Tag Archives: Dusty Baker

Dodgers…Giants…1993, 103 Wins and Not a Wild Scene In The Bay

1993.  Not exactly a memorable season for the Blue.  The 1993 Dodgers would finish at .500 , 81-81, an 18 game improvement from 1992’s 63-99 showing, their worst in L.A. franchise history and the first ( and LAST ) time the Dodgers would finish in last place since 1905.  The 1993 season would mark Barry Bond’s first season with the hated ones after 7 seasons in Pittsburgh, with his final moment in a Bucs uniform coming in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS as he was unable to throw out the speedster Sid Bream .  As the Braves would continue their yearly post-season run that would last until 2005 ( In the process dulling their fan base ) , the Pirates would go into a 20 year tailspin .  

In the meantime, the 1993 season would be the last season for baseball’s 2 division format.  That meant that even if you we’re baseball’s 2nd best team, if you we’re 2nd best in your division as well, that meant no October baseball.  Imagine a team winning 103 games and missing out on post-season play ?  Under today’s 2 team wild card format, that would be all but impossible today.

However, in 1993, one team that would win 103 games was on the outside looking in.  Yup, it was the San Francisco Giants.  Heading into the seasons final four games at Dodger Stadium, the NL West would come down between the Giants and the Atlanta Braves before divisional re-alignment took place . ( The baseball lords finally got their geography right.  When division play started in 1969, the Cubs and Cardinals we’re placed in the NL East, while the Reds and Braves we’re placed in the NL West ) .  The Giants, led by first year manager and former Dodger Dusty Baker, started the season hot behind the huge off-season acquisition of Barry Bonds.  The Giants had lead the NL West by as many as 9 games ( Sound familiar Dodger fans ? ) as late as July.  The Braves, coming off back to back NL pennants, we’re to good to fold and would eventually take over 1st place in the NL West.  The Giants would right themselves and after taking the first 3 games of the seasons final four at Chavez Ravine, the Braves and Giants would find themselves tied for the NL West lead heading into their final games of the season.  Some have called the 1993 NL West race the The Last Real Race .  In the context of today’s wild-card format, a true argument can be made of that.

So now, let Drei here take you back to that final game of the 1993 season .  October 3, 1993.  Earlier in the day, the Braves had defeated the first year expansion Colorado Rockies to ensure they would be playing at least one more game.  The Braves win would force the Giants into a win or go home situation, 103 wins and all.  Win, and the Braves and Giants play a one-game playoff the next evening at Candlestick Park to determine the NL West winner.  Lose, and the Giants, 103 wins and all, like the other 24 teams, start an early winter .  

As for Drei here, I was long aware of the fact this game meant nothing in the standings.  But for Drei and the many blue clad fans in the southland that day, this game WAS our World Series.  For the old-schoolers, this was to ease the pain of ’51 and ’62.  For us baby boomers of the early 90s, this was to ease the pain of  Joe Morgan’s home run in 1982 and Will Clark’s boastfulness in 1991 .  Would there be any dramatic finishes to this 1993 finale between The Blue and the Hated Ones ?  Hardly…

On this day, it would be the Dodgers who would do more than play the role of spoilers.  Backed by 2 home runs by Mike Piazza, who would win the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year honors, it would be the Dodgers driving a stake into the hearts of San Francisco, breaking many hearts in The City By The Bay.  Division re-alignment and the addition of the Central Division in both leagues would occur the following season in 1994, as well as the Wild Card format.  But on this day in 1993, the 103 win Giants squad would  spend the post-season like the other 24 teams, watching the post-season, much to the delight of this then 19 year old fan.  Many a Giants fans heart would be left broken… In San Francisco….  ( Is it too obvious a Dodgers fan is writing this ?) Of course our stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley would be proud to remind the folks of Northern California as she would serenade everyone with Tony Bennet’s classic tune after the game’s final out…

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Piazza being greeted at home by Tim Wallach after crushing his second home run of the game that would knock the 103 win Giants team out of the playoffs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT

wpid-img_3421357097977.jpeg A BIG HAPPY 30TH to The Bison !!!  Was it 2 months ago that many of you out there had a Love/Hate Relationship with Matt ?  Nothing like a great 2nd half run to quiet all doubters huh ?  As we head toward the post-season, I’ll say it once more.  This is STILL your team Matt !!!  Time for The Bison to take charge !  HAPPY 30TH Matt !!!

MAGIC NUMBER

wpid-img_16571948723949.jpeg After last night’s gut-wrenching 5-2 loss in 13 to the Giants , the magic number to clinch the NL West remains at 3.  Zack Greinke takes his perfect 4-0 record against the Giants to the mound for The Blue as he matches up against Madison Bumgarner in The Blue’s attempt to cut the magic number down to one.

GREINKE_92314

wpid-img_20140916_222740.jpg Time to Turn L.A. BLUE !!!

 

 

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Throwback Thursday

Heading into this weekend with a big 3 game series against the Giants up north, on this Throwback Thursday before our big series, I share with you a couple of old programs from past Dodgers/Giants games.

