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Position-by-position home run records of the Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have employed a fair number of power hitters over the last 56 seasons. How do they rank position-by-position?

Matt Kemp is active leader in home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Matt Kemp is active leader in home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Jeff Gross

This past weekend the San Diego Padres tweeted that Jedd Gyorko broke the all-time career record for home runs by a Padres second baseman, when he hit his 31st. SBNation's Grant Brisbee lept right on this absurdly low number and searched for the lowest team records for home runs at every position. Fortunately, a search in that article for "Dodgers" yields nothing.

Thanks for Baseball Reference's Play Index feature, it's straightforward to compile the top-ten home run lists for every position for the Los Angeles Dodgers, so I did just that. And the tops of these lists are nothing to chuckle about. But a few interesting names do crop up here and there, past and present. Let's take a look, shall we?

Catcher

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Mike Piazza as C 1992 1998 690 176
2 Steve Yeager as C 1972 1985 1088 98
3 John Roseboro as C 1958 1967 1146 87
4 Mike Scioscia as C 1980 1992 1335 68
4 Joe Ferguson as C 1970 1980 467 68
6 Russell Martin as C 2006 2010 631 53
7 Paul Lo Duca as C 1998 2004 484 50
8 Todd Hundley as C 1999 2003 194 48
9 A. J. Ellis as C 2008 2014 370 26
10 Rod Barajas as C 2010 2011 108 21

The pinnacle of power-hitting catchers for the Dodgers is no surprise, but the defense-first Yeager popped enough shots to place second here. At his current pace, Ellis will be hard pressed to improve his placement. And whodathunk the guy who rocked Dee Gordon would crack this group:

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via usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com

First Base

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Eric Karros as 1B 1991 2002 1570 269
2 Steve Garvey as 1B 1972 1982 1467 195
3 Greg Brock as 1B 1982 1986 428 71
4 James Loney as 1B 2006 2012 827 70
5 Eddie Murray as 1B 1989 1991 458 63
6 Wes Parker as 1B 1964 1972 1047 61
7 Gil Hodges as 1B 1958 1961 342 57
8 Adrian Gonzalez as 1B 2012 2014 304 42
9 Ron Fairly as 1B 1961 1969 499 41
10 Franklin Stubbs as 1B 1984 1989 231 29

The first two are no surprise, with Karros being the all-time Los Angeles Dodgers home run leader at 270, and the entire 1970s infield appears in these tables. Loney will hold onto fourth place for awhile while the current 1B climbs the chart.

Second Base

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Davey Lopes as 2B 1972 1981 1134 98
2 Jeff Kent as 2B 2005 2008 494 73
3 Charlie Neal as 2B 1958 1961 510 57
4 Jim Lefebvre as 2B 1965 1972 543 49
5 Steve Sax as 2B 1981 1988 1064 30
6 Mark Grudzielanek as 2B 2000 2002 424 29
7 Juan Samuel as 2B 1990 1992 289 24
8 Alex Cora as 2B 1998 2004 297 15
9 Delino DeShields as 2B 1994 1996 348 14
10 Mark Ellis as 2B 2012 2013 219 13
10 Eric Young as 2B 1992 1999 307 13

Lopes and Yeager hit exactly the same number of dingers at their respective primary positions. Huh. I know one tends not to expect much power from second basemen, but Ellis and Young are in 10th place? As for ninth place, [comment redacted].

Third Base

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Ron Cey as 3B 1972 1982 1460 228
2 Adrian Beltre as 3B 1998 2004 937 146
3 Pedro Guerrero as 3B 1979 1988 367 49
4 Casey Blake as 3B 2008 2011 372 48
5 Tim Wallach as 3B 1993 1996 374 47
6 Todd Zeile as 3B 1997 1998 200 38
7 Bill Sudakis as 3B 1968 1971 181 26
8 Jeff Hamilton as 3B 1986 1991 337 24
9 Juan Uribe as 3B 2011 2014 301 21
10 Jim Gilliam as 3B 1958 1966 702 18

