The Los Angeles Dodgers Mod Squad hit the headlines, the magazine covers and the sports columns with an early-season impact which, while it had its effect on the pennant race, wasn’t expected to last too long. But now, in the twilight hours of 1969, the Mod Squad is still helping make the Dodgers tick, and the heartbest of that group is Ted Sizemore. One year ago at this time, Sizemore, who is 5’8″ going on 5’7″, was a minor league catcher, and now he’s one of the reasons the club still is alive in the heavy traffic of the National League West.
“Of all our good youngsters,” summed up Manager Walt Alston, “Ted has been the most consistent all the way. He takes his bumps around second base and comes back for more. He has a lot of bulldog in him and is improving all the time.” Sizemore switched from catcher to second base under the tutelage of Monte Basgall in the Arizona Instructional League, but when the season opened, he was at shortstop. Then, the Maury Wills deal was made, and Sizemore move to second where, under the supervision and encouragement of the former Dodger captain, he has become an excellent player.
“I’d have to rate him as the sharpest rookie I ever worked with,” summed up Wills. “He learns quickly and well, can make all the plays, and it didn’t take long to get used to each other.” Sizemore is in contention for the Rookie of the Year award. As the Dodgers heated up in July to surge ahead in the NL West, Sizemore was leading the charge. Currently, he is batting .264, but in the last three weeks, he is batting .373 with 10 RBI. “It’s really amazing the way he has adapted himself to a completely new position, jumping from the minors to the majors at the same time,” added Dodger GM Al Campanis. “You have to search your memory to recall a rookie who has played steadier ball.”