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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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Art
2007-10-25 08:58
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, if you were an employee high, high enough up the totem pole, you could choose from among certain works of art in the permanent collection to have in your office. You can imagine that when I was working there mid-pole and saw this was an option if I hung around for, oh, 10 or 20 years, it shot to the top of my list.

The artist, R.B. Kitaj, passed away Sunday at the age of 74. From the obituary in the Times:

Peter Goulds, owner of the L.A. Louver gallery in Venice, met Kitaj in 1979 and maintained a fairly close association with him over the years. He presented a solo show of Kitaj's work in 2003.

"He was a very great artist because he found a way of making ideas rooted in the 19th century relevant to our time," Gould told the Times on Tuesday. "He took the major impulses of our time -- printed word and moving image -- and brought them alive with a sense of history and context that gave additional meaning to his paintings. Through his imagination, we are linked to a broader view of life. The paintings serve as entry points to imagination and invention."

A slight man with close-cropped white hair and beard and stern features that, one Times writer noted, "gave him the appearance of [an Ingmar] Bergman patriarch," Kitaj (pronounced Kit-eye) had a strong relationship with Los Angeles.

He had his first museum show here at LACMA in 1965, taught at UCLA in 1970 and met his second wife, Sandra Fisher, here the same year. A lifelong baseball fan, he also made portraits for Sports Illustrated magazine of figures including Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax. ...

Image credit:
R. B. Kitaj (United States, Ohio, Chagrin Falls, 1932-2007)
Koufax, 1998
Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 in.
LACMA, gift of the artist
(posted without permission - will remove upon request)

Comments (52)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-25 09:20:10
1.   Gen3Blue
LATed again, but it was minor.

I do like the painting.

2007-10-25 09:23:54
2.   Daniel Zappala
Nice painting. Why is his cap red and his pitching hand orange?
2007-10-25 09:27:56
3.   wireroom
He sort of has a pot belly too.
2007-10-25 09:29:13
4.   Improbable88
2 What? You mean you don't know?
2007-10-25 09:38:17
5.   wireroom
It must have been something to have been a Dodger fan back when Koufax pitched. It must have been nice having a dominant guy like him the same way it is nice to have a Beckett or Santana who you just know is going to win the big games.
Teh last Dodger pitcher to even come close to a guy like that would have to be Orel....Maybe Ramon Martinez? Maybe Nomo?
2007-10-25 09:40:13
6.   Kevin Lewis
5

It seems like it has been awhile since a pitcher dominated like this in the postseason. As much as I want the Red Socks to lose, it was fun watching Beckett last night.

2007-10-25 09:43:24
7.   Daniel Zappala
5 I felt that way with Orel, definitely. Nomo too in the early days. And don't forget Fernando!
2007-10-25 09:46:25
8.   old dodger fan
When Koufax pitched his first no hitter in 1962 I was 10 and living within radio distance of LA. The '63 WS was wonderful. 1962-1966 were just the best (excluding the WS in '66 and the devasting news that Koufax was retiring shortly thereafter). About 2 years ago my mother bought me an autographed Koufax baseball. What a great gift.

I think Hershiser was the closest thing to Koufax that the Dodgers have had. There have been lots of good pitchers but Koufax was just overpowering.

2007-10-25 09:47:27
9.   drewjensen
I've often wondered if that feeling when Orel was pitching (in 1988 anyway) that we were definitely going to win - if that was as good as it got, or if Koufax was still in another league altogether.
2007-10-25 09:50:18
10.   Alex Belth
Hey, thanks Jon. I really like some of Kitaj's stuff a lot. There was a major retrospective of his stuff about ten years ago at the MET and I went to see it several times.
2007-10-25 09:53:50
11.   wireroom
That was my hope for Schmidt before he was hurt. That he might be able to to fill that role at least somewhat. It has got to be psychologically such a boost for a ballclub to know that you have a guy like that in the rotation.
What a provocative picture to look at. It seems like I have seen a lot of likenesses done of Sandy more so than any other pitcher. Truly an artists pitcher.
2007-10-25 09:54:02
12.   drewjensen
DeJon Watson was promoted to Assistant General Manager, apparently. First thought: does this marginalize Logan White in any way? Seems like they just brought this guy in so LW could move up in the world. Now they're giving out AGM titles like they're candy at the reception desk.
2007-10-25 10:01:08
13.   LogikReader
That's a really neat painting. I'd like to hang something like that up in my house. It'd make a great conversation piece. RIP Kitaj.

---

You know, looking back, I am remembering my Fantasy Baseball team from 2006. I drafted this team before I met DT, before I learned sabermetrics.

here's some of my starters:

Jim Edmonds
Juan Pierre
Julio Lugo
Raul Ibanez
Brian Roberts
Ryan Freel
Bill Hall
Javy Lopez

Outside of Hall and Roberts, this seems like the all NedCo team to me now. I can not express enough gratitude for learning from DT how to evaluate talent the right way. :)

2007-10-25 10:04:25
14.   LogikReader
ps: we finished in last place!
2007-10-25 10:05:19
15.   Joshua Worley
What medium is it done in? Parts of it don't really look like paint to me, though other parts do.

