What I groove on

Archive for the tag “Koufax”

Groove Central LA Quiz Masters Tourney

quizIt is time again for the 2nd annual Groove Central LA Quiz Masters tourney. After a long journey the two winners from the last contest, the noble Nelson Holdo and the superlative Tom Collins, have been paid in full. Both wore the crown with dignity and both wore it well. If you remember, the first two contestants who answer all of the questions correctly will win 3 drinks to be purchase by the Groovemaster himself at an appropriate venue. This also includes a limited amount of witty conversation and a hearty hand clasp thrown in as a bonus. Best of luck, but as the great Branch Rickey said “Luck is the residue of design.”

1)  Herb Alpert (of Tijuana Brass fame and A & M Records (A meaning Alpert, M for Jerry Moss )    Unknown-1

  • a) was born in Tijuana, Mexico and would often perform at the famous ” Long Bar ” bar in downtown TJ
  • b) comes from a Jewish family that came to the US from the Ukraine
  • c) Father worked on the presidential sculptures on Mount Rushmore
  • d)  Mother was a famous flagpole sitter during the 20’s.

2)  We all groove on Duke Kahanamoku, a pioneer of surfing and 3 time Oly gold medal winner. Duke was alsoimages

  • a) instrumental in bringing  ” beach Volleyball ” here to California and was also the athletic director at Santa Monica’s “Beach Club”
  • b) was an amazing dancer to the point of being admired by Fred Astaire.
  • c)  refused to eat anything red
  • d) starred in a Tarzan movie along with friend and swimming champion Johnnie Weissmuller playing the part of  “Mombobo”, a tribal chieftain.

3)  In ” Mein Kampf ” (My Struggle) , Adolf Hitler’s 1925 memoir, the only American who was mentioned favorably is

  • a) Al Capone
  • b) Charles Lindbergh
  • c) Henry Ford
  • d) Ryan Braun

4)  Which one of these items were NOT originally made in Switzerland ? ch~

  • a) electric toothbrush
  • b) LSD (not talking about the great new band Lake Street Dive)
  • c) cellophane
  • d)  rotary phone dial

5)  Marlon Brando’s son said “the last time my father left his house to go anywhere it was with ………    He was instrumental helping my father through the last years of his life.”   Was he referring to

  • a) Jack Nicholson
  • b) Dean Martin
  • c) Michael Jackson
  • d) Johnnie Carson

6)  We all know and groove on the early 20th century writer Zane Grey (whose first name was Pearl), who appeared to be a



pleasant and unassuming dentist from Ohio who wrote adventure stories, mostly cowboy, then hit it big with “Riders of the Purple Sage.”  He also had a big pad in Catalina overlooking Avalon harbor which is now a hotel.  Over the years, 112 films have been made from his works and in his peak he made $500,000 in one year. By comparison, F.Scott Fitzgearald, in his best year, made $37,500.  But Zane had a secret. It was :

  • a) His books were written by a blind and deaf brother who never knew of his brother’s success or fame
  • b) He kept an enormous cache of pornography sometimes with Zane as the star performer
  • c) Was arrested, but not convicted, of a string of murders of young girls in Mexico City
  • d) was a cross dresser preferring Angora sweaters, tight black dresses, and red pumps.

7)   After refusing surgery this person  said: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share. I will do it elegantly. ”

  • a) Eleanor Roosevelt
  • b) Steve Jobs
  • c) Albert Einstein
  • d)  Walter Cronkite

8)   Here, I will lob you a beach ball right across the plate. Sandy Koufax, Dodger great and one of the coolest cats around, Sandy-Koufax-Ballscould hold how many baseballs in one hand ?   (Try it yourself…)

  • a ) 4
  • b) 5
  • c) 6
  • d) 7

9)  If you fell off a 30 foot building would you wildly scream, utter a quick yelp, or silently face your fate?   This is NOT part of the quiz. I’m just asking.

10)  Which of these records was established way back in 1978 and has yet to be broken

  • a) the Men’s long jump
  • b) the top speed on water
  • c) the top speed on land
  • d) the Women’s discus throw

11) Boston Corbett was the man who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth (Lincoln’s assassin) in a barn in Virginia 12 days after Unknown-3Lincoln’s assassination.  Henry Rathbone was with Abe and Mary in the booth at Fords theatre when the dastardly deed was done, sustaining a serious wound from Booth’s Bowie knife.  Beside being part of this American trajedy what else did these two men have in common?

