Friday, April 17, 2015

Wallet Card Visits the Institute for Baseball Studies - Is Blown Away!

Aloha everybody,

I featured a DVD in my previous post, which talked about the Baseball Reliquary and the Institute for Baseball Studies. As I mentioned in that post, I was inspired to visit the Institute, so I grabbed Wallet Card and my son, and we took a road trip to Baseball Heaven. 

The Institute is located on the campus of Whittier College. We stopped in on a Friday afternoon and found Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, visiting with someone who had just been gifted the wonderful box of Dodgers goodness that is shown above with Wallet Card. 

Here's a closer look...

This box - and its awesome contents - were given to her by a friend, who believe it or not is a Giants fan! Let's take a look inside. 

What's in the box???? 

 Just a bunch of Dodgers retro-coolness....

Drinking glasses with Dodgers from the 60's. You can see some of the names on the side of the box: Carl Furillo, Don Drysdale and Johnny (I hate Marichal) Roseboro. Also included are Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider and Wally Moon. 

Here's Koufax...

The Duke...

And Wally (Moonshots) Moon...

How cool is this set of glasses? They're in mint condition as though they were made yesterday. What a lucky break it was for me to visit the Institute on the same day those glasses were there. 

Above is a shot of the lucky lady who owns those glasses and Terry. I cannot express enough what a friendly person Terry is, and what a pleasure it is to talk all things baseball with him. The time flew by like a fast breeze.

Check out that wild artwork over Terry's head. Here's a closer look...

It's the first baseball game ever! The mastadon is the batter, and beyond the center fielder you can see the outline of the old MLB logo. 

Here's another quirky baseball artwork...

This was made by a former major league pitcher (sorry Terry, I forgot who the artist is). Take note of the baseball. It's an actual ball with a monkey skull. Yikes! 

Speaking of quirky artworks, the walls were covered in paintings from a Dodger fan whom Terry tells me makes a new painting for every game and displays them out in his yard....

The center painting above was specially made for the Reliquary.  Here are a few other jewels that are up on display...

You might recognize the large photo of Anthony Perkins as Jimmy Piersall from the film classic "Fear Strikes Out". As auspiciousness would have it, I happened to watch that film for the first time that very morning, so it was a treat for me to see that photo, which Terry says was a donation from a Hollywood studio that was about to toss it out! 

Of course most of you should recognize the photo prints right below Perkins/Piersall - it's Willie Mays' "The Catch".  

You heard about A League of Their Own. How about The Blessed Virgins League?  

Do you go to hell if your team beats them in the World Series?

Below is a banner from a special night for Shoeless Joe Jackson, in his home town...

Below is a tribute to the East Los Angeles baseball team, Los Chorizeros, who were part of the Mexican-American baseball leagues that played across the American Southwest from the 1920's until the early 70's.

Never heard of them? Me neither; I was born just as the leagues were dying out - and courtesy of their sacrilegious omission from Ken Burns' (now flawed in my mind) baseball documentary, most of America has remained uninformed of this great historical slice of baseball. 

Much like the Negro leagues, the Mexican-American leagues were formed because they too were kept out of The Show by all those guys who thought exactly like Al Campanis.

 For every lunch counter sign denying service to African-Americans in the south, there was an equal one denying service to Mexican-Americans in the southwest - particularly down home in Texas (my father's home state). 

Thanks to the Institute, word of these players' contribution to the American fabric of baseball will slowly be brought out to light. 

I'm personally glad that Terry had this display up on the day I visited, because it turns out the leagues were most popular in East L.A., right in the neighborhoods where I grew up, in the shadows of Dodger Stadium.

If not for the Institute, I may never have known of the Chorizeros, so named because of their connection to the Carmelita chorizo factory, which I am sad to say is no longer in business. The closing of Carmelitas was a personal blow to me because they made the BEST CHORIZO EVER, bar none. 

The Chorizeros were such a baseball powerhouse, they were referred to as The Yankees of the West. 

If you check the photo closely, you'll see the logo is a baseball playin' pig. That was the same logo on every package of Carmelitas chorizo. All my young life I wondered about why that pig loved baseball before giving up his life for the breakfast table.

Here's one for my buddy Matt....

Please pardon the slightly blurred image below. I chose to include it because of the interesting displays the Reliquary presented in the past...

That's not nearly everything I have to share from our visit to the Institute, but time is running short as Wallet Card and I will be going to the ballgame tonight to see Kershaw and the Dodgers battle the Rockies. 

We'll have to continue in the next post where I'll showcase my loot - the wonderful things that Terry gave to me on my visit. 

Here's a teaser...

Join Wallet Card and I next time for Part Two! 


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Have You Heard Of The Other Baseball Hall Of Fame?

Aloha everybody,

Isn't this the best time of year? It's Opening week and all of our teams are in the mix. How's your team shaping up so far? As of this writing, the Dodgers are at .500 with 160 more games to go. Not a bad spot to be in. 

Have any of you seen the video below? My buddy Laker Dave lent this to me and suggested I watch it, as it's a "very cool video" and he knew I would enjoy it thoroughly. He was absolutely right.

The video is a documentary about the birth of the Baseball Reliquary and the Institute of Baseball Studies. The Reliquary is a sort of "People's Hall of Fame", but they call theirs the "Shrine of the Eternals". Best of all, this is no joke. 

Cooperstown honors the best strike out pitchers, the home run kings, and all of baseball's past stat-leaders. The Reliquary honors everyone else who made the game what it is today. In it's archives you'll find the heroes as well as the goats, the wild ones, the funny ones, the under-the-radars, and the sublime.

Unlike the honorees at Cooperstown, regular folk like you and I vote for the Eternals. I'll let them tell you what the Shrine is:

"The highest honor afforded by the Baseball Reliquary is election to the Shrine of the Eternals. Similar to Cooperstown’s National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Shrine of the Eternals differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not the principal criterion for election. It is believed that the election of individuals on merits other than statistics and playing ability will offer the opportunity for a deeper understanding and appreciation of baseball than has heretofore been provided by “Halls of Fame” in the more traditional and conservative institutions."
Dock Ellis was the first inductee. The video includes his touching induction speech, as well as the highly amusing induction of Mr. Pete Rose. If you love the sport of baseball, get your hands on a copy of this DVD pronto (try your local library), and watch it with ATBATT's full endorsement. Watch it with your kids and let them in on the other sides of baseball that many have forgotten or never even knew about. 

 It's my good luck that the Reliquary and the Institute for Baseball Studies are based here on the West Coast, at local Whittier College.

 Last week I stopped by the Institute for a visit, and I was absolutely blown away! Stop by for the next post as we go inside and drop our jaws in baseball awe.