Off Base
Wanna Get Away?

June 16, 2008, 7:46 p.m.

Frustrated by the current state of Dodger affairs? Come to believe that this peek-a-boo thing you do, where you shield your eyes for large chunks of a game, only to experience horror as you open them at the exact wrong moment, time after time after time?

Realized that the post-game crawl into the fetal position is of little or no good in relieving the pain from which you suffer? Concluded finally that you cannot defeat the thing that is Dodger Fever, that you can only hope to contain it?

Contemplating a slit of the wrists at the threat of a fifth consecutive rhetorical question hurled your way to begin this reading? Hoping to change the subject completely, only to find yourself wanting; nay, needing something Dodgers-related to burden yourself with?

Fine, that much I can do. Let's get to Part III in the series, Biggest Trades in Los Angeles Dodgers History.

In Part I, we discussed, among others, the Wally Moon for Gino Cimoli trade, the Frank Howard for Claude Osteen trade, and the Richie Allen for Tommy John trade. In Part II, the Doyle Alexander for Frank Robinson, the Willie Davis for Mike Marshall, and the Rick Rhoden for Jerry Reuss.

Remember please, these are neither the best Dodgers trades, necessarily, nor the worst; just the most significant. Continuing chronologically:

February 8, 1982: Dave Lopes to Oakland for Lance Hudson. In what was essentially a giveaway to pave the way for Steve Sax, this trade marked the beginning of the end for the famous Dodgers infield. With Ron Cey and Steve Garvey lasting one more year in L.A., Bill Russell, to the surprise of many, ended up as the survivor, playing his entire 18 year career in Dodger blue.

Lopes had managed just 214 at bats in 1981, batting .206 with five homers and 17 RBIs, departing with teammate Reggie Smith as World Champions.

Hudson never appeared in a single major league game.

January 19, 1983: Ron Cey to the Cubs for minor league pitcher Vance Lovelace. A dump that worked, shall we say, a tad worse than did the Lopes for Hudson deal.

While 1982 had been a typically productive year for the Penguin, who recorded a .254, with 24 and 79, the Dodgers and Al Campanis guessed wrong, handing the third base job to Pedro Guerrero. A year and a half and 46 errors later, Guerrero became a full-time outfielder, and with the exception of Adrian Beltre's all-too-brief-tenure, third base has been a black hole in Los Angeles ever since.

Cey went to Chicago and proceeded to hit .275, with 24 homers and 90 RBIs. Vintage Ron Cey, and as they say, a year too early, rather than a year too late.

Lovelace, unlike Hudson, did get to the majors eventually, pitching 4 2/3 innings over a three-year career.

August 31, 1985: Dodgers get Bill Madlock from the Pirates for R.J. Reynolds, Cecil Espy and Sid Bream. Second guess at your own peril. Yes, Madlock's best days were behind him, but it was a trade deadline deal engineered to win a division, and win a division it did.

Madlock hit .360 over the final month of the season, following up with a three-homer, seven-RBI, .333 National League Championship Series performance. Like then left fielder Guerrero, who fired his glove to the turf in disgust, Madlock watched helplessly as Jack Clark's homer off the dreaded Tom Niedenfuer screamed by him and into the pavilion, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series.

December 11, 1987: In a three-team trade, the Dodgers acquire Alfredo Griffin, Jay Howell and Jessie Orosco, with Bob Welch and Matt Young going to Oakland, and Jack Savage to the Mets. New York, much to their delight, also gets Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst from the Athletics.

The beginning of a championship season in the making. Alfredo Griffin's .199 batting average is about as beside the point as can possibly be.

Among the things the Dodgers desperately needed going into the 1988 season was a shortstop. A bona fide, classic-for-the-era, slick fielding but sure-handed shortstop; a guy who was always in the right place, for every single play of every single game. Though he missed a large chunk of the season after being hit in the hand by a Dwight Gooden fastball, Griffin was that guy.

Perhaps as good an example of the stars being aligned for the Dodgers in '88 was Dave Anderson's rising to the occasion the way he did, minding the store until Griffin's return. Again, the .249 doesn't tell the story. Anderson played a clutch two-month stretch at short, made just five errors at the position all season, while adding some extremely clutch hits.

The Dodgers needed relief pitching as much as they did a shortstop at the time of the trade, and though Jesse Orosco had lost a bit of his relief ace edge over the years, he contributed nine saves, to complement Jay Howell's 21.

Welch went on to win 17 games in both 1988 and '89, with an incredible 27-6 record in wining the Cy Young Award in 1990, but without Griffin, Orosco and Howell, there would have been no championship in 1988.

August 16, 1988: Pedro Guerrero to the Cards for John Tudor. Tudor won four games down the stretch, but was clearly walking wounded during the postseason, leaving the World Series mound holding his left arm in the right.

But when it came right down to it, Tudor made Jeff Kent look like he'd been vaccinated with laughing gas, and he and the Dodgers were simply not a good match. To no one's surprise or dismay, Tudor went straight back to St. Louis as a free agent within seconds of the final out of the Series.

December 14, 1990: Jose Vizcaino to the Cubs for Greg Smith. Vizcaino had a fine career, and after becoming a World Series hero in New York, eventually found his way back to Los Angeles. There's even talk of a comeback next year. Meanwhile Smith finished with 11 career hits, none of which came as a Dodger. But more importantly, this was the trade that assured Jose Offerman's installation as Dodger shortstop. Need I say more?

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged. Look for more in Part IV shortly.

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