Beltre Earns Silver Bat

Major League home run leader Adrian Beltré became the first Dodger third baseman to be voted the Silver Slugger award as the best hitting third baseman in the National League. He is the first Dodger selected since catcher Mike Piazza in 1997.

Beltré led the major leagues with 48 home runs and was among league leaders in most offensive categories -- batting average (.334, fourth), RBI (121, fourth), hits (200, fourth), total bases (376, second), extra-base hits (80, tied for fifth) and slugging percentage (.629, fourth).

Beltré tied Mike Schmidt's 1980 Major League record for home runs by a third baseman and came within one of Shawn Green's single-season franchise record of 49. He set a franchise record for RBI by a third baseman and was only the fifth Los Angeles Dodger and ninth in franchise history to hit .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI in the same season.

He set a Los Angeles single-season record for total bases (376) and became only the sixth Los Angeles Dodger to have 200 hits in a season (Steve Garvey 5, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Mike Piazza). His total bases were second in Los Angeles history behind Shawn Green's 370 and his 80 extra base hits were second to Green's 84.

Following the season Beltré's ankle required October surgery to remove two large bone spurs, and he also suffered a strained quad muscle in July. Dodger winners
Catcher Mike Piazza earned the award five times while with the Dodgers. Other double winners include Dusty Baker in 1980-81 and Fernando Valenzuela in 1981-83. Baker was the first Dodger to be awarded a the coveted silver bat when he was chosen in 1980, the year the award started.

Over the seasons, the Dodgers have won five catching awards (Piazza), four outfielders (Baker 2, Guerrero, Gibson), four pitchers (Valenzuela 2, Leary, Hershiser), two first basemen (Murray, Karros), one second baseman (Sax) and Beltré.

Previous Dodger winners:
1980—Dusty Baker, of
1981—Dusty Baker, of
1981—Fernando Valenzuela, p
1982—Pedro Guerrero, of
1983—Fernando Valenzuela, p
1986—Steve Sax, 2b
1988—Kirk Gibson of
1988—Tim Leary, p
1990—Eddie Murray, 1b
1993—Mike Piazza, c
1993—Orel Hershiser, p
1994—Mike Piazza, c
1995—Mike Piazza, c
1995—Eric Karros, 1b
1996—Mike Piazza, c
1997—Mike Piazza, c
2004—Adrian Beltré, 3b

To select the Silver Slugger team, mangers and coaches from each league choose the nine players they would want in their lineup, based solely on performances at the plate. Their selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics for the season, such as batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, and their general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. The coaches and managers are not allowed to vote for a player on their own team.

The specially designed Silver Slugger award will be presented to the winners by a representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger® bats, the sponsor of the award, in a ceremony early in the 1999 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved names of all 18 winners from both league. The Silver Slugger award was instituted by Hillerich & Bradsby in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat award, which is, as its name indicates, a silver-plated bat presented by the company to the batting champion in each league.

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