Spring Training has started for the Dodgers and it’s always an exciting time of the year for baseball fans and players. The press is always at spring training and they write a lot to justify being in the warm weather and to get the fans interest up. They wrote these two articles written on March 4th that included my father Fred Kipp.
The first article was in spring training in 1957 when my father was trying out for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He’d been in the Dodger organization since graduating college in 1953 and had won Rookie of the Year in the International League in 1956 while playing for the Montreal Royals – the Dodgers top farm team. Here’s what Roscoe McGowen wrote for the New York Times:
“For a kid,” Alston said of the young southpaw, “He’s pretty good. He may not always be able to do what he tries to do but he knows how it ought to be done.”
Walter Alston was the manager of the Dodgers and always had to talk with the reporters. Here’s a picture of my father with Walter Alston and Jackie Robinson while in Japan.
What is funny to me is how the Iola Register, my father’s hometown paper, responded to the article. Here’s a excerpt from that article:
Where does he get the “kid” label? Fred’s eight years out of Emporia State, out of the army, and they call them old men at 30 in baseball.
As the Iola Register said, my dad wasn’t a kid at 25 years old so he shouldn’t have been called that, but he did look very young and had only been out of college for 4 years.
The third article was written by Frank Finch of the Los Angeles Times on March 4th, 1958. The Dodgers were in spring training in Vero Beach, but they were about to move to LA. The Dodgers were hot news 60 years ago when they were moving to Los Angeles that year- like I just did this week. Frank talked to the manager Walt Alston about the new pitchers. My father did make it on the roster that first year in LA. Here’s what the article said:
Kipp’s speed has impressed the boss. “Ordinarily, pitchers don’t get faster, but Kipp looks faster than last year,” Alston said. “Of course, both he and Williams pitched winter ball and are farther along than the others.”
Kipp, a 6-foot 4-inch Kansan, was the Dodgers’ most impressive hurler during the tour of Japan at the close of the 1956 season. He has quite an assortment of stuff, including the knuckler, two curves and a good changeup on his fast ball.
What I like about the article is that it mentions my father’s play in the Dominican Republic during the winter of 1957/58 and the 1956 Goodwill Tour of Japan. My father and the Dodgers traveled to so many places to play baseball. My father and I captured the various places in “The Last Yankee Dodger” – a memoir to my father.
I like how Vin Scully summed my father’s career up in his endorsement:
From Piqua, Kansas, to Tokyo, Japan, with stops along the way in Ebbets Field, LA Coliseum, and Yankee Stadium, Fred touched them all. You will be touched too when you read this book.
—Vin Scully, The Voice of Baseball and the Dodgers for 67 years
#60yearsinla #dodgers Los Angeles Dodgers dodgers.center dodgerslakers dodgers_dugout sportsnetla dodgerscomedy dodgers_news_update