Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Homer drought in left field … not for the first time

Dodgers at Pirates, 4:05 p.m.
Shane Victorino, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
James Loney, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Aaron Harang, P

To say the least, this has been a lean year of home runs from Dodger leftfielders. The full list: Juan Rivera on May 6, Bobby Abreu on June 2, Elian Herrera on July 5, Jerry Hairston Jr. on July 7. That’s it. Four.

To my surprise, however, this kind of year isn’t unprecedented. In fact, the Dodgers aren’t on pace to have their worst year in leftfielder home runs since moving to Los Angeles — and the low-offense 1960s have nothing to do with it.

Lowest single-season HR totals for Dodger LF

Year	G	HR	Players
2012	115	4	Abreu, Hairston, Herrera, Rivera
1958	154	6	Cimoli, Demeter, Fairly, Gilliam, Howard, Roseboro
1974	162	7	Buckner 7
1976	162	7	Buckner 7
1970	161	8	Crawford 4, Mota 3, Kosco
1981	110	8	Baker 8
1973	162	9	Buckner 3, Crawford 2, Joshua 2, Ferguson, Paciorek
1975	162	9	Buckner 6, Lacy 2, Crawford
2011	161	9	Rivera 4, Gwynn 2, Gibbons, Oeltjen, Sands
1992	162	10	Davis 5, Webster 3, Daniels 2
2005	162	10	Ledee 3, Grabowski 3, Repko 2, Werth 2

The lowest total of home runs by leftfielders for the Dodgers in the 1960s was 14, in 1965 and 1966.

Here are the top five seasons since 1958:

Year	G	HR	Players
2000	162	48	Sheffield 43, Aven 2, Donnels 2, Leyritz
2001	162	42	Sheffield 36, Grissom 5, Aven
1999	162	34	Sheffield 34
1990	162	32	Daniels 27, Gwynn 3, Gibson 2
1977	162	30	Baker 30

Dodger leftfielders hit more home runs in 2000 than Dodger leftfielders have hit since 2009 (45).

Sheffield hit his 43 homers in 2000 in only 139 games … but how ’bout that Bruce Aven, huh?

Coming soon — home run droughts at first base for the Dodgers.

* * *

Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig has been promoted to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness has more.

Update: Elian Herrera has been called up in place of Jerry Hairston Jr., who was placed on the disabled list with left hip inflammation.


My favorite Olympic story of the year


Jonathan Livingston Baseball Fan


  1. Jason Repko, FTW!

  2. Anonymous

    Dodgers have gone 60-23 against Pittsburgh since the start of 2001, including
    3-0 this year in L.A..  That’s a remarkable .723 winning percentage.  Over that
    period (2001-2012) L.A. is 32-7 at home vs. Pittsburgh and 28-16 on the road. The Dodgers have won the season series every year starting in 2001. The Pirates won it, 5-4, in 2000.  Thanks to scheduling anomalies, the Dodgers have played the Pirates more in
    Pittsburgh than in L.A.  This year’s schedule has three in L.A. (completed) and four in Pittsburgh (starting tonight).  The last time
    the Pirates won the series in L.A. was 1999, when Pittsburgh won two of three
    games. Pittsburgh has not beaten the Dodgers more than once at Dodger Stadium
    during any season since 1999.

    • Anonymous

      I’m going to say things could be somewhat different this year, since the Pirates have had a below .500 record in all of those years.  But as long as the Dodgers take one of the four, they’ll still win the season series.  I’d be content with a split, followed by two-out-of three in Atlanta. 

  3. Besides finally getting The flying Hawaiian what have the dodgers really done about LF since Manny?
    Ned last offseason said he had no cash and then when finally we have cash they go after Shane. I would have left Jerry Sands out for 200abs. 

  4. Anonymous

    Have to admit that I had to look up Bruce Aven.  And, I still don’t remember him!

    • Anonymous

      I like that you tagged Aven for this post, just in case anybody wants to cross-reference him to other things you’ve said about him.  

    • Anonymous

      I forgot Leyritz was a Dodger for a brief time.

  5. Anonymous

    I guess the odd thing about the 60s was that in those low years of 1965 and 1966 when they got only 14 HR they won the pennant both years. No one else was hitting HRs then either is all.

