Marlon Anderson has retired but his magical 2006 Sept remains one of the great periods in Dodger history.
Sure the title is hyperbole and I say it in jest but from the time Magic Marlon put on the Dodger Blue he put on a mind boggling show that would have made Albert Pujols proud. His OPS+ ranks 2nd in OPS+ in Dodger history. Granted we are playing with the numbers by making the criteria a mere 100 at bats but what a 100 at bats.
It all started with a simple Ned special on Aug 31st, trade a low level minor leaguer for a veteran player.
In this case we sent the promising Jhonny Nunez to the Nationals for Marlon Anderson. Marlon Anderson at the time could play some 2nd, some outfield and hit RHP at a decent clip. Many were against this trade as they felt it was just another example of Ned flipping young talent for a player who could have been readily available from within. D Young was coming off a great AAA season but had never had one single at bat in the major leagues. Was he ready for duty in a pennant race? Some thought so.
Andrew - As far as Anderson goes, is there anything he does that Delwyn Young couldn't?
Canuck - And that is the downside of only trusting "seasoned vets" to fill small roles in a pennant race: prospects who don't have the hype and big upsides of our more elite prospects (like Delwyn Young) get no chance to show that they too have value, perhaps a lot more than the Marlon Andersons of the world.
Andrew - At least for me, it's not about giving up Nunez, it's about acquiring a guy that's no better than players we already have for 15-20 at bats. 20 at bats is absolutely nothing. You could grab any player in the bigs or AAA and there's pretty much an equal chance he'll be better than Anderson.
Baseball Prospectus ...Dumping Ledee and (now) replacing him with Anderson is an upgrade, but mostly a cosmetic one—there's not a lot of difference between them in what they can do, and if Ledee was hurt much of the season, it isn't like a healthy Anderson is so much better that it was worth giving up a prospect as promising as Nunez to get him...Certainly, discarding Nunez looks gratuitous, and the product of particularly poor planning.
While yours truly had this to say.
Comparing D Young to Anderson is nice and and over a full year I'd expect D Young to outperform Anderson but if Sept is close do you really want a AAA player giving you an important at bat over Anderson who has been to the wars? I know being a veteran holds no cache here but I'd rather have Anderson up in that moment then a border line major league prospect whose 1st stint in the major leagues comes during a pennant race. It is not like Young has had any time in the bigs to prepare himself for these huge at bats. Anderson is not Neifi Perez or Royce Clayton with the bat but a decent LH option. I'd rather have him then Mabry or Norton who were the other players mentioned that we were perusing in that Anderson can play both infield and outfield and give us a pinch runner who we can use freely when the rosters have expanded.
I expected Marlon Anderson to provide some pinch hits, do some late inning base running and basically provide some help to the bench. No one, and I mean no one expected Marlon Anderson to go off and have the greatest streak of his career in the next 30 days. It was one of Ned's simplest trades and yet the payback was huge. You could argue that without Marlon Anderson's heroics the Dodgers would not have made the playoffs. Without Marlon Anderson there is no 4+1 game. Without Marlon Anderson the Sept magic of 2006 would be nothing. It was just dumb luck that Marlon went off for us but it was luck we gladly accepted.
Ex teammate Doug Glanville wrote a nice story about Marlon getting released several days ago. Seems a shame that Marlon ended his career just shy of the necessary time for a full pension. Considering what he did for the Dodgers putting him on the roster in Sept would be a nice payback but there is no room in baseball for sentiment.
Here is a game log of 2006 scroll down to the when he joined the Dodgers and you will see a player hitting only 279 with an OPS of .759. By the end of Sept he had raised his OPS 100 points and had left behind a legacy of big hits that went unrivaled in my memory until Manny showed up this past year. It is one thing to be one of the best hitters in baseball and deliver big hit after big hit as Manny did last year. It is quite another to have a hitter with a career OPS of .705 go on a tear where he puts up an OPS > 1.200 during a pennant race.
I don't expect I'll ever see the like of what Magic Marlon did in Sept of 2006 but I'm sure glad I experienced it. It truly was magical.