Monday, April 30, 2018
Playing with the enemy
It's been difficult for me to get into this year's baseball season. I haven't watched all that many games and when I do, I am easily distracted.
There are a few reasons for this. The weather's been awful this April. How can I think of spring things? Also, the Dodgers, the team that motivates me to follow baseball each night, have started very slowly.
You can blame that slow start on a variety of factors, but I'm going to blame it on something nobody in their right mind would blame it on: the Dodgers have played the Giants 147 times already this season.
OK, they've played the Giants only 10 times. But considering that the Dodgers have played just 27 games and play the Giants only nine more times the rest of the season, that's way too much viewing of that electric pumpkin color way too soon.
I know I should be fired up when the Dodgers play their rival, but it's too much overload too early. It doesn't help that the Dodgers haven't played well in San Francisco for years. I just want them to play someone else (and not the Diamondbacks either, too much of them, too).
But the Dodgers have just bid goodbye to the Giants for a couple of months and that deserves a nice send-off. I have long been fascinated with players who have competed for both the Dodgers and Giants. It's been a potential blog topic for as long as I've run this blog.
So why not compile the best lineup of guys who played for both the Dodgers and Giants?
Baseball-reference says 279 players have played for both teams (just 17 have played for only the Dodgers and the Giants). I went through and found the most notable players who've played for each. Then I focused on the guys who played a lot of games for both teams. I wanted players who are associated with playing for both. So, even though Dusty Baker is associated quite a bit with the Giants because of his managing gig for them, the imbalance in the number of games played for each team (1,117 for the Dodgers, 100 for the Giants) disqualifies him.
I also needed to own cards of the players featured in each uniform. (Sorry, Freddie Fitzsimmons).
So here is the All-Time Played For Dodgers And Giants lineup.
If you're a Dodger or Giant fan, get ready to be weirded out:
Batting first, CF, Brett Butler
Speaking as a Dodger fan, the most shocking thing is when a player jumps immediately from the Giants to the Dodgers. It takes your brain awhile to adjust. Someone so evil, wearing naturally evil colors is now part of the good guys???? I remember feeling that way with Brett Butler. But it didn't take long to welcome him. Butler played very well for L.A., and he was in the lineup like every day.
Batting second, SS, Derrel Thomas
Don't let the little 1976 second base guy fool you, Thomas played everywhere and that included shortstop. When he arrived in L.A. for the 1980 season, manager Tom Lasorda really utilized his versatility, so I could've put him anywhere on the field.
Batting third, 3B, Bill Madlock
Madlock isn't exactly known as a Giant or a Dodger. His best work came with the Pirates and the Cubs (and if you think of him as a Tiger, go take a nap and get back to me). His stints with the Giants and Dodgers came on either side of his days with the champion Pirates. Also, my apologies to Juan Uribe at this position, but I have to go with the better player.
Batting fourth, RF, Reggie Smith
Smith played just one season for the Giants and played mostly first base for them (the famed 1983 card with the Ryne Sandberg cameo). But Smith ain't no first baseman. He is the Dodger right fielder of my youth and he would've mashed a lot more if it wasn't for injuries.
Batting fifth, 2B, Jeff Kent
Unlike the Brett Butler adjustment, I never warmed up to Jeff Kent. He always seemed more like a Giant than a Dodger and I associate Kent with the friction-filled Dodger days that included Luis Gonzalez and Derek Lowe.
Batting sixth, C, Tom Haller
Who needs two cards when Tom Haller is posing in a Giants uniform while listed as a Dodger? Good thing this card was issued long before I started collecting. It would have blown my mind.
Batting seventh, LF, Von Joshua
Von Joshua is the first Dodger player that I remember crossing over to enemy territory. I was as infuriated as my 9-year-old self could be when Joshua blossomed from a poor-hitting bench player with the Dodgers to a .318 full-time hitter with the Giants in 1975. Fortunately, he didn't stay with San Francisco very long.
Batting eighth, 1B Todd Benzinger
Oof, you want a little more pop from your first baseman than Benzinger. His slugging days were long over by the time he got to the Dodgers and Giants. There just wasn't a lot to choose from at this position.
Batting ninth, P, Rube Marquard
Marquard's best days were behind him by the time he joined the Dodgers in 1915. But he produced some fair seasons, although nothing like his numbers for the Giants' powerhouse years between 1910-12.
That's the lineup. I left out a fair amount of notables, including Uribe, Candy Maldanado, Bill North, Gary Thomasson, Terry Whitfield, Hoyt Wilhelm, Darryl Strawberry, Al Oliver, Enos Cabell, Dave Anderson, Ed Goodson, Stan Javier, Jim Gott, Len Gabrielson, Marquis Grissom, Casey Stengel, Cory Snyder, Eddie Stanky and Ron Hunt.
But now for the bizarre list -- the players who you CAN'T BELIEVE played for the opposite side.
I'm showing only one card because I don't have the time to dig out more and, really, if you're a Dodger or Giant fan, you don't want to see more of these.
The "What the Hell" List:
-- Brian Wilson, hated Giant for 310 games, played (I use that term lightly) in 76 games for the Dodgers.
-- Jeff Leonard, hated Giant for 789 games, actually came up with the Dodgers and played 11 games for them.
-- Juan Marichal, hated Giant for 462 games and bashed a Dodger catcher over the head, ended his career with 2 games pitched for the Dodgers.
-- Manny Mota, longtime Dodger pinch-hitting legend, actually played 47 games for the Giants in the early 1960s.
-- Duke Snider, legendary '50s slugger for the Dodgers, slummed it during the final stages of his career for 91 games with the Giants.
-- Sal Maglie, hated Giants hurler for 222 games, switched to the Dodgers for 47 games and pitched a no-hitter for them.
-- Sergio Romo, hated Giants reliever for 496 games, was somehow picked up by the Dodgers for 30 games and was less than impressive (they have to stop doing this!)
-- Orel Hershiser, famed pitching architect of the 1988 Dodgers championship season and hurler in 364 L.A. games, somehow wound up with the Giants at the end of the 1990s for 34 games.
That sure is a bit of nastiness there.
It makes me glad that I don't have to see the Dodgers play the Giants again until mid-June.
I definitely could use the break.
And maybe I can get myself back into the baseball season again.