26 August 2010

more out of place guys

wlecome to the third installment of the 'evolution of the dodgers' out of place guy'.  the first installment covered about 20 years, from skowron to stanhouse, and the second got us about 16 more seasons, from belanger to bonilla.  i realize now that i should have included don sutton and eddie murray and their second tours of duty with the dodgers in 1988 and 1997 to the last list.  really, how many people remember that they ended their careers in la?  that is truly out of place.

anyway, due to the higher frequency of free agency and trades and one year contracts and all of that stuff, this post won't even get us to the present day.  we'll start in 1999 with the 1997 world series hero, craig counsell
i believe that this 2000 pacific crown collection card is the only one of counsell as a dodger.  that's how out of place he was.  even the card companies don't want to recognize his tenure in la.  the dodgers acquired counsell halfway through the 1999 season from the marlins, giving up a minor leaguer.  in 50 games with the dodgers, he hit .259 with just 6 extra base hits (all doubles) for an ops of .626.  the dodgers released him during spring training 2000, and the diamondbacks picked him up.

did you remember that kevin elster ended his career with the dodgers in 2000?  that makes this 2001 topps card a final tribute.
elster's old manager, davey johnson, was leading the dodgers and convinced elster to come out of retirement (he missed the second half of the 1998 season and all of 1999 after being released by texas), presumably because he was scared of an entire season of alex cora at short.  in his 5th game back, elster helped to open the giants' new stadium (pac bell park, i believe it was known as back then) with 3 home runs to lead the dodgers to victory.  another candidate for out of place guy from the 2000 dodgers was geronimo berroa, but that is too obscure of a player even for me to address.

in 2001, james baldwin was a dodger and was only sort of out of place, and in 2002 marquis grissom came aboard.  i would have added grissom to the list, but he actually played in la for two seasons.  you can't be out of place if you hang around that long.

2003 brought a bevy of out of place guys, starting with the crime dog, fred mcgriff
mcgriff joined the dodgers as a free agent with 478 home runs.  having hit 30 in 2002 with the cubs, i sure thought he would get to 500 with the dodgers.  he didn't.  instead, he hit 13 dingers in just 86 games leaving him 9 short of the milestone.  the dodgers released him after the season and he went home to tampa to play for the devil rays in 2004.  unfortunately, he hit only 2 homers there and is forever sitting on 493.

joining mcgriff on the 2003 dodgers team was jeromy burnitz
the dodgers got burnitz in a deal that cost them a minor leaguer and two diazes.  it was the second time the mets had traded burnitz away.  for the dodgers, he performed worse than he had performed for any team in any season in his career.  he hit just .204 with an ops of .643.  he went to colorado for the 2004 season and i am sure he would have won the comeback player of the year award if chris carpenter hadn't been so good after missing all of 2003 and/or if burnitz hadn't (allegedly) been on steroids.

rounding out the triumverate of 2003 dodger out of place guys, we have rickey henderson.
rickey is a throwback out of place guy, like frank robinson or hoyt wilhelm.  a hall of famer who hit tinseltown for a short time at the end of the line, or in frobby's case - close to it.  rickey was 44 when the dodgers signed him to a contract in july of 2003.  he wound up hitting just .208 in 30 games with 2 homers and 5 rbi.  he scored 7 runs and stole 3 bases without getting caught.  his final career home run was, what else, a lead off home run - the 81st of his career.

2004 brought steve finley to town for 58 games.
he managed to win his 5th gold glove (he made just one error with the dodgers and just 3 overall in 2004) but is better known for his walk off grand slam against the giants on the next to last day of the season that gave the dodgers the nl west crown.  finley signed with the angels as a free agent for the 2005 season.

in 2005, the dodgers had a lot of no-names who weren't so much out of place as they were just not very good players.  norihiro nakamura?  jason grabowski?  come on.  i would love to say jd drew was out of place, but he stuck around (barely) for more than one season. 

then, in 2006, kenny lofton became a dodger.
lofton had one of the best years ever by an out of place guy.  he hit .301 with 79 runs scored and 32 steals as the dodgers' primary center fielder.  his 2007 season was pretty good, too, but he was back in the american league then as the dodgers didn't re-sign him.

1 comment:

Johngy said...

I love this feature. I had forgotten Counsell was with LA.

I also really liked the "trading places" card.