14 December 2014

sunday morning target dodgers - a sheet chock full of fantastic folks like dusty, forster, and the toy cannon

this is a heckuva sheet that i'm posting today - bookended by two guys traded for each other.  it comes from the 1990 target dodgers 100th anniversary set, and features 15 players from the franchise's history as a national league team.  let's take a look.

dusty baker
johnnie b was the left fielder for the team of my youth.  he played for the dodgers from 1976 through 1983, helping them win four division titles, three pennants, and a world series championship.  he was the 1977 nlcs mvp and also one of four dodgers to hit 30 or more home runs in that same season.  so what if he eventually played for (and managed) the giants? dusty is one of my favorite dodgers.

mike davis
davis was part of the dodgers near-complete revamping of their outfield for the 1988 season.  he joined kirk gibson as a free agent signing, but hurt his ankle during spring training and slumped at the start of the season.  tommy lasorda never seemed to regain any confidence in davis, and he was relegated largely to a pinch-hitting/late inning replacement role.  i recall when the dodgers opened the second half of the season with a series in chicago, davis was seen holding a sign saying 'mike davis is alive and well in los angeles'.  anyway, davis got some redemption in the 1988 world series.  he drew the two-out walk off of dennis eckersley to make the impossible possible, and then homered in the decisive game 5.  he returned to the dodgers in 1989, his last year in the big leagues.

chick fewster
fewster had spent 9 seasons in the american league before he joined the robins prior to the 1926 season.  he was their primary second baseman that year, playing in a career high 105 games and hitting .243.  he played in only four games for the robins in 1927, however, and thus ended his major league career.  according to baseball reference, fewster was the first player to have an official at bat in yankee stadium.

terry forster
forster joined the dodgers prior to the 1978 season, taking over the closer duties from charlie hough.  like hough had in 1977, forster led the team with 22 saves in '78.  forster also posted an era of 1.93 and went 4 for 8 at the plate (he retired with a career batting average of .397, don't you know).  he battled injuries, but stuck with the dodgers through 1982, pitching in both the 1978 and 1981 postseasons.  his career postseason era is 0.00 in 8 appearances, although he did allow a couple of inherited runners to score during the 1978 world series, including the tying run in game 4.

pepe frias
frias, like many shortstops, hailed from san pedro de macoris in the dominican republic.  he joined the dodgers via trade with the rangers towards the end of the 1980 season (the dodgers sent denny lewallyn to texas), and he returned to the club for the 1981 season as well.  he even got a 1981 fleer card out of the deal.  even so, frias was released by the dodgers at the end of august, so he missed out on their championship postseason run.

jim j hughes
hughes was the first of two (so far) jim hughes to play for the dodgers.  the other came along in the 1950's, 50 years after this jim hughes pitched for the superbas.  one of the players that ned hanlon brought with him from baltimore, hughes won 28 games for brooklyn in 1899, his first year with the club, and that was good enough to lead the national league.  he didn't appear in the majors in 1900 (he went home to sacramento), but returned in '01 and '02, and won 17 and 15 games respectively.  with a 60-28 record and a 2.93 era in his three seasons with brooklyn, hughes decided to retire from the major leagues and return to the west coast where he played minor league ball for a few more seasons.

ira hutchinson
hutchinson was acquired by the dodgers from the boston bees following the 1938 season, and he pitched in 41 games for them in 1939.  he was 5-2 with an era over 4, and was returned to the minors for the 1940 season, during which he was claimed by the cardinals who promoted him to the major league club.

ernie krueger
krueger was a catcher for the robins from 1917 through 1921.  obviously, the photo of him used for his card (if in fact it is krueger - how would i know?) came well after his playing days were through.  krueger hit .267 in 258 games for the robins over the course of his 5 years in brooklyn, and was 1 for 6 in the 1920 world series against the indians.

