Ethier led Dodgers in outfield assists

Andre Ethier won the team assist title in 2007 with 10, eight from right field and a pair from left. It is his second title in succession, having won in 2006 with nine assists, all from left field. As a team, the numbers underline the fact that there was just not a lot of strong arms out there.

The 2007 team threw out only 20 runners, left fielder Luis Gonzalez and center fielder Juan Pierre adding four and Matt Kemp a pair to the 10 Ethier nailed.

That is the lowest total since the 1999 team also collected 20 and you have to go back to 1983 to find a lower total. That outfield, led by Dusty Baker and Ken Landreaux, who led with four each, had only 18 total and was the lowest number of assists for a team lead in franchise history.

When checking the totals, on realizes that two of the strongest arms in recent history, Carl Furillo of Brooklyn. and Raul Mondesi of Los Angeles, do not have outstanding statistics to show for it.

While Furillo nailed 24 (good for a tie for ninth in 1951) and Mondesi nailed 16 in both 1994 and 1995, runners soon realize they are taking their life in their hands attempting to stretch for an extra base when the ball is hit to such remarkable fielders and hold up instead.

There is no way to measure the number of extra bases that might have been compiled against average arms, but both Furillo and Mondesi's numbers never reached epic proportions because of their well-deserved reputation.

Surprisingly, Frank Howard holds the Los Angeles individual mark with 19, set in 1962 when Dodger Stadium was brand-new. Gary Sheffield nailed 17 runners in 2001 and is in second place.

However, the all-time mark, in fact the entire individual top 10, are held by players from the early part of the 20th century. Casey Stengel, before he became a genius manager of the Yankees, played the tough right field wall in Brooklyn to perfection, throwing out 30 in 1917 to set the third best all-time mark.

The story goes that Stengel took a young Mickey Mantle out to the scoreboard before the 1952 World Series and showed him the complex bounced that came off when struck by a line drive.

Mantle asked him how he knew so much about the difficult caroms and Stengel said, "Do you think I was born last month? I played here for six years."

The Dodgers set a Los Angeles team mark that year as Howard led the way and was assisted by the Davis boys, Willie throwing out 13 and Tommy getting nine to help the team to 49 assists, best in L.A. history. In 1970, Willie Davis nailed 12, Willie Crawford 9 and Manny Mota 8 to boost the team to 43 assists, and a second place rating.

But the franchise records are held firmly in Brooklyn hands, or arms as it were. In 1921 Tom Griffin threw out 27 from right field, Hi Myers 25 from center, Zach Wheat 19 from left field. Bernie Neis, spelling the other three from time to time, collects 13 assists in only 80 games to post a team mark of 83. The 1917 outfield of Stengel (30), Jim Hickman (22) and Wheat (12) also totaled 83.

Individually, Jimmy Sheckard threw out 36 runners in 1903 and Mike Griffin, the grandfather of former San Francisco standout Matt  Williams, is second all-time with 31 assists.

Obviously, runs were harder to score with quick-fix home runs practically nonexistent so baserunners took more chances and, thus, got shot down much more often attempting to advance.

Willie Davis was the team leader four years in succession from 1970-73, and Gary Sheffield (1999-2001) and Dusty Baker (1977-79) each held it three years in succession. Brooklyn's Dixie Walker led his teams five times in a row and Furillo won seven team titles, three straight in 1953-55 and four straight 1948-51, and was second on two other occasions.
Outfield assists

 Los Angeles	                  Brooklyn
19 - Frank Howard, 1962	        36 - Jim Sheckard, 1903
17 - Gary Sheffield,  2001	31 - Mike Griffin, 1891
16 - Willie Davis, 1963, 64	30 - Casey Stengel, 1917
16 - Raul Mondesi, 1994, 95	27 - Tom Griffith, 1921
15 - Wally Moon, 1960	        26 - Joe Kelley, 1899
15 - Reggie Smith, 1980	        26 - Harry Lumley, 1904
14 - Dusty Baker, 1979	        25 - Mike Griffin, 1892
14 - Cory Snyder, 1993	        25 - Hi Myers, 1921
13 - Wally Moon, 1959	        24 - Jim Sheckard, 1905
13 - Willie Davis, 1962	        24 - Al Burch, 1908
13 - Ron Fairly, 1968	        24 - Herb Moran, 1912
13 - Willie Davis, 1973	        24 - Babe Herman, 1931
13 - Dusty Baker, 1978	        24 - Carl Furillo, 1951
13 - Kal Daniels, 1990	

 Top five team totals and the team leader:
 Los Angeles	           Brooklyn
49 - 1949 (Howard 19)	  83 - 1917 (Stengel 30)
43 - 1970 (W. Davis 12)	  83 - 1921 (Griffith 27)
39 - 1960 (Moon 15)	  70 - 1892 (Griffin 25)
38 - 1979 (Baker (14)	  69 - 1925 (Lumley 21)
38 - 1993 (Snyder 14)	  69 - 1908 (Burch 24)
Ode to the Rockies-- With the Colorado Rockies poised to represent the National League against the stuffy Boston Red Sox in the World Series, we wish them well because, if for nothing else, we supplied seven of their victories in the final 21 of 22 game surge to the pennant.

And there is also another very good reason.

Mike Coolbaugh, the first base coach for a Colorado farm club, was killed by a line drive while coaching in July. The Rockies players flew in the fact of the supposition that all major league players were only interested in money when they voted Coolbaugh's widow, pregnant with the couple's third child, a full share of playoff money.

Sort of restores your faith in human nature. Nice move, guys!

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories