This week I spotlight a former Dodgers great, who stands alone atop a club record list not many would be able to guess.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Eric Karros went to high school in Southern California, attended college at UCLA, and was drafted in the World Series year of 1988 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It took six rounds for his name to be called, but Karros was going to stay in Los Angeles.
His career got started in an early September game in 1991. It was a rather benign way to experience your first appearance in a major league game. It came in the way of a pinch-runner against the Chicago Cubs, even though he was not known for his fleet of foot. His first career start came three days later against the St. Louis Cardinals and promptly went 0-3. His first career hit and only hit in 1991, was a pinch-hit, two-run double off of Matt Hill of the Cincinnati Reds. His batting average at the end of 1991 was .071.
However, the following year, he improved with a bang, hitting his first career home run in his first at-bat of 1992. He kicked off that campaign to start the Dodgers stream of five consecutive Rookie of the Year winners. He was the second Dodgers first baseman, to that point, to win the award. The first was awarded to the man the trophy is named after, Jackie Robinson. Robinson started off his rookie year initially as a first baseman before moving over to second. Unfortunately, Karros was the only highlight of that season as the team finished one loss shy of the century mark.
Karros went on to post solid numbers as a Dodger. He hit just below .270 and hit an average of nearly 25 bombs a year. His best year in blue came in 1999 when he hit over .300 with 34 home runs, and 112 RBI’s.
Even after all of this success, he went on to be rather forgettable by most fans. There was a local television commercial that aired after his ROY season that poked fun of how no one knew who he was.
He was later traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2002, then signed to play his final year, 40 games, in 2004 with the Oakland Athletics.
However, Karros holds some unbelievable accolades and accomplishments in the Dodgers record books. Did you know, no other Dodger had more seasons with at least 30 long balls and 100 RBIs? He has five of them. Tied with Duke Snider and Gil Hodges. He is also the only Dodger, EVER, to hit two home runs in a single inning.
And that club record he holds on his one I mentioned earlier? I bet you’d name 10 other Dodgers when asked who holds the Los Angeles Dodgers record for home runs before you got to Eric Karros.
Snider may hold the franchise record, but Karros hit 270 as a Los Angeles Dodger.
42 more than anyone else the next closest player.
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