28 February 2011

collecting scrap iron through the mail

with the fantastic 1977 phil garner o-pee-chee variation on display today at oh my o-pee-chee!, i figured it was a good time to showcase my scrap iron through the mail successes!  funny enough, the first two feature garner without his wirebrush mustache.

1988 score
one of my favorite cards from the '88 score set.  i think it's the green border and the light blue dodger stadium fence.  notice the black patch garner is sporting for coach don macmahon who died after throwing bp one day.  i hope frank mccourt has enough cash to pay for some duke snider patches this year.  garner was acquired by the dodgers during the 1987 season to try to bring some short term stability to the hot corner.  he failed, unfortunately, hitting just .190 in 70 games.

1988 topps
garner wore number 20 during his half season as a dodger.  steve sax was wearing the number 3 that garner had worn in oakland, houston and pittsburgh.
1976 topps
aside from that 1977 o-pee-chee card, this might be the best card for displaying the mustache.  i also appreciate the carefully strewn batting helmet and doughnut in the photo.

did you know that garner played more games as an astro than a pirate?  that surprised me, since i think of him mainly as a part of 'the family'.  here's his 1978 topps card
it's one of the few in-game action shots in the 1978 set, and it's a nice one.

here's to you scrap iron!  thanks for signing my cards!

so long, duke

by now you all know duke snider passed away yesterday at the age of 84.  i am too young to have seen him play, but i appreciate the legitimacy he gave to my dodger fandom when the neighborhood giant and yankee fans would talk about willie mays and mickey mantle.  i always had duke in my pocket, along with koufax and drysdale.

one of the first players i sent cards to when i started seeking ttm autographs in 2009 was duke snider.  he obliged me three times, which i am very thankful for.  here are the last three - a 1989 bowman reprint insert
 and a 2004 fleer greats forever dodgers insert
duke was not quite forever a dodger (he finished with the mets and giants) but he was the dodger hall of famer emeritus.  back in 2009, he was the one who started the fantastic opening day parade of former dodgers that climaxed with sandy koufax, don newcombe, and carl erskine throwing out the first pitch.  now that duke is gone, only koufax, lasorda and sutton remain as living dodger hall of famers.

rest in peace, silver fox. 

27 February 2011

'diamond debut' just doesn't have the cachet of 'final tribute'

in the mid '90's, upper deck started branding certain cards with graphics indicating award winners or all stars or (my favorites) 'final tributes' which saluted a retired players' total career stats.  those cards were reserved for mostly stars/semi-stars and not given to the three year journeyman infielder.  they also identified those who had debuted the previous year with their 'diamond debut' label, as seen on this 1998 ud collector's choice adam riggs card
so exactly what is this card celebrating?  well, in his 'diamond debut' on 8/7/97, riggs started at second base in a game against the expos in montreal.  in his first at bat, facing the immortal jim bullinger, riggs reached on an error which allowed a run to score.  riggs then stole second base and scored on a brett butler single.  in his second at bat, again against bullinger, riggs grounded out to second.  his next time up, he grounded out to third against anthony telford.  finally, in his fourth trip to the plate, riggs got the ball out of the infield.  facing another expos reliever (rick dehart) riggs lined out to center. 

in the field, riggs had three chances and handled them all cleanly.  he fielded a grounder off the bat of david segui and started an inning ending double play in the first, then caught a darrin fletcher pop up and got the putout on a force of mark grudzielanek at second base in the second inning.

so there you have it, a pretty inauspicious 'diamond debut'.  it's hard to believe topps created sets around this concept in 1990 and 1991.

charlie babb, superba

charlie babb is one of those rare players who was traded from the giants to the dodgers.  to be more specific, he was traded from the new york giants to the brooklyn superbas, as they were known in 1903. in return, the dodgers sent bill dahlen to the giants.  babb played two years for the brooklyn team, so he was included in the 1990 target dodgers set.
i belive the haircut he is sporting was the 'beiber'-do of its time.  anyway, babb was the giants' shortstop in 1903 and he took over for dahlen in that role for the superbas in 1904.  dahlen, meanwhile, took over at short for the giants and led the league in rbi with 80. i suppose babb was comforted by the fact that, while the giants won the national league in 1904, there was no world series thanks to john mcgraw's stubborness or ego or whatever you want to call it.  in 1905, however, babb's old team did consent to a world series appearance and beat the philadelphia a's in 5 games.

babb played for the superbas again in 1905, although in a lesser role, and then spent the rest of his career in the minor leagues playing and managing.   

here's to you, charlie babb!

