In a disappointing season for the Dodgers last year, John Lindsey was a bright spot. The lumbering first baseman had amassed over 1,500 games and 6,300 plate appearances in 16 years in the minor leagues before he finally got the call to the big leagues on September 6. Lindsey was 33 years, 221 days old two days later when he made his major league debut, making him the oldest non-Japanese Dodger to make his debut since Pete Wojey in 1954.
Lindsey, who hit 100 home runs over the last four years in the minors, got one hit in 12 at-bats as a major leaguer before breaking his hand with eight days left in the season. Lindsey's hand is expected to be fully healed in time for spring training.
Lindsey started and ended his season the same way: getting pinch hit for as a pinch hitter. In Lindsey's debut, on September 8 in San Diego, he was sent to the plate to face southpaw Joe Thatcher with one out in the eighth inning with a runner on first, down 4-0. However, once right-handed pitcher Luke Gregerson was brought into the game, Joe Torre called Lindsey back, sending Andre Ethier to the plate in his stead (Either grounded into an inning-ending double play, for what it's worth). The same move happened in the final game of the season, but this was more ceremonial, so Lindsey could get an ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd, which was a nice homage.
Here is Lindsey taking batting practice in San Diego before his major league debut last season:
Lindsey has been nicknamed "The Mayor" because of the audibly identical name of former New York Mayor John Lindsay, who was in office from 1966-1973. So, it's only fitting that Lindsey the ballplayer is the only back-to-back recipient of The Mayor's Trophy, an award voted on annually by fans of the Las Vegas 51s. Lindsey won the award in 2007 and 2008. The only other two-time winner of The Mayor's Trophy was Joey Cora.
When Lindsey's contract was purchased on September 6 of last season, that marked the first time Lindsey has ever been on a 40-man roster. Lindsey is still on the 40-man roster, though his hold on a roster spot is tenuous, as he figures to be a prime candidate (along with Hector Gimenez and Xavier Paul, who are both out of options) to be removed from the roster should one or two of the non-roster invitees (Ron Mahay, for instance) make the club out of spring training. Should Lindsey remain on the 40-man roster, he does have three option years left, so he can be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers.
|2011 Projections - Age 34 Season|
The Dodgers have one open bench spot, and would rather give that spot to a player who can play multiple positions in the field, not just first base. As good a story as Lindsey is, in all likelihood, he will probably not play in the majors again. But his story is one of perseverance, as Lindsey finally realized a childhood dream after 16 long seasons toiling in the minor leagues.
My prediction is zero plate appearances for Lindsey with the Dodgers this season. What's your prediction?