    • Or hitting much of anything else. The best hitter on the 1965 world champion Dodgers — and by a mile, too — was Don Drysdale.

  6. Anonymous

    Today’s starter for the Pirates – Jeff Karstens – is 0-3 against the Dodgers with a 5.25 ERA in 6 outings (5 starts).
    Bucs opponents have scored at least 1 run in the 1st inning in each of the last SIX GAMES – Pads scored 4 in the 1st against them yesterday.

  7. Anonymous

    JHJ to 15-day DL, and the return of Elian Herrera!!!

  8. Anonymous

    Why isn’t Kennedy batting fifth?

    • Because it makes sense to bat one of your best OBP/OPS guy in front of your pitcher.

  9. Anonymous

    >> Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig has been promoted to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness has more.

    It’s assumed, but nothing has yet been confirmed by official sources…

  10. Anonymous

    What a difference a day makes. 
    From today’s LA Times
    Jerry Hairston Jr. isn’t expected to land on the disabled list, Mattingly said. Hairston was removed from the game Saturday night because of tightness in his left hip. Trainer Sue Falsone told Mattingly she expected Hairston to be out for only a day.

    Glad to see the return of Herrera, however.  With Hairston not due to return to the lineup until Aug. 27, Elian should be able to “miss” his flight back to Albuquerque and stick around the big leage club until rosters expand Sept. 1.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not clear which players will be with the Dodgers after the rosters expand – especially with Albuquerque and Chattanooga both in first place and possibly having playoff games.

  11. Anonymous

    I don’t know what’s going on with the Hairston to DL and Herrera return.  A few minutes ago there was an announcement in the official Dodgers twitter feed at but now it seems to have disappeared…???

  12. Anonymous

    Who is this new left-fielder Homer Drought?  Never heard of him.

  13. Homer Draft. There’s a good name for a root beer. or, I suppose, regular beer.

    • Anonymous

      David Dewitt “Homer” Bailey Jr. took his nickname after his great-grandfather.

  14. Who is this Sheffield guy?  Maybe we should have kept him a little longer than three years or never taken him to replace our best offensive catcher in LA history.

  15. I don’t like the Piazza trade, but the Dodgers did get an incredible player in return. 

    • Anonymous

      It was a terrible trade, surrendering a franchise icon, even though Sheffield was an exceptional offensive player himself.

    • Anonymous

      I was fishing up in the Eastern Sierras – camping in the Lee Vining area, just north of the June Lake loop – when the Piazza trade went down. I remember refusing to believe my friend who had gone into town for supplies and claimed to hear it on the radio. It wasn’t until a few days later that I heard it for myself on the radio while driving home. At the time I thought it was idiocy to trade away Piazza, but yeah, Sheff was a beast at the plate for a couple years there.

    • The Piazza trade was worse emotionally and psychologically than it was from a baseball viewpoint.

  16. Anonymous

    I think Jon wrote this column as a reverse jinx, so Victory-no homers tonight.  :)

    • Anonymous

      Future column ideas:
      -Why Andre Ethier hasn’t hit more home runs this year.
      -It’s been too long since a Dodger has thrown a rule 9 violation
      -Adam Kennedy is overdue for an MVP type month.
      -There’s no way Jerry Sands carries the team to a division while playing gold glove 1b.

    • Anonymous


  17. What does a 55 year old man do when under the weather and slouching around the house? He has fun with WAR! So, I looked at a list of the significant every day players that have come up through the Dodger system since 1970. Then I looked at the seasons in their career when they played at least 100 games. I did not include 2012, because the story this year has not totally been written. I DID include their ENTIRE career, with the Dodgers and with other teams, and calculated their average yearly WAR (B-R). Here’s what I found:

    1. Piazza           4.51
    2. Cey                3.80
    3. Kemp             3.65
    4. Lopes             3.37
    5. Guerrero        3.13
    6. Martin             3.12
    7. Mondesi         2.57
    8. Scioscia         2.36
    9. Garvey           2.34
    10. Russell         2.11
    11. Sax               2.06
    12. Ethier            1.93
    13. Loney            1.30
    14. Marshall        1.20
    15. Karros             .51

    Now obviously these averages get lowered the longer a player hangs on at a mediocre level (Garvey, Guerrero), but there are some interesting tidbits:

    1. Karros was just not very good, from beginning to end.
    2. Ron Cey is one of the most underrated players in recent history…as is Davey Lopes.
    3. Russell Martin was indeed outstanding for a time.
    4. Kemp projects to about a 5 WAR this year (without his injury, he would have been above 7), so it figures that within a couple of healthy years he will have established himself at the top of this list.
    5. Kemp, more than anybody, is hurt by his defensive numbers.