26 February 2011

for sparta! from thoughts and sox!

adam at thoughts and sox recently sent me a surprise envelope with a handful of cards.  i was going to save this one for st. patricks day, but oh well.  it's a 2008 donruss threads steve garvey college greats card.
garvey was indeed a college great for michigan state.  he played both baseball and football, earning all-american status in baseball prior to being drafted by the dodgers in 1968.  he was inducted into the spartans hall of fame last fall.  you can read all about it here.

also included was garvey's base card from that set, of which i have scanned the back
always nice to see his name in the company of gehrig.  any chance that his 1974 numbers even sniff the mvp award these days.  the answer is no.

there were some other cards from the threads set, including this duke snider
which is one of the more flagrant copyright infringers i have seen from the set.  duke's facial appearance here reminds me of tubby tompkins.  that's right - i referenced little lulu.  wanna fight about it?

carl erskine's card was also included in the package
 along with a couple of 2008 upper deck spx cards.  this one is of andruw jones
and it scans up right shiny.  let's take a moment to remember that jones ops'd .505 for the dodgers in 2008.  he's rebounded some the past two years for the white sox and rangers, but here's hoping he reverts to dodger form for the yankees in 2011, and that joe girardi is dumb enough to keep playing him like joe torre was.

adam, thanks for the cards.  i'll try and get some bosox off to you soon.

25 February 2011

the g-man goeth

mark grudzielanek, scourge of harry caray's limited pronunciation skills, retired on tuesday.
this makes me sad because grudzielanek was one of the few major leaguers who are older than i am (please keep playing, jim thome!). grudzielanek was a dodger during the meat of the fox years, from midseason 1998 through 2002, and so he never experienced any games of real significance with the dodgers.  he was converted from shortstop to second base midway through his tenure with the blue, and eventually won a gold glove at his new position in 2006 with the royals.

he did hit a career high .326 in his first full season with the dodgers, and he appeared in more games as dodger than he did for any of his other teams (expos, cubs, cardinals, royals and indians).  he was sent to the cubbies with eric karros after the 2002 season in the crazy deal that brought todd hundley back to the dodgers for a second go around. 21 games and .182 was all we got out of hundley, while grudzielanek prodded on, making the playoffs in 2003 with the cubs and in 2005 with the cardinals, although his teams would lose in the nlcs both times. 

from st louis, it was on to kansas city (where he appeared in the same infield as doug mientkiewicz) for three years before sitting out the 2009 season.  he did have a short stint in the twins' organization during the '09 season, but was released before he even got close to earning a callup.  i was disappointed because i enjoy seeing former dodgers as twins (see repko, jason and thome, jim).  it gives me some reason to cheer when i go to games.  i did get to see grudz at target field last season, however, when the tribe came to town in mid april.  but then, he was released by the indians in june.

here's to you mark grudzielanek!  thanks for playing.

24 February 2011

why did i scan this card?

it's not shiny, so that's out.  it's a 2000 bowman bubba crosby card, and it has been in my scanned folder since march of 2009 (it's not alone in that regard).
let's make a list of possible reasons.  one of them is bound to be correct.  so, i scanned this card because...
  1. i received it in a trade and was preparing a trade post, but it didn't make the final cut
  2. it is a fine example of 2000 bowman
  3. it is the first (and likely only) bubba crosby card to be featured on the blog
  4. it was for an extensive robin ventura post that never (and may never) materialized (crosby was traded with scott proctor to the yankees for ventura)
  5. crosby was the dodgers' 1st round pick in the 1998 draft and i had planned to someday do a post on their first rounders
  6. i mistook him for todd hollandsworth, a personal favorite
  7. he somehow failed to get much playing time even though he was with the big club during jim tracy's reign, but then i realized he was gone before tracy started playing the likes of jason grabowski
  8. he got a hit (and an rbi) in his first big league at bat - a pinch hit single against the rockies' todd jones on may 29, 2003. [tangent alert!  now, granted this was a 'getaway' day game, but tracy's starting lineup included alex cora batting leadoff, adrian beltre batting second, mike kinkade (!) in left, jolbert cabrera in center, and david ross behind the plate.  jason romano even made an appearance in the game.  yikes.]
  9. he made his only start as a dodger the next day and went 0 for 4 with 2 k's
  10. he wore the knuckler's number - 49 - during his 12 game tenure with the dodgers
  11. he was with the yankees in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and so didn't win a ring
  12. exactly 25% of his career home runs were of the walk-off variety
  13. he hit a home run in his first at bat as a yankee, and then
  14. he hit a home run in his third at bat as a yankee which is about when a bunch of dodgers fans started getting really nervous
  15. he collided with gary sheffield in the outfield during game 5 of the 2005 alds against the angels, allowing the angels to take the lead in the deciding game and i was going to do a post about all of the voodoo dolls sheffield must have at home of different players and executives who have slighted him during his career
  16. he is nicknamed bubba
  17. he was at one time a dodger, and that should be celebrated
i sure wish i could remember which one of these is correct...

