1988 Dodgers player profile: Alfredo Griffin, the defense-first shortstop

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Alfredo Griffin, a key off-season acquisition, played through injury to win the first of his three World Series rings.

Alfredo Griffin didn't have the regular season that he envisioned when he attended the press conference in December 1987 after the Dodgers had acquired Griffin, Jay Howell and Jesse Orosco in a three-team trade. The Dodgers were looking forward to seeing a steady hand at shortstop for many games in 1988. In Ross Newhan's LA Times story, Tommy Lasorda said, "I haven't seen him that much but I hear he's a hell of a player. I looked at his record over the last six years and he's played all 162 games four times and more than 140 the other two. That's something we haven't had."

How acquired: Griffin was acquired as part of a three-team trade on Dec. 11, 1987. The Dodgers received Griffin and Howell from Oakland Athletics and Orosco from the New York Mets; the A's received Bob Welch and Matt Young from the Dodgers; the Mets received Jack Savage from the Dodgers plus Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst from the A's.

Prior MLB experience: Griffin was signed by Cleveland out of the Dominican in 1973. After three cups of coffee (1976-1978) he was traded to Toronto in December 1978. Griffin and John Castino were named co-AL Rookie of the Year in 1979. Griffin also was named to the All-Star Game in 1984 and was a 1985 Gold Glove recipient after his first year in Oakland. Griffin played more games at shortstop, 1,341, between 1979-1987 than any other player in the majors. His career totals after 1987: .258/.290/.336 with 161 stolen bases and 570 runs scored.

1988 age: 30

1988 stats: Griffin hit just .199/.259/.253 in 95 games and 354 plate appearances. After having three straight years of decent years at the plate in Oakland, Griffin had a horrible year at the dish for the Dodgers. His only highlight was his best walk percentage (6.8%) in 10 years. Griffin wasn't doing a lot with the bat prior to facing Mets at Dodger Stadium on May 21 but Dwight Gooden didn't help him by hitting him and breaking a bone in his hand. Griffin would miss 59 games and though he started the majority of the games left, he would be a non-factor on offense for rest of the season.

Regular season game of the year: In an early season blowout game, Griffin had his best statistical game where he went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI. However, I chose a game that would be known as the start of something really special, as his game of the year. On August 30, 1988, he went 2 for 3 with a double, 2 runs scored and a RBI.

NLCS performance: Griffin started all seven games and his most important plate appearance came in Game 7. With runners on first and second and no out in the bottom of the second, the shortstop beat out a bunt. Orel Hershiser got on base on an error by Greg Jefferies that added a run and then Steve Sax singled in two runs (including one carried by Griffin) and the Dodgers led 4-0. The Dodgers would go to the top of the 3rd with a 6-0 and Orel Hershiser on the mound. 21 outs later, the Dodgers won the pennant.

World Series performance: Griffin scored a key run in the 4-2 victory in Game 4 of the World Series. He also singled as he went 1 for 3 with that walk and run scored.

Post-1988 playing career: Alfredo Griffin went from the World Series to a being a free agent. He signed a 3-year contract with the Dodgers in January 1989 for $1.8 million guaranteed for 1989 and 1990 ($900,000 each year) and non-guaranteed $900,000 for 1991. The Dodgers guaranteed the 1991 contract a year early. Griffin's best offensive season for the Dodgers was in 1989 when he hit .247/.287/.308 with 27 doubles.

Griffin in 1992 would return to Toronto, where he stayed for two seasons. He signed free agent contracts in both 1992 and 1993 but he was on both World Series rosters as he retired with back-to-back World Series rings.

Where he is now: Alfredo Griffin started coaching at the major league level in 1996 where he was the first base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2000, he joined former teammate Mike Scioscia's staff as the first base coach for the Angels, and 2013 will be his 14th season in Anaheim.

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