Four Dodgers who have left their marks on the organization were born on this date…
The youngest of those four turns 30 years old today and he’s the current “Dean of the Dodgers.” Remember that term from the 80s, which often referred to the player who was with the team the longest? Well, Hong-Chih Kuo is that guy, having been in the organization since he was drafted as an 18 year old in 1999. His perseverence through physical injuries and this year, mental anguish, have earned him the respect of hundreds of thousands of baseball fans around the globe and he couldn’t be a better representative of this team.
Eight years before Kuo entered the world in Taiwan, Nomar Garciaparra was born and raised here in Los Angeles. He got to play for his hometown team for several years and became an immediate fan favorite. Arguably his most memorable day as a Dodger was the “four-homer game” when the team trailed by four in the bottom of the ninth and hit four consecutive solo shots to tie it, only to lose the lead in the 10th and win it on a Nomar walk-off in the bottom half.
The other two are no longer with us, but far from forgotten.
Don Drysdale would have been 75 today. He won World Championships, set Major League records and reached the Hall of Fame, long before being known to another generation as a Dodger broadcaster. He passed away far too young, in 1993, while on the road with the team. Tonight, more than 50 of his family and friends (plus thousands of his admirers) will be on hand as we celebrate his career and life as a Dodger. His sons, D.J. and Darren, will throw out ceremonial first pitches and his wife (a legend in her own right) Ann Meyers Drysdale will also be on hand.
And coincidentally, another Hall of Famer and Dodger whose number is retired, Pee Wee Reese, was also born on this day in 1918. He played in the third-most games in franchise history (1,918), scored more runs than anyone who ever wore a Dodger uniform (1,338), had more hits than everyone other than Zach Wheat and will always be remembered as one of the original Boys of Summer. He passed away in 1999 and not only did he wear No. 1 on his jersey, but in so many people’s minds, he was No. 1 in their heart, too.
With all that’s gone wrong this season on and off the field, it’s important for us to take a moment and think about four Dodger All-Stars, all born on the same day, all accomplished in their own right, and all who wore (or wear) the uniform with dignity and pride.
Despite being around the team year-round, I still learn new things every day about our players. Just found out that Hong-Chih Kuo has four dogs here in LA and one back in Taiwan and that he recently took part in an SPCA event in Taiwan last week. The news release is below…seems like a natural fit for next year’s Bark in the Park!
And don’t forget, you can still vote for Kuo for Setup Man of the Year at MLB.com
Happy Thanksgiving to Dodger fans around the country…enjoy the time with your family and friends.
Taipei – Not only does Hong-Chih Kuo have the skills to be one of the few players that ultimately made it to the MLB, he’s one of the few that has a true compassion for animal welfare. Back in Taiwan for just a few weeks, he spent time on a campaign for the Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TW SPCA), to speak up against animal cruelty. Kuo states that before moving to the states to play for the L.A. Dodgers, he saw many media reports of acts of violence towards animals and the devastating experiences of many of Taiwan’s strays. This hits close to home as he has five dogs of his own; four in L.A. and one in his native home of Tainan. Kuo contacted the TW SPCA through his manager and voiced his desire to try and help improve animal welfare in Taiwan.
The SPCA is an international animal welfare group of independent organizations based in many countries around the world, such as: England, U.S.A, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. The Taiwan SPCA was established in July of 2009 and has already applied to the Ministry of the Interior for NGO status. Taiwan SPCA’s constitution, goals, and organizational structure are already being supported by many, including famous celebrities such as: Dee Hsu (Xiao S), Mavis & 100% Band, MC Hotdog, Machi, Wang Shao Wei, singer Alex Lee, and SBL basketball players whom have all filmed supportive messages and/or campaign messages for the Taiwan SPCA.
In Kuo’s video campaign, he is portrayed as a defender of animals and is shown helping out strays. The concept came about when Kuo started asking the TW SPCA for information on cruelty cases in Taiwan. It showed his genuine interest in the matter and his aspiration to make a difference. On the day of the video shoot, Kuo also signed an endorsement letter for the Taiwan SPCA, hoping that others will join in on the fight against animal cruelty.
The Taiwan SPCA hopes that this video campaign can be shown across all media platforms to remind the public that Taiwan’s animals still need our help. It shouldn’t be a “out of sight, out of mind” kind of situation anymore. If anyone wishes to volunteer, adopt or foster an animal, or donate to TW SPCA’s cause, please contact us at: email@example.com
Well, it was hardly the finish we all had hoped for back in February at Camelback Ranch, but it was a great day and hopefully those of you at the stadium or watching on TV enjoyed it.
From Brad Ausmus’ retirement ceremony and two-hit game, to John Lindsey taking out the lineup card with Joe Torre and even getting in the box score with a pinch-hit appearance…and from Hong-Chih Kuo setting the record for the lowest single-season ERA in franchise history, to Joe Torre’s farewell speech and ceremony, it’ll actually be a day to remember for many Dodger fans who have supported this team all year.
I know that more than 15,000 people left the stadium with some sort of gift (one of which took home a Hyundai Sonata), while David Hasselhoff’s rendition of God Bless America was a huge hit (as was his cameo in Don’t Stop Believing).