August 2006

wpid-20140718_143441.jpg Greg Maddux, having been acquired from the Cubs to bolster the Dodger pitching staff for the stretch run, is featured on the front cover of this months program. Greg Maddux, who will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this Sunday, would come back one last time with the Dodgers in 2008, his final season in baseball. Also in this August issue of the Dodger Magazine …

wpid-20140718_143913.jpg Two of the Dodgers 1st round draft picks of 2006, Preston Mattingly, Donnie’s kid, and some 18 year old , Clayton Kershaw. What ever became of him ?

wpid-20140718_144630.jpg Looking back on the 40th anniversary of The Beatles performance at Dodger Stadium on August 28, 1966. This would be the 2nd to final ever live performance for The Fab Four. The following evening would be their last live gig, at Candlestick Park, home of the Giants from 1960-1999.

wpid-20140718_144914.jpg The song list from that evening’s concert. I’m guessing Sir Paul McCartney, who will be making his first return to Dodger Stadium since performing there in 1966, will entertain the crowd with his present day version of Yesterday…

program2006 The scorecard from Sunday evening, August 13. Maddux and the Giants Jason Schmidt would get the start that evening. Both the Giants and Dodgers would put up goose eggs up until the 10th inning, when a rookie catcher, Russel Martin, would end things in one swing, capping off a 3 game sweep of the hated ones.

September/October 1993

orel_don

On the front cover of the final Dodger Magazine for 1993, the past and the present are celebrated with Orel Hershiser and Don Drysdale gracing the cover. 5 years prior in 1988, Orel Hershiser had broken Don Drysdale’s major league mark from 1968 of 58 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. Drysdale would also be part of the Dodgers broadcast team from 1988 until his untimely death on July 3, 1993 . Rick Monday would replace Don Drysdale for the remainder of the 1993 season and has been with the Dodgers broadcast team since.

digital book What’s this ? A pager ? It’s a digital book that keeps track of all the up to date baseball facts and numbers. I wonder if I can stream live games on this device…

1993scorecard The scorecard from the final game of the season against the hated ones. Heading into the final game of the season, the Giants, having won 103 games, we’re in a first place tie with the Atlanta Braves for the NL West. The Braves, in their final season in the NL West, would beat the 1st year expansion Colorado Rockies earlier in the day so for the Giants, it was win or go home. ( 1993 was the final season without the current wild-card format ) . The Boys in Blue would only be so glad to spoil the party, as Rookie of the Year catcher Mike Piazza would belt 2 home runs and the Dodgers, who would have their hearts broken by the Giants 4 times prior, in 1951, 1962, 1982, and 1991, would demolish any hope the Giants had of playing deep into October, thrashing the hated ones 12-1. In spite of winning 103 games, first year manager and former Dodger Dusty Baker and the Giants would be left out of post-season play. ( From 1969-1993, the Reds and Braves we’re in the NL West, while the Cubs and Cardinals we’re in the NL East. During that time, only division winners qualified for the playoffs, making the Giants the last team to win over 100 games and miss out on post-season play , a feat that is virtually impossible to achieve today under today’s wild card format.

As for me, that final game of the 1993 season would ease the pain of Joe Morgan’s home run in 1982 on the season’s final game, or the smugness of Will Clark in 1991. I can still hear Nancy Bea Hefley serenading our visitors from The Bay after the game’s final out, to Tony Bennet’s classic tune, I Left My Heart In San Francisco , to the joy of the 55,000 plus Dodger fans, including this 19 year old kid, or to the dismay of the loyal ones from The Bay, who made the 400 plus mile drive south to have their broken hearts turned away, toward , San Francisco…

Is it obvious a Dodger fan is writing this post ?

What moment will this weekend’s Dodgers/Giants series bring us, as Zack Greinke takes the mound against Tim Lincecum as the first of 3 kicks off tomorrow night. What are some of your favorite Dodgers/Giants memories ?

Tuesday’s Happenings, 5/6/20014, and a Tribute To Derek Jeter

Kershaw_Nats Welcome Back Kershaw ! In his first start since the season opener down under, Kershaw throws 7 shutout innings while striking out 9 as the Dodgers behind 14 hits take the 2nd of 3 in Washington, defeating the Nationals 8-3 .

Down I-5

With the Yankees doing battle against the Angels until tomorrow night, barring a post-season matchup against the Halos or even a Fall Classic showdown with, well…. this will mark the final appearance in the southland for future Yankee Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Even if you hate the sight of pinstripes, you got to give it up for the legend. 19 seasons all in the same uniform, 16 playoff appearances, 13 all-star appearances, 5 time World Champion, AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5 time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner, 2000 World Series MVP. Yeah, we can go on. Derek Jeter, the game is going to miss you. Much respect from Erick Aybar, who coincidentally dons the number 2 in honor of Jeter, Mike Trout, who, growing up in nearby Millville N.J., idolized the Yankee captain, and baseball fans, from Dodger Blue to Angel Red to the future HOFer.

Jeter_Dodgerstadium View from the Top Deck after Jeter strikes out, June 2010

To this day I still say fan interference on Jeffrey Maier !!!

Jeter_yankeestadium Thanks for the memories Derek !!!

Old-Timers Lineups Set

For the 2nd straight year the Dodgers will be featuring an old-timers game this time featuring Dodgers from the last 5 decades. Here’s the list of Dodgers participants for this years game. On a side note, for me personally, I know i’m getting old when I’ve seen 21 of the 24 participants don the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Being that the Dodgers are playing the Giants this weekend I would have loved to see a battle of past Dodgers and Giants even for laughs. Speaking of, 4 of the participants, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, and Steve Finley, donned both the dreaded Halloween colors and the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Speaking of Steve Finley, perhaps you may remember this from 10 years ago….