By Jon Weisman
Jamie Romak gets a surprising start at first base today at Cincinnati, as the Dodgers rest slumping Adrian Gonzalez, while keeping Scott Van Slyke in center field ahead of Andre Ethier.
Gonzalez has been such a mainstay at first base since coming over from Boston, and Van Slyke such a logical understudy, that you just don’t expect to see someone like Romak there. It got me wondering about other rare cameos at first base for the Dodgers — in particular, when Steve Garvey was around.
Garvey played nearly every game at first base for the Dodgers from 1974-82, but not every inning. Here’s who backed him up.
- 1974: Bill Buckner went 7 for 21 in six games at first base, while Gail Hopkins went 0 for 4 in two games and Tom Paciorek added two innings.
- 1975: Ken McMullen went 4 for 10 with a triple in three games, including starts on September 1 and 2.
- 1976: Garvey played all but six innings this year. On May 7, he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, and John Hale pinch-ran. Buckner moved over from left field to play first, and grounded out in the top of the ninth. Ed Goodson also played four defensive innings across three games.
- 1977: Four different subsitutes — Boog Powell (2 for 5 with a walk in four games), Ed Goodson (1 for 8 with a walk in five games), Rick Monday (0 for 5 in five games) and Joe Simpson (0 for 1). Goodson started on May 28, Powell on August 15.
- 1978: Garvey started alll 162 games, but it was a nice year for the backups. Pedro Guerrero went 4 for 7 with a triple in three games, Monday 1 for 3 and Vic Davalillo 1 for 1.
- 1979: Guerrero went 3 for 14 in eight games and became the first first baseman besides Garvey to homer since 1973. It was a late-September game that Garvey departed after two innings. Derrel Thomas and Gary Thomasson each got an inning at first base; Thomas went 0 for 1 at the plate.
- 1980: Guerrero sizzled at first base, going 3 for 4, while Thomasson struck out in his only at-bat as a first baseman. The 43-year-old Davalillo also picked up an inning in the last defensive appearance of his career.
- 1981: The Dodgers’ title year saw Mike Marshall, Jay Johnstone and Reggie Smith each go 1 for 4 at first base, while Guerrero went 0 for 1.
- 1982: In the final season before Garvey departed for San Diego, Marshall got the most playing time of anyone else at the position since 1973, going 8 for 28 with two homers and five walks. Monday went 2 for 10, and Garvey’s initial successor, Greg Brock, 0 for 4.
Innings by Dodger first basemen, 1974-82
Steve Garvey: 12,346 1/3 out of 12,724 1/3 (97.0 percent)
Mike Marshall: 90
Pedro Guerrero: 66
Bill Buckner: 49
Rick Monday: 44
Ed Goodson: 35
Ken McMullen: 19
Boog Powell: 15
Jay Johnstone: 13
Reggie Smith: 13
Gail Hopkins: 12
Greg Brock: 8 2/3
Vic Davalillo: 5 1/3
Gary Thomasson: 3
Tom Paciorek: 2
Joe Simpson: 2
Derrel Thomas: 1
* * *
Some trivia from Sunday’s game:
- Jamie Romak and Miguel Rojas became the first Dodgers to get their first MLB hits back to back since Wilkin Ruan and David Ross in Arizona on September 2, 2002, noted SportsNet LA. Ross later hit a home run off Mark Grace in that game.
- The Dodgers had their shortest victory since May 1, 1983 in Chicago, and their shortest complete game by a pitcher since Nick Willhite against the Mets on June 7, 1964 — 50 years and one day earlier. Via Dodgers PR.
- Clayton Kershaw “is the only pitcher in baseball dating back to at least 1914 with four consecutive starts with exactly nine strikeouts,” notes Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.