23 February 2011

filling in the blanks with the gcrl cards that should have been - 1971 topps ron cey

both steve garvey (rookie!) and bill russell appeared in the 1971 topps set.  davey lopes wouldn't debut until 1972, but ron cey made his first big league appearances in 1971.  while the penguin would be featured in the 1972 set, i am filling in the blanks, so here is the 1971 topps ron cey card that should have been:
with a back:
quite a september call up.  cey made 2 pinch hit appearances (both against the reds) and struck out both times.  in his major league debut, he pinch hit for jose pena on september 3 in the bottom of the 9th with nobody out, the bases loaded, and the dodgers down by 3.  this is the stuff kids' dreams are made of - the bottom of the 9th grand slam will win the game!  alas, the penguin struck out against joe gibbon.  no worries, though, since maury wills followed with a single and manny mota won it with a bases clearing triple.

two days later, cey was called upon again.  this time, he hit for joe moeller in the bottom of the 4th with the dodgers down 5-0 and two runners on with one out.  the reds' ross grimsley struck cey out but then gave up a three-run homer to wills.  still, the dodgers wound up losing 7-5.  mike strahler replaced cey in the lineup, so the penguin never made it on to the field.

based on those two appearances, i suppose one should be thankful topps included cey in the 1972 set at all.  maybe so, but i wish there had also been a 1971 card.

the one thing missing from this card is the facsimilie autograph.  i figure i'll print it out and send it to cey and let him add the auto himself.  stay tuned.

here's to you, 1971 topps ron cey card that should have been!

22 February 2011

request fulfilled - the 1973 topps chris cannizzaro card that should have been

by request (way back on new year's day), here is the 1973 topps chris cannizzaro card that should have been.  johngy, this one's for you.
i could only find a black & white photo, and my colorizing skills are quite there yet, but it works in a pinch.  cannizzaro, as johngy pointed out, started more games at catcher (59) for the dodgers in 1972 than any other player.  duke sims was second, followed by steve yeager, dick dietz, and joe ferguson.  while sims moved on to detroit in 1973 (and was featured as a tiger in the 1973 topps set), cannizzaro stayed in la.  the other three catchers mentioned, yeager, dietz, and ferguson (who took over the majority of the catching duties), all appeared as dodgers in the 1973 set.  so why not cannizzaro?

after the 1973 season (in which he appeared in just 17 games), the dodgers released cannizzaro.  he was not featured in topps' 1974 set, but was picked up by the astros and then purchased by the padres prior to the start of the 1974 season.  in san diego, cannizzaro appeared in a mere 26 games, but that was enough to earn a card in their 1975 set. just a horrific airbrushing job - on a final tribute card no less!

here's to you, the 1973 topps chris cannizzaro card that should have been!

