Eric Gagne

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Posted by motoman 04/30/2009 @ 14:07

Tags : eric gagne, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Former Red Sox Pitcher Eric Gagne to Pitch in Worcester - OurSports Central (press release)
Worcester, MA - June 16th, 2009 - When the 2009 Worcester Tornadoes return home from New Jersey this Friday they will encounter Quebec's newest addition, and Cy Young Award winner, Eric Gagne. Gagne, who joins the Capitales as a player/coach will...
Eric Gagne would welcome a return to the Dodgers - Los Angeles Times
Morry Gash / AP Eric Gagne was released by the Milwaukee Brewers this spring after a rough 2008 and another injury. Former closer, who will pitch for an independent team this summer, wants to return to the majors this season. By Bill Shaikin Eric Gagne...
Another Worcester Walk-Off - OurSports Central (press release)
Eric Gagne (0-0) arrived to the park to pitch tonight amongst much fanfare and was decidedly mediocre in his second canam League start. In five full innings pitched Gagne allowed five earned runs and allowed seven hits, receiving a no decision....
Former star Gagne returns to baseball — in Quebec - National Post
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesEric Gagne, who's fallen from grace is well-documented, is making a comeback in the hope of resurrecting a major league career that has plummeted since he left the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005. QUEBEC -- Eric Gagne has...
•Eric Gagne To Make Indy League Debut - Baseball Ink
Éric Gagné, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner, is scheduled to make his first start for the independent CanAm League Québec Capitales this weekend in Quebec City. If all goes as planned, the new number 38 of the Capitales will take the mound at Stade...
Patience used to be a virtue - Philadelphia Inquirer
Former NL Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the unaffiliated Can-Am League. Gagne was released by Milwaukee in March. . . . Former pitcher Hal Woodeshick died Sunday in Houston at age 76, the Astros said....
Steroids outrage losing its juice - San Diego Union Tribune
The list of tainted luminaries would also include Eric Gagne, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, and that list is likely to get longer as new leaks develop in the “confidential” testing of 2003....
Could it be back-to-back zeros? -
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the last time the Diamondbacks were shut out in back-to-back games was back in 2004 when Jose Lima and Eric Gagne of the Dodgers blanked Arizona 10-0, allowing just three hits, and the next day, Kaz Ishii and 3...
Martin pledges clean water worldwide -
Hervieux's sister, Valerie, is married to former Dodgers pitcher Eric Gagne. Then Martin went out to take batting practice, while manager Joe Torre fielded questions about the two-time All-Star's batting slump. He's hitting .236 with no homers and 20...
Friday's Texas Rangers spotlight: David Murphy - Dallas Morning News
"Coming back the first time, I had that little, extra bit of adrenaline," said Murphy, one of three players traded for Eric Gagne in 2007. "I don't have bad feelings toward them, but it's almost like I tried too hard when I came here last year....

John Smoltz


John Andrew Smoltz (born May 15, 1967 in Warren, Michigan) is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He is best known for his prolific career of more than two decades with the Atlanta Braves, in which he garnered eight All-Star selections and received the Cy Young Award in 1996. Though predominantly known as a starting pitcher, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher in history to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season (the other being Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley). He is the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. He became the 16th member of the 3,000 strikeout club on April 22, 2008 when he fanned Felipe Lopez of the Washington Nationals in the third inning in Atlanta.

Smoltz throws a four-seam fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 miles per hour, a strong, effective slider, and an 88–91 mph split-finger fastball that he uses as a strikeout pitch. He also mixes in a curveball and change-up on occasion, and in 1999, he began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely uses either in game situations today.

John Smoltz was an All-State baseball and basketball player at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan before the Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft. He was the 574th selection of the draft.

Smoltz played first for the Lakeland Flying Tigers minor league team and then moved on to the Glens Falls Tigers in 1987. On August 12, 1987, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. The 1987 Tigers were in a three-team race, chasing the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East division lead. In need of pitching help, Detroit sent their 20-year-old prospect to the Braves for the 36-year-old veteran Doyle Alexander.

Smoltz made his Major League debut on July 23, 1988. He posted poor statistics in a dozen starts, but in 1989, Smoltz blossomed. In 29 starts, he recorded a 12–11 record and 2.94 ERA while pitching 208 innings and making the All-Star team. Teammate Tom Glavine also had his first good year in 1989, raising optimism about the future of Atlanta's pitching staff.

Smoltz began the 1991 season with a 2–11 record. He began seeing a sports psychologist, after which he closed out the season on a 12–2 pace, helping the Braves win a tight NL West race. His winning ways continued into the 1991 National League Championship Series. Smoltz won both his starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates, capped by a complete game shutout in the seventh game, propelling the Braves to their first World Series since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Smoltz had two no-decisions against the Minnesota Twins, with a 1.26 ERA. In the seventh and deciding game, he faced his former Detroit Tiger hero, Jack Morris. Both starters pitched shutout ball for seven innings, before Smoltz was removed from the 0–0 game in the eighth. Morris had eventually pitched a 10-inning complete game victory.

The next year, Smoltz won fifteen regular season games and was the MVP of the 1992 National League Championship Series, winning two games. He left the seventh game trailing, but ended up with a no-decision as the Braves mounted a dramatic ninth-inning comeback win. In the World Series that year, Smoltz started two of the six games in the series, with a no-decision in Game Two and a win with the Braves facing elimination in Game 5.

Before the 1993 season, the Braves signed renowned control pitcher Greg Maddux, completing what many consider to be the most accomplished starting trio ever assembled on a single Major League team. Smoltz again won fifteen games, but suffered his first postseason loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS despite a 0.00 ERA.

Smoltz had a 6-10 record in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and during the break, had bone chips removed from his elbow. Returning as the Braves' #3 starter, he posted a 12–7 record in 1995. Smoltz had shaky postseason numbers, avoiding a decision despite a 6.60 ERA. But Smoltz and the Braves won their only World Series, thanks in great part to Maddux and Glavine, who had begun to overshadow Smoltz.

The following season, 1996, was Smoltz's best year as a professional. He went 24–8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts, including winning a franchise record fourteen straight decisions. He won the National League Cy Young with 26 of the 28 first-place votes. Smoltz's effectiveness in 1997 was only slightly less than his Cy Young season, but frugal run support limited him to a 15–12 record. Smoltz was also awarded a Silver Slugger Award for his batting.

Smoltz continued to post excellent statistics in 1998 and 1999, but he was spending significant time on the disabled list and missed about a fourth of his starts. In 1999, Smoltz began experimenting with both a knuckleball and a three-quarters delivery, though he rarely uses either in game situations today.

He underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2000 season, missing the entire year. When he was unable to perform effectively as a starter in 2001, Smoltz made a transition to the bullpen, filling a void as Atlanta's closer down the stretch.

In 2002, his first full season as a closer, Smoltz broke the National League saves record with 55 saves (the previous record was 53; Éric Gagné would equal Smoltz's new record a year later). Smoltz finished third in the Cy Young Award voting. Injuries limited Smoltz slightly in 2003, but he still recorded 45 saves with a 1.12 ERA in 64.3 innings pitched. In 2004, Smoltz finished with 44 saves, but was frustrated with his inability to make an impact as a closer during another Braves' postseason loss.

By this point, Smoltz was all that remained of the once-dominant Atlanta Braves' rotation of the 1990s. Tom Glavine had moved on to play for the New York Mets, a divisional rival, while Greg Maddux returned to his old team, the Chicago Cubs.

After three years as one of baseball's most dominating closers, the team's management agreed to return Smoltz to the starting rotation prior to the 2005 season.

Smoltz's renewed career as a starter began inauspiciously. He allowed six earned runs in only 1 2/3 innings — matching the shortest starts of his career--as the Braves were blown out on Opening Day by the Florida Marlins. Poor run support contributed to an 0–3 start despite stronger pitching performances by Smoltz. After these initial difficulties, though, things fell into place. At the All-Star break, Smoltz was 9–5 with an ERA of 2.68 and was chosen for the 2005 NL All-Star team. Smoltz gave up a solo home run to Miguel Tejada in the second inning of the American League's 7–5 victory and received the loss. For his career, he is 1–2 in All-Star games, putting him in a tie for the most losses.

Smoltz finished 2005 at 14–7, with a 3.06 ERA with 169 strikeouts while allowing less than one hit per inning. Smoltz had answered the critics who doubted would be able to reach the 200 inning plateau after three years in the bullpen. Nonetheless, Smoltz's increased workload caused him to wear down towards the end of the season.

Despite a sore shoulder, Smoltz pitched seven innings in the Braves' 7–1 win over the Houston Astros in Game Two of the 2005 NLDS. It was the only game the Braves would manage to win in the series against the eventual National League champions. The victory over Houston gave Smoltz a 13–4 record as a starter (15–4 overall) with a 2.65 ERA in the postseason. He currently has more career postseason wins than any other player in history. He is followed by Andy Pettitte (14), Tom Glavine (14), and Greg Maddux (11).

In 2006, Smoltz finished the season with a record of 16–9, an earned run average of 3.49, and 211 strikeouts. He was tied for the National League lead in wins, and was third in strikeouts. The fact that the Braves bullpen blew six of Smoltz's leads in 2006 robbed him of a strong chance at a 20-win season.

On September 21, 2006, the Braves announced they had picked up Smoltz's $8 million contract option for the 2007 season. On April 26, 2007 Smoltz agreed to a contract extension with the Braves. The extension includes a $14 million salary for the 2008 season, a $12 million vesting option for 2009 dependent on Smoltz's ability to pitch 200 innings in 2008, and a $12 or $13 million team option for 2010 dependent on Smoltz's ability to pitch 200 innings in 2009.

2007 was a year of reunions and milestones for Smoltz. On May 9, he faced Greg Maddux for the first time since July 10, 1992. Smoltz earned a win in a 3–2 victory over the San Diego Padres; Maddux received a no-decision. On May 24, exactly eleven years to the day after recording his 100th win, Smoltz recorded his 200th win against Tom Glavine. He faced Glavine 3 other times faring 3–1 overall against him. On June 27, Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux all recorded wins on the same day. On August 19, 2007, Smoltz set the new Atlanta Braves strikeout record by striking out Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds. It was his 2,913th strikeout and he passed Phil Niekro on the Braves all-time list; striking out a season-high 12 in the game. He finished the year 14–8 with a 3.11 ERA and 197 strikeouts. The stalwart pitcher was the only holdover on the Braves' roster from their 1991 worst-to-first season until Glavine returned to the Braves after an absence of several years following the 2007 season.