On behalf of everyone at the Dodgers, we truly thank you for your support this season. You all come out, win or lose, through thick and thin and for that, you have our deepest gratitude.
Keep checking back at the blog all winter, as we’ll be updating regularly. And have a safe Fall…
Just noticed that Stephen Strasburg got another win last night and as a few of us were talking in the office today, it seems more and more likely that he’s going to be starting for the Nationals against the Dodgers during our next homestand in our first game against Washington (Aug. 6).
As much as it would be nice to miss him, I’m actually looking forward to seeing him pitch just to witness the hype. And if we can beat Ubaldo (the only ones to do it so far), who’s to say we can’t beat this young phenom? To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best! Anyway, I’d imagine tickets will start flying for that game once people realize that he’s scheduled to pitch so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Meanwhile, as impressive as he’s been, he hasn’t had a complete game yet (or a shutout), which is exactly what Chad Billingsley did last night when we needed it most. He was very impressive and gave the Dodgers their first complete game of the season.
Incredibly, we looked it up and over the last 10 years, 19 different teams have had one or no complete games in a season and six have gone to the playoffs – the Yankees in ’04, ’07 and ’08, the Dodgers in ’06 and ’09 and the Twins in ’06. So, while it would be nice to have a bunch of complete games, not having many clearly doesn’t preclude you from reaching the postseason.
I’d imagine each of those teams had pretty impressive bullpens but I wonder if any had two All-Stars on the back end like Kuo and Broxton.
Gotta keep it going tonight…
James Loney just drew a walk to load the bases in the first inning…
It was hard to believe, but researching the notes for today, it dawned on me that James has basically carried the offense for the past six weeks. The Dodgers were six games under .500 on April 29 and have gone 30-16 since then, for a .652 winning percentage.
During that time, Loney leads the team in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, batting average, doubles, homers and RBI…and his 38 RBI are twice as many as the next-highest total (DeWitt’s 19). That’s crazy. Meanwhile, during that same period, Broxton, Kuo and Weaver are a combined 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA. Pretty impressive.
Anyway, here’s hoping we can get out of town with a victory tonight. For those who follow the team on Twitter @dodgertownusa, we posted some random photos from around town today, as I wandered along the Freedom Trail in Boston, a very nice stroll throughout town. Dodger fans, as expected, were everywhere.
Another Dodger win and on My Town Taiwan Night, both Hong-Chih Kuo and Fu Te Ni both got in the game. The section on the reserved level was going bonkers.
John Ely was dealing again, even with a rough first inning he kept his composure and lasted six innings.
We’ll try to keep it going tomorrow…hope you’ll make it out for the series finale.
No, not the Padres…though as the first place team at the moment, they are kind of like the evil empire right now.
We’re talking about tomorrow night’s promotion which I’m sure you’ve all heard about, but there’s a really funny Jib Jab video that utilizes a few of our players. The My Town section is completely sold out, there are still tickets left for other areas of the stadium, where fans will get the poster that you see at the same link.
It’s actually pretty cool that what started as a simple request to use Yoda on our billboards has turned into a great relationship with the Lucas Films people (and the Yoda billboard actually won an advertising award). There are a lot of Dodger fans who like Star Wars and vice versa, so hopefully some of you fall into that category. It’s also sparked other similar relationships with the people at SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb and for any of you with kids, you know how big those characters are with your little ones.
Otherwise, just another busy day at the stadium. We actually had a news conference here for the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, where this guy performed a song. If you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll be amazed at his voice. He’s up to almost 7 million hits on youtube and he was extolling the virtues of visiting Taiwan, as were James Loney, Jamey Carroll, Xavier Paul and Hong-Chih Kuo. By the way, if you missed all the videos from our trip to Taiwan back in March, you can check them out here (keyword Taiwan).
OK, that’s three video links in one blog post, which I think is probably a record for Inside the Dodgers. So, we’ll end the post now.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has struggled so far this year after being the best in baseball last year, and today a move was made to recall Jon Link from the minors. He’s one of the two players the Dodgers got in exchange for Juan Pierre this winter and so far in Triple-A this season, he has two saves in five games, allowing three runs in 4.1 innings.
Over his minor league career, Link has struck out 300 batters and walked 104 over 297.1 innings and in 2008, he led all minor leaguers in baseball with 35 saves at Double-A, so clearly he’s got a pretty impressive background. He’s never been in the big leagues, but he did take part in the team’s Winter Development program back in January, so hopefully that will help him adjust quickly to the Majors.
Of course, that means someone has to go down and unfortunately, that someone is Russ Ortiz. He’s one of the nicest guys in the game and a local product (Montclair Prep), so I’m glad he got the chance to pitch for his hometown team, even if only for a few weeks. He’d have to clear waivers and then accept a minor league assignment to Albuquerque, so we’ll see what happens.
Elsewhere in the minors, Hong-Chih Kuo will pitch today for the Inland Empire 66ers out in San Bernardino, while this is the crew that will take on the Giants. A win gives the Dodgers a 4-2 homestand, a loss breaks them even at 3-3.