Dodgers make it a day to remember with 12th consecutive win

A day of appreciating the past finally made the Dodgers appreciate the present and excitedly look to a future that grows brighter with every game. Call it a win, win, win.

History classes abounded, but not the dry, academic kind. By all accounts, these were gripping and deeply meaningful stories.

Saturday morning was spent touring the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum while listening to the captivating narration of museum president and master storyteller Bob Kendrick.

From the exploits of Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell, to the Negro League debuts of future Major League Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Roy Campanella and Willie Mays, to the shocking segregation and second-rate treatment of teams and their fans in 1920 by 1960 Kendrick emphasized that Negro Leagues history is “not about adversity. It’s about what they did to overcome those adversities.”

Clayton Kershaw was one of about a dozen Dodgers players who took part in the tour along with manager Dave Roberts, coaches, members of the media and dozens of fans in Dodgers gear who showed up because they could rub elbows with their heroes, but soon were captivated by Kendrick’s narration.

Dodgers players and staff pose for a photo while visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Dodgers players and staff pose for a photo while visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri Saturday.

(Jon SooHoo / Los Angeles Dodgers)

“A lot of the history of the Negro Leagues isn’t talked about, which I find sad, but then that’s what makes it really cool [the museum] is here,” Kershaw said. “I was grateful that I was able to learn a lot about this story because I hardly knew anything about it.”

The evening rolled around with nods to mark the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and the induction of the late Negro Leagues legend, Buck O’Neil, into the Hall of Fame. The Dodgers wore Brooklyn uniforms in 1955 and the Royals wore the uniforms of the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League in 1945, for which Robinson played before the Dodgers signed him.

Oh, then a game started, and there was a historical aspect to that too. The Dodgers smothered the Royals early, driving to a 13-3 win, their 12th straight, three fewer than the franchise record of 15 set in 1924 when the team was called the Brooklyn Robins.

Mookie Betts led the first inning on his 26th home run and the Dodgers hit five runs before an out was recorded. They made two in the second on Will Smith’s home run, another in the third on Gavin Lux’s home run, and two more in the fourth on Max Muncy’s home run.

No sooner had the season-best 29,689 spectators settled into their seats at Kauffman Stadium than the Royals were history.

The attack continued in the ninth game as Joey Gallo and Cody Bellinger hit back-to-back positional player Nicky Lopez, giving the Dodgers six in the game. Muncy had four of the Dodgers 16 hits, Betts had three, and Smith and Lux ​​had two each.

The Dodgers have had eight or more runs in eight of their 12 straight wins. Is this the best performance the offense has had in recent memory?

“As far as we’re winning games, from getting the starting lineup to maintaining the leads to going from one to nine, that’s as good as I’ve seen,” Roberts said.

The Dodgers got a scare when injury-prone starter Andrew Heaney was drilled in the left bicep with an out in the third inning by Bobby Witt Jr.’s line drive. Heaney knocked out the next two batters but was replaced by Caleb Ferguson to start the fourth after being diagnosed with a contusion.

There wasn’t much reason to keep him out there,” Roberts said. “He’s been struggling to stay in, which is a good thing. I expect his next start from him.”

Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

(Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

Tyler Anderson (13-1) will start Sunday’s series finals and the Dodgers expect to extend to 13 the winning streak the team achieved in 1962 and 1965.

The 15 straight victories in 1924 offered another tantalizing glimpse into the past. The last 10 wins were played in six days to compensate for postponed games. Two future Hall of Famers played key roles: Dazzy Vance threw two full games and Zach Wheat hit .406 during the streak.

The Dodgers are within striking distance of that franchise record, but a far cry from the MLB record of 26 straight wins set by the New York Giants in 1916 or even the 22 straight wins Cleveland won in 2017.

Pulling the lens back to see the entire season doesn’t detract from the Dodgers’ performances. Her 79-33 record puts her up to pace to finish 114-48, a .704 win ratio. The record for single-season wins is 116, held by the Chicago Cubs in 1906 and the Seattle Mariners in 2001.

Since MLB switched to a 162-game schedule in 1962, only three teams have finished with an odds of over .700: the aforementioned Mariners (.716), the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48; .704), and the 2020 Dodgers , who were 43-17 for a .717 win ratio in the pandemic-shortened season that ended with their World Series Championship.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts views an exhibit at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Saturday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts views an exhibit at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Saturday.

(Jon SooHoo / Los Angeles Dodgers)

Due to inconsistent records, it’s unclear how many — if any — Negro League teams won on a comparable clip. For the Dodgers, however, the numbers took a back seat to the uplifting anecdotes and accomplishments Kendrick recounted during the museum tour.

“These players knew they were talented enough to play in the big leagues, but they weren’t allowed to,” Kendrick told the Dodgers’ contingent. “If you witness what they endured, you will understand.”

For Black Dodgers SportsNet LA reporter and studio host Kirsten Watson, the museum visit confirmed a family story that her great-great-grandfather, Frank Miller, played on the first all-Black professional baseball team. there it was an 1885 Cuban Giants squad photo, and there was Miller, his name embroidered across his jersey. Watson yelped with delight and got a high-five from Roberts.

A caption alongside the photo clarified that the term “Cubans” was intended to trick whites into believing they were Latino players, thereby reducing the likelihood of the team being hounded. The team was formed in Philadelphia and hired to play at the Argyle Hotel in Long Island as summer entertainment for guests.

For Dodgers assistant Alex Vesia, the experience was exciting. “My favorite players growing up were David Price, CC Sabathia, guys who have had a huge impact on my life. It’s important to me to learn about these black players that they’ve looked up to.”

For Price, a veteran black pitcher who first visited the museum while playing for Team USA in 2005 and has returned many times since, it was gratifying to see teammates take the troubles to heart that black players had to endure not so long ago.

“That’s why we go and come back to broaden our horizons and learn about the past of what the Negro League guys went through,” he said.

And for Roberts, a UCLA history major who is of black and Japanese descent and the first minority to run the Dodgers, “the spirit of the Negro Leagues” was most impressive.

“Speaking to Buck O’Neil and Hank Aaron, it’s clear there was no animosity,” Roberts said. “When you think of segregation, you think of anger and hostility, and these players have endured that riot, that racism, that segregation, but they haven’t let that stop them from playing the game they love.”

The popular Field of Dreams game in Iowa will not be played next season due to stadium remodeling. There is talk of replacing it with a nod to the Negro Leagues, perhaps a game in Birmingham or Mobile, Ala. Roberts is all for it.

“We can’t move this game forward and sustain it with real substance if we can’t appreciate the game’s story,” he said. “Talking about the Field of Dreams, the Negro Leagues, and talking about Jackie Robinson and Buck O’Neill, it’s important that we continue to do that.” Dodgers make it a day to remember with 12th consecutive win

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