A Look Back at the 2002 Dodgers

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(Getty Images photo)

If you’re a fan who follows the history of the Dodgers closely (or if you’re a fan who personally witnessed the misery of not making the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season), you’ll remember that 2002 was pretty much the year of just two players—outfielder Shawn Green and reliever Eric Gagne.

Green’s name was celebrated in baseball news recently, as Saturday was the 18th anniversary of the memorable game when he went 6-for-6 with four long balls and seven RBI in a 13-run pummeling of the Brewers.

By the time the smoke cleared on the season, Green had tallied 42 homers, becoming the first player to hit more than 40 jacks in back-to-back years since the franchise moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

In his age 26 season, Gagne made 77 appearances in route to his first MLB All-Star selection. He tallied 52 saves—the second-most of his career—and racked up an impressive 114 strikeouts over 82-1/3 innings of work.

Green hit .286/.385/.558 in 2002 and was one of the few Los Angeles players who dominated offensively. He led the entire team in average, OBP, slugging percentage, homers, OPS and RBI.

Catcher Paul Lo Duca was the only other leader in a major offensive category with 38 doubles.

Surprisingly, not a single regular player on the roster hit above .300 for the year.

Outfielder Brian Jordan was just a tick behind Green in the average department, batting .285/.338/.469 with 27 doubles, 18 bombs and 80 RBI.

Veteran outfielders Marquis Grissom and current team skipper Dave Roberts weren’t far behind with .277 averages.

23-year-old Adrian Beltre, in his fifth full big league season, finished second on the club with 23 long balls.

In terms of starting pitching, the rotation was led by 33-year-old Hideo Nomo, who finished the year with a 16-6 record and a 3.39 ERA over 34 starts. The remainder of the regular rotation was filled out by Odalis Perez (32 starts),  Andy Ashby (30 starts), Omar Daal (23 starts) and Kazuhisa Ishii (28 starts).

The season was yet another disappointment for $100 million man Kevin Brown. Marred by injuries, the 37-year-old righty made just 10 starts and at one point was even hospitalized for a back ailment.

Here’s how second year manager Jim Tracy wrote out the Opening Day lineup card against the club’s divisional rivals, the San Francisco Giants:

D. Roberts CF
C. Izturis SS
P. Lo Duca C
S. Green RF
B. Jordan LF
A. Beltre 3B
E. Karros 1B
M. Grudzielanek 2B
K. Brown P

Brown was lit up that day, surrendering seven earned runs on nine hits over just four even innings of work. Slugger Barry Bonds did the brunt of the damage against Brown with two long balls and five RBI on the way to his squad’s 9-2 victory.

Offensively for the Dodgers, Roberts went 2-for-4 with a double, scoring both of the teams runs.

Dan Evans was in his first season as general manager and actually had a half decent draft. Among the memorable players selected that summer were Russell Martin, James Loney, Jonathan BroxtonEric Stults and James McDonald.

At the end of the season, the Dodgers posted a respectable 92-70 record, but still finished in third place behind the 95 wins of the Giants and the 98 wins of the Diamondbacks.

Taking over as GM for the team in 2004 was Paul DePodesta, finally bringing the club back to the playoffs.

Tracy was eventually replaced by Grady Little in 2006.

 

13 thoughts on “A Look Back at the 2002 Dodgers

  1. Correction Dennis .,..First LA Dodger to do that. Duke Snider hit 40 or more homers 5 years in a row. 52-42–53-40–54–42—55—43——-56—-40–He is the only Dodger to ever do that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That has happened on a couple of articles lately. It happened on this one when it first came on and a few hours later the reply section was there. No worries Dennis. I am a little older than you and remember those things off of the top of my head sometimes.

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    2. I’m sure it was not intentional. There must be some kind of glitch in the template. I went into Andy’s old post and fixed it. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the comments section when either of us publish a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also believe the only player with the skills to beat Green’s 49 is Bellinger. He was on pace to do it last year, but that late season fade that dropped his BA down close to .300 affected his power numbers too. He will pass it if he can have a season where he is strong all year long.

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  3. MLBTR is doing a mock expansion draft in a few weeks and they’ve been polling their readers as to which 15 players they would protect. They finally got around to the Dodgers today. It’s an interesting exercise if any of you want to participate. There are certain guys they have already pulled due to various factors such as free agency, 10/5 rights and players that would never be left unprotected, so it comes down to actually picking 3 of the remaining guys to keep.
    If any of you take a look, I’d be interested to see who you would protect off their list.

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  4. Kelly, Price and Beatty. I just happen to think those 3 are important parts of the team. I doubt they would lose Barnes in a draft. He does not have that much value.

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    1. This draft is supposed to take place after this season so I figure that makes Price a 35 year old injury prone pitcher with two years left at 16 mil each. I’m willing to take a chance that either no one wants that gamble or if we lose him we have a number of young guys who could step in. Kelly has just been too inconsistent for my taste so I’m willing to lose him and again, his salary vs his production last year might be more than an expansion team would want to spend. At first, I had Beatty on my list but then decided that if we lose him we have Rios and McKinstry from the left side so I left him off also.
      My final three were Strip, Fergy and CT3, although Taylor only would have one year left. That said, we wouldn’t have Kike so I decided I would keep him. It’s a fun exercise and everyone will have a different opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your picks are probably better than mine, and you are right about Prices salary, but I think Rios and McKinstry are pretty much the same guy with Rios having the edge in the power department and McKinstry with the glove. I should have said Ferguson though. He has been very good on some occasions. I keep Kelly simply because his heater is the only one in the pen that scares anyone.

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    1. I’m definitely more encouraged than I have been since the owners are not sticking to that revenue sharing plan they came up with. Also it looks as though the owners will be asking the players to defer some salary which makes sense to me. Opening the season seems very possible now. Finishing the season is another question altogether.

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