On April 22, 2008, Smoltz became the 16th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to reach 3,000 career strikeouts. He is one of four pitchers to strike out 3,000 batters for one team, joining Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.

On April 28, 2008, Smoltz was placed on the 15 day disabled list due to an inflamed right shoulder.

On May 1, 2008, Smoltz indicated that he intended to return to being a relief pitcher. After coming off the disabled list on June 2, 2008, he blew his first save opportunity in three years. Two days later, the Braves placed him back on the disabled list. John Smoltz underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on June 10, 2008. His contract expired at the end of the season, and the contract offer from the Braves was not sufficient to keep him.

In December of 2008, several members of the Boston Red Sox organization including pitching coach John Farrell, Vice President of Player Personnel Ben Cherington, and assistant trainter Mike Reinold, flew to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in a 90-minute workout with Smoltz. Throwing for only the second time since having surgery on a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, Smoltz threw a 50-pitch side session and showcased not only his tremendous progress since the surgery, but an arsenal of well-developed pitches which has made him so successful throughout his career. Smoltz impressed the Red Sox members enough during the workout that less than a month later, a one-year contract was offered by the organization.

On January 13, 2009, Smoltz signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox for a reported base salary of $5.5 million with roster time incentives and miscellaneous award incentives which could net as much as $10 million. He is expected to be pitching in the Boston Red Sox rotation roughly around June 1, 2009, joining a vaunted Red Sox rotation.

Smoltz met his wife Dyan at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta; the couple had four children before divorcing in 2007 after 16 years of marriage. Smoltz lives in Atlanta and also has a home at Sea Island, Georgia, a golf resort.

Smoltz is a born-again Christian and is Chairman of the Board at Alpharetta-based King's Ridge Christian School, and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. He has also been involved in the development of a new Christian school in the metropolitan Atlanta region.

Smoltz is a good friend of professional golfer Tiger Woods. The two often golf together. Woods has stated that Smoltz is the best golfer outside of the PGA Tour that he has observed.

John made his debut as a baseball commentator on August 16, 2008. He was the color-commentator along side Joe Simpson.

Smoltz produced an automated campaign phone recording on behalf of the candidacy of Ralph E. Reed, Jr. for Lt. Governor of Georgia during the 2006 primary.

Smoltz and his good friend Jeff Foxworthy teamed up for the charity event "An Evening With Smoltz and Friends" on November 9, 2008 at the Verizon Amphitheater in Alpharetta, GA to raise money for the John Smoltz Foundation, which has supported numerous charitable endeavors in the Atlanta area over the past decade.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers 50th.svg

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team based in Los Angeles, California, USA. The team is in the Western Division of the National League. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of names before becoming the Brooklyn Dodgers circa 1911. The team moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. The Dodgers are the current National League West champions.

Brooklyn was home to numerous baseball clubs in the mid-1850s. Eight of 16 participants in the first convention were from Brooklyn, including the Atlantic, Eckford and Excelsior clubs that combined to dominate play for most of the 1860s. Brooklyn helped make baseball commercial, as the locale of the first paid admission games, a series of three all star contests matching New York and Brooklyn in 1858. Brooklyn also featured the first two enclosed baseball grounds, the Union Grounds and the Capitoline Grounds; enclosed, dedicated ballparks accelerated the evolution from amateurism to professionalism.

Despite the success of Brooklyn clubs in the first Association, officially amateur until 1869, they fielded weak teams in the succeeding National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, the first professional league formed in 1871. The Excelsiors no longer challenged for the amateur championship after the war and never entered the professional NA. The Eckfords and Atlantics declined to join until 1872 and thereby lost their best players; Eckford survived only one season and Atlantic four, with losing teams.

The National League replaced the NA in 1876 and granted exclusive territories to its eight members, excluding the Atlantics in favor of the New York Mutuals who had shared the same home grounds. When the Mutuals were expelled by the League, the Hartford Dark Blues club moved in, changed its name to The Brooklyn Hartfords and played its home games at Union Grounds in 1877 before disbanding. They were also the Brooklyn Superbas during the late 1890s and early 1900s.

The historic and heated rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants is more than a century old, and is the longest rivalry in baseball history, having begun when both clubs played in New York City (the Dodgers in Brooklyn and the Giants in Manhattan). When both franchises moved to California in 1958, the rivalry was easily transplanted with them, as the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have long been rivals in economic, cultural, and political arenas throughout the history of the State of California.

Manager Wilbert Robinson, another former Oriole, popularly known as “Uncle Robbie,” restored the Brooklyn team to respectability, with his “Brooklyn Robins” winning pennants to reach the 1916 and 1920 World Series, losing both, but contending perennially for several seasons. Charles Ebbetts and Ed McKeever died within a week in 1925, and Robbie was named president while still field manager. Upon assuming the title of president, however, Robinson’s ability to focus on the field declined, and the teams of the late 1920s were often fondly referred to as the “Daffiness Boys” for their distracted, error-ridden style of play. Outfielder Babe Herman was the leader both in hitting and in zaniness. The signature Dodger play from this era occurred when Herman doubled into a double play, in which three players - Dazzy Vance, Chick Fewster, and Herman - all ended up at third base at the same time. After his removal as club president, Wilbert Robinson returned to managing, and the club’s performance rebounded somewhat.

When Robinson retired in 1931, he was replaced as manager by Max Carey. Although some suggested renaming the "Robins" the "Brooklyn Canaries," after Carey (whose last name was originally "Carnarius"), the name "Brooklyn Dodgers" returned to stay following Robinson's retirement. It was during this era that Willard Mullin, a noted sports cartoonist, fixed the Brooklyn team with the lovable nickname of “Dem Bums.” After hearing his cab driver ask "So how did those bums do today?" Mullin decided to sketch an exaggerated version of famed circus clown Emmett Kelly to represent the Dodgers in his much-praised cartoons in the New York World-Telegram. Both the image and the nickname caught on, so much so that many a Dodger yearbook cover, from 1951 through 1957, featured a Willard Mullin illustration with the Brooklyn Bum.

Perhaps the highlight of the Daffiness Boys era came after Wilbert Robinson had left the dugout. In 1934, Giants player/manager Bill Terry was asked about the Dodgers’ chances in the coming pennant race and cracked infamously, “Is Brooklyn still in the league?” Managed now by Casey Stengel (who played for the Dodgers in the 1910s and would go on to greatness managing the New York Yankees), the 1934 Dodgers were determined to make their presence felt. As it happened, the season ended with the Giants tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the pennant, with the Giants’ remaining games against the Dodgers. Stengel (along with a legion of angry Brooklyn fans) led his Bums to the Polo Grounds for the showdown, and they beat the Giants twice to knock them out of the pennant race. The “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals nailed the pennant by beating the Cincinnati Reds those same two days.

One key development during this era was the 1938 appointment of Leland Stanford MacPhail — better known as Larry MacPhail — as the Dodgers' general manager. MacPhail, who brought night baseball to MLB as general manager of the Reds, also introduced Brooklyn to night baseball and ordered the successful refurbishing of Ebbets Field. He also brought Reds voice Red Barber to Brooklyn as the Dodgers' lead announcer in 1939, just after MacPhail broke the New York baseball executives' agreement to ban live baseball broadcasts, enacted because of the fear of what effect the radio calls would have on the home teams' attendance.

MacPhail remained with the Dodgers until 1942, when he returned to the Armed Forces for World War II. (He later became one of the New York Yankees' co-owners, bidding unsuccessfully for Barber to join him in the Bronx as announcer.) MacPhail's surviving son Leland Jr. (Lee MacPhail) and surviving grandson Andy MacPhail also became MLB execs.

The first major-league baseball game to be televised was Brooklyn’s 6-1 victory over Cincinnati at Ebbets Field on August 26, 1939. Batting helmets were introduced to Major League Baseball by the Dodgers in 1941.

For most of the first half of the 20th century, no Major League Baseball team employed an African American player. A parallel system of Negro Leagues developed, but most of the Negro League players were denied a chance to prove their skill before a national audience. Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a Major League Baseball team when he played his first major league game on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It happened mainly due to General Manager Branch Rickey's efforts. The deeply religious Rickey's motivation appears to have been primarily moral although business considerations were also present. Rickey was a member of The Methodist Church, the antecedent denomination to The United Methodist Church of today, which was a strong advocate for social justice and active later in the Civil Rights movement.

The inclusion of Robinson on the team also led the Dodgers to move its spring training site. Prior to 1946, the Dodgers held their spring training in Jacksonville, Florida. However, the city's stadium refused to host an exhibition game with the Montreal Royals, which Robinson was a member of at the time, due to segregation laws. Sanford also refused to host the game. Ultimately, City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach agreed to host the game with Robinson playing. The team would return to Daytona Beach for spring training in 1947, this time with Robinson on the big club. Although the Dodgers ultimately built Dodgertown and its Holman Stadium further south in Vero Beach, and played there for 61 spring training seasons from 1948 through 2008, Daytona Beach would rename City Island Ballpark to Jackie Robinson Ballpark in his honor.

This event was the harbinger of the integration of sports in the United States, the concomitant demise of the Negro Leagues, and is regarded as a key moment in the history of the American Civil Rights movement. Robinson was an exceptional player, a speedy runner who sparked the whole team with his intensity, and was given the inaugural Rookie of the Year award, which is now named the Jackie Robinson award in his honor. The Dodgers' willingness to integrate, when many other teams refused to, was a key factor in their 1947-1956 success. They won six pennants in those 10 years with the help of Robinson, three-time MVP Roy Campanella, Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe, Jim Gilliam, and Joe Black. Robinson would eventually go on to become the first African-American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

After the wilderness years of the 1920s and 1930s, the Dodgers were rebuilt into a contending club first by general manager Larry MacPhail and then the legendary Branch Rickey. Led by Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges in the infield, Duke Snider in center field, Roy Campanella behind the plate, and Don Newcombe on the pitcher's mound, the Dodgers won pennants in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, only to fall to the New York Yankees in all five of the subsequent World Series. The annual ritual of building excitement, followed in the end by disappointment, became a common pattern to the long suffering fans, and “Wait ’til next year!” became an unofficial Dodger slogan.