Again, no surprise in the top two. This is first of three appearances for Guerrero, who played all over the diamond as Tommy Lasorda was willing to play that bat no matter what the defensive cost. Converted catchers take the sixth and seventh slots. As for ninth place:

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via i.imgur.com

Shortstop

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Rafael Furcal as SS 2006 2011 601 43
2 Hanley Ramirez as SS 2012 2014 221 40
3 Bill Russell as SS 1970 1986 1713 39
4 Don Zimmer as SS 1958 1963 195 21
5 Greg Gagne as SS 1996 1997 268 19
6 Maury Wills as SS 1959 1972 1478 17
6 Mariano Duncan as SS 1985 1989 302 17
8 Kevin Elster as SS 2000 2000 54 11
8 Alex Cora as SS 1998 2003 306 11
10 Dave Anderson as SS 1983 1992 373 9
10 Mark Grudzielanek as SS 1998 2000 171 9

The lowest leading total is not surprisingly at shortstop, though we could see Furcal displaced at the top this season, Hanley's health willing. I think no one would have guessed light-hitting Don Zimmer in fourth place. Grudzielanek makes his second appearance on a list. And Gagne's (that's GAG-knee, not gone-YEA !) 19 in only two years is a bit surprising.

Finally, Kevin Elster doesn't crack the top ten without christening Pac Bell Park in San Francisco with three blasts of his own in the first game in that stadium.

Left Field

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Dusty Baker as LF 1977 1983 978 139
2 Gary Sheffield as LF 1999 2001 425 113
3 Tommy Davis as LF 1960 1966 523 49
4 Pedro Guerrero as LF 1979 1988 198 48
4 Kal Daniels as LF 1989 1992 289 48
6 Wally Moon as LF 1959 1965 429 43
7 Manny Ramirez as LF 2008 2010 201 41
8 Kirk Gibson as LF 1988 1990 216 35
9 Lou Johnson as LF 1965 1967 288 31
10 Willie Crawford as LF 1969 1975 221 27

Baker was popular in LF for a reason. Guerrero and Crawford are the only players to chart in both corner outfield spots. For a corner outfield position, the drop off after the top two is a little shocking.

Center Field

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Willie Davis as CF 1960 1973 1704 147
2 Matt Kemp as CF 2006 2014 805 137
3 Ken Landreaux as CF 1981 1987 614 57
4 Jim Wynn as CF 1974 1975 250 50
5 Duke Snider as CF 1958 1962 195 44
6 Rick Monday as CF 1977 1980 226 37
7 Raul Mondesi as CF 1993 1998 139 32
7 John Shelby as CF 1987 1989 351 32
9 Milton Bradley as CF 2004 2005 165 28
10 Marquis Grissom as CF 2001 2002 148 27
10 Don Demeter as CF 1958 1961 177 27

Once upon a time we may have thought Kemp would succeed Three-Dog on this list; Dave Stewart thinks he still will. Kemp is the leader among current Dodgers with 172 blasts in blue, trailing Piazza by five for fourth place on the Los Angeles list. The Duke had enough pop left at the end to get to the middle of this table. Monday's most famous Dodgers dinger came as a RF, at the expense of Steve Rogers and the Monteral Expos in the ninth inning of the fifth and final game of the 1981 NLCS.

Right Field

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Shawn Green as RF 2000 2004 685 140
2 Raul Mondesi as RF 1993 1999 760 129
3 Andre Ethier as RF 2007 2014 826 118
4 Frank Howard as RF 1958 1964 499 106
5 Mike Marshall as RF 1981 1989 629 101
6 Reggie Smith as RF 1976 1980 457 94
7 Pedro Guerrero as RF 1979 1988 223 41
8 Willie Crawford as RF 1964 1975 489 38
9 Darryl Strawberry as RF 1991 1993 201 37
10 Ron Fairly as RF 1958 1969 424 35

This is the most top-heavy position, even if the total at number one isn't close to the highest. Dodger fans have enjoyed a fair amount of power from right field over the years. I tend to think of Howard primarily as a LF-1B, but that was actually only after the trade to the Washington Senators. Kemp is at 27 and counting, but has to pass Yasiel Puig's 30 before chasing after Fairley.

