11 December 2012

todd hundley two times

[this is the forty-sixth 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 fergusoneddie murraymatt lukeken mcmullen, tim wallach, jerry grotedon sutton, and ralph branca.]

there are many players who have had unheralded statistical anomalies that have made me take notice over the years.  one such stat was the 76 runs scored that steve garvey tallied in just 100 games during the 1983 season.  he had scored only 66 in 162 games for the dodgers in 1982, and in 1984, he scored only 72 times in 161 games.  had he not been hurt, garvey could have scored around 120 runs in '83, easily a career high, and almost certainly would have broken the 100-run barrier for the first and only time in his career.

another such stat that i found interesting came courtesy of todd hundley.  hundley hit exactly 24 home runs in each of his first two seasons with the dodgers, but he did it in 114 games in 1999 and just 90 games in 2000.  his batting average was quite higher in 2000, and he was able to cut down on his strikeouts that year, too.  here's his 2000 fleer tradition card
hundley was a met prior to coming to the dodgers, and he was injured when the mets acquired mike piazza from the marlins in 1998.  as a result, he came back to the team without his usual spot behind the plate being an option and so spent most of his time in left field.  meanwhile, the dodgers were willing to move charles johnson who had been acquired in their deal with the marlins, and so a hundley for johnson (and roger cedeno) swap was engineered after the 1998 season ended.  this is interesting to me because, according to baseball reference, the most similar player to todd hundley was charles johnson.

hundley played for the dodgers in those aforementioned 1999 and 2000 seasons, but signed as a free agent with the cubs prior to the 2001 season.  here's his 2003 topps card
on which we see him wearing number 99.  that's because damon buford wore number 9 when todd arrived in chicago.  buford was released during the 2001 season, and hundley moved to the single digit number.  that means that topps used a 2001 photo for his 2003 card.  in his two seasons as a cub, hundley played in a total of 171 games and hit 28 home runs.  his combined batting average over those two seasons was .199, and it was seemingly obvious that the injuries were becoming too much for him to overcome.

still, the dodgers were interested in bringing him back, and so they did by trading mark grudzielanek and their all-time home run leader (eric karros) to the cubs in december of 2002.  the deal had salary dump written all over it as the team saved about $7 million in 2003 (assuming they would have bought out the g-man and karros' contracts after the season).  however, hundley was due to make $6.5 million in 2004, so the team really was only saving half a million dollars.  and, they had to replace karros, and they did so by signing fred mcgriff to a deal worth just under $4 million.

anyway, hundley was back, and despite playing in only 21 games and hitting .182 during the 2003 season, topps got him in the 2004 flagship set.
by the way, i am guessing that the dodger lurking behind hundley is carlos perez, which would mean that the photo is from hundley's first stint with the club.  at any rate, that 2004 card turned out to be a final tribute for hundley, as he missed the entire 2004 season due to injury.  i would show you his final career stats, but i forgot to scan the back.

here's to you, todd hundley - another dodger double dipper!

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