01 September 2009

the infield returns to the postseason - gcrl in 1977

in 1977, the dodgers turned the tables on the defending world champion cincinnati reds, and took first place in the nl west by 10 games. they would defeat the philadelphia phillies in the nlcs before losing to the new york yankees in the world series.

steve garvey failed to hit .300 (.297) and also failed to reach 200 hits (192), but that was about all he failed at. he hit a career high 33 home runs (one of four teammates to hit 30 home runs - a major league first), drove in a career high 115 runs, won his 4th consecutive gold glove (with a .995 fielding percentage), was named an all-star game starter for the 4th year in a row, finished 6th in the league mvp voting, and, of course, he played in all 162 games. he hit two home runs in a game twice, and he also hit his 100th career home run in 1977, off of steve carlton.

garvey went 1 for 3 in the all-star game with a solo home run off of jim palmer. he struck out in his other two at-bats (against palmer and dennis eckersley) though. in the playoffs against the phillies, garvey failed to do much. sure he hit .308 and even stole a base, but he didn't drive in a run or get an extra base hit. in the world series, though, he hit .375 with a double, triple and a home run for a 1.025 ops.

ron cey had a big year in 1977. he hit a career high 30 home runs (the other two dodgers with 30 home runs were dusty baker and reggie smith), and drove in a career high 110 runs, but his average dipped all the way down to .241. still, he finished 8th in the mvp voting and was voted to start the all-star game. in the midsummer classic, he went 0 for 2 with a walk. the penguin played in 153 games, hit two home runs in a game twice, connected for his 100th career home run (off of bob shirley) and even hit a walk off home run against rollie fingers and the padres.

in the playoffs, cey hit .308 with an ops of 1.015. in the world series, though, he hit only .190 with an ops of just .661.

like the penguin, bill russell played in 153 games in 1977. he hit .278 and scored a career high 84 runs. he hit 3 of his 4 home runs within an 8-day span in late june. in the post season, russell matched his regular season average as he hit .278 against the phillies, but he hit just .154 against the yankees. it was his single in game 3 of the nlcs that scored davey lopes with the winning run to cap off the dodgers' improbable 2-out, 3-run rally.

in 1977, davey lopes played exclusively at second base for the first time since 1972. he played in 134 games and had pretty solid numbers all around. he hit .283, stole 47 bases, and scored 85 runs. of his 11 home runs, 4 were leadoff shots (including one each against future teammate gerry hannahs and tom seaver), and 1 was a 3-run walk-off against bob apodaca and the mets. lopes hit .235 in the nlcs, but he did beat out (right larry bowa?) a two-out infield hit in the 9th inning and eventually scored the aforementioned winning run in the pivotal game 3. in the world series, he slumped as did cey and russell, hitting just .167 although he did have a home run and two stolen bases. for the second straight year, lopes appeared on multiple cards, as he is featured with future dodger bill north on the stolen base league leader card.i'm pretty sure the photo of lopes is from the same photo shoot as his 1976 topps cards. again, no need to mix it up, right topps?

so, it was a bittersweet season for the dodgers and their infield. a return to the postseason, but another world series loss. however, they would get the chance to redeem themselves in 1978...

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