Dodger Thoughts

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

Dave Roberts and the Dodgers’ lost 2002 season

roberts & dreifort

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts made his Los Angeles debut with the 2002 Dodgers, a mostly forgotten squad whom a couple of weeks ago I called the best third-place team in Dodger history.

Those Dodgers won 92 games but finished behind Arizona and San Francisco in the National League West. Under the current playoff format, they would have made the NL wild-card game against the Giants, who ended up in the World Series against the Angels.

Instead, the ’02 Dodgers missed the postseason entirely, so their record as a team has largely been ignored. But in addition to the arrival of Roberts, there were these individual memories:

  • Shawn Green’s 42 home runs, including 10 in one week and four in one game.
  • Eric Gagne’s 1.97 ERA, 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 55 saves in his first season as closer.
  • The return of Hideo Nomo (220 1/3 innings, 3.39 ERA) after 3 1/2 seasons elsewhere.
  • The debut of Nomo’s countrymate Kazuhisa Ishii (team-high 8.4 K/9).
  • Not one, but two one-hitters by Odalis Perez, including one in which he faced the minimum 27 batters at Wrigley Field.
  • And of course, David Ross hitting his first big-league homer — off Mark Grace.

On September 16, the Dodgers beat the Giants, 7-6, to create a tie for the wild-card lead at 85-65 with 12 games remaining. But San Francisco won the next two games between the rivals and finished the season on a 10-1 run to the postseason.


Think Blue Review: 2015-16 edition No. 2


Flashback: The Dave Roberts experiment


  1. I remember watching the Perez one hitter against the Cubs. Ball hit the edge of grass on the infield dirt and took a tricky hope that Isturiz was able to handle but couldn’t throw out the hitter on a bang bang play at first.

  2. The 2002 Dodgers were definitely NOT ignored by me. That was the squad that rekindled my passion for our Dodgers.

    After Chase Carey doing things differently in 1998, a new Sheriff in town, Glenn Hoffman, Davey Johnson, Mondesi sitting in the Arizona bullpen, and watching Piazza hit a World Series HR as a Met, 2002 was finally a calm, fun baseball season with a thrilling run to the finish.

    Yes it ended in heartbreak (I believe we were eliminatd by SF on the final Saturday of the season) but nonetheless a great season where I think we put to rest a tumultuous period. I loved that season, particularly the way baseball justice was served at the end!

  3. oldbrooklynfan

    Memories. It good to have a former Dodger to manage the team.

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