Skip to main content


The Dodgers have been flexing their farm system prowess the last couple of years and seem to be ramping it up most recently, calling up instant successes like Alex Verdugo, Matt Beaty, Will Smith and Gavin Lux, which followed other very recent rookie success stories like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson.

There is nothing I like more about my favorite sports team than their ability to churn out talent. Not only does it help lead to a consistent winner, but it's my go-to argument against fans of other teams who whine about the Dodgers' big-market ways. Granted, you need money to sign and scout players and develop them, but that's just part of being a fully functioning franchise. If you can't create your own quality farm system, then, well, you deserve to be the Tigers or Padres or whatever incompetent, every year. Don't accuse my team of doing something wrong or unfair.

To me, the ability to produce your own superstars indicates there is more than just luck or physical talent or even cash involved in your success. It means there is brains behind the operation, people who can think and work and basically aren't dumb-asses.

The Dodgers -- with the exception of those horrible McCourt years -- are known for creating homegrown talent, underlined by their record number of Rookies of the Year. Here is the list as a reminder:

1947 - Jackie Robinson
1949 - Don Newcombe
1952 - Joe Black
1953 - Jim Gilliam
1960 - Frank Howard
1965 - Jim Lefebvre
1969 - Ted Sizemore
1979 - Rick Sutcliffe
1980 - Steve Howe
1981 - Fernando Valenzuela
1982 - Steve Sax
1992 - Eric Karros
1993 - Mike Piazza
1994 - Raul Mondesi
1995 - Hideo Nomo
1996 - Todd Hollandsworth
2016 - Corey Seager
2017 - Cody Bellinger

That is a source of immense pride for me, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with any of it. But I just love that about my favorite team.

I was reminded of this by a couple of Allen & Ginter envelopes that arrived from fellow collectors. The first came from Jeffrey of Cardboard Catastrophes, who sent the Gil Hodges card I just showed. Hodges hails from the days when player development was about all a team had. There was no big free agency signing to boost your team. You needed players in your system and thank goodness the Dodgers featured the father of that kind of thinking, Branch Rickey.

Hodges was signed by the Dodgers in 1943 (after turning down an offer from the Tigers, interestingly enough) and after a brief period in the minors was with the big club for an extended run of success with the Bums.

But mostly I was reminded about the Dodgers' player development by an envelope from Matt of Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits, a noted A&G collector if I've ever known one. This is what I saw when I pulled out the cards:

Walker Buehler. Drafted and signed by the Dodgers out of Vanderbilt in 2015, after declining a Pirates offer out of high school.

Corey Seager. Drafted and signed by the Dodgers out of high school in 2012.

Clayton Kershaw. Drafted and signed by the Dodgers out of high school in 2006 (this is a case where the Dodgers benefited from being lousy in 2005 as they had a top 10 pick and Kershaw was regarded as the top pitching talent in the draft. But still, that by itself, Brien Taylor, guarantees very little).

Cody Bellinger. Drafted and signed by the Dodgers out of high school in 2013.

And Jackie Robinson. You know his story already. But it's all Dodgers all the way.

This doesn't mean that the Dodgers don't go the free agent route or trade for players, etc. Of course they do. Now, more than ever, the Dodgers are known for trying to uncover finds that slip by other teams and that's why the Dodgers have:

Justin Turner (from the Mets)

And Max Muncy (from the A's)

Pretty good deals.

The Dodgers do make dumb deals and decisions and I can cite several of them by rote. But they're still one of the smarter teams when it comes to developing players and that will always take you far. No guarantees of winning that World Series though.

Anyway, here are a few more Dodgers minis that Matt sent:

He always gets his hands on those Ginter X cards.

Thanks to these two packages I'm down to needing just one more card to finish the team set in short-printed Tommy Lasorda (EDIT: Never mind, just pulled it!) and I'm starting to make some good progress on the Dodgers minis.

Matt also sent some non-Dodger minis I assume in an attempt to crack my frankenset binder. It is an impressive foursome that held major promise:

So, which ones are now in my A&G frankenset binder?


