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Matt Kemp Drawing Comparisons To The Duke

The Dodgers are honoring Duke Snider next Tuesday with a pregame ceremony as well as giving out a bobblehead of Snider to the fans in attendance at the game (which may or may not be Nate Eovaldi's major league debut, but that's another story). That you'd have to go back to the Hall of Famer Snider to find another season by a Dodger center fielder to equal what Matt Kemp is doing this year is incredible.

Earlier today, we saw that when the season was broken down into thirds, Kemp's second 54-game stretch was even better than his first, which was amazing in itself. That spurred some discussion in the comments about the greatest season ever by a Los Angeles Dodger center fielder, and it looks like Kemp is in good position to overtake Jimmy Wynn's 1974 campaign.

Looking at all Dodgers, even in Brooklyn, to play at least 60 games in center field in one season, here are the center fielders to slug at least .500:

Dodgers Center Fielders With .500 Slugging %
Player Year PA SLG
Marquis Grissom 2002 371 .510
Duke Snider 1958 365 .505
Duke Snider 1957 592 .587
Duke Snider 1956 652 .598
Duke Snider 1955 653 .628
Duke Snider 1954 679 .647
Duke Snider 1953 680 .627
Duke Snider 1950 684 .553
Pete Reiser 1941 601 .558
Len Koenecke 1934 536 .509
Johnny Frederick 1930 673 .524
Johnny Frederick 1929 682 .545
Minimum 60 games in CF; bold = led league

That Grissom made this list is remarkable, especially considering that it was one season after the worst 20-home run season in MLB history (hey, numbers two and four on that list look familiar!). Grissom and Snider (in 1958) are the only Los Angeles Dodgers to show up in this list of slugging center fielders, but neither of them qualified for the batting title.

Which leaves us with the fact that Kemp has an excellent chance to become the first full-time LA Dodger center fielder ever to slug .500 in a season. With a slugging percentage of .591, he has some cushion too; if Kemp goes hitless in his next 72 at-bats (only 27 more AB than Craig Counsell!), his slugging percentage will still be .500.


Dodgers   Padres
SS Gordon CF Maybin
3B Miles SS Bartlett
RF Ethier
3B Headley
CF Kemp 1B Guzman
1B Rivera 2B Hudson
C Navarro RF Cunningham
LF Gwynn LF Blanks
2B Carroll
C Martinez
P Lilly P Stauffer

Game Time: 7:05 p.m.


MLB Gameday