21 February 2011

a legend in his own time

back in the day, jimmy kimmel was a radio guy on a local la station doing sports updates and bits with adam carolla.  when there was a mike piazza item, kimmel would refer to him as 'italian american superstar slugger mike piazza'.  at the same time, jim rome was hitting it big in san diego, and he dubbed piazza 'the strongest man in socal'.  to me, he was just the man.  the man who was going to bring the trophy back to la.

he wasn't my favorite player - that would have been too obvious and trendy.  i was still loyal to orel hershiser when piazza came on the scene, and then i took a liking to raul mondesi once the bulldog left town.  but piazza was always right behind those guys.  even for the first year or two after he was traded by the fox suits.
in 1999, upper deck issued their fantastic century legends set, and they ranked piazza as the 9th best active player (career wise). 
it's one of my favorite piazza cards, as you can tell by the fact that it's up there in the blog header.  through 1998, piazza had played in 840 games.  he had exactly 200 home runs, just over 1000 hits, a .330 average and a career ops of .972.  not too shabby.  that included his 1998 numbers that were split between the dodgers, marlins and mets, so i am grateful to upper deck for featuring piazza as a dodger in this set and not as a fish or a metropolitan (it should be noted for consistency's sake that gary sheffield is featured in the set as a marlin and not a dodger).

i have resigned myself to the fact that piazza will go into the hall of fame as a met.  he played pretty close to 8 full seasons in new york vs. 5+ in la, and although he had his best season with the dodgers, his met numbers eclipse his dodger totals.  he also made it to the world series with the mets, while he never got out of the nlds with the dodgers.

still, i wonder about piazza's legacy with the dodgers.  will they retire his number when he is enshrined in cooperstown?  after all, it was kept in mothballs for 6+ years until brad penny came along.  the dodgers had done the same for steve garvey, although that lasted for 20 years before jolbert cabrera was allowed to wear number 6.  with don sutton (whose number was retired once he was elected to the hall), candy maldonado took number 20 right away in 1982.  the only player i know of not in the hall of fame whose number is 'unofficially' retired is fernando and his number 34.  jim gilliam is the only dodger non-hall of famer whose number has been retired.  i personally think the dodgers should retire gil hodges' number 14, maury wills' number 30 and fernando's number 34 regardless of their hall of fame status.  after thinking about it, i also think that piazza's 31 should be added to that list.

20 February 2011

if i had some padrographs for you...

something to remind me.  i wouldn't spend my life just wishing..

ah, good ol' flock of seagulls.

i don't have any padrographs for you, or for rod from padrographs abner to zimmer either for that matter.  what i do have are some padres cards and oregonians to send him after he sent me a package of dodgers cards.

i will now admit that trying to tie a flock of seagulls, baseball cards and a collector in oregon all together was probably a bad idea.  here are some of the cards i received.

1982 donruss mike scioscia
a nice way to start - dodger stadium, the angels' manager, and coach danny ozark lurking in the background.

speaking of lurkers, here's a 1994 pinnacle jim gott card
with the strongest man in socal, italian-american superstar slugger mike piazza sharing space with gott.

there was also a 1994 upper deck jim gott
again with a lurker of some sort.  my guess is that this is from the annual hollywood stars game and that's some sort of "celebrity" that would show up at those events like rodger lodge or corbin bernsen.  it kinda looks like christian slater, but i don't know that he was on that circuit back then.

another jim gott, this one a 1992 pinnacle
nice that they identify him as a 'relief pitcher'.  i didn't know.  cool how the photo is framed so that the ball is tucked nicely inside the upper corner of the card.

kind of like this 1984 fleer steve sax card that rod sent
or this 1990 score card of alejandro pena
pena also gets labeled as a 'rp'.  maybe this happened more often than i realized in the 90's.

here's another 1990 score card, this one of mike huff
huff is making his first appearance on the blog.  born in honolulu, he is at least the 4th hawaiian to have played for the dodgers (charlie hough, sid fernandez, and carlso diaz being the others i can think of off the top of my head).  huff played in a total of 12 games for the dodgers - all in august of 1990.  in his first major league at bat, he pinch hit for mike scioscia and singled off of tom glavine.  just over a week later, he hit his first big league home run, a solo shot off of future dodger dennis cook.  huff was claimed in the 1990 rule v draft by the indians, and he spent the rest of his career in the american league.  but we'll always have this 1990 score card to remember him by.
finally, i'll show this 2010 topps allen & ginter jonathan broxton 'this day in history' insert
it looks like broxton wants a paper, but the newsie is not paying any attention to him.

thanks for the cards rod, i'll get a package to you soon!

