Newly digitized film shows Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella in spring training.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson slides into a practice sliding pit during spring training in 1951. (Still image from historicdodgertown.com).

Full-color video of the 1951 Dodgers in spring training — including Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella — is now available online at historicdodgertown.com.

Highlights of the never-before-seen silent film show the training regimen of the Dodgers at Dodgertown. Included in the footage are Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider. Aerial footage showcases the baseball fields, while the barracks used to house nearly 600 major and minor league players are also shown.

The players are seen training on the site that still exists for multiple sports activities. Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, takes swings at field two, slides in the sawdust-filled sliding pit and practices double plays with partner Reese at shortstop. Campanella is shown during batting practice at field two. Pitcher Don Newcombe is also shown doing calisthenics at Field No. 2.

The video was acquired by Gus Steiger, a sports writer for the Brooklyn Times, the New York Morning World, the New York Journal-American, and for more than 30 years the New York Daily Mirror. His granddaughter recently transferred the film to digital format.

“We are pleased to share this rare footage in tribute to longtime New York sportswriter Gus Steiger, who had this original film and passed it along to his son, Joel,” said Peter O’Malley, Historic Dodgertown chairman. “I knew Gus and he had the respect of everyone in the Dodger organization.”

Joel Steiger, featured in the film as a boy exploring Dodgertown, said, “The original film is edited to four and a half minutes. Our family is happy that it is available for Dodger fans everywhere. I was fortunate to travel to Dodgertown as a boy on several occasions and visit this historic place. I have many great memories of it and the people there.”

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Daily Distractions: Jarrett Martin is taking his first major-league camp seriously.

Jarret Martin

Jarret Martin (right, with Daniel Moskos) was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster in November and is taking part in his first major-league spring training. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Pre-spring training statistics aren’t official. Nonetheless, we’re going to go ahead and declare that Jarret Martin arrived in camp leading the Dodgers in off-season bullpen sessions with 10.

“I didn’t want to be the guy behind in my first big league camp,” Martin said.

He isn’t behind, and the extra work hasn’t had any adverse effects on his left arm. His were short sessions, about 30 pitches max, which suits Martin’s semi-new role as a relief pitcher.

In 14 starts last season for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Martin went 5-7 with a 4.79 earned-run average. His control (43 walks in 71⅓ innings was subpar. The faster track to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster resided in the bullpen. There was plenty at stake, since Martin was eligible for the Rule 5 draft if the Dodgers didn’t add him to the 40-man.

Martin made the switch in June and took to the role quickly. As a reliever, his opponents’ batting average dropped from .263 to .212. Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga in August, Martin posted a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances. He got his coveted 40-man roster spot in November.

There’s no such thing as having too few left-handed relievers in the major leagues, but once camp breaks Martin is likely headed to Double-A or Triple-A. Once there, Martin has the opportunity to define his own role.

“They said (being a reliever) isn’t permanent, but if it is I’ll accept it,” Martin said. “We’ve got a great starting rotation, so I understand that.”

Martin needs to throw more strikes; he threw 56 percent of all his pitches for strikes last season between Single-A and Double-A. He might, by his own admission, need to throw fewer changeups and stick to his fastball and slider as a relief pitcher. And he needs to learn to pace himself.

“As a starter I never really paced myself,” Martin said. “I actually threw harder as a starter late in the game.”

Some bullet points for a Gambian Independence Day:
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Daily Distractions: Masahiro Tanaka rumors are rife; Dodgers and Yankees are interested in Japanese pitcher.

Masahiro Tanaka

The Dodgers and Yankees have reportedly made the largest offers for free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. (Getty Images)

Watching the courtship of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka must be like making progress toward a major scientific discovery. The closer you get to the breakthrough, the more clear the discovery becomes. You know you’re on the brink. It’s exciting.

There were two really good scouting reports published today, each a practical take on what kind of pitcher Tanaka might be in the United States. Dan Szymborski, writing for ESPN.com, concludes that “the biggest test for Tanaka will be the command on his fastball. … Tanaka doesn’t have (Yu) Darvish’s raw stuff, so he’ll need to go after hitters like Iwakuma has done. This may result in more home runs than he allowed in Japan — just six in 2013 — especially if he’s pitching in Yankee Stadium, but that’s the tradeoff that worked for so well for Iwakuma in 2013.”