While the Dodgers generally enjoyed success during this period, in 1951 they fell victim to one of the largest collapses in the history of baseball. On August 11, Brooklyn led the National League by an enormous 13½ games over their archrivals, the Giants. However, while the Dodgers went 26-22 from that time until the end of the season, the Giants went on an absolute tear, winning an amazing 37 of their last 44 games, including their last seven in a row. At the conclusion of the season, the Dodgers and the Giants were tied for first place, forcing a three-game playoff for the pennant. The Giants took Game 1 by a score of 3-1 before being shut out by the Dodgers' Clem Labine in Game 2, 10-0. It all came down to the final game, and Brooklyn seemed to have the pennant locked up, holding a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Giants outfielder Bobby Thomson hit a stunning three-run walk-off home run off the Dodgers' Ralph Branca to secure the NL Championship for New York. Today, this home run is known as the Shot Heard 'Round The World. It was later revealed that the Giants had cheated in 1951 by stealing signals from the outfield and relaying them to hitters, including Thomson.

In 1955, by which time the core of the Dodger team was beginning to age, “next year” finally came. The fabled “Boys of Summer” shot down the "Bronx Bombers" in seven games, led by the first-class pitching of young left-hander Johnny Podres, whose key pitch was a changeup known as “pulling down the lampshade” because of the arm motion used right when the ball was released. Podres won two Series games, including the deciding seventh. The turning point of Game 7 was a spectacular double play that began with left fielder Sandy Amoros running down Yogi Berra’s long fly ball, then throwing to shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who doubled up a surprised Gil McDougald at first base to preserve the Dodger lead. The Dodgers won 2-0.

Real estate businessman Walter O'Malley had acquired majority ownership of the Dodgers in 1950, when he bought the shares of his co-owners, the estate of Branch Rickey and the late John L. Smith. Before long he was working to buy new land in Brooklyn to build a more accessible and better arrayed ballpark than Ebbets Field. Beloved as it was, Ebbets Field had grown old and was not well served by infrastructure, to the point where the Dodgers could not sell the park out even in the heat of a pennant race (despite largely dominating the league from 1946 to 1957).

New York City Construction Coordinator Robert Moses, however, sought to force O'Malley into using a site in Flushing Meadows, Queens – the site for what eventually became Shea Stadium. Moses' vision involved a city-built, city-owned park, which was greatly at odds with O'Malley's real-estate savvy. When it became clear to O'Malley that he was not going to be allowed to buy any suitable land in Brooklyn, he began thinking elsewhere.

Meanwhile, non-stop transcontinental air travel had become routine during the years since the Second World War, and teams were no longer bound by much slower railroad timetables. Because of these transportation advances, it became possible to locate teams further apart – as far west as California – while maintaining the same game schedules.

When Los Angeles officials attended the 1956 World Series looking to entice a team to move to the City of Angels, they were not even thinking of the Dodgers. Their original target had been the Washington Senators (who would in fact move to Bloomington, Minnesota to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961). At the same time, O'Malley was looking for a contingency in case Moses and other New York politicians refused to let him build the Brooklyn stadium he wanted, and sent word to the Los Angeles officials that he was interested in talking. Los Angeles offered him what New York would not: a chance to buy land suitable for building a ballpark, and own that ballpark, giving him complete control over all its revenue streams.

Meanwhile, Giants owner Horace Stoneham was having similar difficulty finding a replacement for his team's antiquated home stadium, the Polo Grounds. Stoneham was considering moving the Giants to Minneapolis, but was persuaded instead to move them to San Francisco, ensuring that the Dodgers would have a National League rival closer than St. Louis. So the two arch-rival teams, the Dodgers and Giants, moved out to the West Coast together after the 1957 season.

The Brooklyn Dodgers played their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, which the Dodgers won 2-0 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On April 18, 1958, the Los Angeles Dodgers played their first game in LA, defeating the former New York and now new San Francisco Giants, 6-5, before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Sadly, catcher Roy Campanella, left partially paralyzed in an off-season accident, was never able to play for Los Angeles.

A 2007 HBO film, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush, is a documentary covering the Dodgers history from early days to the beginning of the Los Angeles era.

The process of building Walter O'Malley's dream stadium soon began in semi-rural Chavez Ravine, in the hills just north of downtown L.A. There was some political controversy, as the residents of the ravine, mostly Hispanic and mostly poor, resisted the eminent domain removal of their homes (land which had been previously condemned for a public housing project, Elysian Park Heights) and gained some public sympathy. Still, O'Malley and the city government were determined, and construction proceeded. The resistance of the residents against their removal was known as the Battle of Chavez Ravine.

In the meantime, the Dodgers played their home games from 1958 to 1961 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a gargantuan football and track-and-field stadium that had been built in 1923, and then expanded to host the 1932 Summer Olympics. The Coliseum's dimensions were not optimal for baseball, and the best way to fit a baseball diamond into the oval-shaped stadium was to lay the third-base line parallel to the short axis of the oval, and the first-base parallel to the long axis. This resulted in a left-field fence that was only about 250 feet from home plate. A 40-foot high screen was erected to prevent home runs from becoming too trivial to hit. Still, the 1958 season saw 182 home runs hit to left field in the home games, whereas just three were hit to center field, and only eight to right field. The Dodgers outfielder Wally Moon, newly acquired for the 1959 season, became adept at launching lazy fly balls over or onto the screen, which became known as "Moon shots." He led the National League with triples in 1959.

In 1959, the season ended in a tie between the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Braves. The Dodgers won the tie-breaking playoff. 1959 also saw a team other than the Yankees win the A.L. pennant, one of only two such years in the 16-year stretch from 1949 through 1964, and because of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles, this resulted in the first World Series since 1948 to have no games in New York City. In a lively World Series, the Dodgers defeated the "Go-Go" White Sox in six games, thoroughly cementing the bond between the baseball team and its new Southern California fans.

Commemorating its 50th year in Los Angeles, the Dodgers team again played one more game in the Memorial Coliseum on March 29, 2008 - an exhibition game to benefit a cancer research charity. The crowd of 115,300, the largest in baseball history in any country, any league, saw the Dodgers lose to the Boston Red Sox by a score of 7 - 4. Due to intervening renovations, the Coliseum's left field corner was shortened to only 190 feet, calling for an even-taller left-field fence of 60 feet. Kevin Cash of the Red Sox and James Loney of the Dodgers did hit home runs over that fence, but there were unexpectedly-few home runs in the game.

Despite the passage of 50 plus years since departing from Brooklyn, many in the borough, and the nation, continue efforts to encourage a move back east. Many of these efforts take the shape of letter writing campaigns, online petitions and nostalgic articles. Brooklyn Dodgers merchandise is still popular among fans as well. Major League Baseball estimates $9 million in sales every year. The Baseball Hall of Fame reports that Brooklyn photos and broadcasts are the museum's second biggest sellers behind the Yankees, Ebay lists close to 1,000 items a day relating to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Library of Congress has over 100 books on Brooklyn Dodger teams, third only to the Yankees and Red Sox.

There have been occasional attempts to move the Dodgers back to Brooklyn. State senator Tom Bartosiewicz tried hard to persuade them in the early 1980s, but was rebuffed. A stronger chance was in 1998, when the O'Malley family sold up to Rupert Murdoch's Fox company. In the course of bidding, a committee convened by the City and State of New York (including Roger Kahn, author of Boys of Summer) made an offer to the club which was turned down, despite being larger than the eventual sale price.

Construction on Dodger Stadium was completed in time for Opening Day 1962. With its clean, simple lines and its picturesque setting amid hills and palm trees, the ballpark quickly became an icon of the Dodgers and their new California lifestyle, and it remains one of the most highly-regarded stadiums in baseball even today. Despite the fact that the Dodgers have played in Dodger Stadium longer than they had played in Ebbett's Field, the stadium remains surprisingly fresh. O'Malley was determined that there would not be a bad seat in the house, achieving this by cantilevered grandstands that have since been widely imitated. More importantly for the team, the stadium's spacious dimensions, along with other factors, gave defense an advantage over offense, and the Dodgers moved to take advantage of this by assembling a team that would excel with its pitching.

The core of the team's success in the 1960s was the dominant pitching tandem of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, who combined to win 4 of the 5 Cy Young Awards from 1962 to 1966, during a time in which only one award was given to the top pitcher from either of the two major leagues. Top pitching also came from Claude Osteen, an aging Johnny Podres, and reliever Ron Perranoski. The hitting attack, on the other hand, was not impressive, and much of the offensive spark came from the exploits of speedy shortstop Maury Wills, who led the league in stolen bases every year from 1960 to 1965, and set a modern record with 104 thefts in 1962. The Dodgers' strategy was once described as follows: "Wills hits a single, steals second, and takes third on a grounder. A sacrifice fly brings him home. Koufax or Drysdale pitches a shutout, and the Dodgers win 1-0." Although few games followed this model exactly, the Dodgers nevertheless tallied a high proportion of wins in a low-scoring manner that relied on their pitching and defense rather than their offense - with the exception of a few seasons. For example, in 1962, Tommy Davis lead the Major Leagues with 153 RBI, and he lead the National League in batting average and in hits. Seasons of over 150 RBI are quite rare by a player in modern-day pro baseball. Davis led the league in batting twice for the Dodgers.

The 1962 pennant race ended in a tie, and the Dodgers were defeated by the archrival Giants in the tie-breaking playoff, but the Dodgers proceeded to win the pennant in three of the next four years. The 1963 World Series was a four-game sweep of the Yankees, in which the Dodgers were so dominant that the vaunted Bronx Bombers never even took a lead against Koufax, Podres, and Drysdale. After an injury-plagued 1964, the Dodgers bounced back to win the 1965 World Series in a seven games against the Minnesota Twins. Game one happened to fall on the Yom Kippur holy day, and Koufax (who is Jewish) refused to pitch on that day, a decision for which he was widely praised. The Dodgers rebounded from losing the first two games, with Koufax pitching shutouts in Games five and seven (with only two days rest in between) to win the crown and the World Series MVP Award.

The Dodgers again won the pennant in 1966, but the team was running out of gas, and it was swept in the World Series by the upstart Baltimore Orioles. Koufax retired that winter, with his career cut short by arthritis in the elbow of his pitching arm, and Maury Wills was traded away. Don Drysdale continued to be effective, setting a record with six consecutive shutouts in 1968, but he finished with just a 14 - 12 record due to the Dodgers' poor hitting that year.

While the Dodgers were sub-par for several seasons thereafter, a new core of young talent was developing in their farm system. They won another pennant in 1974, and although they were quickly dismissed by the dynastic Oakland Athletics in the World Series, it was a sign of good things to come.

