05 October 2008

up the middle

bill russell and davey lopes played together, along with garvey and cey, for nine seasons. russell, an outfielder turned shortstop, was perhaps the least appreciated of the four, while second baseman lopes mixed speed and power in a way not typically seen in that era. russell was a dodger for his entire playing career, retiring after the 1986 season, while lopes was the first to leave the infield as he was traded to the oakland a's for lance hudson prior to the 1982 season. in fact, the last time the infield was together was as the 1981 world champions. here, bill and davey are together again on the 2005 upper deck classics "classic counterpars" insert, numbered to 1999.

after the trade, lopes was replaced by steve sax. this was easier to take than the trade of cey the following year, as third base became a revolving door between his time and the arrival of adrian beltre (madlock, cabell, hatcher, pedro!, wallach, zeile, etc.). over at first, garvey left to free agency, opening the door for greg brock, who was quickly followed by mike marshall and franklin stubbs, and then eddie murray until eric karros put down roots for a while. bill russell slowly gave way to the likes of dave anderson, followed by alfredo griffin, jose offerman and a host of others.

stability counts for something, right? i know things were different back then, but it was relatively easy to trace the dodgers infield lineage from garvey back to hodges, lopes to robinson, russell to reese, and cey to just whom i am not sure - third base was a black hole for the dodgers before the penguin came along.

anyway, both russell and lopes went on to manage in the big leagues, with russell taking over for the dodgers after tommy lasorda was forced to retire and lopes managing the brewers from 2000 to 2002. russell continued to coach in the majors and manage in the minors, while lopes has coached for several teams, most recently the phillies. we'll see davey in a few days, hopefully, when the phillies face the dodgers in the nlcs. hopefully, it's more like 1977 or 1978 all over again, and less like 1983!

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