17 August 2012

welcome (back) matt

[this is the fortieth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike madduxjon garland, chan ho parkvicente romogene mauch, denny lewallyn, von joshua, joe moellerdioner navarro, rudy seanez, bart shirleyrandy wolf, ismael valdes, bobby castillo, mike devereaux, pete richert, jay johnstone, jesse orosco, lee lacy, giovanni carrara, jeff weaverted sizemore,  orel hershisertom goodwinjoe ferguson, and eddie murray.]

matt luke had a strange season in 1998.  the dodgers had picked him up on waivers from the yankees at the end of the previous season, and he began the 1998 campaign as a left-handed bat off the bench.  usually in these posts, i will show a card from the player's first tour of duty with the dodgers, followed by one from their in between team and then one from their return stint in la.  this post will be a bit different as there weren't many cards issued for luke in 1998; i think the 1998 pacific online card might be the only one.  i have a copy, but it's not scanned at the moment.  so, this 1999 fleer tradition card will have to suffice.
luke also was able to play the corner outfield spots as well as first base, so he got some playing time that way as well.  through may, luke was hitting .286 with 3 home runs.  unfortunately, the dodgers had acquired jim eisenreich, gary sheffield, and bobby bonilla in the mike piazza trade, and there was suddenly a glut of outfielders, including trenidad hubbard, todd hollandsworth, roger cedeno and matt luke.  when the dodgers called pitcher eric weaver up from albuquerque, luke was the odd man out, and was put on waivers.

the indians put a claim on luke, and he was soon off to the al central powerhouse.  uke made two appearances for the tribe, both as a pinch hitter, before he was designated for assignment.  the dodgers, who had lost hollandsworth to injury right around the time that they waived luke, purchased his contract back from cleveland.

so, within the span of just a couple of weeks, matt luke was a dodger double dipper.  upon his return to los angeles, he hit only .213, but he swatted 9 home runs in 69 games.  in all, he hit .236 with 12 home runs in 102 games for the dogers in 1998.  because of his short midseason stay in cleveland, there aren't any cards (that i know of) showing him in indians' gear.  so, instead, here's his 1999 upper deck card
luke was on the move after the 1998 season ended, signing a free agent deal with the anaheim angels for whom he would play his final big league season in 1999.  that move gave us this fairly awesome 1999 pacific aurora card, complete with luke in dodger gear but with the disney-fied angels logo in the corner.
these days, luke makes appearances on behalf of the dodgers and works in real estate.  knowing that he sometimes signs before games in autograph alley, i sent three cards to him c/o the dodgers a few months ago.  last week, the cards came back signed - the 1999 fleer tradition
the 1999 upper deck
and the 1999 pacific aurora
here's to you, matt luke - a dodger double dipper!  and thanks for signing my cards!

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