19 February 2011

create a caption! get some cards!

leave a comment letting me know what jerry koosman and the silver fox are saying to each other on this 1975 sspc card and i'll send you some cards from a team of your choice.
i'm pretty sure that koosman is saying that duke's hat reminds him of the wheel he saw on a new tv game show - 'wheel of fortune' - that debuted in early 1975, but let's hear what you guys think.

18 February 2011

dave hansen, double dipper

[this is the tenth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmer, and rafael landestoy.]

dave hansen was a serial double dipper.  he played in the majors for 4 different teams - the dodgers, cubs, padres and mariners.  he had two stints with each of them, although his second go around with the cubbies lasted just a month during spring training in 2005.  what i am most concerned with, however, is his status as a dodger double dipper.

hansen, shown here on a 1993 donruss card,
was the dodgers' 2nd round pick in the 1986 draft.  he was supposed to put an end to the stream of misfits that occupied the hot corner in chavez ravine after ron cey was traded away, but instead, he settled into a pinch hitting and spot starter role.  in his first run as a dodger, from 1990 through 1996, he had 224 pinch hit at bats, and had 63 hits in those at bats.  it is only fitting that his first career home run was as a pinch hitter - it came in 1991 when he hit a 3-run blast against wally whitehurst and the mets.

hansen became a free agent after the 1996 season, and he signed a deal with the chicago cubs.  the only card of hansen featured as a cub that i could locate comes courtesy of wrigley wax - a 1997 cubs team issue:
for the cubbies, hansen made 40 of his 186 plate appearances as a pinch hitter.  he had 10 pinch hits with 5 walks.  one of those hits was a home run, a solo shot in 8th inning of a game against the dodgers and chan ho park.  he also broke up a no-hit bid by florida's alex fernandez with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning with an infield single.  while it was hansen's only at bat of the game, it wasn't a pinch hitting appearance as he had entered the game in the top of the 9th as a defensive replacement. hansen hit .311 overall for the cubs, but left after the one season in chicago to play in japan. 

after one year in the far east, hansen returned to los angeles.  he was once again pegged in the role of pinch hitter and occasional spot starter, and from 1999 through 2002, he had 197 plate appearances in a pinch hitting role.  in 2000, he set a major league record with 7 pinch hit home runs.  perhaps that's why topps made a card of hansen in 2001
in 2003, hansen played for the padres and then went to seattle to start the 2004 season. the mariners sent him back to san diego during that campaign.  he signed on with the cubs in spring training of 2005 as mentioned earlier, and then joined the mariners for the actual '05 season, his final one as a major league player.

here's to you, dave hansen - double dipper!

17 February 2011

they're stamps, not cards. so why did i buy them?

over at oh my o-pee-chee today, i'm featuring hall of famer fergie jenkins who was just honored with the issuance of a postage stamp in his native canada.  i am not a philatelic, but i did pick up a dodgers team set of 1974 topps stamps a while back.  i guess the difference is that there is no postage value applied to these stamps.  just fantastic early 1970's photos of joe ferguson, andy messersmith, bill russell, willie crawford, bill buckner, claude osteen, willie davis (looking older than 33), dave lopes, ron cey, and don sutton.
sadly, no steve garvey.

i must admit that i do own an actual postage stamp as part of my collection (and it's not for mailing).  it's the 1982 20-cent jackie robinson stamp issued by the good ol' usps.
 at least the postal service also issued the image as a standard sized baseball card
so my non-philatelic self could justify the purchase way back when.  the last thing i needed then (and now) was another hobby.

14 February 2011

mike strahler through the mail success (with a valentine's day appearance by bobby v)

mike strahler never did get his own topps card as a dodger.  in 1971, he was featured along with bobby valentine, and then in 1972, he shared space with charlie hough and bob o'brien.  by the time 1973 rolled along, strahler had been traded to the angels, and only then did he get a solo card.  he also signed all three of those cards through the mail for me a while back.

here they are, in all of their ballpoint glory.  1971 topps:
i had sent this request out prior to receiving a duplicate of the card back from bobby v.  i don't think i will bother to send either one out to the other player, though.

1972 topps:
i still have to decide whether to send this to hough or not.  he has been a good signer, so i probably will risk it someday.

