Nearly 29 years after he was traded to Oakland for Lance Hudson, Davey Lopes will reportedly return to the Dodgers, according to a tweet by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, presumably as first base coach. Lopes, who was first base coach with the Phillies the last four years in addition to supervising the baserunning and coaching the outfield, resigned from the Phillies on November 1. Under the guidance of Lopes, the Phillies have led the National League in stolen base percentage in each of the last four seasons. The Dodgers' 64.8% success rate on stolen bases last year ranked 14th in the NL.
Lopes, who managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000-2002, has been a major league coach or manager since 1988, one year after his playing career ended. He has coached first base in 17 of his 23 years as a coach, for the Rangers, Orioles, Padres, Nationals, and Phillies. But now Lopes is back with the organization for which he spent his first 14 years in professional baseball. Now that Lopes is back in Dodger blue, perhaps he can film another commercial like this one:
Lopes was drafted by the Dodgers in 1968, a magical year that also saw the Dodgers draft and sign Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Bill Buckner, Joe Ferguson, Doyle Alexander, Geoff Zahn, Tom Paciorek, and Bobby Valentine. Lopes played for the Dodgers from 1972-1981, as part of the vaunted infield of Garvey, Lopes, Bill Russell, and Cey that played together for a record eight and a half seasons.
Lopes hit .262/.349/.380, a 105 OPS+, in his 10 seasons as a Dodger, and is second in franchise history with 418 stolen bases. Not surprisingly, Lopes stole bases at an 83% clip as a Dodger. Lopes became the charter member of the Dodgers' 25/25 club when he hit 28 home runs and had 44 stolen bases in 1979.
The hiring of Lopes as first base coach would finalize the Dodger coaching staff under first-year manager Don Mattingly, although nothing has yet been announced by the club:
- Bench Coach: Trey Hillman
- Hitting Coach: Jeff Pentland
Secondary Hitting Instructor: Dave Hansen
- Pitching Coach: Rick Honeycutt
- Bullpen Coach: Ken Howell
- First Base Coach: Davey Lopes
Third Base Coach: Tim Wallach
Five of the seven Dodger presumed coaches under Mattingly played for the Dodgers.