A fun look back through the Dodgers 1978 media guide

A stroll down memory lane thanks to a 36-year-old Dodgers media guide.

One of the fun things about moving is digging up old memories. When sorting out some things at my apartment, I came across a few old Dodgers media guides that I thought I had lost, one from 1978 and one from 1988.

These were eBay purchases a few years ago - I think I paid about $5 total for both, including shipping - but are a fun look back at Dodgers history. Here are some highlights from the 1978 media guide:

The cover of the media guide highlighted the first quartet of teammates in major league history to each hit 30 home runs, with Steve Garvey (33 home runs), Dusty Baker (30), Reggie Smith (32) and Ron Cey (30) lining up on the first base side of Dodger Stadium with the left field scoreboard - pre Dodgervision - lit up with "30" in the background.

The first sentence describing second-year manager Tommy Lasorda, who won the National League pennant in his first year in 1977, began with "'We did it before and we can do it again' ... that's Tom Lasorda's motto for the 1978 season." Lasorda's Dodgers would again win the pennant in 1978, but would also again fall to the Yankees in the World Series.

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline, which is now July 31, was June 15 in 1978. Any in-season trades after that date would require the players first pass through waivers.

Entering the 1978 season - keep in mind this was in the infancy of free agency - the Dodgers had three players signed through at least the 1981 season (four more years): Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Steve Garvey (1982) and Terry Forster (1982). Forster signed with Los Angeles on Nov. 18, 1977, the first free agent ever to sign with the Dodgers.

Entering 1978, there were only four Dodgers uniform numbers retired: 32 (Sandy Koufax), 39 (Roy Campanella), 42 (Jackie Robinson) and 24 (Walt Alston). The first three were retired on old timers day in 1972, while Alston's number was retired on old timers day in 1977, the season after the former manager retired.

Batting coach Jim Gilliam on third baseman Ron Cey: "He's the most disciplined hitter I've ever seen. He has a keen knowledge of the strike zone nd he reminds me a lot of Harmon Killebrew."

Tommy John was 20-7 with a 2.78 ERA in 1977, his second full season since the reconstructive elbow surgery that now bears his name. "It's an important accomplishment for me, probably more satisfying than it would be for the average pitcher because of my elbow injury and the fact a lot of people didn't think I'd be able to come back from it," John said of winning 20 games. "I've pitched as well as I ever have in 1977."

Thirteen players on the Dodgers 40-man roster were listed as eligible for Rookie of the Year honors in 1978: Mark Bradley, Robert Castillo, Pedro Guerrero, Brad Gulden, Rafael Landestoy, Jeff Leonard, Steve Shirley, Joe Simpson, Dave Stewart, Rick Sutcliffe, Mike Tennant, Ron Washington, Myron White.

Leonard, who later would have one of baseball's greatest nicknames in "Penitentiary Face," was apparently in 1977 nicknamed "Cotton" by his teammates.

The Dodgers broadcasts in 1978 were on KTTV channel 11 and KABC 790 on radio, with Vin Scully, Jerry Doggett and Ross Porter on the call for both. The Spanish broadcasts were available on XEGM 950, with Jaime Jarrin and Rudy Hoyos on the call.

Pepsi-Cola was the sponsor of the pre-game show on both TV and radio, with play-by-play on both media sponsored by Union Oil, Farmer John, Datsun, California Federal, Anheuser-Busch and Pacific Southwest Airlines. McDonald's sponsored the post-game show on both TV and radio, joined by Harris and Frank on TV and Blue Chip Stamps on radio.

Manny Mota hit a home run in spring training 1977 in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic off Tom Seaver of the Mets, a moment Mota said was his greatest thrill in baseball. "The good lord looks after the good people," Mota said of the home run.

Mota also homered on the last day of the regular season in 1977, his first home run since 1972 and what would be his final major league home run and the only one he hit in his final nine seasons.

Catcher Johnny Oates was said to have "mastered the drag bunt and relies on it in key situations."

Rau, who in many ways seems like the left-handed version of Chad Billingsley on the mound, is said to have a nickname of "Bayone" and worked on a small farm in Texas during the offseason.

Left-handed reliever Lane Rautzhan made his major league debut for the Dodgers at home on July 23, 1977 and heard from the Dodger Stadium crowd some fans chanting, "Lance who?" Rautzhan responded with, "They'll know soon."

Rick Rhoden "loves to play golf and basketball" and was a table tennis and bubble gum blowing champion of the Dodgers.

Reggie Smith's definition of pressure: "Pressure is when you have two kids, a car, a house and you're trying to make it on unemployment."

Don Sutton, in addition to owning several Dodgers franchise pitching records, was also president of Suttcor International, a company "involved in fast food equipment, heavy equipment leasing and construction."

I think the page with the non-roster infielders and outfielders got cut off, but the spring training NRI pitchers in 1978 were Ted Barnicle, Joe Beckwith, Bill Butler, Larry Corrigan, James Evans, Ubaldo Heredia, Kevin Keefe, Mike Lake, Ted Power, Rick Sandler, Rod Scheller and Bob Welch, the latter the Dodgers' first-round pick in 1977. NRI catchers were Jesse Baez, Rich Magner, Mike Scioscia, and Hilario Soriano.

Tennant, a right-handed pitcher on the 40-man roster whom the Dodgers drafted in the sixth round in 1975, was nicknames "Grits."

Steve Yeager had fans in Lasorda and L.A. Times columnist Jim Murray. Lasorda said, "Steve Yeager can catch antything, including the wild pitch." Murray said, "He can get a ball to second base faster than any receiver in the game."

Yeager got married in 1976, and his best man was Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley.

The Dodgers minor league affiliates in 1978 were in Triple-A Albuquerque, Double-A San Antonio, Class-A Lodi, Class-A Clinton (Iowa), and Rookie League Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada). The president of the San Antonio Missions was former Dodgers outfielder Wally Moon.

Future general manager Fred Claire was the Dodgers PR director in 1978. Current PR man Steve Brener was the club's publicity director in 1978.

The home telephone numbers for each PR person listed for every NL team were published in the media guide.

The Dodgers' schedule in spring training 1978 began in Florida on March 10 and stayed in Vero Beach and surrounding environs through March 29. The Dodgers then played the Angels in the freeway series at Dodger Stadium (March 31, April 1) and in Anaheim (April 2), followed by trip to play the Giants at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on April 3, the A's at HoHoKam Park in Mesa on April 4, followed by the Brewers in Albuquerque on April 5. The Dodgers opened the regular season on Friday, April 7 in Atlanta against the Braves.

Dodgers tickets in 1978, which could be purchased at Ticketron outlets at Sears, Broadway and Montgomery Ward in addition to Mutual Theater Ticket Agencies and Dodger Stadium, were priced as follows: Box seats for $4.50, reserved seats for $3.50, general admission (sold day of game only) for $2.00, and children for $1.00.

Finally, here is the 1978 schedule plus promotional dates, including Country Music Day in Sept. 17 (click schedule for larger pic):

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