The Red Sox and Dodger franchises last played in the World Series 102 years ago, in 1916. We’ll obviously get a lot of history from that series. Here’s a bit of it …
Tag: Alex Cora
One other thread in the Andre Ethier legacy is that he is the all-time Los Angeles Dodger leader in times being hit by a pitch, with 58. But at the rate Justin Turner has been going, Ethier’s reign might not last the year.
Last year, the Dodger third baseman set a single-season franchise record with 19 HBPs, breaking Alex Cora’s previous and literal mark of 18. (Cora also held the Los Angeles career mark before Ethier.) That gave Turner 46 plunkings as a Dodger, putting him within 12 of Ethier — and Turner has averaged 14 HBPs over the past three seasons.
By Jon Weisman
Justin Turner is having a terrific season off the bench for the Dodgers, punctuated by his game-winning homer Thursday to beat the Padres.
He’s had me wondering who the top players off the bench for the Dodgers have been in recent years, so I put together the following chart of the best Dodger reserves from the 2000s (choosing names mainly from this list):
Notes: I tried to avoid considering players who were meant to be starters but held back by injuries or late-season acquisitions who immediately became full-time players. Def is a Fangraphs statistic measuring defense.
For all the above numbers, the idea of who’s the best Dodger reserve of the 21st century is arguably a matter of taste.
- Chad Kreuter has the highest Wins Above Replacement. Backing up Todd Hundley and forced into action for significant stretches, Kreuter had a great on-base percentage while also throwing out 19 of 40 attempted baserunners with one error.
- His defense always unassailable, Alex Cora put together his finest offensive season in 2002.
- With 425 plate appearances in 2009, Juan Pierre stretches the definition of bench player, but he did begin the season as the fourth outfielder before Manny Ramirez’s suspension.
- Jose Hernandez in 2004 and Dave Hansen in 2000 were probably the Dodgers’ top pure offensive players off the bench this century before this season.
- The back-to-back seasons from Olmedo Saenz in 2004-05 certainly make him a charmer.
Against that group, both Turner and Scott Van Slyke stand tall, and there’s an argument to be made that if you could pick only one infielder and one outfielder off the Dodger bench from the 21st century, it would be those two.
By Jon Weisman
This week seems like as good as any to post a list of the Dodgers’ all-time leaders in hit by pitches. One list features the expected — the other, perhaps, a surprise.
154 Don Drysdale
82 Henry McIntire
79 Jeff Pfeffer
74 Chan Ho Park
73 Nap Rucker
70 Dazzy Vance
65 Orel Hershiser
62 Don Sutton
56 Burleigh Grimes
53 Ramon Martinez
49 Charlie Hough
45 Oscar Jones
43 Chad Billingsley
40 Darren Dreifort
38 Jeff Weaver
Drysdale’s spot on the chart might be the least surprising piece of trivia you’ll see for some time, but even Drysdale would have to tip his hat to McIntire, who hit a better nearly every other game for Brooklyn (179 games in all). And Park amassed his total in even fewer innings than McIntire.
73 Zack Wheat
72 Jackie Robinson
52 Andre Ethier
52 Alex Cora
47 Carl Furillo
43 Ron Cey
41 Willie Davis
39 Whitey Alperman
37 Lou Johnson
37 Jake Daubert
36 Bill Russell
35 Mark Grudzielanek
Yep, that’s Andre Ethier quietly bruising his way up the list — with his next HBP, he’ll become the franchise’s all-time leader in Los Angeles. Ethier tied Cora when Chase Anderson nailed him on June 13, immediately after a Matt Kemp home run. Ethier earned 25 percent of his total in one season — 2009, while Cora set the Los Angeles single-season record with 18 in 2004.
Wheat got his Dodger-leading total in 18 seasons; Robinson came within one despite playing only 10 years in Brooklyn. Cora, somewhat amazingly, averaged an HBP every 13.1 games, while Sweet Lou was soured every 10.5 games as a Dodger.
