Seeking 10 Overlooked 1960s Dodgers

One of the all-time great
baseball card poses!

A dozen Rookies of the Year.

Even into the 1990s, it seemed that coming up with the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to guarantee career prosperity.

But not every wearer of Dodger blue was granted such an opportunity for success.

I went back to 1960, when Frank Howard became the first Dodger ROY winner. Who were the L.A. cup-of-coffee candidates from that decade, those who never found the same spotlight?

My latest letters are to:

Jim Barbieri
Dick Calmus
Roy Gleason
Jim Golden
Derrell Griffith
Tim Harkness
Dick Nen
Bart Shirley
Hector Valle
Carl Warwick

Roy Campanella, Rolling Stones, Superfans: Dodgers Coach Mark Cresse Remembers

Los Angeles Dodgers fans marvel at the years served by Bill Russell. Another overlooked team fixture during those many glory years was Mark Cresse.

Cresse served as bullpen coach for 22 seasons. A third-round draftee by the Cardinals in 1971, he went on to found the Mark Cresse School of Baseball.

I wrote to find out his views about Dodger Stadium, bullpen misadventures and his overlooked talent.

What did he remember most about Dodger Stadium? Interestingly, Cresse recalled the people before the sights:

“I enjoyed daily talks with the season ticket holders near me in the bullpen. I was always amazed with the passion they had for the Dodgers!”

What’s the craziest thing Cresse ever witnessed by relievers trying to amuse themselves?

“I promised Jesse Orosco that if we were ever ahead by 15 runs in a game, he could bring his stereo down to the bullpen. Sure enough, it happened and here came his giant stereo playing the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction.”

During his years with the Dodgers, Cresse gained secondary fame as a baseball woodworker. He made lamps out of broken bats. Did any famous names ever collect his work?

“The best bat lamp I ever made was an eight-bat lamp that I made for Roy Campanella. He gave me eight bats from his last team in Brooklyn and I made him a cool table lamp.”

Coming Monday: Givings, and misgivings, by collectors at Christmas.

Who Invented "Handsome Ransom" Jackson?

Same Sig, Almost 60 Years Later!

Ransom Jackson never found the culprit. But he has his hunch.

Although Topps preferred to dub the infielder “Randy,” historians know him as “Handsome Ransom.”

I asked Jackson if such an epic title was used on the bench, or even the dinner table. Wouldn’t an opposing team delighted in taunting such a finely-named foe? Jackson replied:

“Sportswriters are always looking for nicknames. So, somewhere along the line, someone hung that on me. Have no idea who did it. But it’s kinda fun. Nobody has even teased me about it.”

I asked what the biggest difference was in transforming from a Brooklyn Dodger to a Los Angeles Dodger. He wrote:

“Biggest change, going to L.A., was playing in a fastball stadium. Very weird.”

Lastly, I wondered what being an All-Star meant in the 1950s. As a two-time honoree, did he receive any kind of plaque, trophy or ring? Jackson recalled:

Maybe, the Chicago media invented Jackson’s Hollywood image. I’ve found more than one source indicating that Cub teammates thought he looked like Gregory Peck!

“One year for the All-Stars, I got a watch. The other year was a sterling silver coffee set with tray.”

Who Invented “Handsome Ransom” Jackson?

Same Sig, Almost 60 Years Later!

Ransom Jackson never found the culprit. But he has his hunch.

Although Topps preferred to dub the infielder “Randy,” historians know him as “Handsome Ransom.”

I asked Jackson if such an epic title was used on the bench, or even the dinner table. Wouldn’t an opposing team delighted in taunting such a finely-named foe? Jackson replied:

“Sportswriters are always looking for nicknames. So, somewhere along the line, someone hung that on me. Have no idea who did it. But it’s kinda fun. Nobody has even teased me about it.”

I asked what the biggest difference was in transforming from a Brooklyn Dodger to a Los Angeles Dodger. He wrote:

“Biggest change, going to L.A., was playing in a fastball stadium. Very weird.”

Lastly, I wondered what being an All-Star meant in the 1950s. As a two-time honoree, did he receive any kind of plaque, trophy or ring? Jackson recalled:

Maybe, the Chicago media invented Jackson’s Hollywood image. I’ve found more than one source indicating that Cub teammates thought he looked like Gregory Peck!

“One year for the All-Stars, I got a watch. The other year was a sterling silver coffee set with tray.”

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