWitt, a 24-year-old, left-handed batting second baseman selected by the Dodgers in the first-round of the 2004 amateur draft.
He debuted with L.A. in 2008 as a third baseman batting .264 with 9HR & 52 RBI in 117-games.
Against Chicago in the NLDS, DeWitt went 3-for-11 plating two runs and recording one RBI.
In 2009, however, DeWitt bounced between Triple-A and Los Angeles six times backing up All Star Orlando Hudson. In his 33-games with the big club, DeWitt hit just .204 with 2HR & 4 RBI.
That changed in 2010 with Hudson’s departure and DeWitt in the starting role. He’s rebounded nicely batting .270 with 1HR & 30 RBI in 82-games with the Dodgers.
Although DeWitt is expected to start at second base for the Cubs, he’s started nearly as many games at 3B (82) in his three seasons as he has at 2B (100).
DeWitt also brings to the Cubs this season a .297 avg. with RISP and a .295 avg. for the month of July, including a triple, three doubles and six RBI. He’s also batting .316 avg. in 26 day games, which he’ll see plenty more of playing at Wrigley Field.
Jeff Shaw was a two-time All Star and one of my favorite players growing up.
The right-hander was a brilliant setup man with Cincinnati, positioning Jeff Brantley for 44 saves and the 1996 Rolaids Relief Man Award.
The following season, however, Brantley got injured and Shaw moved into the closer’s role. He closed out 42 games and also won the league’s saves title.
But less than a year later the Reds traded Shaw on July 4, 1998 to the Dodgers. In return, the Reds acquired left-hander Dennys Reyes and a no-name 22-year-old first baseman.
Joe Torre running Ramon Troncoso back out for the ninth inning was a thoughtful gift. How rude of the Cubs not to accept it.
A simple base hit from Scales or Fox in the ninth gives the Cubs a three-game winning streak and a confidence boost against the best record in baseball.
Instead, it feels like here we go again with the lack of offense.
Speaking of which, there were plenty of opportunities to win the game before the final frame, but the Cubs go 0-8 with RISP and ground into four double plays. Gee whiz.
Seriously, it’s up to Soriano or Bradley to start carrying the offense. They’re the two guys who change the entire look of the lineup when they’re hot. You can’t expect that from anyone else in the order...at least until Aramis returns.
Mark Sweeney has the 2nd most pinch hits in MLB history
No ballplayer strives for the title of professional pinch hitter, but I must say, this role could easily be the best job in all of baseball – if not the world.
You get more off days than on days, the pressure rarely exceeds that of a game-winning at-bat and although you’re not an everyday guy, you’re not the bullpen catcher either.
Plus, the job pays pretty well too.
Last October the Dodgers made Chicago look like chopped liver.
And now that Manny is back in L.A. the West Division appears to be won.
Yet, despite re-signing No.99, the Dodgers have put together an interesting off season, largely over shadowed with Manny’s prolonged negotiations, of course.