Yup. The 2019 Feller is already there, it cracked the binder last week. The Rickey Henderson and Vlad Guerrero weren't able to unseat the the card at their spots because I already have a Guerrero and Henderson in the frankenset. Meanwhile the Kiner lost a dogfight with the Stan Musial mini -- why oh why does Topps insist on putting legends at the same numbers?? I have two cards of Nate McLouth and Carlos Gomez in the frankenset! Come on, man!

So, you Henderson and Guerrero collectors I have a mini for you if you're interested.


Dennis said…
That's absolutely a super cool thing to be proud about. I remember all the fanfare with the '92-'96 run but don't remember hearing much about the four straight starting in '79 (not that I was alive at the time). Also, Jackie's win was big since it was the first of two years where there was one ROY for both leagues. And lastly, I can't help but point out that two of your ROY winners, Sizemore and Howe (plus Chris Sabo, who won in '88) came from my alma mater :)
Brett Alan said…
Matt Vasgersian on the ESPN Sunday night game talking right now about how much of the Dodgers' success is homegrown. Great minds think alike, or did he read your post between innings? B^)
EbeSPN said…
Wilton Guerrero was supposed to keep the 90s streak going in 1997, despite batting .291, a corked bat led to a suspension and he didn't receive any votes for ROY, which Scott Rolen won. His brother Vladimir would finish 6th for ROY and go on to have an ok career.
Bubba said…
Dang. 0 for 4. Gotta get better. How do you like the X minis this year? Unfortunately, I don't have any base for you this year as I didn't get to open any boxes (those were leftovers from mini lot purchases). :(
night owl said…
I like 'em. I was going to mention that in the post.
Fuji said…
Hey now. The Padres have one of the best farm systems right now. Well... that's what I've heard. Then again... it doesn't matter unless they are able to perform at the MLB level.

Popular posts from this blog

This guy was everywhere

It's interesting how athletes from the past are remembered and whether they remain in the public conscious or not.

Hall of Fame players usually survive in baseball conversations long after they've played because they've been immortalized in Cooperstown. Then there are players who didn't reach the Hall but were still very good and somehow, some way, are still remembered.

Players like Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, Vida Blue and Mickey Rivers live on decades later as younger generations pick up on their legacies. Then there are all-stars like Bert Campaneris, who almost never get discussed anymore.

There is just one memory of Campaneris that younger fans most assuredly know. I don't even need to mention it. You know what's coming, even if Lerrin LaGrow didn't.

But there was much more to Campaneris than one momentary loss of reason.

A couple of months ago, when watching old baseball games on youtube hadn't gotten old yet, I was watching a World Series game from…

Some of you have wandered into a giveaway

Thanks to all who voted in the comments for their favorite 1970s Topps card of Bert Campaneris.

I didn't know how this little project would go, since I wasn't installing a poll and, let's face it, the whole theme of the post is how Campaneris these days doesn't get the respect he once did. (Also, I was stunned by the amount of folks who never heard about the bat-throwing moment. Where am I hanging out that I see that mentioned at least every other month?)

A surprising 31 people voted for their favorite Campy and the one with the most votes was the one I saw first, the '75 Topps Campy card above.

The voting totals:

'75 Campy - 11 votes
'70 Campy - 4
'72 Campy - 4
'73 Campy - 4
'76 Campy - 4
'74 Campy - 3
'78 Campy - 1

My thanks to the readers who indulged me with their votes, or even if they didn't vote, their comments on that post. To show my appreciation -- for reading, for commenting, for joining in my card talk even if it might …

Return of the king

(If you haven't voted for your favorite Bert Campaneris '70s card in the last post, I invite you to do so).

So you've been away for a few years and want everyone to know that you're back.

How do you do that?

Do what The Diamond King did when he returned to card blogging last month: Bombard readers with contests and giveaways! Well, you've certainly gotten MY attention, sir!

I'll start with the giveaways first. Since he returned, the Diamond King has issued multiple "Diamond King 9" giveaways, straight out of the chute and rapid fire in the last month-plus. As I've said before, I am very slow to get to these "first come, first serve" giveaways. I used to think "I spend too much time on the computer" and now I realize "I don't spend enough time on the computer at all!"

But I was able to nab two cards out of the many giveaways.

I won this key 1981 Fleer Star Sticker of The Hawk. I have since acquired several more &#…