1973 topps:
it's too bad that topps didn't have a nice dodger stadium shot of strahler to use like they did for the bobby v and frobby 1973 cards.  still, this card is still interesting to me because, not only is strahler wearing dodger gear, but he never pitched for the angels in the big leagues.  he was part of the big offseason trade that sent valentine, frank robinson, bill singer and billy grabarkewitz to the angels for andy messersmith and ken mcmullen.  however, the angels sent strahler to the tigers early in the 1973 season before he had a chance to pitch for the halos.

strahler had an interesting debut for the dodgers on september 12, 1970.  he relieved ray lamb in the bottom of the 7th inning in a game against the giants.  the first (and only, as it turns out) batter he faced that day was bobby bonds.  bonds singled to drive in a run, but a second runner was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.  strahler was then pinch hit for by joe ferguson who was making his major league debut as well (he hit a sac fly).  in all, strahler pitched in 31 games as a dodger over 3 seasons.  he went 2-3 in that time with an era of 2.76.  as a tiger in 1973, he pitched in 22 games, posting a record of 4-5 with an era of 4.37, and while he was picked up by the brewers after the season, he never appeared in another big league game.

here's to you, mike strahler, and thanks for signing my cards!

your attention, please


and catchers

please report to spring training.

damn, i need some rod barajas dodger cards.

13 February 2011

topps or o-pee-chee?

we already know the answer regarding this 1974 glenn beckert card
thanks to wrigley wax's comment on my post about the 1974 topps jerry morales card a long time ago.  it took me a while to track this card down in the bargain bins, but it's worth showing as it is somewhat of an anomaly for topps of that era.

12 February 2011

she's no helen dell, but that's ok

nancy bea hefley has been the dodgers' organist for longer than helen dell, the organist of my youth.  in honor of her 22 (and counting) years of service, i created a 2010 goose joak original for her
featuring dodger stadium in the background.  i won't re-hash hefley's story - you can find it all here in a great story at dodgerfan.net.

here's to you, nancy bea!

11 February 2011

the evolution of the center fielder, part 2

here's part 1, if you want to catch up.  with rudy law in tommy's doghouse, the dodgers were in need of a new center fielder for the 1981 season.  so, they sent mickey hatcher and a couple of minor leaguers to the twins right at the end of spring training to get...

ken landreaux (1981-1985)
landreaux, shown here on his 1984 topps card, had previously been traded for rod carew (with 3 other players).  he arrived in los angeles and was firmly entrenched in center for the next 5 seasons.  in 1981, he hit only .251 but did not make an error all season (219 total chances in center).  his hitting woes followed him into the postseason, and by the end of the nlcs against the expos, landreaux had lost his position to pedro guerrero and derrel thomas.  he would still enter most games as a late inning defensive replacement, and his most memorable play of the year was his catch of bob watson's flyball to end the 1981 world series.

despite the postseason setback, landreaux was still the dodgers' guy in center.  over the next 4 seasons, he hit .271 and averaged 138 games played.  in the 1985 nlcs against the cardinals, landreaux hit .389 with an ops of .977.  he remained with the dodgers through the 1987 season, but gave way as their primary center fielder to reggie williams in 1986.

reggie williams (1986)
williams (shown on his 1987 donruss card which includes the dodger stadium pavilion in the background)gained a roster spot when pedro guerrero went down with an injured knee as the result of a slide gone bad in spring training.  he wound up making 64 starts in center to landreaux's 62.  overall, williams played in 128 games (landreaux appeared in 103) and hit .277 with 4 homers and 32 rbi.  the dodgers were actively looking for a long term replacement in center, and finally landed one when they acquired john shelby from the orioles

john shelby (1987-1989)
the dodgers started the 1987 season with mike ramsey in center.  reggie williams was still around, but he was hitting well below .200 in a part-time role.  so, in may of '87, the dodgers sent tom niedenfuer to baltimore in exchange for t-bone, shown on his 1989 upper deck card.  i recall at the time shelby was surprised to be handed the dodgers' center field job right away, but he earned it in a hurry.  in 120 games, shelby hit 21 home runs and drove in 69 runs.  that turned out to be his career year, but he still managed to hold on to the job through 1989 (although he made only 86 starts in center in '89).  after his poor '89 season, the dodgers moved shelby in early 1990 to detroit and as a result, had a center field by committee, headed by an unlikely outfielder

kirk gibson (1990)
gibson, featured on this fantastically blue 1990 donruss baseball's best card, was still recovering from injury at the start of the season.  with gibby out, shelby played center until he was traded and then stan javier took over.  jose gonzalez also got some playing time.  the dodgers had kal daniels (acquired during the '89 season) and hubie brooks (a newly signed free agent) at the corner outfield spots, so gibby moved to center when he returned to the lineup in june.  he started 69 games in center and only 11 in his normal stomping grounds of left field. clearly, gibson was not the answer to the center field question, and the search was on once again.

