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And now a brief moment to mourn the passing of ... the Dodgers' Hollywood Stars game

Hoo-ray for Hollywood … and then again, maybe not.

Not at Dodger Stadium. Not this year.

Alas, Hollywood just no longer loves the Dodgers. No longer fancies cozying up with ballplayers at Dodger Stadium. It’s an official Hollywood falling-out.

The days of Frank Sinatra sitting a few rows behind the Dodger dugout are a fading memory. As are the days of Sinatra and his Rat Pack playing in the Hollywood Stars game.

So this year, for the first time since it began 52 years ago at the Coliseum, there is no Dodgers’ Hollywood Stars game.

It just disappeared, kinda like Rene Russo. Killed off without an announcement, without fanfare, without a famous last scene.

Died from lack of Hollywood interest. The A-list guys who used to populate the game are no more, and haven’t been for years. Maybe they all live in the south of France now.

Instead of stars, the game featured a bunch of B-list and C-list people that 99% of the world have never heard of.

The Dodgers may have accidentally contributed to the watered-down star power when they elected to dumb the media, in their excellent role as the Washington Generals, and replaced them with another team of stars.

Or as it turned out, itty-bitty stars. They were having trouble filling out one legitimate team of Hollywood celebs, and now needed two. Pretty soon if you delivered a pizza to the Paramount lot, you were an invitee.

Once they had great movie stars in the game. Now they had actors with small supporting parts in TV shows you might possibly have heard of. Plus, they turned it into a softball game.

This year the Dodgers decided to dump the game, then changed their minds and scheduled it for Aug. 7. Breaking up is so hard to do.

An effort was being made to bring in stars people would actually recognize -- Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, Joe Mantegna were supposedly on board -- but apparently they couldn’t pull it off.

Officially, the game was canceled because the late reboot didn’t give them enough time to get the game organized. Unofficially, the Dodgers weren’t going to play another game where the headliner was Tony Danza. Although, ironically, I did think he was excellent in "Hollywood Knights," which unfortunately came out in 1980.

You could round up more A-list stars courtside at any regular-season Lakers’ game than the Dodgers could drum up for their Hollywood Stars game.

It’s a sad passing, but overdue. There aren’t many 51-year runs in Hollywood.

-- Steve Dilbeck
 
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The Dodgers sent the following email to season ticket holders on 7/30.
Is the October 2 date off as well?

Attention Ticket Holders,

According to our records, you have purchased tickets to see the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Washington Nationals on Saturday, August 7th at Dodger Stadium. The 52nd Annual Hollywood Stars Game was scheduled to take place prior to the game however, the event has been postponed and will now take place on Saturday, October 2nd, before the Dodgers matchup with the D-backs. The August 7th game is still scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. PT. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your support,
Los Angeles Dodgers

skyharbor: Yep, also canceled. Believe the Dodgers are planning on sending out a new e-mail to the effect on Monday.

So your telling the guy from desperate houewives and James Van Der Beek aren't A list stars????

You could have fooled me.

The last 5 years at these games there been more so called celebs on the field than fans in the stands.

If you want to see a Hollywood star (actually, a Long Beach star, but close enough), he'll be pitching against the Mets tonight. Keep up the good work, J-Mac !

Lets face it, who'd want to be associated with this team unless you're getting paid for the "privilege"?

OK, even D-list Hollywood Stars have now left the building.
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Meanwhile whatever happened to the annual Old Timers Game, too? I was told by a Dodger front office member that it cost too much money. My response was, "Yeah? But your the DODGERS!" His response, "Yeah, I know."
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What's left? Just the "Journey Guy" in the 8th inning?
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UGH!
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Isn't baseball supposed to be all about tradition?
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Hey, Bud Selig! Dodger fans are desperate for new ownership with a crack marketing department to return Dodger Stadium to the place all SoCal---even the flakey Hollywood celebs (see last June's Yankee series)---want to be seen at in the summer.
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PLEASE call the McCourt divorce judge and make it happen!

Crap. Ruth Buzzi had a 23-game hitting streak going, too.

Ah, the good old days. Not only has the team regressed, it seems everything else has too.

Back in the olden days the stars did play the LA baseball writers press corps. Unfortunately, there aren't enough baseball writers in LA to fill a nine man/woman roster these days. A pity. Can Chris Erskine even throw a baseball? Will the "Sell the Dodgers --- PLEASE --- Committee" be out there at the courthouse Monday? I doubt it.

