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Aprils To Remember: Matt Kemp & Ron Cey

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Ron Cey, seen here with Don Mattingly in September 2010, had quite a start to the 1977 season. (<em>Photo: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE</em>)
Ron Cey, seen here with Don Mattingly in September 2010, had quite a start to the 1977 season. (Photo: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

Matt Kemp had himself an April to remember, quite possibly the greatest single month in Dodgers history. Kemp hit .417/.490/.893 with 12 home runs, 25 RBI, and 24 runs scored. Kemp led MLB in just about everything and was unanimously voted the National League Player of the Month.

Kemp set a new Dodgers April record with those 12 home runs, but he couldn't quite surpass the franchise April records for batting average and RBI.

Those belong to the mustachioed Ron Cey, who began the 1977 season on fire. Thanks to the season starting on April 7, Cey played just 20 games in April 1977, three fewer than Kemp 35 years later, but set then-MLB records with nine home runs and 29 RBI.

Cey did most of his April damage on a 12-game road trip that saw him hit .452 with seven home runs and 19 RBI, with a whopping .571 on-base percentage. The Dodgers went 11-1 on that road trip through San Francisco, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and San Diego.

Cey hit .425/.543/.890 in April and like Kemp won the National League Player of the Month Award. Cey helped the Dodgers to a 17-3 start and an early 7½-game lead over the two-time defending World Series champion Big Red Machine.

Cey had at least one hit in 18 of 20 games in April, and in the other two games he walked once. He drove in at least one run in each of the first seven games of the year, and had an RBI in 16 of 20 April games. It was quite a month.

It was a lead the Dodgers never would relinquish, as they won 98 games in Tommy Lasorda's first year as manager and advanced to the World Series. Cey would hit just .214/.315/.385 the rest of the season, but fueled by his hot start would finish with 30 home runs and 110 RBI, making Cey one of the first quartet of teammates to hit 30 home runs in a season.