    Just noodlin’ around. It felt good to do something completely meaningless. :)

    • I forgot Bill Buckner…he would have come in between Marshall and Karros, at 1.13.

    • Anonymous

       Steve Sax is always ignored in dodger history for whatever reason.

    • so your stats say Karros was not very good from beginning to end. i can stop reading after that. 

      • They’re not my stats. He had a career OPS+ of 107. That’s just above mediocre…and he didn’t play defense very well. He wasn’t that good…and I didn’t think so at the time, either. He had 3 very good seasons, and 4 terrible seasons. The rest? OK.

        • well for a keyboard expert to discredit a person’s major league career totally despite that player having 5 seasons over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs is an asinine statement and saying stats say so so there is even asininer. if you want to say Karros wasn’t your favorite player and not as good as people think fine. But to say he was not good beginning to end couldn’t be stupider.

        • Anonymous

          And just to rub salt in the wound, we had another guy ready to play first. A guy who is still playing btw and adding to his HR total.

  18. Anonymous

    RIP Johnny Pesky.  A great generation of baseball players keeps getting smaller.

    • Yep. The 4 great Red Sox teammates and friends: Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Ted Williams. The only one left now is Doerr, who is now 94.

  19. KT

    He should have been on 3rd

  20. KT

    Come on Dre

  21. Anonymous

    That was a pleasant bottom of the first.

  22. KT

    Why put a defensive shift on the throw the pitch outside

  23. KT

    Good DP

  24. KT

    He was out Blue

  25. Anonymous

    Kenneduribe played that lackadaisically.

  26. KT

    Good hit AJ
    Move him over Aaron

  27. KT

    Good job Aaron but I think Karstens would have had AJ at 3rd

  28. KT

    Good Job Shane!!

  29. Collins just called Lyons a genius. The world stopped turning.

  30. Seriously though, when is Shane going to get a pair of blue batting gloves?

  31. KT

    Good eye Mark
    Come on Matty

  32. KT

    Good Job Matty!!
    Come on Dre

  33. KT

    Great Catch

  34. Anonymous

    Well, that’s the last hit-and-run we’ll see this year.

  35. Anonymous

    Great play-as the announcers say–but Karstans is on a pace to be gone bye the 5th or 6th. That is a way to have a chance to win for the Dodgers.

  36. KT

    good throw had him

  37. The Ellis to Ellis connection should have had him easily there.

  38. Anonymous

    Terrible throw by Mellis.

  39. Anonymous

    Did I hear that right. Only five pitches thrown? Bad management, this pitcher has only gone a few pitches beyond 100 twice. With strategy, they could have had him gaone by the fifth. Well lets hope they know better than me– they certainly should.

    But I was amazed Leblanc did like 6 or seven innings. Whose fault was that?- or was it just fortune.
    Whoa– the Pirates are working Harang I tink. I thought that was our advantage.

  40. Anonymous

    Do the Pirates have their own AJ Ellis?

  41. KT

    Come on DP

  42. KT

    Good hit Aaron

  43. Anonymous

    Well somebody is providing some offense! GO DODGERs

  44. KT


  45. Hey looks like nsxtasy was right about that reverse jinx!

  46. Anonymous

    Time for an edit above.

  47. Anonymous

    I may have to apologize for complaining about getting a left fielder without much power for a team with the least home runs in the NL or ML or something! Thank you Shane!! But isn’t LF supposed to be a power position?

  48. Anonymous

    Back to grinding my ax. With a bit of stategy this pitcher for the Pits could be gone. On the other hand Dodgers are up 4-2. It may well be the “powers” are smarter than me.

  49. Anonymous

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a worse broadcast than the Pirates feed on the Extra Innings package tonight.

    If I wanted to watch a PBS pledge drive, I’d watch PBS.

