Dodgers honor their past at Old-Timers' Game
LOS ANGELES (AP) Tom Lasorda hugged Joe Torre, Steve Garvey visited with Justin Turner and Orel Hershiser flipped a ball to first base behind his back.
Old-Timers' Day at Dodger Stadium spanned the decades Saturday afternoon, bringing names from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to hit, pitch, cheer and reminisce. Plus, after two playful innings on the diamond, no injuries were reported.
''I think that the fans enjoy it, the alumni and old players enjoy it, and it's entertaining. For a short period of time - because we can't play it like we used to. But we try,'' said catcher Steve Yeager, who played 14 seasons for the Dodgers and was co-MVP of their 1981 World Series win.
''It's always nice for the fans to get the opportunity to see some of the players that they saw and grew up with around Dodger Stadium,'' Yeager said.
Lasorda, at 89, was all smiles as he walked around the field, the Hall of Fame manager having recently gotten out of the hospital. Former ace Don Newcombe, now 90, was joined by stars such as Fernando Valenzuela, Tommy Davis, Hershiser, Garvey and Steve Sax.
The ballpark opened early for fans to watch their Dodgers favorites at batting practice before they took the field at 5 p.m., before the game between Los Angeles and Cincinnati. Turner, the team's current third baseman, was on the field to chat with some of the greats.
The Dodgers noted their historical contributions to equal rights while introducing their alumni - Newcombe, once teammates with Jackie Robinson, was the first black pitcher to win a Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year and National League MVP. Former outfielder Billy Bean is Major League Baseball's only living openly gay player.
''There are only a handful of organizations left that can look back on their past and be so proud,'' said Torre, who managed the Dodgers from 2008-10 and later was enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Torre guided one side of former Dodgers to a 4-0 win in the two-inning frolic.
''I think with the Dodgers it's the tradition to get guys back,'' said current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, before adding, ''hopefully in the years coming we continue to get former Dodgers back.''