For 23 years, beginning in 1954, the Dodgers had been managed by Walter Alston, a quiet and unflappable man who commanded great respect from his players. Alston's tenure is the third-longest in baseball history for a manager with a single team, after Connie Mack and John McGraw. His retirement near the end of the 1976 season, after winning 7 pennants and 4 World Series titles over his career, cleared the way for an entirely different personality to take the helm of the Dodgers.

Tommy Lasorda was a 49-year-old former minor-league pitcher who had been the team's top coach under Alston, and before that had been manager of the Dodgers' top minor league team. He was colorful and gregarious, an enthusiastic cheerleader in contrast to Alston's taciturn demeanor. He quickly became a larger-than-life personality, associating with Frank Sinatra and other celebrities, with a penchant for eating Italian food in large volumes. He became well-known for sayings such as, "If you cut me, I bleed Dodger blue," and for referring to God as "the Great Dodger in the sky." Although some considered his persona to be a schtick and found it wearing, his enthusiasm won him a reputation as an "ambassador for baseball," and it is impossible to think of the Dodgers from the late '70s to the early '90s without thinking of Lasorda.

Another transition had recently occurred, higher up in the Dodgers management. Walter O'Malley passed control of the team to his son Peter, who would continue to oversee the Dodgers on his family's behalf through 1998.

New blood had also been injected into the team on the field. The core of the team was now the infield, composed of Steve Garvey (1B), Davey Lopes (2B), Bill Russell (SS), and Ron Cey (3B). These four remained in the starting lineup together from 1973 to 1981, longer than any other infield foursome in baseball history. The pitching staff remained strong, anchored by Don Sutton and Tommy John. The Dodgers won NL West titles in both 1977 and 1978, and defeated the Philadelphia Phillies both years in the National League Championship Series, only to be defeated in the World Series both years by the Yankees. In 1980, they swept a three game series from the Houston Astros in the final weekend of the regular season (including Don Sutton's brilliant save) and were in a first place tie in the National League West, but lost to the Astros 7-1 in the one-game playoff.

The Opening Day starting pitcher for 1981 was a 20-year-old rookie from Mexico: Fernando Valenzuela. Pressed into service due to an injury to Jerry Reuss, Valenzuela pitched a shutout that day, and proceeded to win his first 8 decisions through mid-May. The youthful left-hander, speaking only Spanish but sporting a devastating screwball, became a sensation. “Fernandomania” gripped both Southern California, where huge crowds turned out to see him pitch, as well as in his home country of Mexico, where the number of radio stations that carried Dodger games increased that year from three stations to 17. Valenzuela became the only pitcher ever to be named Rookie of the Year and win the Cy Young Award in the same season. The Dodgers' torrid start assured them of a playoff berth in the strike-shortened split season. After defeating the Montreal Expos with the help of a ninth-inning two-out home run by Rick Monday in the fifth and deciding game of the National League Championship Series they proceeded to defeat the Yankees in the World Series in six games, with the World Series MVP award split three ways among Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.

The Dodgers won NL West titles in 1983 and 1985, but lost in the NLCS both those years (to the Phillies and Cardinals, respectively). The 1985 NLCS was particularly memorable for Game 6, in which the Dodgers were protecting a 5-4 lead in the ninth inning, hoping to force a deciding seventh game. With two runners on and first base open, Lasorda elected not to walk Cards slugger Jack Clark, who proceeded to hit a home run off Tom Niedenfuer and send St. Louis to the World Series.

After seven years of high strikeout totals, and a 21-win season in 1986, Valenzuela sat out for most of the 1988 season. Plagued by arm troubles that were widely blamed on his being overused by Lasorda, his effectiveness faded before he turned 30. The new anchor of the pitching staff was a right-hander named Orel Hershiser. He had been given the nickname "Bulldog" by Lasorda, more as a hopeful motivational tool than an objective description of his personality, but by 1988 he had matured into one of baseball's most effective pitchers. That year he won 23 games and the Cy Young Award, and broke Don Drysdale's major league record by tossing 59 consecutive scoreless innings, ending with a 10-inning shutout on his final start of the season.

The 1988 Championship won by the Dodgers is all the more magical for the fact that the Dodgers were not expected to compete. They enjoyed career years from several players, and were inspired by the fiery intensity of newcomer Kirk Gibson (the league's Most Valuable Player that year), as well as the quiet but steady Hershiser and the always ebullient Lasorda. Although they entered the NLCS as decided underdogs to the powerful New York Mets, who they were 1-10 against during the regular season, the Dodgers prevailed in a back-and-forth series that went the entire seven games and saw Hershiser come on for the save in game 4. The World Series matched them with an even more powerful opponent, the Oakland Athletics, who owned baseball's best regular-season record with 104 wins against only 58 defeats. Featuring the "Bash Brothers" duo of Mark McGwire and José Canseco, the A's took an early lead in Game 1 on a grand slam by Canseco, and led 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, pinch-hitter Mike Davis drew a base on balls from formidable closer Dennis Eckersley. During Davis' at-bat, Lasorda had the light-hitting infielder Dave Anderson on deck so the Athletics would pitch to Davis more carefully. Then, Gibson, hobbled by injuries to both his legs that included a strained MCL and a severely pulled hamstring, came in to pinch hit. After fighting off several pitches and working the count full, Gibson got the backdoor slider he was looking for and pulled it into the right field pavilion for a two-run, walk-off home run, winning the game for the Dodgers, 5-4. Widely considered one of the most memorable and improbable home runs in baseball history, Gibson's dramatic home run was his only appearance of the entire series, and it set the tone for the following four games. Hershiser dominated the Athletics in Games 2 and 5, and was on the mound when the Dodgers completed their stunning 4 games to 1 upset of the A's, capping off an incredible personal season by being named the Series MVP. Few remember that the Dodgers were so injury riddled during their World Series appearance. They won the Series in Game 5 with lifetime reserves Danny Heep and Mickey Hatcher in the starting lineup.

After 1988, the Dodgers did not win another postseason game until 2004, though they did reach the playoffs in 1995 and 1996, narrowly missed in 1991 and 1997, and led the NL West when the end of the 1994 season was cancelled by a strike. Hershiser, like Valenzuela before him, suffered an arm injury in 1990, and he never regained the production he had earlier in his career. From 1992 to 1996, five consecutive Dodgers were named Rookie of the Year: Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raúl Mondesí, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth, which is a record. After nearly 20 years at the helm, Lasorda retired in 1996, though he still remained with the Dodgers as an executive vice-president. He was replaced as manager by longtime Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell.

Nearly a half-century of unusual stability (only two managers 1954–1996, owned by a single family 1950-1998) finally came to an end. After L.A. city officials rejected a proposal to bring an NFL stadium and franchise to Chavez Ravine in 1998, the O'Malley family sold the Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owner of the Fox network (which also owns broadcast rights to MLB games) and 20th Century Fox. Among the new ownership's early moves were trading away popular catcher Piazza, and replacing Russell with veteran manager Davey Johnson. Johnson's volatile tenure ended two years later, and he was followed as manager by Jim Tracy. Fox made the first changes to the home uniform since the club moved from Brooklyn and introduced the team's first alternate jersey and cap, adding silver to the team's official colors (although they have rarely been used since). The team became more steady on the field in the early 2000s, with four consecutive winning seasons under the leadership of manager Tracy, starting pitcher Chan Ho Park, slugger Shawn Green, third baseman Adrián Beltré, and catcher Paul Lo Duca. The 2002 season was marked by the emergence of Éric Gagné as one of baseball's top relief pitchers. Gagné later won the Cy Young Award in 2003, converting all 55 of his save opportunities that year, and holding the league to a 1.20 ERA and striking out 137 batters in 82 1/3 innings. Gagné would later establish a new major league record for consecutive saves, with 84 saves spanning parts of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons.

In 2004, the Dodgers were returned to family ownership, as News Corp sold the team to Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt. McCourt immediately hired Paul DePodesta as his new general manager, replacing Dan Evans. As an assistant general manager in Oakland under Billy Beane, DePodesta favored a highly statistical approach to evaluating prospects and potential free-agents. This sabermetric approach, widely publicized in the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, led many to believe that new owner McCourt was unwilling to pay for high priced talent, and would thus reduce the Dodgers to a status similar to small-market teams such as Oakland. With a team largely assembled by DePodesta's predecessors, and augmented by some acquisitions of his own, DePodesta saw the Dodgers near the top of the standings through much of 2004. In an effort to put the team over the top that year, DePodesta pulled off a number of mid-season trades, including sending away three key players (including popular team leader LoDuca), while obtaining several new players. The Dodgers did manage to win the NL West in 2004, but bowed out quickly in four games in the Division Series to the eventual National League champion St. Louis Cardinals.

During the winter of 2004-05, the team parted ways with several more longtime players, including Beltré and Green. Their replacements included starting pitcher Derek Lowe, outfielder J. D. Drew, and the run-producing, but aging second baseman Jeff Kent. DePodesta's radical overhaul did not bear fruit in 2005, as the Dodgers suffered from clubhouse strife and stifling injuries, finishing with their second-worst record in Los Angeles history. The club also faced an overwhelming number of injuries that quickly scuttled the team's hopes of repeating as division champions. Among them were Drew's broken wrist, All-Star shortstop Cesar Izturis's injury that required Tommy John Surgery, and closer Gagné's deteriorating elbow condition that would also require surgery and force him to miss much of the 2005 season. Manager Jim Tracy also parted ways with the team at the end of the 2005 season, citing irreconcilable differences with DePodesta. However, DePodesta himself was fired by McCourt less than a month later, with McCourt later citing DePodesta's lack of leadership and dissatisfaction over DePodesta's handling of the process of hiring a new manager. Ned Colletti was hired as the new Dodger GM on November 16, 2005.

Newly hired Colletti was responsible for a tangible change in attitude and guided the Dodgers' resurgence in the 2006 season. He hired former Red Sox manager Grady Little to lead the team and also traded oft-troubled Milton Bradley for Oakland Athletics prospect Andre Ethier. His off season acquisitions also included former Atlanta Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal and former Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller. Coletti also signed former All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, even though the team already had two other former All-Star shortstops (Furcal and the then-injured Cesar Izturis). Garciaparra agreed to play first base and adjusted quite well in the field and remained productive at the plate, producing several key hits in Dodger victories.

