The list of third base candidates includes two of the World Series Tri-MVPs from the 1981 championship team, the player who hit the most home runs in franchise history at third base in a single season and the only Dodger to be nominated at two different positions for this poll.
The third base candidates feature Dodger legend and current Marketing and Community Relations representative Ron Cey, the club's most feared hitter of the 1980s, Pedro Guerrero, the 2004 MVP runner-up Adrian Beltre and a catalyst during the team's first championship on the West Coast, Jim Gilliam.
Cey started at the hot corner for the Dodgers from 1973-82, finishing sixth in the Rookie of Year Voting in '73. From 1971-85, Cey played in 1,468 games a third base, which is the most in franchise history. Beginning in 1974, Cey made six straight All-Star teams and started the Midsummer Classic in '74, '75 and '77. "The Penguin" led the Dodgers in home runs four times and had career highs of 30 homers and 110 RBI in 1977, finishing eighth in the MVP voting and leading Los Angeles to the NL pennant. In the 1981 World Series, Cey batted .350 with a homer and six RBI, including a key three-run blast at Dodger Stadium in the first inning of Game 3, which jump-started the Dodgers to four straight wins over New York. For his efforts, Cey was named the 1981 World Series Tri-MVP along with Guerrero and Steve Yeager.
Guerrero was called up for the Dodgers for the first time in 1978 and played nearly 10 seasons, before being traded in 1988. His 171 homers in Los Angeles rank fifth on the career list and he was named to the NL All-Star team four times (1981, '83, '85 and '87) as a Dodger. Along with Cey and Yeager, Guerrero won the 1981 World Series MVP after hitting .333 with two homers and seven RBI against the Yankees. In Game 5 of the '81 Fall Classic, with the series knotted at two games apiece, Guerrero tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run off Ron Guidry, who was working on a two-hit shutout to that point. The Dodgers went on to win the game 2-1 and Guerrero added another homer and five RBI in the clinching Game 6.
The native of the Dominican Republic later led the Dodgers to NL West titles in 1983, when he hit .298 with 32 home runs and 103 RBI, and 1985 (.320, 33, 87). In June of 1985, Guerrero blasted 15 home runs, tying Duke Snider's 1953 franchise record for home runs in a month.
Beltre began his career in Los Angeles at the age of 19 in 1998 and was the youngest player in the Major Leagues that season. The native of the Dominican Republic would go on to play 958 games at third base (second to Cey), make five Opening Day starts and slug 147 home runs, which ranks ninth in Los Angeles Dodger history. In 2004, his final season in Los Angeles, Beltre took the National League by storm, leading the league in home runs with 48 and finishing with a .334 average and 121 RBI. Following that campaign, Beltre won the Silver Slugger Award and finished second to Barry Bonds and ahead of Albert Pujols in the NL MVP vote.
Gilliam, who was also nominated at second base for this poll, began his Dodger career with Brooklyn in 1953 as the league's Rookie of the Year. The versatile infielder played second base and the outfield in addition to manning the hot corner. The Tennessee native appeared in seven World Series as a player through 1966 and he later coached the Dodgers for 14 seasons. Shortly after his untimely death at age 49 in 1978, the Dodgers retired his uniform No. 19. During the Dodgers' first year in Los Angeles in 1958, Gilliam led the team in hits, doubles, stolen bases, walks and fielding. He compiled a lifetime .265 batting average in 1,956 games.
Dodger fans have the opportunity to vote for the "All-Time L.A. Team" at dodgers.com/anniversary, with the results being unveiled next year. The 2008 season marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles. The team will celebrate this golden anniversary with fans around the world through a series of historical, cultural and promotional events that are unique to Los Angeles and honor the legacy of the franchise and its players and the loyalty of Dodger fans.
Who's LA's all-time third baseman?
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