It's not really done in a style that I care for much, but I do love the impending sense the fastball it creates.

2007-10-25 10:09:27
16.   regfairfield
13 Aside from Lopez that doesn't seem like a terrible team for fantasy. Veterans mean a lot more when they don't get paid extra and you only have to worry about one year.
2007-10-25 10:18:42
17.   old dodger fan
9 I have sometimes wondered how much of Koufax's great numbers were the result of the times he pitched and the ballpark.

When I looked it up I was pleased to see that his ERA+ for 1962-1966 were 141;159;187;160 and 190. (Can you imagine posting a 190 ERA+ and then retiring.)

Hershisers best 6 years (1984-1989) were 133;170;90;131;148 and 148.

2007-10-25 10:31:53
18.   El Lay Dave
5 Pedro Martinez. Not AS a Dodger, of course....
2007-10-25 10:34:56
19.   wireroom
I sometimes wonder about those 90's Dodger teams if they would have kept Pedro and Piazza, Konerko....There was probably a World Series run in there somewhere.
2007-10-25 10:44:57
20.   twerp
Thought this might be of interest here---

Interesting contrast between Koufax the player and Koufax the private person. Excerpt from excerpt:

"Baseball, Koufax said at the time, was a form of warfare. He never believed in fraternizing with opposing players because he saw them as the enemy, and he could see no reason to get to know an enemy well enough to have any feeling towards him other than hostility.

"Baseball writer Roger Kahn recalled Koufax striking out the side against the Yankees with hard fastballs in the first inning of Game One of the 1963 World Series, and then fixing the Bombers' dugout with a hard stare that Kahn interpreted as meaning, "I can pitch to your power and I'll still strike you out."

Lots of other good stuff, even tho it's just an excerpt.

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/excerpts/excerpt.php?book=koufax

2007-10-25 10:46:47
21.   dzzrtRatt
19 Isn't it pretty to think so?
2007-10-25 10:52:53
22.   scareduck
It looks like Sandy's head isn't quite attached in back.
2007-10-25 10:54:52
23.   Marty
Drysdale seems a better comparison to Hershiser than Koufax. Watching Koufax was a treat indeed.
2007-10-25 10:58:30
24.   Joshua Worley
22--

Yeah, it kind of looks like some imposter pitcher wearing a Scooby-style Sandy Koufax mask!

"Why, it wasn't Sandy Koufax who terrorizing the petting zoo after all --- it was old lady Murgatroyd!"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have to say the artwork is kind of growing on me. I like all the different shadings of blue around the figure.

2007-10-25 10:59:22
25.   ToyCannon
Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy by Jane Leavy was a great book. I was surprised at how bitter he was by how Alston used him in the late 50's.

I've been wanting to ask Andrew and other's who keep saying that Koufax's numbers don't match up when you put in context the ballpark and offensive morass of the league during 62-66. Pedro's ratio's are out of this world at his peak but he never threw more then 240 innings. Is it hard to believe that if he had been part of a 4 man rotation and threw 320 innings that his ratio's would have cratered? Or is that made up by the fact he pitched in an offensive park in a league that used the DH? I can understand the argument the he might have been the greatest 6 inning pitcher ever, but I'm not sold on the arguement that he was the best starting pitcher ever, or even in the top 5.

2007-10-25 11:01:54
26.   ToyCannon
I've put up a salary table over at true blue. It is quite scary how much money Ned is wasting in 2008. I don't see a lot of wiggle room in 2008 depending on where McCourt takes the budget and if they try to ink Martin/Chad/Broxton to multi year deals in an effort to buy out some of their arbitration years.
However in 2009 Ned has plenty of room to make mistakes all over again.
2007-10-25 11:02:41
27.   popup
Thanks for posting that painting Jon. Sandy is the best I have ever seen. Beckett is similiar; great curve and excellent command of a dominating fastball. That combination was fun to watch when Sandy was pitching and I still enjoy seeing it from Josh Beckett.

Stan from Tacoma

2007-10-25 11:07:55
28.   dzzrtRatt
I was only a kid when Koufax pitched, and I was on the wrong coast. But I did get to see him in three WS on TV and several Game of the Weeks. I think the comparisons to Koufax of more recent vintage are Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson. If you picked the best consecutive five years of each of their careers, that might come close to Koufax. That sense that batters were just hopeless and helpless against them.

Orel was great but it was a different kind of greatness -- more about finesse, pitch selection, making batters look foolish rather than overwhelmed. More comparable to Greg Maddux.

2007-10-25 11:12:56
29.   popup
Just to let folks know, game 5 of the 1965 World Series is available for sale on dvd. It is a complete game in glorious black and white called by Ray Scott and Vin. The price is a bit steep, but it is a joy to have a complete game telecast of one of Sandy's gems.

Stan from Tacoma

2007-10-25 11:16:12
30.   Jon Weisman
26 - According to THT today, no team wasted more money on free agent spending in 2007 (measuring all players signed via free agency, not just new signings) than the Dodgers.
2007-10-25 11:16:57
31.   Bob Timmermann
Make sure you have some coffee ready when Ray Scott is calling the action.
2007-10-25 11:20:11
32.   old dodger fan
29 I am surprised they have game 5 but not game 7.
2007-10-25 11:20:54
33.   LogikReader
30

Can I say "disgusting?" That is truly "disgusting."

