28 October 2010

double dippers - the first edition

with all of the fuss (there was fuss, wasn't there?) surrounding the return to the dodgers (for the third time) of juan castro, and the re-acquisition of former prospect ted lilly, i am going to start a new feature here called 'double dippers'.  these are the players who played for the dodgers, left for whatever reason, and then came back to play for the dodgers once again, not unlike george costanza's chip.  fyi, lilly actually doesn't qualify because he never pitched for the dodgers the first time around.  ron coomer, the coomdog, also falls into the lilly category.  i am also not going to count guys like tommy lasorda or charlie hough or claude osteen or ron perranoski or any of the other folks who left the dodgers to play for other teams but returned as coaches.  finally, willie crawford and ramon martinez (pedro's brother, not the other one) are also disqualified because, although they signed contracts with the dodgers to return to their roots, they never played for them a second time around.

anyway, i came up with a list of about two dozen players who did double dip off the top of my head, plus a few more that i had an inkling of but needed the brains of baseball reference to confirm.  here's one of the first guys i thought of:

brett butler.

shown here on his 1993 upper deck card,
butler's first go around with the dodgers lasted from 1991 through the 1994 season.  during that time, butler hit .303 with an obp of .402 and scored 357 runs.  the dodgers allowed butler to leave as a free agent after the 1994 season so that they could begin the roger cedeno experiment.  butler signed with the mets as evidenced on this 1995 topps traded card.
in new york, butler was batting .311 with 54 runs scored in 90 games when the dodgers reacquired him.  it kind of reminded me at the time of what happened a year or so earlier with the la kings when they sent marty mcsorley away only to bring him back because of fan uproar and the sense that they lost more than they gained by getting rid of him in the first place, even though you knew things weren't going to be the same.  and they weren't.  butler hit only .274 for the dodgers the rest of the way in '95, although they won the west and made the postseason for the first time since 1988.

here, on butler's 1996 topps card
you can see he is wearing number 12 instead of his familiar 22.  that's because chad fonville took butler's number (and his role of team sparkplug) and for whatever reason didn't give it up when butler came back.  in 1996, butler was diagnosed with cancer and missed most of the season.  his return in september was spectacular - in a game i watched with amazement, butler walked to open the bottom of the 8th in a tie game.  he stole second, went to third on an error and scored the eventual winning run on a sacrifice fly.  butler was back.

since he was only gone part of one season, the dodgers didn't miss out on a whole lot of production.  still, his career totals with the dodgers would have topped 850 games, 500 runs, 950 hits, and 200 stolen bases had his numbers with the mets been achieved in la instead.

here's to you brett butler, double dipper!


Johngy said...

I like this concept and look forward to future posts. Joe Ferguson?

gcrl said...

joe ferguson is one for sure. he would be a triple dipper if you count his return as a coach!

steelehere said...

Great idea for a post.

Two things that always come to mind when I think of Brett Butler is the gray skunk-like streak he had in his hair and the home video of him and his son in which the son hits a line drive into Brett's nads.