Kemp Recorded 14 Assists in 2009

Teams continue to run on center fielder Matt Kemp and Kemp continues to cut them down. Kemp rank up 14 assists in 2009 after throwing out 16 in 2008 and an even dozen in 2007. Overall the 2009 team had 26 outfield assists, up from 18 in 2008, when Andre Ethier earning six, Manny Ramirez three, Juan Pierre and Jamie Hoffmann collecting one each.

Kemp was second in the National League to Hunter Pence of Houston who nailed 16. Jayson Bay of Boston was second with 15.

Surprisingly, Frank Howard holds the Los Angeles individual mark with 19, set in 1962 in Dodger Stadium's first season. Gary Sheffield nailed 17 runners in 2001 and is in second place on the L.A. list.

Two of the strongest arms in Dodger history, Carl Furillo of Brooklyn and Raul Mondesi of Los Angeles, don't have a great many assists to show for it.

While Furillo nailed 24 (good for a tie for 10th on the all-time list in 1951) and Mondesi nailed 16 in both 1994 and 1995, runners soon realized they are taking their life in their hands attempting to stretch a hit an extra base when the ball is hit to such remarkable fielders.

The same scenario will play out for Kemp as runners begin to respect his arm.

So the raw total is not a good way to compare outfielders throwing talents, because both Furillo and Mondesi's numbers never reached epic proportions because of their well-deserved reputation.

The all-time records, in fact nine of the all-time top 10, are held by players from the early part of the 20th century. Jimmy Sheckard (1903) tops the charts with 36 outfield assists and Mike Griffin, the grandfather of former San Francisco standout Matt  Williams, is second all-time with 31 assists.

Casey Stengel, before he became a managerial genius with 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 to right field in Ebbets Field before the 1952 World Series and showed him the complex bounces that came off the concave right field wall and the scoreboard when struck by a line drive.

Mantle asked him how he knew so much about this 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 in 1962 as Howard led the way with 19 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.

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 Kemp, Gary Sheffield (1999-2001) and Dusty Baker (1977-79) each held it three years in a row.

Brooklyn's Dixie Walker led his Brooklyn team five times in a row and Furillo won seven team titles, three straight in 1953-55 and four straight 1948-51, while finishing second on the 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
16 - Matt Kemp, 2008	        26 - Joe Kelley, 1899
		                26 - Harry Lumley, 1904
15 - Wally Moon, 1960	
15 - Reggie Smith, 1980	
14 - Dusty Baker, 1979	       25 - Mike Griffin, 1892
14 - Cory Snyder, 1993	       25 - Hi Myers, 1921
14 - Matt Kemp, 2009	       24 - Jim Sheckard, 1905
13 - Wally Moon, 1959	       24 - Al Burch, 1908
13 - Willie Davis, 1962	       24 - Herb Moran, 1912
13 - Ron Fairly, 1968	       24 - Babe Herman, 1931
13 - Willie Davis, 1973	       24 - Carl Furillo, 1951
13 - Dusty Baker, 1978	
13 - Kal Daniels, 1990	

 Top five team totals and the team leader:
 Los Angeles	                Brooklyn
49 - 1959 (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)

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