  • a) both were placed in an asylum for the insane
  • b) both died in the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 which killed 21 people
  • c) both played for Abner Doubleday’s ” Knickerbockers ” baseball team
  • d) both played at the 1st Nick Talent Full Throttle Wide Open.

12) Who said that he “half-regretted the demise of so many of the valley’s orchard trees, because now there are no longer enough trees to hang all the troublemakers who live there. ”

  • a) George Armstrong Custer
  • b) William Sheridan
  • c) Gutzen Borglum
  • d) William Mulholland

Well there you have it. Good times await a couple of wonderful souls who will have the great fortune of consuming alcohol with the Groovemaster.   Nelson and Tom, do you have the juices for a repeat?    Thanks and Groove.

With Tom

With Tom

With Nelson

With Nelson

“It’s Time for Dodger Baseball”

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

We know them and love them : Sandy (Koufax), Steve, (Garvey), Davey (Lopes), Ron (Cey), Bill (Russell), Don (Drysdale), but what about Pop (Corkhill), Oyster (Burns), Hub (Collins), Adonis (Terry) and Needles (Foutz).  We recognize the first group of names as the true blue Dodgers of our immediate past, but those other names are early descendants having played on the Brooklyn teams that had many names. The Dodgers were originally founded in 1883 as the Brooklyn Atlantics, taking the name of a defunct team that had played in Brooklyn

before them. Then came the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (because so many team members were getting



married), then the Grooms, the Superbas (which I will now call the Dodgers after I’ve had more than one cocktail), the Robins, The Trolley Dodgers, before finally becoming the Dodgers.

The Dodgers greatest rivals are the Hated Ones (or Giants) of San Francisco.  Both teams moved to California in 1958 and while the teams were based in New York, the Giants won 5 World Championships (like saying the Egyptians made fine pyramids, it’s ancient history…..who cares) and the Dodgers just one. Since moving to modern times (west coast) the Dodgers have won 5 World Championships (there is no doubt that number will increase in the near future) with the Giants struggling to win 2.   Life goes on and as the ink dries on this paper the Los Angeles Dodgers Photo DayDodgers have a 15 1/2 game lead on the lowly last place Giants with the San Diego Padres desperately trying not to dip into the basement while pondering still another uniform change (Can you say branding?).  The Dodgers have had the same uniform for 70 years.

As we all know, rooting for your baseball team can be a cruel and fickle maiden, but listening to thehome-vin-scully honeyed voice of Vin Scully, (calling the Dodger games since 1950 …. “He’s a left handed batter and we understand his father makes wind chimes out of used toothpicks”) and loving the Dodgers, and the game of baseball, we are all lucky to be part of this wonderful ride of 2013.  Go Dodgers!

Groove.  Los_Angeles_Dodgers4

Sandy – Baseball’s Reluctant Icon

” There are two times in my life when the hairs on my arms stood up : When I saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the first time I saw Sandy Koufax throw a fastball.”

As said by Al Campanis, future Dodger General Manager, who at the time was a Dodger scout  and gave Sandy a tryout.  The Dodgers signed him to a $6000 salary and a $14,000 signing bonus. Koufax said he planned to use the signing bonus for tuition when his baseball career failed. To make room for Sandy on the Dodgers, a left hander named Tom Lasorda was optioned to the Montreal Royals of the International League.  There are those who say the resentment from Lasorda remains to this day.

Koufax struggled in his first 6 years in the majors finishing his 1960 season with a 8-13 record. After the last game of the season he threw his glove and cleats into the trash (only to be retrieved by the clubhouse supervisor and returned to Sandy the following spring) and vowed to quit baseball and devote himself full time to an electronic business. Persuaded to give it one more year, a hitch was found in his delivery mechanics, and with that correction – the best 6 years of a pitching performance in Major League History was started.

His stats are unmatched in such a short period of greatness (2x World Series MVP, 4x World Series Champ, 3x Cy Young winner (all three were unanimous),  4 no hitters, 1 perfect game,  Major League Baseball all Century Team, Major League Baseball All- Time Team, the youngest man ever inducted to the Hall of Fame,  best post season ERA (an incredible o.95),  but I think Sandy Koufax the Man is much more interesting.       