That sentence should come with a caveat: Darvish’s raw stuff would probably rank among the top 10 in the world. Maybe top 5. Tanaka’s offspeed pitches are pretty good, too. According to BaseballAmerica.com, his splitter and slider would both fetch at least a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

So what’s all that worth on the open market?

According to Nikkan Sports, at least $100 million over six years, plus a $20 million posting fee to be paid to the Rakuten Golden Eagles. Nikkan also reported that the Dodgers and Yankees have made the largest offer so far. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti made the strongest statement by any interested GM on Friday: “We’ll play it for as long as we can play it until we know that we’re out.”

Remember, Tanaka doesn’t have to choose the team that offers the most money. There are other factors at play.

Some bullet points for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
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Daily Distractions: How Dodger Stadium will turn into a hockey venue.

Dodger Stadium hockey game

Dodger Stadium’s transformation into a hockey venue began Monday. (Instagram)

Dodger Stadium opened its outfield gate Monday, and the transformation began.

A crew of about 200 local workers spent their day trudging on and off the field, carrying the components of a giant stage deck that was laid over the infield. Then came the plywood, then the 30-foot long aluminum pans holding enough refrigerant to cool a 2-inch thick sheet of ice to 22 degrees Farenheit.

Over the next 12 days, the transformation from baseball field to hockey venue will be complete. The Kings and Ducks are scheduled to play the first outdoor hockey game in Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. as part of the NHL’s “Stadium Series,” a slate of five outdoor games this winter.

The stories of the meticulous transformation, the man behind it, and the preposterousness of playing an outdoor hockey game in Southern California, will wait for another day. NHL ice-maker Dan Craig, Kings president Luc Robitaille, and Dodgers president Stan Kasten filled in some of the smaller blanks yesterday:

• Robitaille said that 50,000 tickets have been sold, and the venue will accommodate up to 54,000 for the game. That’s 2,000 less than Dodger Stadium’s baseball capacity. So where can’t you sit? Kasten said he wasn’t aware of any sections that will be blocked off. It could be that another 2,000 seats will be added if there’s enough demand.

• There will be no seats on the field.

• In order to level the playing field (literally), Craig’s team used a laser from the bottom deck of Dodger Stadium to measure the incline of the field. The pitcher’s mound has been leveled; that’s where the penalty boxes will go. The Kings’ and Ducks’ benches will be in the shallow outfield.

• Kasten got assurance from the NHL that the rink construction won’t interfere with the ongoing renovation projects outside the bullpen areas. “We’ll just have to direct people around some of the fenced-off areas,” he said.

• Craig’s crew will not work during the day. A tarp will be covering the rink area to shield the sunshine.

Some (more) bullet points for a Ratification Day:

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Daily Distractions: Revisiting Greg Maddux, on the eve of his Hall of Fame announcement.

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux pitched 23 games, regular season and playoffs combined, during stints with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2008. (Getty Images)

For your consideration, in the category of important dates in Dodgers history: June 6 and July 31, 2006.

On June 6, the Dodgers drafted Clayton Kershaw out of high school.

On July 31, they traded for Greg Maddux.

Not a bad couple months.

Maddux won’t be a unanimous first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, but he’ll probably come close. The Hall of Fame class of 2014 will be announced Wednesday and, barring a stunning comeback by Mike Piazza (currently polling at 67.7 percent), Maddux will be the only former Dodger going into Cooperstown this year.

I talked to Dodgers president Stan Kasten about Maddux and his legacy. Kasten was president of the Atlanta Braves during Maddux’s prime, which included a run of four straight Cy Young Awards, three straight ERA titles, and no less than 15 wins every season from 1988 to 2004. Take a moment to soak all that in.

Here are a couple tidbits about Maddux’s career that won’t make my story for Thursday’s editions:

“We weren’t sure we were going to get him,” Kasten said of pursuing Maddux in free agency in 1992. “The Yankees did outbid us substantially, but he decided he didn’t really want to play in that environment. He had a really good friend on our team, Damon Berryhill, who used to catch to him in Chicago. Damon told him how great the organization and environment was in Atlanta.”

Only one thing gave Kasten any pause about signing the pitcher to a five-year, $28 million deal.

“He wasn’t the cleanest medically,” Kasten said, “but we had good doctors, doctors with opinions we trusted. They signed off on him.”

Maddux only went on the disabled list once in 23 seasons. Maybe he played through more pain than anyone realized.

Some bullet points for a St. Distaff’s Day:

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