brett butler (1991-1994)
butler, shown here on a 1994 bowman (foil) card, joined the dodgers as a free agent prior to the 1991 season.  both brooks and gibson were gone, but daniels was still in left and darryl strawberry was taking over in right.  there was no question who the center fielder would be - butler played in 161 games and hit .296.  he led the league in runs (112) and walks (108) and finished 7th in the mvp voting.  in his 4 years as the dodgers' center fielder, he missed just 15 games.  his full season averages over that span (remember - 1994 was the strike season) were 99 runs scored, 41 steals and a .303 average.  it had been a long time since the dodgers had that kind of production from their center fielder, and that's why dodger fans were pretty upset when fred claire let him go to the mets as a free agent after the 1994 season.
roberto kelly (1995)
at the beginning of the 1995 season, roberto kelly was a brave.  he was traded to the expos in april and then flipped to the dodgers in may.  that's his 1995 topps traded card shown above.  the dodgers had moved raul mondesi to center to start the season, but put him back in right when kelly was acquired (they sent their right fielder henry rodriguez to montreal in the deal that brought kelly to la).  as a dodger, kelly actually played more left field than center field.  he made 59 starts in left and only 48 in center.  that's because the dodgers re-acquired butler in august, and he reclaimed center and kelly moved to left.  still, kelly's 48 starts qualifies him as the dodgers' primary center fielder in 1995.  with butler back in the fold, the dodgers let kelly walk as a free agent after the season.  however, butler's health problems allowed someone else to claim center field in 1996.  and by someone else, i mean one heck of a committee.  still, one guy made more starts than anyone else and that guy was... 
wayne kirby (1996)
butler started the season back in his familiar center field position, and played through may 1 without missing a game.  he was then diagnosed with cancer, and left the team to seek treatment.  with butler battling cancer, the dodgers turned to chad fonville and then to roger cedeno to fill the void.  that didn't go too well, and, dissatisfied with cedeno's performance, the dodgers selected wayne kirby (seen here on his way cool 1997 fleer ultra card) off of waivers from the indians in june.  kirby wound up making 44 starts as the dodgers center fielder.  butler made 34 starts, including 5 at the end of the season when he returned from treatment, while cedeno had 33.  to round things out, chad curtis made 20 starts in center, rookie of the year todd hollandsworth made 17, and chad fonville made 14. kirby was back with the dodgers in 1997, but in a limited role.  that's because brett butler really did reclaim the center field spot in '97.  sort of.
brett butler (1997)
in what would be his final season, butler played in 105 games, but made only 47 starts in center.  by the end of the season, he had been moved to left.  still, those 47 starts led all dodgers.  the other dodger center fielder starters were otis nixon (41), roger cedeno (39), todd hollandsworth (25), and an assortment of other players like darren lewis had the rest.  butler, shown above on his 1997 upper deck card, was given one last start in center on the last day of the season.  he went 1 for 4 with 2 rbi - his final hit was quite fittingly a triple.

with butler retired, the dodgers once again turned to raul mondesi to fill his shoes in center, just as they had back in 1995.  this time, mondesi stuck, but only after a couple other guys had failed.

raul mondesi (1998)
mondesi, shown on a 1996 bowman's best 'best cuts' insert card, made 94 starts in center to go with his 53 starts in right during the dodgers' 1998 campaign.  trenidad hubbard began the season as the dodgers' center fielder, but was replaced by roger cedeno in late april.  cedeno only lasted until mid-may before mondesi took over.  mondesi finished the season with 30 home runs for the second year in a row, and hit .289 when playing center.  still, he would be put back in right in 1999 as the dodgers' revolving door in center continued to spin.

part 3, coming soon...