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Dodgers' clubhouse remembered before upgrades

LOS ANGELES -- Tom Lasorda, Ron Cey, Steve Yeager and Lou Johnson said goodbye on Thursday to the Dodger Stadium home clubhouse, which meets the wrecking ball next week as offseason upgrades begin.

"You know it's got to go," said Yeager, "but you hate to see it go."

Club officials haven't specified all of the improvements planned, but they are extensive. In addition to a completely new state-of-the-art clubhouse, the project involves a new kitchen, weight room, trainers' room and excavating for a lower-level batting cage and video room.

"We never would have thought of all that," said Yeager. "All the stadiums we played in were relatively old, and the ones that weren't old were simple."

Cey and Yeager arrived in the morning and walked through the clubhouse, paying a last visit to their individual lockers, recalling where each of their teammates had dressed.

"This was basically our home for a decade," said Cey, adding to the nostalgia by wearing a jacket with Dodgers script across the front and marking the record-breaking infield on the back. "There was plenty of celebration in this clubhouse."

Still on the walls are tributes to the franchise's six World Series championships. Johnson played on the 1965 edition. Cey and Yeager played on the 1981 title team for Lasorda, who also managed the last Dodgers World Series winner in 1988.

Cey and Lasorda told war stories and compared their arthritic hands, the teasing finally brought to a head when Lasorda said to Cey: "Penguin, that's a $50 fine."

Johnson recalled the night that Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against the Cubs, with the only hit of the game a double by Johnson off Bob Hendley, who lost a one-hitter.

"I don't have a picture of me that night, because nobody took one," said Johnson. "Thinking about it, I wish I had not gotten that hit and it had been a double no-hitter. I told that to Sandy one time, and he said he never looked at it like that.

"So many memories of this place. It was like a family in here. It's like my home. You know, every time I walk into this place, I walk right over to my locker. It's like going home."

"It's like a fraternity," said Yeager. "Once you spend time in here, you're always welcome in here."

Cey said his memories take more of a long-term view.

"All the great players that came before me came through here," he said. "The guys that built the tradition in Brooklyn, the teams of the '60s that paved the way for us. Then we carried the flag, went to four World Series in 10 years. We had great players in here, All-Stars and Cy Young winners and MVPs, and a bunch of Rookies of the Year.

"It was a great thing we had going. You'd get to Vero Beach [Fla.] in the spring and the message -- unsaid -- was that we expect you to follow the tradition."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for