  50. KT

    Why are they hitting for Aaron…he’s only at 99 pitches

  51. Anonymous

    Rather than give away an out, shouldn’t Harang at least get a chance to take his AB?

  52. Eugenio Velez and Juan Uribe should just go fishing together.

    • foul tip

       Hmm..I recommend  an expedition for alligators with the swamp people, with Juan Uribe holding the line and trying to hold a very angry, very large gator and get it close enough to be dispatched.

      That too would be a pants changer.

  53. Anonymous

    I’m shocked to see Mellis make an error on a grounder.

  54. KT

    Nice Randy!!!!

  55. Wow…
    And Lyons had a great line “Choate is going to keep the ball, but change his pants.” Classic

  56. Anonymous

    League and Choate to me are the way an organization can piss away the talent they were trying to develop, to get some safe veteran role players who will assure that the org is unlikely to be embarrassed, and unlikely to produce anything good!

  57. Anonymous

    Old friend Eric Stults is blanking the Bravos on three hits through seven, just 86 pitches.

  58. KT

    Good eye Matty
    Way to get on Dre ^_^
    Come on Hanley

  59. The ump with the ol’ Mutombo finger wag.

  60. KT

    Good eye Hanley
    Come on James…I mean Juan

  61. KT


  62. KT

    Come on Adam

  63. KT

    Catcher is getting beat up in this at bat…that’s 2 pitches in a row

  64. KT

    Dre got a late start on that one…I guess he was thinking it could have been caught

  65. KT

    Come on AJ

  66. Hooray for one run, but how many missed chances can you afford?

  67. Anonymous

    Let me say first I am a Dodger fan. But I am so happy that Pittsburgh may rise, from the terrible place that allowed B. Bonds and Bonilla to go for the money and any balance in baseball to vanish.

  68. Anonymous

    4-inning save for Derek Lowe in his Yankee debut tonight.

  69. KT

    Need to get some insurance runs

  70. So, tell me again why you don’t have your best relief pitcher in there against the heart of the lineup in the 8th? Managing by the numbers, and letting the meaningless “save” stat drive decision making.

  71. KT

    Nice Luis!

  72. Victorino bunting? Really?

    • I do not like giving up an out to get a man to 3rd. Let Victorino try to drive him in.

      • Anonymous

         If it’s the pitcher bunting, I’m generally OK with it.

    • KT

      He did it on his own…Mattingly was talking to him after the at bat

  73. Anonymous

    Well, with all my mixed feelings for these announcers, who I still am not sure, but they may be pro Dodger–I am hanging aroung trying to be positiv3e and pro-Dodgers. Anywhat–go D’s and if I can sty awke I will see what happens! Far Out!

  74. KT

    Come on Matty

  75. KT

    Let’s go Kenley

  76. KT

    1 down…2 to go

  77. KT

    1 more Kenley

  78. KT

    Ball Game…good start in PA gaining on the team ahead of you is always nice

  79. KT

    Atl lost also…gaining on the teams in the wild card standings…YES!!

    • Anonymous

       There’s only one place, and that’s first place.

  80. Anonymous

    I appreciate the lack of ninth-inning drama.

  81. Anonymous

    Interesting. I had two channels on DTV with Pirates-Dodgers game and I was switching back and forth.
    Until the end I couldn’t tell which coverage was Pittsburg an which LA. I admit I wasn’t paying close attention, but I’m not sure, this must be good; or bad.

    • Anonymous

      The Dodger broadcasts without Vin are no better than any other team in the league’s (team’s in the league?)   Somebody get Eric Collins a paper bag before he hyperventilates again. 

  82. KT

    10 games above .500 with 46 games to go 1.5 games out of the final wild card and .5 out of 1st place…I like our chances

  83. KT

    Nats up 1-0 but Gnats have runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs in the bottom of 2

  84. KT

    Nats up 1-0 going to the 3rd

  85. KT

    2-0 Nats w/ bases loaded and 1 out Morse is up

  86. Anonymous

    Birdsong walks in a run to make it 2-0, and the Nats are looking for more.

  87. KT

    5-0 bases still loaded 1 out…Go Nats

  88. Anonymous

    Good win tonight for the boys in blue!

    Go Nationals..

