Dodger Stadium was holding a special Winter Holiday sale at their Top of the Park giftshop, and they were were tossing in the promise of Dodgers autographs and the chance to check out the 1981 World Series trophy. That was enough for me, so I headed off to the stadium.
It was a Saturday afternoon, but LA traffic is plenty thick no matter the day or time.
Rats, a detour! Being Saturday, it turned out there was some kind of parade right on the street I needed access to. They closed off Broadway, which meant I couldn't get to Vin Scully Avenue. I had to reroute around the maze of tiny hilltop streets that surround the stadium.
I eventually made it, and the Dodger signing autographs in the giftshop was Derrel Thomas, a member of the 1981 World Series championship team.
Thomas played for a number of organizations, including perhaps the entire NL West. He also holds the distinction of playing every position on the field, except for pitching.
Derrel beamed a great smile and was very friendly. He was gracious enough to sign two cards for me today - as I classified them to him, "one with your ever-lovin' smile, and one with you in action."
As you can see above, Thomas is listed as playing outfield (I suppose this refers to all fields) and second base.
It looks like Thomas adds a little arrowhead at the end of his signature. Is it something pointing upward, or perhaps a playful devil's tail? I wish I'd noticed at the time and asked him about it.
I also had the thrill of seeing the 1981 World Series trophy up close, with no glass between us.
I also bought myself something from the giftshop, but that will go under the Christmas tree, not to be opened until the 25th.
I was done baseball shopping, so I popped outside to get a peek at the hallowed field. On one of the walls, I noticed this plaque, honoring Hammerin' Hank Aaron.
It says Aaron hit his last home run (number 676) at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 1973. It's amazing that Hank ended with 755 homers, but he never hit another at Chavez Ravine. BTW, the Dodgers won that game 6-2.
Out on the field, there were some youth baseball teams having practice. What a thrill to be a kid and practice at Dodger Stadium. I wondered if there were former Dodgers down there giving tips.
Time to leave the magic of Dodger Stadium and head back into the reality of the city...but first, fish tacos on the way home!