Los Angeles Dodgers

I’m sending this again, loyal followers, because I’ve looked in my albums while watching this Toronto/Texas Game go on and on and on, and I think you’ll like what you see.


Here I am along with a huge crowd of Canadians cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays in their quest for a Stanley Cup World Series Championship (whoops, I nearly made a major faux-pas there…you know, us Canadians are so hockey-centric!) Not only is there a Championship Ring as a reward to the victorious players, but most certainly a $$$ bonus for the winners.

Bandwagon

I know that many of you have jumped on the Blue Jays’ bandwagon, and the truth is, that’s no surprise, as the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team in the whole country of Canada. That is more than enough reason to be cheering for the team and I’m one of their fair weather cheerleaders.

HOWEVER I am and always have been a Dodger supporter.  I even have a jersey!  As far back as I can remember everyone in my entire family was fans of the National League.  Many of my siblings cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals but I, as a youngster, was a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
.

Dodgers fan

Maureen O’Shea “I’ll always be a Dodgers fan”

Back in 1895, the name of the team was the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers.  The “Dodger” name came about when the city of Brooklyn trolley system became electrified and the pedestrians had to “dodge” the fast moving trolleys to get across the streets! This had not been a problem with the horse drawn trolleys.  There were several baseball teams named “Dodger”. When the team moved to Los Angeles, it took on the name of that city and became officially known as the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I have to admit it is going to be the Dodgers I will be cheering for if they are in the finals for the World Series against the Blue Jays.  Till then, I will cheer on the Blue Jays in their quest for the finals of the American League series.  But I will be cheering for my Dodgers to make the finals in the National League series as well.

Don Drysdale

Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub

Don Drysdale's Whaler's Pub

Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub menu

In 1980, my husband Doc and I had lunch at Don Drysdale’s Whaler’s Pub on the waterfront at Lahina, Maui, Hawaii. Drysdale had been a pitcher for both Brooklyn and LA, and after his professional playing career was over, he became a commentator. When he was just 56, he was found dead from a heart attack in a hotel room in Montreal, where he’d been scheduled to commentate on a game between the Montreal Expos and the Dodgers. In his personal effects was a cassette tape of a 1968 speech that Robert Kennedy had given just before he was assassinated in which he commented that Don Drysdale had pitched his sixth straight shutout that evening. He took that tape with hi everywhere he went.

Doc O'Shea and Johnny Weisshaar

Doc O’Shea and Johnny Weisshaar telling stories in Hawaii

Although that pub no longer exists, I remember it well: there was a wall of memorabilia of his Dodger years at his pub and it was a lot of fun to see it all!

Maureen O'Shea in Hawaii, 1980

I love wearing hats. Hawaii, 1980

Read more

Peter and Verna

My dad, Peter – who loved to wear a hat – and my oldest sister, Verna

My dad, Peter Stone, was an avid baseball fan.  He was 2 when his family immigrated to the US from Sweden, and 15 when his family re-immigrated to Canada, so, of course, he had played baseball growing up!  There were seven boys in his family, and every single one of them would rather be playing baseball than doing pretty much anything else. They used to say the Stones could field their own team!  

My dad’s twin brother, Paul, lived just 1/2 a mile from us, and we had a major rivalry when it came to The World Series.  Our family cheered for the National League and Paul’s family cheered for the American League.  Some of my 9 brothers and sisters were fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, but I was always a fan of the Dodgers. Back then, they were called the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Always a Dodger Fan

When I was young and it was baseball season, the entire family would be glued to the RADIO in the living room, listening to the play-by-play of the games. Long before television — and even longer before the sports broadcasters used visuals to help explain the game, we would create graphs of our own, to follow all nine innings (and sometimes more!) in a scribbler. Someone would be designated the scorekeeper, tracking the runners, the hits and the outs.  For those of us children still in school, mysterious ailments would inevitably arise, forcing us to stay home when our team made it to the final series.

After I became an adult and the World Series was televised, all of us found it nearly unbelievable that we were finally able to see our favourite players in person!  Although we’d get the newspaper – The Regina Leader-Post – with its pictures of players and coaches, seeing them on television was like a dream come true and, somehow, it made us love them even more.

Breaking my heart

Loving a team meant swelling with pride when they did well, and living with disappointment when they did not. As a 16-year-old, I first experienced heartache, because of the Dodgers. They led the league by 13 games in August, but lost in a three game series to the New York Giants for the pennant. The Giants, of course, later moved to San Francisco, where they still are.

In ’52, they played with my heart again, this time preventing those nasty Giants from having back-to-back pennant wins, winning the pennant.  That team had some high-powered batters, the likes of Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider. Other players I remember were Pee Wee Rese, Billy Cox, Roy Campanella and Carl Erskine. Despite all that batting power, the pennant was all they could muster, as they then lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Nineteen fifty-three was another heartbreak year, although the Dodgers’ roster was pretty much the same as it had been in 1952. They posted a winning season of 105-49 but lost the World Series 4 games to 2 and, like the year before, to those damn Yankees.

In 1957, the team moved to Los Angeles where it has continued its history as the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even though there was a romantic attachment to Brooklyn – a part of the greatest city of all, New York City, the Dodgers no longer having “Brooklyn” in front of their name, wasn’t all that disappointing to me. I rather thought their move to L.A. might be better for me — since L.A. is much closer to home and with the greater proximity, I felt my chances of ever being able to see them play in person had just increased.

The great betrayal

No, the change of location didn’t bother me very much. What my greatest disappointment was with baseball, and I don’t know when this started, was when players started being traded, and no longer stayed on the same team forever, like they used to back in the 40’s and 50’s. When a player was traded to another team, it felt like a knife had sliced through my heart. A trade, to me, was the great betrayal.


Dodgers' Training Camp

Maureen at the Dodgers’ training camp in 2015 next to the statue of Tommy Lasorda .

Back in Sun City, after the road trip to La Quinta, I had the opportunity to go to the Camelback Ranch, in Glendale, Arizona to watch the L.A. Dodgers in spring training. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that both the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox use. I was there with my youngest daughter and her family. We stood and watched as the pitchers ran laps around the complex before starting their practice; we sat and watched as the coaches and the pitchers went through their routines.  On leaving the field, the pitching coach gave a baseball to my granddaughter, Lily. He picked her out as she had a pink cast on her leg because of a broken her ankle, which was a very nice gesture.

If the creek don’t rise

Unfortunately, I’ve not made it to a Dodgers game yet, but it is certainly on my bucket list. And, if the creek don’t rise…someday I will go!

 

 

Read more
%d bloggers like this: