Walt Alston

The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Best: The Dodgers are one of the three best lookin’ teams of all time (I’ll get to the other two in the coming days, but you can probably guess).  Since adopting the basics of their now-classic design in 1938, they have really only changed two things: (1) the addition of the red number in 1952; and (2) the words written in script on the front of the roadies. Take your pick between “Brooklyn,” “Los Angeles,” and “Dodgers.” They’re all sharp as a friggin’ tack.

Worst: You’ve gotta go back a ways to find a time when anything was different, but the red socks (sox?) were interesting. Hey, look! Early road blues! If you think those Giants plaids I mentioned this morning were wacky, get a load of these. The Nats think they’re patriotic for putting a red, white and blue curly W on their new uniforms? Pfft! Check this out, losers. That was in 1917, of course, and the Dodgers were doing their best to stick it to those fiendish Huns. 1935’s baby blue pinstripes weren’t much to look at. This alternate jersey from 1944 looks like a Kansas City Royal stepped into a time machine.

But my choice for the worst is a conditional one, because I can’t confirm that they ever wore it: a vest, in 1999.  The Hall of Fame database shows it as an actual road uniform that year. I found this, showing it as a faux-vest prototype, but the caption says it was never used. I could not find pics of any Dodgers actually wearing it.  I can’t for the life of me remember them ever wearing it, but I’ll admit, 1999 was a nadir year for baseball watching for me. I was too busy thinking I was going to be a successful lawyer one day. Any Dodgers fans have insight? If they did wear it, however, it boggles the mind.  How does someone, after 60+ years of uniform perfection, say “hey, the classiest organization in baseball needs to go sleeveless”?  I hope whoever thought of that got a big freakin’ promotion, because you just can’t find genius like that every day.

UPDATE: I should have just asked Bob Timmermann to begin with. In addition to being a Dodgers expert, he’s a librarian, so he knows this stuff. Bob writes: “The Dodgers did not wear any vest style uniforms in 1999. They did wear solid blue tops for one home stand that season. The uniforms were not received well.”  Thanks Bob!

Assessment: In life you don’t mess with perfection. The Dodgers rarely have. Good on ’em for that.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.