Due to the crowded infield, untimely injuries and several players' lack of production, the team was rebuilt during the season. The flurry of trading saw Cesar Izturis go to the Chicago Cubs for Greg Maddux while Willy Aybar and Danys Baez went to Atlanta for Wilson Betemit. A series of rookies were called up and provided substantial everyday contributions. Among them were catcher Russell Martin, who won the starting catching job after being called up in May and starting pitcher Chad Billingsley, who had several quality starts in August and September. Andre Ethier led the team in batting with a .308 batting average as the team's everyday left fielder through much of the season. Rookie first baseman James Loney hit very well in his short time with the team, tying Gil Hodges’ 56-year-old Dodgers record with 9 RBI in one game on September 28. Another key move was handing the closer's role to rookie (but Japanese League veteran) Takashi Saito, where he flourished, notching 24 saves in 26 opportunities while posting a 2.07 ERA.

After a heated pennant race, in which the most memorable moment occurred when the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs on September 18 to tie the score in the ninth inning and then won the game on a tenth-inning walk-off homer by Nomar Garciaparra, the Dodgers entered the 2006 playoffs in the National League's Wild Card spot, having tied the San Diego Padres for the division lead but having lost 13 of 18 head-to-head meetings with the Padres. They were eventually swept, 3-0, by the New York Mets in the 2006 National League Division Series.

In 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers sent three players (Brad Penny, Takashi Saito, and Russell Martin) to the all-star game, and at one point, the Dodgers had a record of 54-41, which was then the best record in the National League. After a hitting slump, the Dodgers fell to 60-59, and seven games out of first place in the N.L. West. The Dodgers were able to rebound, however, and had a 79-69 record with three weeks left in the season. At this point, the Dodgers trailed the San Diego Padres by 1 1/2 games in the wild card slot, and the Arizona Diamondbacks by 3 1/2 games. However, the Dodgers lost 10 of their next 11 games, which eliminated the Dodgers from post season play, and would finish the season with a disappointing 82-80 record. The last few weeks of the season were disrupted further by public complaints in the media by some of the veteran ballplayers about the lack of respect afforded them by some of the younger players on the team. This led to a divided clubhouse, as younger players consistently got more playing time at the expense of the veterans. After the season and weeks of media speculation, Grady Little resigned as manager, citing personal reasons . A few days later the Dodgers announced the hiring of former New York Yankees skipper Joe Torre to be the team's new manager.

At the start of the season, Joe Torre found himself with a whole new team, including new players Andruw Jones and Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. To add to his troubles, Don Mattingly was unable to perform his hitting coach duties, and third basemen Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche were out with injuries, leaving the starting third base position to rookie Blake DeWitt, who had never played above level A ball in the minor leagues. DeWitt stepped up early, when Nomar went down again with a calf injury. The team suffered a serious blow when star player Rafael Furcal was injured in the midst of the best start of his career. Many substitutions were used, including rookies Chin-Lung Hu and Luis Maza, but could not duplicate Furcal's offense. Staff ace Brad Penny and slugger Jones began to underperform, leading to trips to the DL for both. Despite the problems with the roster, as well as their record, the Dodgers were only behind first-place Arizona by one game at the All-Star break. The season saw progress in the teams prospects, including a call-up for top prospect Clayton Kershaw, as well as comebacks from veteran pitchers, most notably Chan Ho Park. Chad Billingsley quickly grew to be the team's ace, being one of the leaders in strikeouts and ERA and being the first pitcher on the Dodgers to get double-digit wins. For the majority of the season, the club hovered around a .500 record. To bolster a lineup of mostly young players, Ned Colletti made trades for shortstop Angel Berroa, third-baseman Casey Blake, and on July 31, 2008 the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired outfielder Manny Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox in a 3-way deal that sent third baseman Andy LaRoche and single-A prospect pitcher Bryan Morris to the Pittsburgh Pirates and all-star outfielder Jason Bay to the Red Sox. Ramirez brought an energy to the team that it had lacked previously and also energized the fanbase. After playing more than 140 games of catch-up, the Dodgers swept Arizona to take first place in the last series of the season for the two teams on September 7 after being 4 games behind the week before. The Dodgers clinched the 2008 National League Western Division title on September 25 as the Arizona Diamondbacks were eliminated by losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 12-3. On October 4, 2008 they beat the Cubs 3-0 to sweep the 2008 NLDS and moved on to the NLCS, where they faced the Philadelphia Phillies and were eliminated, losing the series 4-1.

On January 1, 2008, The Dodgers kicked off their 50th year (actually the 51st) in Los Angeles by building a float for the 119th annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. The riders on the float contained past and current Dodgers, including Tom Lasorda, Nomar Garciaparra, Don Newcombe, Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Garvey, Eric Karros, James Loney, Takashi Saito, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Brad Penny. Also on the float was Vin Scully, the Dodgers announcer of 59 years and the Dodgers organist, Nancy Bea Hefley.

The Dodgers have been groundbreaking in their signing of players from Asia; namely, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Former owner Peter O'Malley began reaching out in 1980 by starting clinics in China and Korea, building baseball fields in two Chinese cities, and in 1998 becoming the first major league team to open an office in Asia. The Dodgers were the first team to start a Japanese player in recent history, pitcher Hideo Nomo, a Korean player, pitcher Chan Ho Park, and the first Taiwanese player, Chin-Feng Chen. In addition, they were the first team to send out three Asian pitchers, from different Asian countries, in one game, Chan Ho Park, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Takashi Saito. In the 2008 season the Dodgers had the most Asian players on its roster of any major league team with five. They included Japanese pitchers Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda; Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park; and Taiwanese pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo and infielder Chin-Lung Hu.

The Dodgers uniforms have remained relatively unchanged for almost 70 years. The home jersey is white with Dodgers written in script across the chest in blue. The word Dodgers was first used on the front of the teams home jersey in 1933, and the uniform was white with red pinstripes and the Brooklyn stylized B on the left shoulder. The Dodgers also wore green outlined uniforms and green caps throughout the 1937 season but reverted to a blue template the following year. Since 1952 the team has had a red uniform number under the Dodgers script. The road jersey is gray with Los Angeles written in script across the chest in blue. The road jerseys also have a red uniform number under the script. The Dodgers have worn the current uniforms on the field since 1939 with only minor cosmetic changes. The most obvious of these is the removal of "Brooklyn" from the road jerseys and the replacement of the stylized "B" with the interlocking "L.A." on the caps in 1958. In 1970 the Dodgers removed the city name from the road jerseys and had Dodgers on both the home and away uniforms. The city script returned to the road jerseys in 1999. Also in 1999 the tradition rich Dodgers flirted with an alternate uniform for the first time since 1944 (when all blue satin uniforms were introduced). These 1999 alternate jerseys had a royal blue top with the Dodgers script in white across the chest and the red number on the front. These were worn with white pants and a new Dodger cap complete with a silver brim, silver top button and silver Dodger logo. These alternates proved unpopular and the team abandoned them after only one season just as they did 55 years earlier with the blue satin uniforms.

The Dodgers have a fiercely loyal fanbase, evidenced by the fact that the Dodgers were the first MLB team to attract more than 3 million fans in a season (in 1978), and accomplished that feat 6 more times before any other franchise did it once. On July 3, 2007, Dodgers management announced that total franchise attendance, dating back to 1901, had reached 175 million, a record for all professional sports.

The Dodgers also recently set the world record for the greatest attendance for a single baseball game during an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in honor of the Dodgers 50th anniversary in Los Angeles with over 115,000 fans in attendance. All proceeds from the game benefitted the official charity of the Dodgers, ThinkCure! which supports cancer research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope.

As noted above, Vin Scully has called Dodgers games since 1950. His longtime partners were Jerry Doggett (1956-1987) and Ross Porter (1977-2004). In 1976, he was selected by Dodgers fans as the Most Memorable Personality (on the field or off) in the team's history. He is also a recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters (inducted in 1982). He currently is in his 59th year with the team. Unlike the modern style in which multiple sportscasters have an on-air conversation (usually with one functioning as play-by-play announcer and the other(s) as color commentator), Scully, Doggett and Porter generally called games solo, trading with each other inning-by-inning. In the 1980s and 90s, Scully would call the entire radio broadcast except for the 3rd and 7th inning; allowing the other Dodger commentators to broadcast an inning.

Scully continues to call Dodgers games without a color commentator.

When Doggett retired after the 1987 season, he was replaced by Hall-of-Fame Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, who previously broadcast games for the crosstown California Angels. Drysdale died in his hotel room following a heart attack before a game in 1993, resulting in a very difficult broadcast for Scully and Porter, who were told of the death but could not mention in on-air until Drysdale' family had been notified and the official announcement of the death made. He was replaced by former Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday. Porter's tenure was terminated somewhat controversially after the 2004 season, after which the current format of play-by-play announcers and color commentators was installed, led by newcomer Charley Steiner as well as Scully and Monday.

Today, Scully calls a limited schedule of games (all home games and road games in NL West ballparks) for both flagship radio station KABC and television outlets KCAL-TV and FSN Prime Ticket. Scully is simulcast for the first three innings of each of his appearances, then announces only for the TV audience.

If Scully is calling the game, Charley Steiner takes over play-by-play on radio beginning with the fourth inning, with Rick Monday as color commentator. If Scully is not calling the game, Eric Collins and Steve Lyons call the entire game on television while Steiner and Monday do the same on radio.

In the event the Dodgers are in post-season play, Scully calls the first three and last three innings of the radio broadcast alone; with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday handling the middle innings.

The Dodgers also broadcast on radio in Spanish, and the play-by-play is handled by another Ford C. Frick Award winner, Jaime Jarrin. Jarrin has been with the Dodgers since 1959. The color analyst for some games is former Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, for whom Jarrin once translated post-game interviews. The Spanish-language flagship is KHJ.

Live traffic reports pertaining to Dodger Stadium are broadcast from the Dodgers Transportation Center inside the ballpark. KABC radio's Captain Jorge Jarrin (son of Dodger broadcaster Jaime Jarrin) and Doug Dunlap handle those duties during the pre-game and post-game shows as well as during Dodger Talk following the game.

In 2006, the Dodgers introduced an on demand channel on Time Warner Cable called "Dodgers on Demand", hosted by Tony Kinkela.

Currently, Steiner has been converted to radio-only with Rick Monday. Jerry Reuss was removed from his broadcast position, though he is still with the club to serve in other aspects. Steve Lyons will be retained as a color-commentator, and the Dodgers recently hired ESPN broadcaster Eric Collins as a play-by-play announcer to replace Steiner on road games for television.

