19 December 2011

the evolution of the right fielder, part 2

we begin part 2 (here's part 1 if you missed it or want a refresher) with perhaps one of the greatest right-handed hitters in dodger history, who was eventually traded away and revealed to be a 'clubhouse cancer'.  come to think of it, we'll end part 2 the same way.

pedro guerrero (1981-1982)
petey took over for the injured reggie smith in 1981, although he wound up finishing the season as the dodgers' third baseman.  guerrero's .300 season (an all-star season, at that) helped the dodgers advance to the postseason, where he was playing third in the nlds against the astros, too. he hit only .176 in that series, although he did have a big solo home run in game 4 to give the dodgers the lead.  he was worse in the nlcs against the expos while playing right and center, but came up big in the world series where he was one of the triumvirate of mvp's as the dodgers beat the yankees.

in 1982, guerrero had his first monster season.  he hit 32 home runs, drove in 100, stole 22 bases, hit .304 with a .914 ops and finished 3rd in the mvp voting.  however, with the loss of ron cey in the offseason, guerrero was moved to third base for 1983, opening the right field door for...
mike marshall (1983, 1985-1989)
man, i was ready for marshall.  he had won the aaa triple crown in 1981 with some monster numbers, and was hitting .388 in albuquerque when he was called up for good in 1982.  now with a full-time gig in right, i was looking forward to some huge big league numbers.  what we got was pretty good.  in 1983, marshall produced a line of 17/65/.284, and capped his season with a 10th inning walk-off grand slam against the reds in september.  then, after a year in left, marshall went 28/95/.293 in 1985.  he had some ups and downs the following four seasons as the dodgers' primary right fielder, but had a big up in game 2 of the 1988 world series.  he drove in 3 runs with a triple and a home run to keep the momentum going that kirk gibson had created in game 1.  after the 1989 season, the dodgers traded marshall to the mets.  before that, however, another dodger minor league wonder patrolled right field.

candy maldonado (1984)
while mike marshall spent his sabbatical in left field after the loss of dusty baker, candido maldonado played right. he hit .268 with 5 home runs in 116 games in 1984, before joining in the game of musical outfielders and moving to center in 1985.

hubie brooks (1990)
so, the dodgers traded marshall to the mets for juan samuel after the 1989 season, and then signed another former met to play right field for them in 1990.  brooks came in and hit 20 home runs, drove in 91, and had an average of .266.  and, for the third season in a row, struck out exactly 108 times.  then, for the second year in a row, the dodgers traded their primary right fielder to the mets and signed a former met to take his place.

darryl strawberry (1991-1992)
it was christmas in november when the dodgers signed strawberry.  his first season was decent - 28 home runs, 99 rbi, .265 average in 139 games, and he made the all-star team for the eighth straight year (and final time in his career).  he helped the dodgers win 93 games in 1991, although they finished a game behind the braves in the standings.  they were actually up 1 game with 4 to play, but lost 3 in a row to lose the nl west crown.  i recall some griping in the local rags about strawberry's performance in the last couple of losses, as he was just 1 for 8 with 3 strikeouts.

1992 was supposed to be better, but he missed a lot of time due to injury, as was the case in 1993. still, strawberry made more starts (39) than any of the other 9 players the dodgers used in right in 1992. then, in 1994, he failed to show up for the freeway series and was found to have entered rehab. 

cory snyder (1993)
in strawberry's absence, the corndog took over most of the right field responsibilities in 1993, making 107 starts there to go along with his other appearances all over the diamond.  he helped the dodgers get back to .500 after their historically bad 1992 season, but was only a temporary stopgap as the dodgers had rauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul ready to go.

raul mondesi (1994-1997, 1999)
mondesi won the rookie of the year award in 1994, and spent the next 3 seasons continuing to kick ass in right field.  he led the league in outfield assists in 1994 and 1995, and won gold gloves in '95 and '97.  1997 was the year he became the first dodger to reach 30/30, and he matched the feat in 1999 when he returned to right from a year as the dodgers' centerfielder.  1999 was also the year when he hit the most dramatic opening day home run since saxy's leadoff job in 1988.  in fact, he had 2 dramatic home runs that day.  first, with the dodgers down 6-3 in the bottom of the ninth in davey johnson's first game as manager, mondesi came up with two outs and two men on base.  he launched a 3-0 pitch into the bullpen to tie the game, and then, in the 11th, he hit a 2-run walk-off to win the game.  still, he was seen as tempermental and was traded to the blue jays in the offseason for shawn green.

gary sheffield (1998)
before we get to green (in part 3), we need to recognize that gary sheffield roamed in right for the dodgers in 1998 while mondesi was patrolling center for a season. or, at least part of a season, as that all happened after the mike piazza trade went down in may of '98.  as a dodger, sheffield played in 90 games in 1998, and hit .316 with a .979 ops.  his next three seasons (as the dodgers' leftfielder) were monsters, but he had worn out his welcome and was traded to the braves, just as pedro guerrero was traded to the cardinals in 1988.

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