andy messersmith
messersmith was the ace of the 1974 pennant winning staff (sorry, don sutton).  he led the league with 20 wins (tied with phil niekro and one more than sutton), but finished second in the cy young voting to teammate and reliever mike marshall.  messersmith started the all-star game in '74 and was on the squad again in 1975, won the gold glove both of those seasons, and then challenged the reserve clause and became a free agent.  he signed with the braves, but eventually returned to the dodgers for another stint, but i'll get into that in messersmith's very own dodger double dipper post.

ed reulbach
reulbach was a member of the 1907 and 1908 world champion chicago cubs, but was traded to brooklyn during the 1913 season.  he pitched well for the superbas, posting an era of 2.05 in 110 innings, although his record was just 7-6.  reulbach was still with the club, now called the robins as wilbert robinson took the managerial reins, in 1914, and was 11-18 with a 2.64 era for uncle robbie.  he jumped to the federal league in 1915, but returned to the majors in 1916 with the braves. that's the 1914 robins uniform he is sporting, by the way.  reulbach retired with a 2.28 era, which puts him just behind babe ruth at 18th all-time.

preacher roe
roe was part of return the dodgers received from the pirates in one of the trades following jackie robinson's 1947 rookie season that attempted to purge the roster of players opposed to jackie's presence on the team.  pitching for the dodgers from 1948 through 1954, roe won 93 games against just 37 losses (including an incredible 22-3 record in 1951).  he pitched well in the world series, too, recording a shut out of the yankees in a start in 1949, and beating them again with a complete game in 1952.  he took a loss in another complete game start against new york in 1953, and didn't get a chance to exact revenge against the bronx bombers in 1955 as he was dealt to the orioles before the season began.

dick schofield
man, i can't even get a dick schofield card showing him in a dodger uniform in this dodger-centric set!  he's certainly not wearing a dodger uniform on his only other dodger card (1967 topps).  he is most likely wearing one on his 1968 topps card, but he's designated as a cardinal on that one.  he's shown as a cardinal here, and he spent just the latter part of 1966 and all of 1967 with the dodgers before rejoining st. louis, the team for which he played from 1953-1958.  as a dodger, schofield hit .225 in 104 games as the team struggled to replace maury wills.  schofield was the first of his line to play for the dodgers, but his son (dick schofield) and grandson (jayson werth) have both done so since.

karl spooner
the debut of karl spooner is the stuff of legend.  he made two starts in 1954 and pitched two shutouts.  in his major league debut, he failed to retire either of the first two giants he faced, but went on to strike out 15 of them (a record for a debut matched only by jr richard), including six consecutively at one point, while beating the dodgers' rivals 3-0 on a 3-hitter.  four days later, in the final game of the season, spooner threw a 4-hitter against the pirates, this time striking out 12.  expectations had to be high heading into the 1955 season, and despite injuring his arm during spring training, spooner responded by throwing one more shutout late in the season against pittsburgh, although overall he was just 8-6 with a 3.65 era.  he did get to pitch in the world series, however, shutting down the yankees in relief over 3 scoreless innings during game 2, but taking the loss in a game 6 start in which he recorded just one out and gave up all five yankee runs.  that appearance turned out to be the last of his big league career.

don thompson
thompson was an outfielder for the dodgers in the early 1950's.  he began his career with the braves in 1949, but was dealt to brooklyn that same year.  often used as a pinch-runner or hitter, he appeared in a total of 210 games as a dodger in 1951 and 1953-54, hitting .220 with a homer and 19 rbi.  he had been a pitcher in the minors, but was converted to a fielder because of his bat.  thompson recorded an outfield assist in game 4 of the 1953 world series, throwing billy martin out at home to end the game.

jimmy wynn
had i been more aware of the dodgers in 1974 (i was 3), jimmy wynn might well have become my favorite player.  he joined the club in a trade with the astros for claude osteen, and went on to hit 32 home runs and drive in a career high 108 rbi while helping the dodgers win the pennant.  he also started the all-star game for the national league in center field, and did so again in 1975.  that year, he hit just 18 homers with 58 rbi, but actually improved his on base percentage despite a 30-point drop in his batting average.  as fate would have it, wynn was traded to the braves for dusty baker after the 1975 season, and steve garvey caught my attention in 1977.

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