Notes on a Scorecard
It was old-timers day at Dodger Stadium, but the subject was current events. . . . “You’ve got to be lucky to pitch a no-hitter,” said an authority named Sandy Koufax, a couple of hours before Andy Hawkins wasn’t so fortunate in Chicago. “And if you have good stuff, it’s easier to be lucky.” . . .
Fernando Valenzuela had good stuff Friday night and got lucky with two out in the eighth inning. St. Louis Cardinal rookie Craig Wilson was at bat for the first time. Dodger eye-in-the-sky Joe Ferguson knew the right-handed Wilson was supposed to be an opposite field hitter. He instructed Coach Bill Russell to move center fielder Stan Javier a few steps to his left, but then changed his mind and told Russell to wait until after Wilson took a swing. Wilson promptly hit a drive to left center that Javier wouldn’t have caught had he moved. . . .
Koufax said the best he pitched during his four no-hitters was the last two innings of his perfect game against the Chicago Cubs in 1965 and the first two innings against the New York Mets in 1962. . . .
Fit and tanned, Sandy was perfect again Sunday. He retired the only two batters he faced in the old-timers game, getting Maury Wills to ground out to third baseman Ron Cey and Ted Sizemore to fly out to left fielder Lou Johnson. . . .
“The most unusual thing about Valenzuela pitching his no-hitter is that he’s not overpowering,” Koufax said. “You usually think of guys with exceptional fastballs. It’s a tribute to Freddy that he did it six, seven years after he was at his best.” . . .
Among others delighted was Al Campanis, who signed an 18-year-old Valenzuela to a Dodger contract out of the Mexican League. . . .
“Fernando was a pitcher Friday,” Campanis said. “He used the inside part of the plate. That’s something we used to try to get him to do. He’s always pitched well to the outside corner, but a pitcher should work like an accordion player . . . inside and outside.” . . .
The Dodgers outbid the New York Yankees for Valenzuela’s services in 1979 by $25,000, paying Puebla $120,000. . . .
“I went with Mike Brito to see him pitch for Yucatan, where he was on loan,” Campanis said. “He struck out Earl Williams, who once was a good major league hitter, with the bases loaded. That told me all I needed to know about his poise.” . . .
St. Louis pitcher Bob Tewskbury asked Koufax to autograph a baseball for him. . . .
Koufax on Roy Campanella, the Hall of Fame catcher who is hospitalized in Northridge with respiratory problems: “He’s a special guy who has never let anything beat him.” . . .
Mickey Owen, 74, hit some line drives in batting practice and, with a little help from first baseman Tommy Davis, got an infield single to drive home the winning run for his side. . . .
Al (The Bull) Ferrara recalled dropping a fly ball during his first game with Cincinnati in 1971 after being traded by San Diego for Angel Bravo. When he got to the dugout, Sparky Anderson glared at him. “What did you expect for Angel Bravo?” Ferrara said. . . .
Valenzuela outhit the Cardinals, 1-0, Friday and is hitting .333. . . .
Gene Hermanski was introduced as having been involved in the last Dodger triple play in 1949. No, the Los Angeles Dodgers never have executed one. . . .
From Al Downing: “I don’t miss playing. Maybe infielders and outfielders do, but not pitchers. Pitching is painful.” . . .
Now that Tommy John is finally at home after a career that began in 1961, 8-year-old son Taylor is touring the country as a singer with the road company of “Les Miserables.” . . .
Vin Scully has broadcast 14 no-hitters, including the perfect games of Don Larsen and Koufax. . . .
The last play of Fernando’s no-hitter suddenly appeared as the new climax to the Dodgers’ 100th anniversary film shown on DiamondVision. . . .
Bill Singer pitched a no-hitter for the Dodgers in 1970, Jerry Reuss in 1980, and Fernando in 1990. Look for Kiki Jones to pitch one in 2000. . . .
Jaime Jarrin, looking terrific at the old-timers luncheon Saturday, will return to the booth for CBS Radio’s Spanish-language broadcast of the All-Star Game July 10. . . .
Duke Snider on Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series: “I was 0 for 3, but I did hit a foul ball pretty hard down the right-field line.” . . .
On the second day of July, there are only 15 more promotions left on the Dodger Stadium schedule. . . .
From Tom Lasorda: “These days there are orthopedic surgeons and doctors and all their fancy equipment all over the place. Back when I was playing, there was one trainer with a bottle of rubbing alcohol and by the seventh inning, he’d drunk half of it.”