Koufax is remembered for his decision to not pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.  Derided by many, “the Great Jewish Hope” as Walter O’ Malley called him, inadvertently made himself a religious icon and a reluctant celebrity. (When Senator Joseph Lieberman became the first Jewish American to be named to a national political ticket in 2000, he was dubbed ” the Sandy Koufax of politics.”)  Just one year later, at the age of 30, he was gone from the game retiring at the peak of his career going 27-9 with a 1.73 era. Suffering from arthritis and concerned what continuing his baseball career might do to his body, he left on top.  Words of wisdom that we all should follow.  Sandy summed it up this way : ” I’ve got a lot of years to live after baseball and I would like to live them with complete use of my body.”

With Sandy’s retirement came the notion that he was a recluse. Because he chooses not to comment publicly on his life or to refute other’s impressions of it, he is labeled aloof.  Sometimes these perceptions are hardened by a mistake, like when his absence at the 1999 All-Star game in Boston, when the top 50 living players of the 20th Century met (including a final appearance of Ted Williams), Sandy’s absence was cited as more evidence of his reclusiveness.  In fact, he had never received an invitation. Often when he does show up at events and is asked about being a recluse,  he frequently responds: ” My friends don’t think I’m a recluse.”   He is someone who knows and values the difference between solitude and loneliness.  He is offended by the right things: lack of civility, honesty, and kindness and as Walter O’Malley says of him “He wants to see the best in everybody.”  The editors of Sports Illustrated named him their favorite athlete of the 20th Century with an article headlined  “The Incomparable and Mysterious Sandy Koufax.”  Fans were stunned to learn he hadn’t read the article. “I haven’t disappeared, I’m not lost, and I am not very mysterious.”  The only subject matter that doesn’t interest him is himself.  He is a genuine modest man who dismisses any talk of idolism with “The older I get, the better I used to be.”  Dusty Baker, known as El Lizard in certain circles, ex Dodger, and current manager of the Cincinnati Reds , says” He’s one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met, ever.”

On a magical night at Dodger Stadium on Sept.9th, 1965 Sandy threw a perfect game. (“2 and 2 to Harvey Kuenn…” the line uttered by Vin Scully that is etched in many of our minds.) It was the first perfect game thrown by a left hander since 1880. The game also featured a quality performance by the opposing pitcher, Bob Hendley of the Chicago Cubs, who pitched a one hitter that night.  35 years after the game Bob Hendley received a package with a note that read ,”We had a moment, a night, and a career. I hope that life has been good to you. -Sandy .” Inside was a signed ball with the inscription “What a game.”  When Hendley showed the ball to his son Bart, he noticed it was signed by Warren Giles, the long dead National League president and that it was a ball from the era of the perfect game.  It was the game ball of that magical night at Dodger Stadium. “I’ve been offered a lot of money for that ball and a lot of folks ask what was it like to be the other guy that night?, I tell ’em it’s no disgrace to get beat by class.”

” Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork” -Willie Stargell

” Pitching is the art of instilling fear” – Sandy Koufax

” Koufax throws a radio ball, a pitch you hear, but don’t see.” – Gene Mauch

” Koufax – he’ll never amount to much ” -Tom Lasorda

Sandy (at age75)

Grooving at Dodger Stadium

Grooving at Dodger Stadium

My kids have always loved baseball probably because I do too. The look on their faces as we turn the corner and see the field at Dodger stadium is the same look as they had when they were young opening presents on Xmas morn. Though they have seen this field dozens of times – it is always the same: a look of wonderment, hope, and pure delight.

Recently at a night game my daughter Lily spotted a strange light emitting a soft yellow glow from the far reaches of the parking lot behind right field. As it turns out it comes from a lantern that was erected in 1965 inside a Japanese garden that was built by the O’ Malley family during the construction of Dodger Stadium in 1962. A Japanese sportswriter legend named  Sotaro Suzuki was invited to the grand opening of the stadium and he was so taken with its magnificence that he commissioned a stone lantern to commemorate the lasting connection between The Dodgers and the nation of Japan. One can visit this place and imagine Walter O’Malley meditating on the single bench clearing his large head with visions of the fleet-footed Maury Wills stealing bag after bag and reaching harmony and the ultimate serene mode of consciousness with the thought of Sandy Koufax’s curveball.

So next time you find yourself in the far reaches of parking lot six look to the Garden and remember that Tommy Lasorda was given the Order of the Rising Sun and bow to the Enlightenment that is Dodger Stadium.

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