  89. KT

    Now 8-0 man on 2nd 1 out…suzuki clears bases

  90. Anonymous

    Nice to see eight earned runs off Birdsong, and Bad Penny replacing him in the third. Eventually, order does return to the baseball world.

  91. Anonymous

    Vogey meltdown!

  92. KT

    Wow Nats pouring it on 10-0 almost a GS what a bomb…sorry 11-0

  93. Hilarious that the Gnats think Penny will offer some sort of relief. Enjoying this drubbing.

    • KT

      almost as bad…Vogelsong 8 in 3 and 1/3…Bad Penny 6 runs in 2 innings

    • Anonymous

       I’m hoping they will offer to extend his contract.

  94. Anonymous

    Its times like these when I really appreciate the broadcasting of Giants games in my area.

  95. The Nationals have scored more runs than the Cowboys and Raiders combined.

  96. Anonymous

    Is it to early to say that the Dempster deal was the best that never happened?

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure Dempster would have fared somewhat better if he was traded to the NL  – he’s finding out there are no holes in most AL lineups – certainly not in the Yanks.
      Then again, Derick Lowe’s 4-inning save was impressive – after the game he said he totally redid his mechanics – found the flaws and fixed them – his stuff looked good – the guys on BB Tonight even went so far as to say the Dodgers dropped the ball by not picking him up – of course, easy for them to say AFTER he shows he suddenly remembered how to pitch.

      • Yeah Dempster probably would’ve been better off staying in the NL. And in the NL West especially. Wouldn’t have to pitch in a bandbox like new Yankee Stadium.   As for Lowe, I’d heard Dodgers did make a play for him, no? Lowe always preferred the East Coast so it may have been as much his decision as anything. We don’t know for sure, I guess, but with that in mind seems a little silly for BBTN to criticize Dodgers.  Lowe also hadn’t been all that good lately, we’ll see how long this lasts… 

        • Anonymous

          Lowe only wanted to come to L.A. to be near his girlfriend, Carolyn Hughes. Now that they’re married, they can live wherever they want. 

  97. Anonymous

    Hard to believe our leading off hitting Left Fielder might hit more home runs than our power hitting right fielder.  Our supposedly singles hitting Catcher might do the same.  Too bad 9 of Shane’s home runs came in Philly.

  98. Anonymous

    I’d still like to see the Dodgers enjoy a couple laughers on this road trip, but looking in on the Gnats last night was almost that much fun.

  99. Could it be… a piece praising Ned Colletti, by Christina Kahrl?

    • Anonymous

      Hits it square on the head.  Had the Dodgers performed as expected, they’d have been sellers at the trade deadline, jettisoning spare parts like Harang and Capuano and maybe Ellis and Kennedy too. But because they’ve been above .500 all year, they have a chance to win the whole thing. It’s not like St. Louis had the best team in the league last year; they just got hot at the right time.  If Kemp continues to produce at his current rate and Ethier finally regains his home run stroke in September/October, the Dodgers could indeed be menacing.  

      They could also fall out of contention completely before the final three-game set with the Giants.  But that’s why we watch the games. Because anything can happen.

  100. Anonymous

    RIP, Ron Palillo.

    • Anonymous

      Dare I ask “who?”

      • Anonymous

        Oooh oooh oooh.

        And to think, we just lost Robert Hegyes. Oh, the humanity!

        • Anonymous

           Who keeps making up obituaries for imaginary names?

  101. Anonymous

    thanks for the link UD, like Jon said it could be worse or it could be better. I don’t know much about contract structures & stuff (i’m just a regular guy) but i think the Kemp deal was great for us, bringing in Capuano imo was a stroke of genius, but at the same token he brings in “PVL’s”, Uribe etc., it’s a matter of opinion i guess…

    • Anonymous

      Capuano and Harang are PVLs too.  You can’t call a man a genius and then curse him in the same breath.  Low-risk deals are Ned’s m.o.  Sometimes they pay off, a la Harang, Capuano,Ellis, Miles, Carroll and even Barajas; sometimes, they Uribe. Yes, I just used Uribe as a verb. 

  102. Anonymous

    Jon, the serendipitous timing of this piece begs the question — Could the “coming soon” piece on HR droughts at 1B appear before tonight’s game?  Then subsequent pieces around the diamond?

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén