Monday, August 06, 2007

Blast from the Past: The Dodgers in Happier Times

People don't send regular mail much anymore, and that's a pity. Sometimes, a random unexpected letter from a friend can really brighten up a day. And a random package--well, that can knock the wind out of your lungs. In a good way.

Take my friend "Sandy K.," an old pal from business school. Among other exploits, we both helped bring home (literally) an intramural basketball championship banner during school. Sandy now lives 3000 miles away and despite his generous invitations, RFK Stadium just ain't appealing enough to merit a full-on trek to the nation's capitol (wait until the new stadium next year, Sandy!). Though we don't see each other that often, I know he shares my Dodger fandom, and occasionally reads SoSG.

So imagine my delight to have received from Sandy a copy of "The Los Angeles Dodgers," by Paul Zimmerman, straight out of the 1960s. Sandy must have found the treasure in an used bookstore, or perhaps he was using the well-worn, hardback book to prop behind his tire when he parked on a hill. In any event, the book, written by a former Sports Editor of the Los Angeles Times, is described on the interior dustjacket as a tale of "the Los Angeles Dodgers, probably the most colorful team in Organized Baseball today, whose rise from a seventh-place finish in 1958 to become World Champions in 1959 is one of the greatest sports feats of all time." I have no idea why Organized Baseball is capitalized, but I must say it does make it appear a lot more organized (or at least more august); I can only assume disorganized baseball is neither capitalized nor probably even spelled correctly.

But in any event, the book is straight out of a time machine and it's a very thoughtful gift of Sandy K. The preface is by Walter Alston. It's "heavily illustrated with photographs," which includes at least one of four policemen forcibly removing a Chavez Ravine resident (one policeman on each limb). I can only assume the displaced resident was muttering a curse which thwarted future plans to have efficient parking systems. Anyway, the book and pictures are gems.

Thanks, Sandy! Now if I could only find a Nationals book from 1960 to send back...


Orel said...

I think the Coward-McCann Sports Library wants their book back.

Lasorda said...

Could that be the same Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman who writes the football column for Sports Illustrated?

Lasorda said...

Also, I initially thought "Dodgers in Happier Times" was going to be a snarky comment about the Dodgers' record just 10 days ago.

Paul Thomas said...

Unreal....I found a copy of this book on the shelves of Acres of Books down in Long Beach about an hour ago. Searching the web for information about it, I stumble across this blog.

It is a cool book, as baseball books go.

For Lasorda, this is from Dr. Z's wikepedia page:

(born October 23, 1932, Philadelphia), known to many fans as "Dr. Z", is an American football sportswriter who currently writes for the weekly magazine Sports Illustrated. He is sometimes confused with (but not related to) Paul D. Zimmerman, a sportswriter who covered college football for the Los Angeles Times from 1931 to 1968.