Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

Aloha, everybody,

There's an old adage in baseball: Good pitching beats good hitting. Well, that's almost true, as in "almost always '. The second half of the equation is your team must do some hitting if it's going to win the day.

If your team's offense doesn't hit, then my personal adage kicks in, "Good pitching is not enough." 

I know that from which I speak, because the no (timely) hitting bug has always been the bane of the Dodgers. While they've had some masters on the mound over the years, even those guys had to walk tightropes to hold 1-0 or 2-1 leads far too often. 

Here are a few of those masters, on some of my favorite cardboard...

Of course, every discussion of Dodger mound-masters should begin with Koufax. While this Topps Upper Class card isn't vintage, it honors Sandy's rookie season, the same year the Brooklyn Dodgers won their only championship. Note how the background noise has been wiped away, allowing us to focus with Koufax, right before the pitch.

The trivia on the back says Koufax's first strike out victim was Bobby Thompson. Take that, sign stealer. 

 Speaking of Brooklyn, here's the man who led the '55 squad to the championship, Johnny Podres. 

This beauty came to me courtesy of Matt from Bob Walk the Plank fame. Lots of folks don't like sticker autos, but I say, when they are done right, they are right on. 

This card is a perfect example of "done right". The auto is clean and legible, and the silver backing matches the silver of the card perfectly. It's a clean design and the silver and white make the Dodger blue colors pop right out at you. 

 While there's not a lot special about 1977 Topps, I love this Sutton because of his perfectly relaxed, fake pose. The setting seems to be Spring Training in Vero Beach. 

This card is also a favorite of mine because of it's pristine condition. I often find myself checking the back to make sure this isn't a modern reprint.

 Everybody's goin' gaga over Kershaw, but he wasn't the first Dodgers mound master for me. Here's Orel Hershiser in 1986 Sportsflix glory.

 I got to watch Bulldog's legendary L.A. career unfold; what a joy. Whenever he took the mound, Nancy Bea Hefley, the Dodger Stadium organist, would play "Master of the House", from Les Miserables.

Bulldog dominated the late 80's, while the early part of the decade belonged to El Toro. Here's Fernando with bonus Dodger, Mike Scioscia. 

And now, one of the most underrated and under-appreciated Dodger pitchers - if not ever, certainly from my lifetime. Regular ATBATT readers know how I've often written about the Ace of the Dodgers, Ramon Martinez, Pedro's older brother. 

This great slice of cardboard is Ramon's RC. I love the lurking, brightly-painted Dodger pavilions in the background. 

 Big Don Drysdale was featured in my Bowie tribute, and he makes another appearance here on Legendary SP. This set would look great in a binder, but individual cards are always overpriced when I run into them at card shows. 

Good ol' Newk takes us back to the early days of the L.A. Dodgers. Newk is still employed by the club and he often makes appearances at Dodger celebrations and other occasions. 

Finally, the Tornado. Nomo earned the nickname due to his corkscrew windup.

I've got plenty of 90's shiny, busy, and laser-cut Nomo cards, but this simple example from Pacific Collection is one of my faves. Here we get a simple design, an odd brown diamond for the team logo to sit on, and a fantastic afternoon shot of Nomo's trademark windup. 

This all brings me to start off a new adage: Great pitching deserves great cardboard. Always. 



  1. met Newcombe in 83 or 84 when he spoke at my college. Great motivational speaker.

    1. I would love to hear him speak.
      Newcome passed out about a month ago at the press conference welcoming Dave Roberts as the new Dodgers skipper. It was reported he was fine afterward. Whew!