From the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in 1958, the Dodgers employed a handful of well-known public address announcers; the most famous of which was John Ramsey, who served as the PA voice of the Dodgers from 1958 until his retirement in 1982; as well as announcing at other venerable Los Angeles venues, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena, and the Forum. Ramsey died in 1990.

Dennis Packer, Nick Nickson, Pete Arbogast and Mike Carlucci also served as Dodger Stadium announcers following Ramsey's retirement. Packer and Arbogast were emulators of John Ramsey, using the same style of announcing Ramsey was famous for. Arbogast won the job on the day that Ramsey died in 1989, by doing a verbatim immitation of Ramsey's opening and closing remarks that were standard at each game.

The current Dodgers public address announcer is Eric Smith.

50th anniversary logo.

The following Hall of Famers played and/or managed for the Dodgers, and are listed with the years they were with the club. Those denoted in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Brooklyn or Los Angeles cap insignia.

Though he is not officially recognized as an inducted member of the Hall of Fame, Vin Scully is permanently honored in the Hall's "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit as a result of winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 1982.Now much older Scully does not travel with the team and only does the home games.

Since 1997, Robinson's #42 has been retired throughout Major League Baseball in honor of his breaking the color barrier in 1947. Robinson is the only major league baseball player to have this honor bestowed upon him. He spent his entire career with the Dodgers, who retired his number in 1972.

Because the MLB decided to grandfather the use of the number 42 out of the game, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera still wears the number as he is the only active player who wore the number before it was retired across all of Major League Baseball.

Koufax, Campanella, and Robinson were the first Dodgers to have their numbers retired. They were all retired in a ceremony at Dodger Stadium on June 4, 1972.

Gilliam died suddenly in 1978 at the age of 49, after a 28-year career with the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers retired his number two days after his death, prior to Game 1 of the 1978 World Series, making him the only non-Hall-of-Famer to have his number retired by the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have not issued #34 since the departure of Fernando Valenzuela in 1991, although it has not been officially retired. Steve Garvey's #6 was not reissued for 19 years until it was given to Dante Bichette in spring training of 2002 and was not worn during a regular season game until Ron Coomer wore it in 2003.

Since 1884, the Dodgers have used a total of 29 Managers. Joe Torre, the current Manager of the Dodgers, has held the position since 2008.

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2003 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 2003 season was a turbulent period as News Corporation (Fox) was seeking to sell the team. Nevertheless, the Dodgers fell just short of a Wild Card berth, winning 85 games, finishing second in the Western Division of the National League. The Dodgers pitching staff led baseball in earned run average, Eric Gagné became the first Dodger to earn the NL Cy Young award since 1988 as he converted all 55 of his save opportunities. Shawn Green set a new L.A. Dodger single season record with 49 doubles and Paul LoDuca had a 25 game hitting streak.

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2007 Boston Red Sox season

The Boston Red Sox' 2007 season began with the Boston, Massachusetts-based Major League Baseball team trying to rebound after a disappointing 2006 season, in which they finished third in the American League East behind the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, and missed the postseason for the first time since 2002. They rebounded from the disappointment of 2006 by posting the best record in the league, winning the American League East division with a lead they never relinquished since April 18, and winning the American League Pennant. Advancing to the World Series, the Red Sox beat the Rockies in four straight games, winning their second Championship in four years.

On November 14, 2006, Major League Baseball announced that the Red Sox had competed for the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Boston won with a bid of $51.1 million and had 30 days to complete a deal. On December 13, 2006, the day before the deadline, Matsuzaka signed a six-year contract worth $52 million.

It was initially announced that closer Jonathan Papelbon would become a starter in 2007, partially to protect his arm from the injury that sidelined him for the final month of his rookie season. With Papelbon planned to be a starter and Keith Foulke declining arbitration and leaving the team, the Red Sox began building up their bullpen in search of a new closer. Left-handed pitchers Hideki Okajima and J.C. Romero and right-handed pitcher Joel Piñeiro were signed as free agents. Brendan Donnelly was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in a trade for pitcher Phil Seibel.

However, there was no clear candidate for the closer role. Papelbon wanted to re-fill that spot, and team officials believed he had rehabilitated himself so well in the offseason that his health of this shoulder was no longer a concern, and allowed him to return to the bullpen.

The Red Sox lost free agent Álex González to the Cincinnati Reds (leading the Red Sox to sign Julio Lugo) and Mark Loretta to the Houston Astros (allowing Dustin Pedroia to become the team's starting second baseman). Trot Nixon, also a free agent, signed with the Cleveland Indians, creating the need for a right fielder. The Red Sox pursued J.D. Drew, who had recently opted out of the remainder of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to become a free agent. However, the Red Sox medical staff had concerns about Drew's previously injured shoulder. On January 25, 2007, the Red Sox and Drew agreed to a 5-year deal worth $70 million.

Outfielder Gabe Kapler, age 31, announced his retirement to fulfill his life long dream of becoming a coach. The Red Sox named him manager of their single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.

At the end of spring training of 2007, the Red Sox traded minor league veteran catcher Alberto Castillo for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cory Keylor.

A bright green, with "Red Sox" in white letters outlined in red across the front was worn on April 20, 2007 to honor former Boston Celtics coach, general manager and president Red Auerbach, who passed away during the previous off-season.

The Red Sox not only won the AL East Division for the first time in 12 years, but clinched the best record in the American League—and all of baseball. While their 96-66 record was the same as that of the Cleveland Indians, the Red Sox held the season series tiebreaker for American League home-field advantage, having bested the Tribe 5 games to 2. Thus, the wild card New York Yankees were sent to Cleveland while the Sox would host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Josh Beckett started the series with a complete-game shutout in Game 1, resuming his dominance of the postseason after a three-season absence. Although Kevin Youkilis would hit a solo home run in the first inning that would prove to be all the offense Beckett needed, David Ortiz would provide additional support with a two-run homer in the third to cap off a 4-0 Game 1 victory. Game 2 was much closer, with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kelvim Escobar each surrendering three runs by the time the fifth inning was done. In the bottom of the ninth, after a Julio Lugo single and David Ortiz's playoff record-tying fourth walk of the night (this time, intentional), Manny Ramírez ended the game with a towering home run that left Fenway Park over the Green Monster. With a 6-3 Game 2 win, the Red Sox would go to Angel Stadium of Anaheim with a 2-0 series lead.

In Game 3, Curt Schilling brought back the dominant pitching, scattering six hits and striking out four in seven innings of shutout work. He had plenty of run support as well, with Ortiz and Ramírez hitting back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth, and a progression of hits that scored seven more in the eighth inning. Eric Gagné gave up the only run, giving up a ground-rule double to Maicer Izturis in the bottom of the ninth, then advancing Izturis to third on a wild pitch before giving up a sacrifice fly to Howie Kendrick that scored Izturis. After that, a strikeout and a flyout ended the game with a 9-1 Red Sox victory to clinch a series sweep.

The Red Sox sweep was one of three Division Series sweeps in the 2007 post-season. Only one series would go more than three—the Indians beat the Yankees in four games.

In Game 1, Travis Hafner got the first run on Josh Beckett with a solo home run in the first inning. Manny Ramírez answered back, driving in Kevin Youkilis with a single in the bottom of the first. After that, Beckett would settle in, while Indians starter C.C. Sabathia would fall apart. In the bottom of the third, he would give up a ground-rule double to Julio Lugo, then after a bunt groundout for Dustin Pedroia, he walked Kevin Youkilis, hit David Ortiz, and walked Manny Ramírez to give up the lead. Then he gave up a double to Mike Lowell that scored Youkilis and Ortiz. After Bobby Kielty was walked, Jason Varitek hit a groundout that could not be turned into a double-play, scoring Ramírez. The Sox would tack five more on, and win Game 1, 10-3.

Game 2 was a slugfest, with Curt Schilling and Fausto Carmona both failing to make it out of the fifth inning, and a 6-6 tie after six innings. The game drew into extra frames, but the Red Sox bullpen got hammered in the top of the eleventh, with Eric Gagné, Javier Lopez and Jon Lester giving up seven runs. The Red Sox failed to answer back, and lost Game 2, 13-6. The series was even headed to Cleveland.

In Game 3, Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up 4 runs, and Jason Varitek provided the only Red Sox offense with a two-run homer in the seventh, as the Indians took the Jacobs Field opener, 4-2, for a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 did not start much better for the Red Sox, with a seven-run fifth inning that saw Manny Delcarmen allow four runs (two charged to starter Tim Wakefield). In the top of the sixth, the Sox showed some life with back-to-back-to-back solo home runs by Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez. That would be all the Sox offense, as they fell, 7-3, to end up in a 3-1 ALCS hole once again.

Once more, the Red Sox faced ALCS elimination. But one person who was not panicking was Manny Ramírez. In his typical "Manny Being Manny" attitude, Ramirez told reporters that if the Red Sox were eliminated, it wouldn't be "the end of the world." His comments seemed laissez faire at the time, as many members of the Boston media chose to interpret them as meaning that Manny would not put forth his best effort in the games to come and would thus disrupt his team's ability to compete. Fate would prove them wrong though. With Josh Beckett on the mound again for Game 5, the Red Sox dominated, with Kevin Youkilis driving in three and David Ortiz driving in two to power a 7-1 Red Sox victory to force the ALCS back to Fenway Park.

The Red Sox were hardly finished. In Game 6, Curt Schilling redeemed himself, giving up two runs in seven innings, while J.D. Drew hammered a grand slam in the first inning, and the Sox tacked on six more in the third, leading to a 12-2 victory. Eric Gagné finished the game by pitching a perfect 9th inning. Game 7 gave Daisuke Matsuzaka his chance at redemption, and he did not disappoint, giving up 2 runs in five innings, while Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon each pitched two scoreless innings. The Sox hammered out a run in each of the first three innings, then exploded with a Dustin Pedroia two-run homer in the seventh, and six more runs—including another two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis—in the eighth. With an 11-2 Game 7 victory, the Red Sox came back once again from elimination, bringing them to their second World Series in four years.

At first, the World Series would seem like a tough task. After going the distance with the Indians, the Red Sox had to face the red-hot Colorado Rockies, who had just finished a 21-of-22 run that included forcing and winning a Wild Card one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres, then sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. The Red Sox were counting on their historically-dominant postseason pitching and the possibility that 8 days off would leave the Rox rusty.