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Dodger team historian Mark Langill is a participant in this ESPN 30 for 30 documentary short, “The High Five.” It’s a story that most Dodger fans know very well, but it never hurts to revisit.
By Jon Weisman
Ten years ago tonight, Alex Cora stepped into the batters’ box in the bottom of the seventh inning against Matt Clement of the Cubs.
You could be excused for thinking that 10 years went by before he stepped out.
- Russell Mitchell was designated for assignment to make room on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster for Todd Coffey. He could return to the organization if he clears waivers. (Remembering 2011: Russell Mitchell)
- Blake DeWitt, once upon a time known as “The Solution,” was designated for assignment by the Cubs, who acquired him in the Ted Lilly trade a couple years back. DeWitt, 26, had a 95 OPS+ (.305 on-base percentage, .413 slugging) with Chicago in 2011, compared with Adam Kennedy’s 79 OPS+ for Seattle – but don’t expect the Dodgers to give someone up to acquire DeWitt, who more likely would end up back in the minors for the Cubs.
- Alex Cora is still at it, signing a minor-league deal with St. Louis.
- Edwin Jackson reportedly turned down a three-year, $30 million deal with Pittsburgh to sign with Washington for one year and $11 million, banking on doing better in next season’s free-agent market (or just determined to set a record for organizations in a career).
- Dodgers assistant general manager of amateur and international scouting Logan White talked about some of his prize picks – Zach Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Allen Webster, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Reed – with David Laurila for Fangraphs.
- Up-and-coming reliever Shawn Tolleson was profiled by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
- The late Jose Lima is the subject of a recent SABR biography by Rory Costello.
- Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. is taking a day-by-day look at the Dodgers’ divisional rivals, starting with Arizona on Monday and continuing with San Francisco today.
- Monday in Jon SooHoo: Blake Griffin and Matt Kemp.
- Mark Prior is trying one more time to salvage his pitching career, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Drew Silva of Hardball Talk). Prior last pitched in the majors in 2006 and won only two games after his 25th birthday.
- Also aspiring to come back: Brandon Webb, out since Opening Day 2009.
- Tim Lincecum talks about Clayton Kershaw, among other topics, in this video passed along by Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
- Here’s a simple dice baseball game designed for kids ages 3-6, via Baseball Think Factory.
- One last baseball-oriented remark about “Smash” that I tweeted: “Hilty is the proven veteran talent. McPhee is green but higher-ceiling. It’s Juan Rivera vs. Jerry Sands. Harang vs. Eovaldi.” Except this wasn’t quite right. It’s more like A.J. Ellis vs. Tim Federowicz.
- Ten years ago, while on detail for MLB.com in Venezuela, former Dodger communications vice president Josh Rawitch wrote about an up-and-coming Rivera.
- In this terrific podcast interview, ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Kamenetzky brothers talk to Oscar-nominated actor Gary Oldman about, among many other things in a 45-minute chat, his great admiration and love for baseball.
- This seemed to fascinate some folks on Twitter late Monday: Take a look at these NPR contributor bios, and see if their pictures match with your images of them.
Quickly on a Saturday morning …
- Maligned for his 1992 All-Star Game selection but nevertheless a most likable player, Mike Sharperson is remembered at Lasorda’s Lair by Scott Andes, who passes along this quote: “I first walked in (to the N.L. clubhouse) and saw all the superstars, and I’m not even close to being considered a superstar. But here I am, and I’m going to play with them. I definitely feel like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to take my bats around to be autographed. For me to do what I’ve done, to be selected, is going to stop a lot of critics from doubting me.”
- Former Dodger Alex Cora is drawing offseason interest both as a player and as a coach, says Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via MLB Trade Rumors).
- Colorado has acquired 26-year-old Chad Tracy, son of manager Jim Tracy, from Texas in exchange for Greg Reynolds, whom the Rockies took with the second overall pick in the 2006 draft ahead of Evan Longoria, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum, among others. The first baseman had an .814 OPS for Triple-A Round Rock last season.