2007-10-25 11:21:39
34.   LogikReader
I really thought we were DONE with overspending on mediocrity... I really did, after '05.
2007-10-25 11:23:14
35.   Joshua Worley
Ah, I see now the answer to my question, in the fine print at the bottom. Oil on canvas.
2007-10-25 11:26:13
36.   dzzrtRatt
What free agent the caliber or price tag of Jason Schmidt was out for basically the whole season?

Carl Pavano comes to mind.

That might supress our score, although Nomar, Tomko, Saenz and Pierre didn't exactly bring it back up.

LuGo, Kent and Lowe were probably our most productive FA's this season. And they weren't great.

Did Saito count in our favor?

2007-10-25 11:29:12
37.   Bob Timmermann
32
ESPN Classic owns the rights to Game 7 I believe.

Game 7 of the 1965 World Series has not aged well. Because relatively few cameras were used at the time, you don't get a lot of the feel of the action.

Replays are sparse. Also in Game 7, Koufax was just throwing fastballs and you don't get to see his famous curve ball.

2007-10-25 11:30:09
38.   ToyCannon
I'd love to see a complete game of the 65 or even the debacle in 66. I've always wanted to see how Willie Davis dropped 3 fly balls. I only heard about it, I'd love to see it. I like the WS compilations but they miss so much. Is this game you speak of available at Amazon?

Oh and Stan it is great to see you still come by. You don't post much anymore. I missed the series you did when you were posting regularly.

2007-10-25 11:30:41
39.   old dodger fan
37 Fortunantly the Twins did not see much of his fastball either.
2007-10-25 11:32:30
40.   old dodger fan
38 I thought he dropped 2 flies and had a throwing error and the sun was the issue. My recollection is he said he just could not see the ball. It was a long time ago and the above is strictly from memory and it's not what it used to be.
2007-10-25 11:32:48
41.   Humma Kavula
So remember a couple of weeks back when we were discussing whether it was possible that Juan Pierre had a size 5-and-a-half cap size?

Well, while catching up on the Uni Watch, I found this article from the 50s -- written by Gay Talese. It's all interesting, but the relevant bit comes at the very end.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2262/1562548099_a14b757436_o.png

2007-10-25 11:33:01
42.   ToyCannon
37
How about radio rights. Is anyone selling the radio broadcasts of old Dodger games?
2007-10-25 11:35:38
43.   Bluebleeder87
3

He also looks kind of sad he's about to K another victim. Strike three!!

2007-10-25 11:37:42
44.   berkowit28
15 I lived in England for many years. R.J. Kitaj is very well known and very well represented (no pun intended, really) in museums and galleries there. I always thought of him as a "real" painter - and he uses paint, no fancy modern stuff. I'd be very surprised if there's any medium other than paint there, aside from maybe some pencil lines showing through.

35 Oh, too late - I see you got there yourself.

2007-10-25 11:40:50
45.   Kevin Lewis
26

Thanks for the list Toy. It is hard to see the amount of money we paid Schmidt and the fact that Pierre's salary will increase the next few years. 2009 does look pretty hopeful.

2007-10-25 11:41:26
46.   Howard Fox
ok, so my two cents worth...I was at the famous Gibson v Drysdale showdown when Gibson was lights out...I was at one of the WS games and one of the shutouts during the Hershiser streak...I, like everyone else here, has watched Beckett, Pedro, Santana...and many others...

I have never, in all the years, seen any pitcher so totally dominating day in and day out, any situation...than Koufax...

that is, except for when he had to face the Colt 45's in that heat and humidity...

2007-10-25 11:42:00
47.   drewjensen
I tried a google search for an explanation of the red hat and orange arm in the painting, but no easy answers for me today.
2007-10-25 11:42:39
48.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2007-10-25 11:42:49
49.   Bluebleeder87
I wonder what the Red hat represents, also the red arm.

Red hat = hot headed (I don't think so)

I kind of understand the red arm cause he throws HEAT but I don't get the red hat.

2007-10-25 11:56:09
50.   popup
ToyCannon, thanks. I still very much appreciate this site, though I don't post much nor read all of the comments.

There are plenty of excellent radio broadcasts of Vin and Jerry Doggett available for purchase. As I think Jon can attest, they are of extraordinary quality. A few weeks ago I picked up a 1978 Giant/Dodger game that is a classic Vin broadcast. The 1969 Met/Dodger game written about so eloquently by Jon on SI.com is available for purchase. I don't think the 1978 game is likely to be available commercially, which is a shame. The broadcast quality is not the best and it is missing some action from the bottom of the second and top of the third. Still, nontheless, it is a great game to hear.

Stan from Tacoma

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-25 12:27:13
51.   wireroom
50 where can I find these broadcasts to buy?
2007-10-25 15:05:28
52.   popup
wire, if all goes well there will be a blogad on Jon's site soon with info on where to purchase Vin's broadcasts.

Stan from Tacoma

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