Manny…in historical perspective
Mark Langill points out the following:
The return of outfielder Manny Ramirez in 2009 gives the Dodgers their most prolific slugger to begin a season in terms of his 527 lifetime home runs. The previous Opening Day record was the 503 career home runs that Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson brought into his only season with the Dodgers after being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson, who was 36 on Opening Day 1972, hit 19 home runs in 103 games with Los Angeles. He played through 1976 and finished with 586 home runs.
Free agent first baseman Fred McGriff joined the Dodgers in 2003 at age 39 with 478 home runs, but hit just 13 in 86 games and the Los Angeles marketing department’s “500” logo anticipating McGriff’s milestone remained in permanent storage. McGriff played one more season in 2004 with Tampa Bay, but hit only two and retired at 493.
When Eddie Murray returned to Los Angeles in September 1997 for his second stint as a Dodger, he had 504 home runs. That number didn’t change as Murray had two singles in seven at-bats and he retired after the season.
The chase for 600 home runs puts Ramirez in uncharted waters as no player has ever hit career home run No. 400 or 500 in a Dodger uniform. The franchise career home run record is held by Hall of Famer Duke Snider, who hit 389 with Brooklyn (316) and Los Angeles (73) from 1947 to 1962. First baseman Gil Hodges holds the Brooklyn franchise record for most home runs with 317 from 1947 to 1957 (and hit 361 overall as a Dodger through 1961 to rank No.2 behind Snider). The record for Los Angeles home runs is held by Eric Karros, who hit 270 from 1992 to 2002.
So who holds the record for owning the most career home runs while wearing a Dodger uniform? Alas, it’s a trick question. Babe Ruth, at the time baseball’s home run king at 714, coached first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1938 season.
Here’s today’s lineup against the Rangers (who actually have Andruw Jones hitting fourth)