Clayton Kershaw's MLB Debut: May 25, 2008

Dodger Stadium, May 25, 2008

Lookin' down at the field from my catbird seat at Dodger Stadium while rookie Clayton Kershaw takes care of business. (Click for full-sized)
Lookin' down at the field from my catbird seat at Dodger Stadium while rookie Clayton Kershaw takes care of business. (Click for full-sized) | Source

A Cy Young LHP's First Day

By the time Clayton Kershaw came up on May 25, 2008, Dodger fans were champing at the bit to see this guy. He'd been a highly-touted pitching prospect. Even 60-year-veteran broadcaster Vin Scully sounded like a kid on Christmas Eve before the game started.

Four years later, a post on Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts blog prompted me to dig through my photos from that game and see what I'd gotten. I was up in the Top Deck-- my little piece of Dodger Blue Heaven -- so my photos are not great.

Below are my photos, a video of Kershaw's first batter, links to better photos and some write-ups of the game. Obviously, this is just some fun nostalgia for Dodger fans and Clayton Kershaw fans, but since he's 2011's NL Cy Young winner,* some of those articles may be of interest to any fans of the game.

*First pitcher ever to win the pitching Triple Crown, Cy Young, and Gold Glove award in the same season. (And an All-Star, to round things out.)

He's just turned 24 today (3/19/12): happy birthday, ace!

Note: click the large pictures below to get full-resolution versions (a bit grainy.)

My (Tele) Photos from Kershaw's first Dodgers game 5-25-2008

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kids take the field 10 minutes before gametime to get autographs.Who's this #54 guy I keep snapping? Oh, right, Clayton Kershaw wore #54 when he started. (See Dodgervision board introducing him.)Mental preparations. Getting ready to make his first pitch to Skip Schumaker... ... and of course my view gets blocked by some guy standing up. (It was a strike.) Third batter? Albert Pujols. No, Kershaw did not strike him out (yet.) Kershaw's windup.Kershaw fielding.First-ever meeting on the mound. I still miss '07-08 Russell Martin (C).Fastball looks purty from up here.Kershaw's final tally in his MLB debut: 6 IP, 2 ER on 5 hits, 7 Ks. (Sadly, the Cards tied in the 7th, with the Dodgers giving the win to Saito in the 10th).
Kids take the field 10 minutes before gametime to get autographs.
Kids take the field 10 minutes before gametime to get autographs. | Source
Who's this #54 guy I keep snapping? Oh, right, Clayton Kershaw wore #54 when he started. (See Dodgervision board introducing him.)
Who's this #54 guy I keep snapping? Oh, right, Clayton Kershaw wore #54 when he started. (See Dodgervision board introducing him.) | Source
Mental preparations. Getting ready to make his first pitch to Skip Schumaker...
Mental preparations. Getting ready to make his first pitch to Skip Schumaker... | Source
... and of course my view gets blocked by some guy standing up. (It was a strike.)
... and of course my view gets blocked by some guy standing up. (It was a strike.) | Source
Third batter? Albert Pujols. No, Kershaw did not strike him out (yet.)
Third batter? Albert Pujols. No, Kershaw did not strike him out (yet.) | Source
Kershaw's windup.
Kershaw's windup. | Source
Kershaw fielding.
Kershaw fielding. | Source
First-ever meeting on the mound. I still miss '07-08 Russell Martin (C).
First-ever meeting on the mound. I still miss '07-08 Russell Martin (C). | Source
Fastball looks purty from up here.
Fastball looks purty from up here. | Source
Kershaw's final tally in his MLB debut: 6 IP, 2 ER on 5 hits, 7 Ks. (Sadly, the Cards tied in the 7th, with the Dodgers giving the win to Saito in the 10th).
Kershaw's final tally in his MLB debut: 6 IP, 2 ER on 5 hits, 7 Ks. (Sadly, the Cards tied in the 7th, with the Dodgers giving the win to Saito in the 10th). | Source

First game, first batter... first strikeout

Clayton Kershaw, LA Dodgers #22

Great photo of a great pitcher by Dirk Hansen. (Some Rights Reserved.)
Great photo of a great pitcher by Dirk Hansen. (Some Rights Reserved.) | Source

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Comments 4 comments

Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 4 years ago from Cape Cod

Nice hub. Being an East Coast baseball fan (and a longtime supporter of the Brooklyn Dodgers), I never heard of the kid. Unlike Vin Scully, I never went West.

I am however impressed by what you wrote of him, and I will watch him pitch this Summer. He's vastly different than Brooklyn great Sandy Koufax. They are both lefties, but Koufax struggled in his early career and almost quit baseball before finally becoming one of the most amazing pitchers ever.

I am also impressed by your photos, but I got a nosebleed looking at them. In Fenway Park we don't have decks, just the wall.


Greekgeek profile image

Greekgeek 4 years ago from California Author

Oh, you've definitely gotta find some videos of Kershaw's curveball. You've probably seen it in the All-Star game, even though you didn't know it was him.

Here, a montage put together by MLB of Kershaw's 2011 Cy Young year:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=19997...

I wonder how many pitching Triple Crown winners had to contend with a losing team behind them.

Oh, here's that curveball in spring training:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20229...

Kershaw had a little trouble with too many walks and/or running up a pitch count (but then he'd get it done with strikeouts) his first couple years, but gosh, he was 20-21. Knock wood, that no longer seems to be a problem.

Koufax checks in with Kershaw during spring training now and then, and gives him pointers -- or maybe just has fun watching him like the rest of us.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I think there is still the best ot come from Clayton Kershaw. I am a left-hander myself and I always look out for the good LH pitchers when I watch baseball. I agree about the Dodgers being a better unit with Russell Martin, he's a a real dirt dog of a player and I really admire him (as hard as that is now he's in a Yankees uniform). Great hub, good photos too.


Gaarf_Rosewell 3 years ago

Kershaw is a horse. I like the fastball curveball combination. He seems to be one of those guys that is constantly improving.

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