Pitcher

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Don Drysdale as P 1958 1969 394 26
2 Fernando Valenzuela as P 1980 1990 318 8
3 Claude Osteen as P 1965 1973 290 6
3 Darren Dreifort as P 1994 2004 119 6
5 Stan Williams as P 1958 1962 127 5
6 Rick Rhoden as P 1974 1978 102 4
6 Hideo Nomo as P 1995 2004 179 4
8 Larry Sherry as P 1959 1963 76 3
8 Burt Hooton as P 1975 1984 256 3
10 Many as P are tied with 2

Since 1958, Drysdale's 26 bombs are the second most in the majors for pitchers, trailing only Earl Wilson who clubbed 33 through 1970, primarly for the Red Sox and Tigers, tacking on one last homer with the Padres. If there's any one thing lacking in Clayton Kershaw's game, it's not making this list. Yet.

Pinch Hitter

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Dave Hansen as PH 1990 2002 497 13
2 Olmedo Saenz as PH 2004 2007 228 8
2 Lee Lacy as PH 1972 1978 126 8
4 Billy Ashley as PH 1992 1997 98 7
5 Ken McMullen as PH 1962 1975 103 6
5 Chris Gwynn as PH 1987 1995 236 6
7 Frank Howard as PH 1959 1964 70 5
8 Jose Morales as PH 1982 1984 95 4
8 Candy Maldonado as PH 1981 1985 84 4
8 Mitch Webster as PH 1991 1995 199 4
8 Rick Monday as PH 1977 1984 211 4
8 Duke Snider as PH 1958 1962 138 4

Of course the most famous pinch-hit home run in Dodgers history would not appear in these tables:

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via 31.media.tumblr.com

In terms of frequency, "Big" Frank Howard and the nearly equally large Billy Ashley lead this group with one home run for every 14 plate appearances.

Perhaps the most famous Dodgers pinch-hitter is Manny Mota, who had exactly one HR in that capacity, his last longball in the majors, against none other than renowned Dodger killer J. R. Richard. Later that same inning, Baker hit his 30th homer of the season, giving the Dodgers their renowned 30-homer quarter of Smith, Cey, Garvey and Baker. Baker's high-five partner Glenn Burke immediately followed with his own blast, completing a three-homer inning versus the hard-throwing Richard.

Designated Hitter

Rank Player Split From To G HR
1 Matt Kemp as DH 2011 2014 4 2
2 Mike Kinkade as DH 2003 2003 1 1
2 Olmedo Saenz as DH 2004 2007 20 1
2 Hanley Ramirez as DH 2013 2014 7 1
2 Bobby Abreu as DH 2012 2012 4 1
2 Ramon Hernandez as DH 2013 2013 2 1
2 Luis Gonzalez as DH 2007 2007 1 1
2 Manny Ramirez as DH 2010 2010 6 1
2 Chad Kreuter as DH 2001 2001 1 1

This list is, of course, a bit of joke given the recency of interleague play, but with one roundtripper for every nine PA, maybe Matt Kemp's future is as a DH. Or not. I guess I just wanted to see Mike Kinkade on one of these lists.

Olmedo Saenz 20 games and 75 PA are by far the most for a Dodgers DH; only Dave Hansen with 12 and 44, respectively, is within 50% of the Killer Tomato's team marks.

One final note. The Baseball Rererence engine allows you to search for "other" as a position choice in these "splits" searches. Exactly one Dodger home run appeared in this category, and it was the first career homer for outfielder Von Joshua. In a 1970 game with the Montreal Expos, trailing 10-4, Joshua pinch-hit for the pitcher to lead off the bottom of the 7th and made out. However, the Dodgers batted around and when Joshua re-appeared, he walloped a solo homer to cap an eight-run inning and a 12-10 Dodgers win. Technically, in that second at-bat, Joshua was not pinch-hitting for anyone, having already entered the game earlier as a pinch-hitter, so his homer is recorded as hit without having a position. (He also did not enter the game defensively, though that would not change the position classification for these purposes.)

That's the home run jog through memory lane. Hope it triggered a few memories of your own.