Choi 14th to Hit 3 HRs in Game

Hee Seop Choi punished the Minnesota Twins on June 12, slugging three consecutive solo home runs to key a 4-3 victory. He hit one in the first, third and fifth (the game-winner) innings before striking out on his final at bat. J.D, Drew's home run in the third scored the only other Dodger run.

Choi was the first player of Asian descent to collect three homers in a game. During the Minnesota series, June 12-14, he slugged six homers and added another the following game in Kansas City, his 13th, but managed only three more the rest of the season.

However, Choi averaged only 53 at-bats per month during the season and had only 104 after the All-Star break, although he hit .288 over that span. He had remarkable success against Atlanta, Cincinnati, Florida, Houston, St. Louis and Minnesota, hitting .492 against them with 9 of his 15 home runs and 19 of his 42 runs batted in.

Many observers felt that a longer look at the young first baseman was in order during a season that was apparently going nowhere.

Choi's heroics allowed him to join a select group of Dodgers, including Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Jimmy Wynn, Davey Lopes, Mike Piazza and Shawn Green.

Hodges and Green made the list when they slugged four out of the park (Hodges 1950, Green 2002).

Snider is the only Dodger to turn the trick twice, hitting three in 1950 and 1955.

The complete list:

Four home runs:
Gil Hodges      August 31, 1950   Boston

  Los Angeles—
Shawn Green     May 23, 2002at    Milwaukee

Three home runs:
Jake Fournier   July 13, 1926      at St. Louis
*Gene Hermanski August 5, 1948     Chicago
*Duke Snider    May 30, 1950       Philadelphia
*Roy Campanella August 26, 1950    Cincinnati
*Tommy Brown    September 18, 1950 Chicago
Duke Snider     June 1, 1955Boston
  *Consecutive home runs

  Los Angeles—
Don Demeter     April 21, 1959     San Francisco
Jimmy Wynn      May 11, 1974at     San Diego
Davey Lopes     August 20, 1974    at Chicago
Cory Snyder     April 17, 1994     at Pittsburgh
*Mike Piazza    June 29, 1996      at Colorado
*Hee Seop Choi  June 12, 2005      Minnesota
  *consecutive home runs 
Homers from both sides--The Dodgers have had only seven switch hitters hit a home run from each side of the plate in the same game with nine occurrences overall.

But three of them came during the 2005 season when Milton Bradley banged one right and one left against Milwaukee and Atlanta and Jose Cruz duplicated the effort against San Francisco.

Eddie Murray, now the Dodgers batting instructor, hit two right-left homers in 1990, victimizing San Francisco and San Diego.

Brooklyn's Jim Russell was the first in franchise history in 1950, smacking his switch-hit homers in Ebbets Field. The next six events came on the road before Bradley and Cruz connected last season at Dodger Stadium.

The complete list:
                  date             opponent
Jim Russell      July 26, 1950    St. Louis
Maury Wills      May 30, 1962     @N.Y.
Jim Lefebvre     May 7, 1966      @Cincinnati
Wes Parker       June 5, 1966     @N.Y.
Eddie Murray     April 18, 1990   @San Francisco
Eddie Murray     June 8, 1990     @San Diego
Milton Bradley   April 18, 2005   @ Milwaukee
Milton Bradley   May 13, 2005     Atlanta
Jose Cruz, Jr.   Sept. 7, 2006    San Francisco
The View from San Francisco
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle took a pre-season look at the National League West and had this to say about the Dodgers:

"Truth be told, Colletti hasn't done a thing to make the Dodgers intimidating. He hasn't brought in a 45-homer guy or a 20-game winner. He has dramatically changed the landscape, though, and the Dodgers needed that more than anything.

"Unloading Milton Bradley (to the A's) was absolutely necessary. It would have been a brilliant move if the Dodgers got nothing in return. Bradley is a looming symbol of negativity, often bright and cheery but always on the verge of sinking back into darkness. His play had deteriorated by the second half of the season, and his bitter, racially tinged relationship with Jeff Kent had irrevocably poisoned the clubhouse atmosphere.

"Colletti did make one mistake in the Bradley situation, saying he looked for ways to "mediate" the crisis yet didn't speak to either Bradley or Kent. That seemed odd to the L.A. media, and while we're on the subject of questionable moves, it's remarkable that Colletti, who knows all about Brett Tomko's flaws, went to the trouble to sign the former Giant.

"Still, behold the handiwork. The once-depressing Dodger lineup is suddenly loaded with "gamers": Rafael Furcal, Bill Mueller, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton. That's wonderful work on Colletti's part, along with the acquisition of Danys Baez, a closer in Tampa Bay, to help set up Eric Gagne -- and perhaps replace him, if Gagne doesn't fully recover from knee and elbow problems.

"The Dodgers still have their issues, notably the unpredictable Kent, the forever-injured J.D. Drew and the public-relations nightmare of Derek Lowe, a married man, very publicly running off with Fox Sports Net West reporter Carolyn Hughes (she was removed from the Dodgers' coverage in July). There is also the disturbing coincidence that Mueller and Furcal represent the two worst active hitters (both .157) at Dodger Stadium.

"At the highest level, questions remain. Grady Little is a capable manager who will have to shake that last, terrible night in a Red Sox uniform.

"Owner Frank McCourt has made such a mess of front-office stability that one of the truly nice guys, Tommy Hawkins, said he'd 'never seen an organization in such disarray' upon leaving the Dodgers in disgust after 18 years of executive service. "They wiped out history. There's some pomposity there,' Hawkins said.

"Colletti is knocking down that wall, piece by piece. Let's just say it now: Brian Sabean is really going to miss having this guy around."

Dodger Blue Notes-- Former Dodger Ron Hunt will become a member of the 2006 Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball induction class February 16. Hunt played for the Dodgers in 1967, coming from the New York Mets after the 1966 season along with OF Jim Hickman for OF Tommy Davis and IN Derrell Griffth. He hit .267 with three homers and 33 runs bated in but stayed only one season before being traded to San Francisco on Feb. 13, 1968 along with 2B Nate Oliver for C Tom Haller and minor league P frank Kasmeta. Ten-time major league all-star Steve Garvey will be the keynote speaker. … The Assn. of Professional Ball Players of America, an 82-year-old organization that offers assistance to ballplayers of all ages, including minor leaguers, held its annual charity dinner recently in Long Beach. One of the speakers at the baseball dinner was former Dodger pitcher Joe Moeller, who in 1966 was a reliever on a team with a rotation of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen and Don Sutton, a quartet that started all 162 games that season for the N.L. pennant winners. "You might not recognize my name," Moeller quipped. "We had Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton and what's his name. I was what's his name."

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