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A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

August 18, 2000|LARRY STEWART

What: "Tales from the Dodger Dugout"

Author: Carl Erskine

Publisher: Sports Publishing Inc.

Price: $19.95

A similar book, "Tales from the Red Sox Dugout," was recently reviewed in the Hot Corner. What's different about "Tales from the Dodger Dugout," is it was written by a former player, Carl Erskine, who pitched 12 years for both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, compiling a 122-78 record.

Among Erskine's many tales are his dealings with Branch Rickey, his view from the Dodger bench during Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series and his firsthand experiences when Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

One tale is about pitcher Don Newcombe in 1954 after he served two years in the U.S. Army. Black players couldn't stay in the Park Chase Hotel in St. Louis, so Newcombe and Robinson went to speak to the hotel manager. The manager was cordial but said, "Well, you fellas can't stay here because we don't want you out around the swimming pool." Newcombe said, "Who wants to swim? We just want to stay with our team." The request was granted, but the two players were told they couldn't eat in the dining room.

Maybe Erskine's best tale is about the time his son Danny, 9 at the time, was on Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things" in 1958, the Dodgers' first season in Los Angeles. The Dodgers had gotten off to a slow start and one of the things Linkletter asked Danny was: "What do the letters on the Dodger cap stand for?" "Lost again," said Danny.

Some things never seem to change.

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