27 August 2012

who's that lurker?

no, silly.  i know that that is rickey henderson standing next to greg gagne on the dodger shortstop's 1997 upper deck card.

what i don't know is who is that guy in center field?  or is it left?

i know that the photo was taken in dodger stadium (i was there last friday night!).

i know it was a day game, and i know, thanks to upper deck's captioning, that it was in 1996 and during the 'nl west race' which makes me believe that it was late in the season.

now, before we get to sleuthing, let me tell you something about the 1996 nl west race.  this was the year that ken caminiti was unstoppable.  in fact, the middle of the order - gwynn, caminiti, finley, and joyner - was pretty formidable that year.  it was also the year that the dodgers had already clinched at least the wild card after the first game of the final weekend's three-game series against the padres.  the dodgers lost that first game, but montreal also lost, so the dodgers were in the playoffs for the second year in a row.  the padres, on the other hand, trailed the dodgers in the west by 1 game with 2 to play, and were only 1 game ahead of montreal for the wild card.  the dodgers lost game 161 as well, and so were tied with the padres atop the western division.  i remember hearing a postgame interview with italian-american superstar slugger in which he seemed to suggest that maybe the dodgers should rest their regulars on the last day of the season and take their chances as the wild card team.  he quickly followed up his statement with something along the lines of 'but we want to win and we will try to win'.    well, both teams went with their regulars, and the game wound up going 11 innings (the second extra innings game of the series).  the padres won it on a hit by former dodger chris gwynn and three days later, the dodgers opened up the nlds against atlanta.  both the dodgers and padres got swept in their respective series, and who knows what might have happened had they not gone toe-to-toe all the way to the end of the season.

ok - back to the card.  for each of the three games at the end of the season - all played at dodger stadium, by the way - wayne kirby was the center fielder for the dodgers.  that's not wayne kirby on gagne's card.  chad curtis did relieve kirby in the 7th inning of the first game of the series (a night game) and the 10th inning of game 162 (played during the day), but rickey didn't get on base while curtis was on the field.  henderson did make it to second a couple of times in the second game of the series (also a day game).  in the first inning, he singled and stole second, and in the 8th inning he walked and advanced to second on a tony gwynn single.  that single by gwynn drove in two runs to break a 2-2 tie, and so it is possible that maybe a visit to the mound was made after the hit (although mark guthrie stayed in the game).  that would have provided the moment of levity between gagne and henderson.  if that is the case, then the lurking outfielder must be todd hollandsworth.  holly was the dodgers' left fielder in the series, and it looks like the camera angle may be such that the photo was shot from the camera well near the first base dugout.

but wait, you say, hollandsworth was a lefty, and that guy has his glove on his left hand.  well, i contend that the outfielder is holding - not wearing - his glove.  his arm looks pretty long if, in fact, his hand is in that glove.  plus, it's really the only thing that makes sense.  unless upper deck got the year wrong like they did with hideo nomo's card.

any thoughts?

1 comment:

Scott Sawyer said...

I've got to agree that it's Hollandsworth holding his glove.