Last Friday Sandy Koufax was chatting with fans at the Dodgers' spring base in Glendale, Ariz.
This photo was taken by Abe Schear, the Atlanta attorney who has been interviewing baseball people for years.
Later, Koufax was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Andre Ethier. He was conscious, with some blood on the side of his head, as he sat on a cart while being taken for treatment in the clubhouse. Koufax, who serves as an adviser and occasional tutor to young Dodger pitchers, assured reporters and players that he was fine. The story:
In another Brooklyn angle, MLB has come up with a video from spring training of 1945. Because of wartime travel restrictions, the Brooklyn Dodgers were training at Bear Mountain, above the Hudson River, north of New York City.
The video was sent to me by the former Mets pitcher, Bill Wakefield:
Leo (The Lip) Durocher, the manager, candidly says in that brassy voice of his that the Dodgers can’t get much worse, since they finished seventh the year before. Leo always did have opinions. He fusses at his wartime players, perhaps knowing that the Dodgers have stockpiled players named Hodges and Snider when the players come back from war.
Spotted briefly on the scruffy looking diamond are Dixie Walker (wearing No. 14 instead of No. 11) and Tommy Brown, (No. 9), all of 17 years old.
Also on the roster is Ben Chapman, the old Yankee outfielder, who was hanging on – as a pitcher. Chapman would pitch 10 games for the Dodgers that year. In 1947, he would become infamous as the Phillies’ manager, for racial heckling of Jackie Robinson. I never knew, until now, that Chapman had passed through the Dodgers toward the end of the war.
In 1947, when Chapman was not directing vile words from the dugout, Chapman and Robinson posed for a photo. My friend the photographer, John McDermott, wonders if we should even look at a photo of Chapman. I mainly stuck it on here because I was intrigued upon learning Chapman pitched for the Dodgers in 1945. John has a point.,
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.