1988 Dodgers player profile: Mickey Hatcher, more than a stunt man

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Mickey Hatcher, the poster boy for contact hitting with limited power, hit the same number of home runs as the Bash Brothers in 1988 World Series.

If history repeats itself, Mickey Hatcher becoming part of the Dodger organization after being let go from another one should pay off with a World Series victory in 2013.

Hatcher in his playing days made lots of contact (career strikeout rate of 6.8%), had very little power (38 home runs in 3,607 plate appearances), and walks were almost as rare (4.6%).

Hatcher coined the nickname "Stunt Men" for the 1988 Dodger bench players during spring training. As noted in this early season LA Times article, "Our goal, as stunt men, is to push the (starters). Being a stunt man takes a certain kind of attitude and patience." The article continued to describe the stunt men as being Hatcher, Franklin Stubbs, Danny Heep, Rick Dempsey, Jeff Hamilton and Dave Anderson. Hatcher, Dempsey, Hamilton and Stubbs were all starters in Game 5 of the 1988 World Series.

Hatcher was drafted by the Dodgers in 1977 (5th round), he debuted in 1979 and had 192 combined plate appearances in 1979-80 before being traded with two minor leaguers to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Ken Landreaux in March 1981. Hatcher and Landreaux were teammates on the 1987 Dodgers.

How acquired: Mickey Hatcher was signed in April 1987 as part of Fred Claire's first moves as the newly promoted general manager. Claire made a somewhat bold decision to release pitcher Jerry Reuss (and take a loss of $1.35 million) and sign Hatcher to help out for the just injured Bill Madlock. Tommy Lasorda described the move this way in the LA Times:

"He'll be a good swing man for us," Lasorda said of Hatcher, who arrived at Dodger Stadium early in Friday night's game. "A position like that, it takes an experienced guy to do that. We're going to find out if (Tracy) Woodson can fill in. Right now, Woodson is our third baseman."

Prior MLB experience: From 1981-86, Hatcher hit .284/.315/.383 with 26 home runs in 672 games with the Twins. In 1979-80 and 1987 with the Dodgers, he hit .269/.313/.390 with nine home runs in 191 games. His career OPS+ through 1987 was 90.

1988 age: 33

1988 stats: Hit .293/.322/.355 with one home run and 25 RBI. He appeared as a pinch-hitter 41 times (.316/.413/.447) and started 41 times (21 times in the outfield, 18 at first base, and twice at third base). Hatcher started in the lineup anywhere from second to seventh (mostly in the second spot, 17 times) including eight starts each in the third and clean up spots.

Regular season game of the year: Hatcher drove home the National League West clinching run in the eighth inning at San Diego on Sept. 26, 1988.

NLCS performance: Game 2 was his highlight, he went 1 for 3 with a walk, with two runs scored and two RBI. The rest of the series, he went 4 for 18 with two walks, three runs scored and three runs driven in.

World Series performance: While Gibson's home run was unforgettable and Orel's pitching mastery was a sight to behold, Hatcher's sprint around the bases in the bottom of first inning in Game 1 was also a memorable moment.

"I do not practice the home run trot. I do not have a home run trot. I don't have any experience at it," Hatcher told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times after Game 1.

Hatcher's two home runs equaled the total from Oakland's power hitting duo, the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and current Dodger hitting coach, Mark McGwire. For the series, Hatcher hit .368/.400/.737 with 2 home runs (Game 1 and Game 5) and 5 RBI (one less than Canseco and McGwire combined).

Post-1988 playing career: Hatcher played two more seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .264/.299/.331 in 179 games. He retired after the 1990 season.

Where he is now: After serving as the Los Angeles Angels hitting coach from 2000 through June 2012, Hatcher rejoined the Dodgers last June, he is currently listed as a special assistant on the Dodger coaching staff roster.

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