before he was coaching third base, tim wallach was, of course, playing third base. he actually debuted in the major leagues as an outfielder, subbing for an injured ron leflore in the fourth inning of a game on september 6, 1980. in his first at bat, he walked, but the next time he came up he hit a home run. not a bad debut.
wallach played mostly right field in 1981, but was moved to third base permanently in 1982 after the expos traded larry parrish to texas. he stayed there for 11 years, winning four gold gloves and hitting 204 home runs during his expos tenure. but, this post is about his dodger days, so let's get to that.
wallach was traded in december of 1992 to the dodgers for a minor leaguer. the dodgers were still trying to replace ron cey (10 years later), and wallach gave them some stability at the hot corner right away. in his first game as a dodger, which was also the first game in the history of the florida marlins, wallach hit a home run in his third at bat off of marlins' starter charlie hough, becoming the first player to homer in joe robbie/pro player/dolphins stadium.
his best season with the blue was the strike shortened 1994 campaign, when he hit .280 with 23 home runs and 78 rbi in 113 games. he reached a couple of milestones (2000 hits, 250 home runs) as he helped the dodgers win the west the following year, but was just 1 for 12 in the nlds against the reds. here's his 1996 upper deck collector's choice card
unfortunately, wallach did not hit a home run in his first game with the angels, as he had with the expos and dodgers. no, wallach was intentionally walked in his first at bat for the halos, which was also his only at bat in his angels' debut. in his next game, however, wallach started at first base and homered in his third at bat. he was just being consistent - he homered in his second plate appearance as an expo, in his third plate appearance as a dodger, and then in his fourth plate appearance as an angel.
wallach's tenure with the angels was short lived, however, as he was released in july of '96 after hitting .237 with 8 homers and 20 rbi in 57 games. as the fates would have it, wallach's release coincided with a season-ending knee injury suffered by his replacement on the dodgers, mike blowers. so, the dodgers re-signed the 38 year old wallach, and he returned to third base for the dodgers. in 45 games, wallach hit .228 with four home runs and 22 rbi as the dodgers returned to the playoffs, this time as the wild card team. they were swept for the second year in a row, this time by the braves, and wallach had another bad postseason series - 0 for 11 at the plate. that was all she wrote for wallach's playing career, and i am thankful that upper deck issued this card as part of their collector's choice set in 1997. a true final tribute!
with a bill russell trivia thingy!
many current dodger fans know of wallach thanks to his run as the manager at aaa albuquerque and his current gig as the dodgers' third base coach as mentioned up top. it is interesting to note that wallach also double dipped as a minor league manager. he led the dodgers' high a team in 1998, and then managed in the angels' system in 2001 before returning to the dodger camp and eventually taking over at albuquerque in 2009. as the isotopes' manager, wallach was kind enough to sign and return a bunch of cards for me, including a 1993 leaf
here's to you, tim wallach! thanks for double dipping and for signing my cards!