Random Dodger memories to get my blog juices flowing…
I was born in 1973, so the ’77-’78 teams are the ones that really captured my toddler imagination. I don’t remember many details, but I do remember thinking that Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey were akin to superheroes. Then came Fernando in ’81. I was 7 and he was awesome.
The team started to evolve after that. I really got into Pedro Guerrero (ah, the greatness of Pete). Enter Steve Sax. The glory days of guys like Greg Brock and Mike Marshall. A couple brief years of an aging but still effective Bill Madlock. Ken Landreaux.
Some dismal seasons in ’86 and ’87. Ah, and then 1988. (I just discovered the A&E DVD set for the ’88 Series today. I may have just spotted my request for Father’s Day.) Bulldog. Kirk Gibson. And a whole bunch of guys that you can’t believe ended up winning the World Series. That team is probably the epitome of the total being more than the sum of the parts. Mickey Hatcher’s sprint around the bases after his home run at the beginning of Game 1. An infield made up of Franklin Stubbs, Steve Sax, Alfredo Griffin and Jeff Hamilton! And they won!
Sadly, twenty years later and those memories are still the latest and greatest. We then move onto the Outfield of Dreams with Eric Davis, Strawberry and Butler. Didn’t work out. Coming oh so close in ’91. Ramon Martinez. I was in Dodger Stadium when Dennis Martinez threw the perfect game. Always sad to see the Dodgers lose, but what a lucky fan I was that day.
Then the amazing rookies start to come in. Erik Karros. Mike Piazza. Oh, how I loved Piazza that rookie year. Every day I’d check the box scores to see how he did. Then the strike. But things picked back up in ’95. The Dodgers were still competitive and they still had that connection to the past. Then…they traded Piazza. Not all Dodger greats have to end their careers as Dodgers. Very few do, in fact. I don’t love Garvey and Hershiser any less for having played for other teams. But, the Dodgers got the best parts of those careers. Piazza should have been a Dodger for many, many more years.
And then they fired Bill Russell. The link all the way back to Walter Alston was broken. And I checked out. I vaguely followed the team after that, but the fire was gone. If Billy Russell could just be tossed aside and the greatest Dodger could be traded, what was the point? But, I’m back now and eager to revive my love of the blue.