Game 1 proved, once more, to be a domination. Josh Beckett gave up just one run in seven innings of work while striking out nine, while Rockies starter Jeff Francis gave up a home run on his second pitch to Dustin Pedroia in the bottom of the first, and a total of six runs in four innings. It got worse from there, as the Red Sox hammered reliever Franklin Morales for seven runs in the fifth inning. The Red Sox took Game 1, 13-1.

In Game 2, Curt Schilling gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings, and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon finished the game flawlessly. This time, the dominance was necessary, as the Red Sox scored two times, with Jason Varitek driving in Mike Lowell in the fourth, then Lowell driving in Manny Ramírez in the fifth for their only offense of the game. With a 2-1 Game 2 win, the Red Sox went to Coors Field in Denver with the advantage, hoping the rarefied air would not affect them too much.

Game 3 would begin with another dominating offensive performance. Boston struck first, with six runs in the third inning that would knock out Rox starter Josh Fogg. Mike Lowell and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka each had two RBIs, and Manny Ramírez was called out at home on a controversial, but ultimately correct, tagout call. The Rockies would try to come back, bringing in five runs, including a Matt Holliday home run. But the Sox would put it away, with rookies Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury combining to drive in three in the eighth inning, and Mike Lowell scoring the final Sox run in the ninth to seal a 10-5 win that put the Red Sox one game away from their second World Series Championship in four years.

Game 4 gave Jon Lester his shot at redemption, with a back injury to Tim Wakefield giving him the start. He was scoreless in 5 2/3 innings, with Mike Lowell scoring two runs and Jacoby Ellsbury scoring one in support. In the eighth inning, Bobby Kielty hit a pinch-hit home run to put an end to the Sox's scoring. Hideki Okajima almost gave the game up, allowing two runs in the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon came in to save the game in 1 2/3 innings. The Red Sox celebrated a 4-3 win and a four-game World Series sweep at Coors Field. Mike Lowell, with his .400 average and six runs scored, was named the MVP of the World Series.

Two days later, on October 30, the Red Sox were the guests of honor in a Rolling Rally through Boston, after which the team began to lay their plans for the 2008 season.

During the course of the 2007 season, the Red Sox were helped out and sometimes carried by rookies. Three rookies stick out in particular. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Buchholz all had their moments and left their mark of this season in Red Sox history.

Dustin Pedroia began the season as the Red Sox starting second baseman. Pedroia, 24, struggled in April only batting .182, with 10 hits in 55 at-bats. Although he struggled in the first month, Pedroia heated up batting an outstanding .415 in the month of May. Pedroia was honored as American League Rookie of the Month for the month of May. Pedroia continued this hot hitting for the remainder of the season. Pedroia also excelled his play in the postseason by 2 HR and driving in 10 runs in 14 games to help the Red Sox win the World Series. Pedroia ended batting .317 which ranked 10th among all American League players. Pedroia also finished with 8 home runs and 50 runs batted in. Pedroia won the American League Rookie of the Year award. Pedroia was not the only rookie position player to make an impact this season. Jacoby Ellsbury, 24, made his MLB debut on June 30. Instantly Ellsbury succeeded. In only 33 games and 116 at-bats, Ellsbury hit .353, had 3 home runs, and had 41 hits. Jacoby also showed off his versatility by stealing 9 bases without getting caught. Ellsbury also had a terrific postseason. Ellsbury replaced center fielder Coco Crisp in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Indians. He did not heat up until Game 3 of the World Series where had 4 hits and 2 doubles. Ellsbury batting an amazing .438 in the 4-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.

The Boston Red Sox also had one incredible rookie pitcher named Clay Buchholz. Buchholz, 23, made his MLB debut on August 17. In his first start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched 6 innings, allowing 3 earned runs, while striking out 5 batters. However, it was not until his second Major League start before Clay Buchholz became a household name throughout Red Sox Nation. On September 1 against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, Buchholz pitched a no-hitter. He struck out 9 Orioles including Oriole right fielder Nick Markakis on a curveball to complete this outstanding feat. Buchholz became the second rookie in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter. Buchholz pitched in 4 games with the Red Sox. He was 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 22 strikeouts. Despite his success in the regular season, Buchholz was left off the Red Sox postseason roster due to what Red Sox management determined was a fatigued arm. He is expected to be a big part of the future of the Red Sox.

The season got off to a wonderful start in April. On April 22, 2007, in a game against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox hit four consecutive home runs for the first time in franchise history (and the fifth time in major league history), when Manny Ramírez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek all hit home runs off Yankees pitcher Chase Wright. Drew also hit the second of four consecutive home runs the last time this happened, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it against the San Diego Padres on September 18, 2006. That series was also the first series since the 1990 season that the Red Sox swept the Yankees in a three-game series at Fenway.

Six members of the Red Sox were chosen to play in the season's all-star game. David Ortiz was elected to start at first base by the fans, third basemen Mike Lowell and outfielder Manny Ramírez were chosen by their fellow players as reserves. Pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon made the initial team, and reliever Hideki Okajima was voted in by the fans as the winner of the 32nd-man internet vote. It was the first time the Red Sox had more than two pitchers make the all-star team. Josh Beckett was credited with the win for the American League.

On September 1, 2007, against the Baltimore Orioles, rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz threw a no hitter on his second major league start. He was the first rookie in Red Sox history to throw a no hitter, as well as the 17th pitcher in Red Sox history to throw one. He got nine strikeouts and gave up three walks and hit one batter.

Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp became the first pair of Red Sox players to have at least 25 stolen bases since Tris Speaker and Hal Janvrin in 1914.

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Akinori Otsuka


Akinori Otsuka (大塚 晶則 ,Otsuka Akinori?, born January 13, 1972 in Chiba, Japan) is a Japanese Major League Baseball player. He was formerly the set-up man for the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers. Currently, he is a free agent. He was also the closer for Japan's 2006 World Baseball Classic winning team.

Otsuka throws a low-90's 4-seam fastball (tops out at about 94 mph) that is very straight, along with a hard, late-breaking slider. He employs an unorthodox pitching delivery: He lifts his lead leg up very slowly, taps his glove, then fires to home plate, making his pitches look faster coming out of his hand, making them much harder to pick up.

Otsuka came to the United States after several years of pitching in the Japanese League when his former team, the Chunichi Dragons, used the posting system to solicit bids from MLB clubs for the right to negotiate with him. The Padres offered the top bid, and signed him to a three-year contract on December 9, 2003. On January 6, 2006, Otsuka was traded to the Rangers, along with pitcher Adam Eaton and minor league catcher Billy Killian, in exchange for pitcher Chris Young, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and outfielder Terrmel Sledge.

Otsuka took over the role as the closer for the Rangers during the 2006 season, replacing Francisco Cordero, and recorded 32 saves while posting a 2.11 ERA. However, on December 19, 2006, the Rangers announced that newly signed Éric Gagné would take over the closer role in 2007, with Otsuka moving back into a set-up role. On January 13, 2007, T.R. Sullivan reported that, in an interview in Japan, Otsuka said "If there is the team which needs me as a closer, I am going to think about (the trade)".. Due to Gagné starting the season on the DL, Otsuka began the 2007 season as the closer. With the trade of Gagne to the Boston Red Sox, Otsuka assumed the closer's role again. However, Otsuka went on the DL after experiencing tighntess in his throwing shoulder. His stand-in was C.J. Wilson. Otsuka was not offered a new contract by the Rangers and became a free agent on December 12, 2007.

On January 10, 2008, Otsuka announced that he would undergo elbow surgery. He recently stated that he is getting in shape and is willing to work out with every team to play again in 2009.

Otsuka and his wife, Akemi, have one son, Toranosuke , and one daughter, Hikaru.

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Éric Gagné

Eric Gagne Boston.jpg

Éric Serge Gagné (IPA: ) (born January 7, 1976 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who is currently a free agent.

Signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent in 1995, Gagné began his career as a starting pitcher. After he struggled in that role, the Dodgers converted Gagné from a starter to a reliever, where for three years (2002–2004) he was statistically the most outstanding closer in the game, winning the Cy Young Award in 2003. During that period, he set a major league record of 84 straight converted save chances. His nickname during that time was "Game Over", after a popular shirt with his face and that phrase was made.

Following this success, Gagné played sparingly in 2005 and 2006 due to injury, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2005 and suffering a serious back injury in 2006. Gagné signed with the Texas Rangers for the 2007 season and enjoyed success again as a closer. After being traded to the Boston Red Sox on July 31, 2007, Gagné ultimately became a member of the 2007 World Champion Red Sox team. In December 2007, days after signing a contract for 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers, he was linked to baseball's steroids scandal after he was named in the Mitchell Report.

Gagné, from a French Canadian family, grew up in the small town of Mascouche, near Montreal, Quebec. As a boy, he played baseball and ice hockey at Montreal's Polyvalente Édouard-Montpetit High School. His Little League teams were coached by his father, Richard. He eventually became a star with Canada's Junior World Championship teams. Gagné graduated from Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the same high school that Russell Martin attended.

Gagné was a 30th-round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 1994 (845th overall), but the following year he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent. Gagné, who spoke only French, went to study at Seminole Junior College in Seminole, Oklahoma. He taught himself English and became the star pitcher for Seminole's baseball team.

He then went on to pitch in the minor leagues but missed the entire 1997 season due to Tommy John surgery. He joined the Los Angeles Dodgers team for a part of the 1999 season; in his first year in the major leagues, he appeared in only five games as a starting pitcher. Over his first three seasons he met with only mediocre success, winning eleven games while losing fourteen in 48 games, 38 of them starts.

At the start of the 2002 season, he was converted from a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher, and soon became the National League's leading reliever, earning 52 saves for the season. Gagné had an assortment of pitches he used as a reliever but his most effective were his fastball and change-up. Gagné would set up hitters with his 98 mph fastball and eventually strike them out with his 78 mph "vulcan" change-up.

In 2003, as a closer, Gagné was called upon 55 times to save a baseball game and converted every one of them en route to becoming both the first pitcher to record 50 saves in more than one season and also the fastest pitcher to ever reach the 100-save plateau. His 55 saves in 2003 also equaled the National League record set the previous season by John Smoltz. Between August 26], 2002 and July 5, 2004, he converted 84 consecutive save chances, a major league record. More than half (55%) of the batters he retired during the 2003 season came by strikeout.