LA is all about the Lakers and 'SC. That's where the stars are.

Well, if you really want to be honest, it hasn't been a Hollywood Stars Night since they made it a farce of a softball game...as well as making it "celebrities" only. I know a little bit about those Hollywood Stars Night games because I played in them from the late 70's to the mid 80s while working in this paper's sports department (I stopped working a couple of years ago).
Anyway, we played about three innings of baseball...that's right, baseball. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were just a bit before my time, but I always had fun pitching to "real" celebrities, such as Billy Crystal, Kevin Dobson (of Kojak fame), Mark Harmon, Erik Estrada, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Rich, Barbi Benton, Desi Arnaz Jr., Dino Martin...and many others.


Sad to hear about the demise of this West Coast tradition, but glad I wasn't the only one wondering if the recent group of stars in these games weren't somewhat less than stellar, or if I had just lost touch with who was hot in Hollywood. I do have one question though. If Rob Reiner had participated this year, was he going to play, or be 3rd base?

However this talk of celebrity exhibition games does remind me of one of my favorite baseball stories, and one with a decided L. A. connection. I first heard about this when reading an interview conducted by the great Times sports writer Ross Newhan with the late Jimmie Reese.

Years ago there was a minor league team called the Hollywood Stars in the Pacific Coast League. Reese played in the league, though for another team, and was part of a double play combo called the Gold Dust Twins. He was good enough to have his contract purchased by the Yankees, and wound up playing and rooming with Babe Ruth for two years in New York. However Reese is probably best remembered for his long tenure with that team from Anaheim, where he became known as the master of the fungo bat, and as the oldest man ever to wear a major league uniform, serving as a coach until age 92.

While still playing in the PCL, Reese took part in a "Hollywood Stars" charitable exhibition game at, I believe, Gilmore Field. The stars participating then included such A-Listers as Groucho Marx, Cary Grant and Clark Gable. The teams consisted of the minor leaguers on one side, while the other side was comprised of the celebs and retired major leaguers.

On the mound that day was amateur player and Hall of Fame songwriter Harry Ruby and behind the plate was retired major league catcher Ike Danning. As Ruby was having trouble seeing the catcher's signals and as both men happened to be Jewish, they decided to just call for the pitches verbally in Yiddish, thinking no one on the other team would catch on.

Well Reese went 4 for 4 in the contest with a couple of extra base hits. After the game Harry Ruby approached Reese to congratulate him, and to tell Jimmie that as a devoted baseball fan, he was a little ashamed at not being aware that Reese was such an outstanding player. Jimmie responded that he was really not that good, it was just that he knew every pitch that was coming. Reese continued, "You see most people know me as Jimmie Reese, but actually I was born Hymie Solomon."

I too got the same email that Skyharbor received a few days before the Nats Saturday game. This Hollywood stars game is still slated for October 2nd. Steve, I don't know where you got your false information from?

Argh..nevermind.

Mike Dudnikov

Your story is a little treasure, and well told.

Thanks for sharing.


corona45: Not in the habit of publishing false information. Expect a new e-mail. The game has been canceled.

I stopped caring about and attending the Hollywood Stars Game when they'd announce players I've never heard of.

It used to be fun when Billy Barty and Kareem played on the same team.

It may happen agin when the McCourts Fiasco is over and a new owner, a more Hollywood friendly one brings them in. Please no more Jermaine Jackson!

I remember going to see the Hollywood Stars game every year as a kid in the '70's. I remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar running the bases in huge giant strides. I remember running into little Adam Rich going into the stadium he with a bat and glove ready to play when Eight Is Enough was one of the top shows on television. Stories and memory after memory of the Hollywood Stars game. The days of Dodger greats and Hollywood greats are long gone. Now we just have fond memories of a fading franchise, the Voice - Vin Scully, and the grand monument to the Dodgers - Dodger Stadium. The great days of Dodger Myth, a great owner, and legendary teams and 2 managers Alston & Lasorda that lead the team for 40 years are long gone.

So the reason was because it died out.....I thought it was for sure because the "stars" cancelled the game as a way to protest Arizona and their new illegals law.

Just ran across this on youtube at this link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST6JCnzmBDc

This is from back in the early 60s with Sandy and Don and a bunch of Hollywood Stars, Mickey Rooney, Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Pat Boone and Phil Silvers, back from a time when the bigger names showed up. Seems like half the cast from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.


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