A collection of items that reflect the storied history of the Dodgers versus what’s there to compare for the Angels is understandably lopsided on the scoreboard. The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may have had the most name changes as they play in season No. 50 this year, but you can name far more Dodgers facts, figures and players going back to Brooklyn and the late 1800s than the late Jimmie Reese would have cared to remember.
As the Dodgers and Angels finish their final Freeway Series match tonight — the Angels’ dominance has been well established — consider that if you were to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame today to see how the two were represented, this is among what you could experience:
No question, Manny Ramirez is Hall-bound on his own accord (pending the voters’ ruling on how steroid use plays in to it all), but we didn’t think we’d actually see him in Dodger gear so quickly. The third-floor room that shows off records and such has him there as a visual representation of the active players in career RBIs — and not too far away from the Top 10 list. There’s another Dodger on the list — former Angel Garrett Anderson. Another key former Angel, Vlad Guerrero, is just ahead of a current Angel, Bobby Abreu. The only lifetime Top 10 member with either Dodgers or Angels ties — Eddie Murray, who played for each.
Nolan Ryan no-hitters Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 were all with the Angels, of course, but it’s remarkable to see how many years — 18 — between his first in 1973 and his last in 1991 with Texas, as this display in the No-Hit Games room, next to the Records Room, shows. The catcher for the first of his no-nos in Anaheim was Jeff Torborg, whose glove is also on display — but not for his Ryan achievement, but for catching Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game as well as Bill Singer’s 1970 no-hitter.
In a display about the game’s equipment, the 104th base that the Dodgers’ Maury Wills stole in 1962 to break Ty Cobb’s single season record (but later surpassed by Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson) is none-the-less part of the arrangement. So it’s not just some extra baggage used here.
Fernando Valenzuela — another who’s played for both teams — has his Fernandomania on display, although most will remember that the bobblehead wasn’t actually given away at Dodger Stadium until 2001, or 20 years after his major-league debut. In the “Viva Baseball” display on the second floor, there’s also a copy of a record made about Valenzuela at the time. The room also includes a tribute to Panama’s Rod Carew, displaying the ball and red batting gloves from his 3,000th hit — which came as an Angel, in 1985, against his former team, the Twins (HOF fame link to it here)
One more from the “Viva Baseball” room: The radar gun and stopwatched used by Dodgers’ Cuban scout Ralph Avila. Nearby is a giant plaque that somehow made it into the Hall, where the Dodgers, in 1987, honor his contributions to the Campo Las Palmas site in the Dominican Republic. Read more about the “Viva Baseball” exhibit at the Hall of Fame site (linked here).
Before Nancy Bea Hefley, there was Helen Dell as the Dodger Stadium organ, from 1972 until she retired in 1987, the card says below her photo. The “Helen Dell Plays Baseball” record, left, includes a 1977 version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and is displayed next to another record called “Follow the Dodgers,” featuring the music of Ebbets Field organist Gladys Goodding.
The broadcaster’s wing of the Hall, honoring those who’ve called the game on radio and TV, is a simple wall — same as those who’ve been inducted as sportswriters. But next to it on the third floor are displays of old typewriters and wire service machines, plus audio calls of famous plays. We’ll just keep it simple: The Vin Scully induction photo, which includes former partner Jerry Doggett.
The final pitch Orel Hershiser delivered to clinch the final World Series victory for the Dodgers in their last championship season of 1988. Note, the ball was donated by former Dodgers GM Fred Claire, who was given the ball by Dodgers catcher Rick Dempsey. “It’s time for the baseball to be delivered to its proper home,” Claire said in 2005. “It’s the only resting place that makes sense so that the baseball and the memories it carries related to the 1988 World Series can be shared with all of the fans of the game.”
A pennant celebrating the Dodgers’ 10th year at Dodger Stadium, the ball Don Drysdale used for his 1968 scoreless inning record streak, a display honoring the Dodgers’ record-setting infield …
Each team playing today gets its own locker room display, so for some of the items used by Dodgers and Angels in recent years, you’ve got to look inside to see things like:
The bat Marlon Anderson used to hit the fourth of back-to-back-to-back-to-back ninth inning home runs for the Dodgers to tie their game against San Diego in 2006. …
Eric Gagne’s shoes (but not his goggles) …
And the batting gloves Orlando Hudson used to hit for the cycle in 2008.
The bat used by Kennedy High’s Garrett Anderson to drive in 10 runs in a game from 2007 (linked here), and the patches worn on the Angels’ jerseys to honor former owner Gene Autry and former coach Jimmie Reese …
A Sandy Koufax and Walter Alston display … A Tommy Lasorda plaque from the gallery … And the Jackie Robinson plaque that also notes his time in the service …
Not to further trivialize the Angels’ contributions, but the “Autumn Glory” review of post-season heroics has the Rally Monkey from 2002. And there’s a sombrero that owner Arte Moreno gave manager Mike Scioscia.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on the Cooperstown experience….