Dodgers Have Had Seven N.L. Home Run Leaders

In 2004, Adrian Beltré finished the regular season with 48 home runs, most in both major leagues. He finished two home runs ahead of Albert Pujols in the National League race and beat A.L. slugger Manny Ramirez by five. It was the first time Dodgers NL home run title in 48 years; Duke Snider hit 43 home runs in 1956.

Beltré also became the first Dodger to win the major-league home run crown since 1908 --- some 96 years before -- although Tim Jordan earned a tie for the title in 1906 with 12.

Four of the National League titles came in the early dawn of N.L. baseball and were recorded in 1903, 1904, 1906 and 1908.

When Jimmy Sheckard won the first title in 1903 with nine home runs, Butch Freeman of Boston led the American League with 13. The Cardinals hit only eight as a team and the Chicago Cubs club tied Sheckard with nine. Brooklyn hit 15 as a team.

Sheckard also stole 67 bases to lead the N.L. becoming the only Brooklyn/Los Angeles player to pull off that double. The six title holders since did not steal that many as a group.

In 1904 when Lumley's nine led the National League, Harry Davis of the Philadelphia A's led the majors with 10. Lumley's teammates added only six more homers to the club total.

Tim Jordan banged an even dozen homers in 1906 to win the HR championship, while Davis won in the A.L and tied him with a like total. The Cardinals only hit 10 in that season, while both the Phillies and Pirates had 12 as a team. Homers were even more scarce in the American as the White Sox hit but five.

Jordan became the only Dodger in history to win a second home run championship when he again hit 12 in 1908 and his totals also led the major leagues -- until Beltré.

Honus Wagner was the only other NL player to get into double figures in 1908 when he clouted 10 for Pittsburgh. Sam Crawford led the American League with seven.

Jack Fournier led the league with 27 homers in 1924. Babe Ruth ruled the home run race when he belted 46 for the Yankees.

Dolph Camilli was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1941 and led the league with 34 home runs and 120 runs batted in. Ted Williams was tops in the majors with 37.

Duke Snider was in the midst of a record five-year streak of 40+ homers in 1956, setting the then-club mark of 43. Mickey Mantle led both leagues with 52 for New York.

Dodger N.L. Home run leaders:
   Player  yr  ave gm  ab    r  h  2b 3b hr bi sb
Sheckard 1903 .332 139 515  99 171 29  9  9 75 67
Lumley   1904 .279 150 577  79 161 23 18  9 78 30
Jordan   1906 .262 129 450  67 118 20  8 12 59 16
Jordan*  1908 .247 148 515  58 127 18  5 12 74 10
Camilli  1941 .285 149 529  92 151 29  6 34 12 03
Snider   1956 .292 151 542 112 158 33  2 43 10 13
Beltré*  2004 .334 156 598 104 200 32  0 48 12 17
  *=led major leagues
Gagne Interview--Los Angeles Times award-winning columnist Bill Plaschke caught up with Eric Gagne in Hawaii (writers have to go where the story is) and got some outstanding quotes: Said Gagne:

"I will be ready for the start of the season, no doubt. I feel great. I'm throwing strong. I'm doing more now than during winters when I was healthy."

"Last year I wasn't sure I wanted to stay, but I want to stay now. I'd love a long-term deal if they wanted to do it," he said.

"I know, they need to see something, I have to show I can do it four or five days in a row. You can't rely on what-ifs."

"Frank McCourt has stepped up to the plate, big-time, with money and players, and he deserves praise," Gagne said. "Last year he got crushed in the media. This year, you look at the players we have, what more can he do?"

"I want to play here, but if they don't want me here, well, I doubt that. I trust them that the trade (Baez) was made to make the middle of the bullpen strong, and that was it."

Alumni Game-- A total of 34 former Texas Longhorns, including Dodgers Danny Muegge, Ryan Russ and Justin Simmons have committed to take part in the 2006 Texas Baseball Alumni Game Saturday, Jan. 28 at Disch-Falk Field. Also included on this year's Alumni squad are current Major League players Brad Halsey (Arizona Diamondbacks), J.P. Howell (Kansas City Royals) and Omar Quintanilla (Colorado Rockies) as well as two-time National Player of the Year Brooks Kieschnick (Baltimore Orioles). The Alumni Game is admission free.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Former Dodger and All-Star closer John Wetteland was hired by the Washington Nationals as their bullpen coach. Wetteland, who played for the Dodgers and Montreal, was a roving pitching instructor for the Texas Rangers the past three seasons. Wetteland was 48-45 with 330 saves and a 2.93 ERA for four major league teams from 1989-00. His save total ranks ninth in baseball history. Washington also agreed to a minor league contract with another former Dodger, first baseman Daryle Ward. …Former Dodger 1B Paul Konerko of the White Sox White Sox insists he's "flattered" that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has floated the idea of naming him captain of the World Series champions, but the slugging first baseman made it clear that he doesn't want a 'C' on his uniform. …Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Harwell will be honored at a book signing and reception in Santa Barbara. Harwell retired in 2002 after 55 years of broadcasting in the major leagues, including the last 42 with the Detroit Tigers. He started his major league broadcasting career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ross Porter, who was a broadcaster with the Dodgers for 28 year, will serve as master of ceremonies at the event. Screenwriter, director and producer Ron Shelton and Porter will share with attendees their own stories and perspectives about the legendary broadcaster. Shelton is best known for his 1988 baseball movie, "Bull Durham". He has also directed "Hollywood Homicide," "Dark Blue," "Tin Cup," "Cobb," "White Men Can't Jump" and "Blaze." Harwell had a cameo appearance in "Cobb." …Longtime Dodgers clubhouse manager Dave Dickinson, who had been with the organization for 15 seasons, was fired recently, making him the latest addition to a growing list of team employees who have been shown the door in the two years since Frank and Jamie McCourt purchased the club from NewsCorp. In the past year alone, the McCourts have fired, in order: chief marketing officer Lon Rosen and vice president for communications Gary Miereanu; stadium operations head Doug Duennes; manager Jim Tracy (officially by mutual agreement); public-relations director John Olguin and PR assistants Paul Gomez and Chris Gutierrez; general manager Paul DePodesta; and now, Dickinson. …Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng and scouting director Logan White are believed to be on a preliminary list of about two dozen names the Cincinnati Reds are considering for their GM vacancy, which was created when new owner Bob Castellini fired Dan O'Brien. The Reds, who plan to interview Minnesota assistant GM Wayne Krivsky next week, haven't contacted the Dodgers for permission to interview either Ng or White.