In addition to his 55 saves, Gagné finished the 2003 season with a 1.20 earned run average and had 137 strikeouts and 20 walks in 82 1/3 innings pitched. This translated into an incredible 1.66 strikeouts per inning pitched. For his performance, he won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award and became the first relief pitcher in 11 years to win the Cy Young Award. He and Ferguson Jenkins are the only two Canadian pitchers to win the most prestigious pitching award in baseball. Ironically, he is the only pitcher to win the award while having a losing season (his record was 2–3). Despite this, he lost his arbitration case over the winter; he had asked for a 14-fold raise from $550,000 to $8 million but had to settle for just $5 million.

On July 15, 2004 — just ten days after his saves streak ended — Gagné collected his 130th save as a Dodger in a 5–2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona, surpassing Jeff Shaw for the most career saves in team history. Gagné threw three shutout innings during his first appearance in the playoffs that year, but the Dodgers lost the division series 3–1 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to the 2007 season, Gagné had converted 161 saves out of 168 save opportunities for a conversion rate of 96.6%, the highest in Major League Baseball history for a pitcher with at least 100 saves.

Gagné battled injuries of several kinds in early 2005, pitching in only 14 games, though still very well (2.70 ERA, 8 saves in 8 opportunities). On June 21, 2005, it was announced that Gagné would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair a sprained ligament in his right elbow. Recovery would take a year or more; furthermore, a return to major league pitching after a second Tommy John operation (Gagné's first was in 1997) is nearly unprecedented, having since been achieved by another Dodger reliever, the Taiwanese left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo. However, as surgeons began to perform the operation, they discovered instead a nerve entrapped by scar tissue and were able to release it with a less invasive procedure. Gagné was still unable to play for the remainder of the 2005 season.

Gagné expressed hope that an accelerated recovery would allow him to pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March 2006, but he eventually decided that it was not worth the risk, and to focus on preparing to pitch in the regular season.

After some encouraging outings in early spring training, pain in Gagné's pitching elbow forced him to undergo a second surgery, this time to remove entirely the nerve that doctors had previously attempted to stabilize. More recovery time ensued, but Gagné finally pitched in his first regular-season game of 2006 on June 3. He made two appearances for the Dodgers, pitching two scoreless innings and earning one save, but pain from the nerve in his elbow recurred, and he returned to the disabled list on June 12. A further (and apparently unrelated) setback occurred on July 4, when Gagné awoke with intense pain in his back. An examination revealed two herniated discs, and Gagné underwent a season-ending back surgery on July 8.

The Dodgers declined to extend Gagné's $12 million contract after the season, making him a free agent. On December 12, 2006 Gagné signed a one year deal with the Texas Rangers worth $6 million, with a possible $5 million in performance bonuses. Gagné had a poor spring training, allowing five earned runs in only three innings of work. For the third consecutive year, Gagné was placed on the disabled list to start the season to let him recover from his injuries. Gagné started to make his recovery by tossing in three minor league games, two of them on consecutive days, allowing a home run and having one loss. In his last minor league game, Gagné retired all three of the batters he faced, and he was activated on April 13.

In his first week back, Gagné pitched three innings, earning one save. But in the middle of his second save situation, Gagné left the game after complaining of leg pain. He said that it would take about a week to recover from the injury, but the Rangers, not taking the risk, placed Gagné on the disabled list with a hip injury. He was reactivated on May 8 and returned to the closer role. During his time with Texas, he was 2-0 with 16 saves and an ERA of 2.16; opposing hitters batted only .192 against him.

However, Gagné struggled in his new role with the Red Sox. In his first 15 appearances, Gagné allowed 14 earned runs in 14 innings (a 9.00 ERA) with three blown saves and an opponent batting average of over .350.

Gagné seemed to improve down the stretch and was eventually added to the playoff roster. In the playoffs, he was most often used in games in which the Red Sox were winning by a wide margin, including his only World Series appearance in which he pitched a perfect ninth inning in a 13-1 Game 1 victory. The only exception to this was his appearance in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Brought into a tie game in the top of the 11th inning, Gagné took the loss after allowing the first two runs of a 7-run 11th inning that was started by former Red Sox outfielder and fan favorite Trot Nixon.

In Boston, Gagné wore the number 83, as starting pitcher Curt Schilling already wore Gagné's usual number 38.

On December 9, 2007, Gagné reached a preliminary agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers. On December 10, he inked the one year deal to become their new closer. The one year deal has a base salary of $10 million, with incentives worth up to an extra $1 million.

On May 11, Brewers manager Ned Yost announced Gagné would be removed from the closer's role for a while, after 3 blown saves in 6 attempts. But after a couple days Gagné said he was ready to go, and a couple days later got his 10th save. However, Gagné continued to struggle as the team's closer and ultimately became the set-up man after losing his closers job to the veteran Salomon Torres. Gagné's struggles continued out of the bullpen, however. He eventually lost his set-up job to Guillermo Mota, and he finished the season as a middle relief pitcher, a role in which he still struggled.

He finished 2008 with his worst full season in the major leagues: 10 saves in 17 opportunities, an ERA of 5.41, and only 38 strikeouts in 46 innings of work. He did not convert a save after losing the closer job to Torres. His poor performance on the field coupled with the very high salary he was paid by a small market team led to him being considered a "ten million dollar mistake" by many Brewers fans.

Gagné went back to wearing the number 38 after wearing 83 in Boston.

Gagné became a free agent following the 2008 season, but re-signed with the Brewers to a minor league deal. However, he was released midway through Spring Training in part due to a shoulder injury.

On December 13, 2007, Gagné was listed in the Mitchell Report — former Senator George Mitchell's report on steroid use in baseball. Gagné was identified as a user of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Allegedly, Gagné received the drugs from steroids dealer Kirk Radomski. At first, Radomski said that Gagné obtained them from Dodgers teammate Paul Lo Duca, but then Radomski said in the report that he mailed two shipments of HGH directly to Gagné in 2004. Receipts of FedEx and USPS shipments indicate that Radomski received at least one payment from Gagné and two from Dodgers teammate Lo Duca on behalf of Gagné. Gagné declined to meet with Senator Mitchell to respond to the charges before the report was released.

Gagné and his wife Valerie have four children, two daughters, Faye (born 2000) and Bluu (born 2005), and two sons, Maddox (born 2004) and Harley (born 2008).

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2006 Los Angeles Dodgers season

In 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to improve their record from 2005. The team switched General Manager's from Paul DePodesta to Ned Colletti, and hired Grady Little as the new manager. The Dodgers were able to win 88 games. In the National League Western Division, the Dodgers won the Wild Card but in the first round of the Playoffs lost in three straight games against the Mets.

After a season battling injures to team leaders Jeff Kent, and all-star Nomar Garciaparra, the Dodgers were able to produce with several young rookies such as Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, and Jonathan Broxton. Key reliever Yhency Brazoban was sidelined with Tommy John Surgery, and closer Eric Gagné was sidelined with a back injury. However, rookie pitcher Takashi Saito took over the closing role and instantly became one of the game's best closers, ending the season with 24 saves in just half of the season.

Los Angeles had a very streaky season in 2006. After they started just 12-17, the Dodgers went on to win 15 of their next 18 games to improve to 27-20. They were 46-42 at the all-star break, two games back of the San Diego Padres in a tough Division (all five teams in the N.L. West were .500 or better at the all-star break). Two Dodger players, Nomar Garciaparra, and Brad Penny, were selected to play in the All-Star Game.

After the all-star break, the Dodgers lost 13 of their first 14 games. As a result, their record dropped to 47-55, and were in last place in the N.L. West, 7 1/2 games out of first place. Los Angeles would bounce back from this losing streak to win 17 out of their next 18 games, the first time the Dodgers did so since 1899. At the end of this winning stretch, Los Angeles was in first place with a record of 64-56. During this stretch, the Dodgers acquired Wilson Betemit from the Atlanta Braves, Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and pitcher Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs. Maddux proved to be the biggest transition for the Dodgers, as he provided the Dodgers starting rotation with a veteran arm and pitching depth.

The highlight of the 2006 season for Los Angeles was on September 18th, against the San Diego Padres. Coming into the four game series, Los Angeles held a half game lead in the N.L. West over San Diego with two and a half weeks left in the season. Los Angeles won the first game of the series 3-1 after a strong pitching performance by Maddux, extending The Dodgers lead to a 1 1/2 games over San Diego. The second game of the series was an 11-2 rout in favor of San Diego, trimming the Dodgers lead back to a half game. The third game of the series was a pitchers duel between San Diego's Chris Young and the Dodgers Derek Lowe. San Diego scored first after Russell Branyan hit a solo home run to make it 1-0. Russell Martin tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run of his own in the 7th. But San Diego won the game 2-1 when Khalil Greene scored on Terrmel Sledge's single. San Diego's victory gave them a half game lead over the Dodgers in the N.L. West.

The last game of the series on September 18th was a rocky start for the Dodgers. Brad Penny gave up four runs in the first inning, giving San Diego a 4-0 lead. Los Angeles slowly climbed back into the game, and tied the score 4-4 in the third inning. Neither team scored again until San Diego scored two in the top of the 8th to take a 6-4 lead. The Dodgers would cut San Diego's lead to one run after Wilson Betemit drove in Marlon Anderson with an RBI single. San Diego scored three runs in the top of the 9th and appeared to have broken the game wide open with a 9-5 lead. With a four run lead, San Diego elected to bring in Jon Adkins to pitch the 9th instead of closer Trevor Hoffman, who at the time was just three saves shy of tying the all-time record. Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew hit back-to-back home runs off of Adkins to close the lead to 9-7 with nobody out. San Diego then elected to bring Hoffman in to finish the game. Hoffman however, gave up back-to-back home runs to Martin and Anderson on the first two pitches Hoffman threw, tying the score at 9-9. It was only the fourth time a team hit four consecutive home runs in an inning, and the first time since the Minnesota Twins did so in 1964. San Diego scored a run in the top of the 10th on Josh Bard's RBI single to take a 10-9 lead. But after Kenny Lofton walked, Nomar Garciaparra hit the game winning two run walk off home run. The Dodgers 11-10 victory gave them a half game lead over San Diego with just two weeks left in the season.

San Diego and Los Angeles finished the season tied for first place in the N.L. West at 88-74. San Diego however, was awarded the division title because they had won 13 of 18 games from Los Angeles during the regular season, giving the Dodgers the wild card spot.

Upon entering the playoffs, they were swept at Shea Stadium. Reliever Joe Beimel cut his hand on glass at a bar while drinking. Beimel told his teammates, he did it in his hotel room but then later revealed the truth. Beimel was sidelined during all of the Division Series.

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Source : Wikipedia