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Random Game Callback, April 25, 1995
2006-04-25 03:59
by Bob Timmermann
After seeing the season end prematurely in 1994 and the World Series cancelled, baseball fans almost got to see the 1995 season played with replacement players before a settlement in the labor dispute between MLB and the Players Association happened early in the spring. With the players reporting later, the start of the season was pushed backed to April 25 and each team was slated to play 144 games.

This put Opening Day (in this case Opening Night) on a Tuesday in Miami as the Dodgers squared off against the Marlins. The Dodgers were hoping to build on their success in 1994, when they were leading the NL West when the season ended. The Marlins, in just their third season, were looking for respectability.

Each team started their aces on Opening Day. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda called on Ramon Martinez and Marlins manager Rene Lachemann sent John Burkett to the hill. Lasorda was experimenting with his outfield and sent the 1994 Rookie of the Year Raul Mondesi from right field to center so he could start Henry Rodriguez in right field and Billy Ashley in left. Eric Karros, Delino DeShields, Jose Offerman and Dave Hansen (filling in for the injured Tim Wallach) filled out the infield. And, of course, Mike Piazza was behind the plate.

Lachemann had fewer stars to work with. Jeff Conine and Gary Sheffield provided good offense in the outfield, but Chuck Carr was in centerfield. Greg Colbrunn, Quilvio Veras, Alex Arias, and Terry Pendleton started in the infield and rookie Charles Johnson was behind the plate.

As both teams went out to the base lines for the Opening Day festivities, they were asked to tip the caps to thank the fans for their patience. 42,125 Floridians booed lustily. And not all the personnel were back as the umpires were on strike.

The Dodgers got to Burkett early when Mondesi hit a 2-run homer in the first, although the Marlins got a run in the first and a solo home run from Pendleton in the second to tie the game. The Dodgers scored three more times in the fifth to knock out Burkett in favor of Terry Mathews.

In the seventh, the Dodgers scored three more times off of Matt Dunbar and John Johnstone with Mondesi hitting his second home run of the game. The Dodgers would have eight extra-base hits out of their total of 13 for the game.

Conine homered off of Dodger reliever Antonio Osuna in the eighth, but Lasorda sent him back out for a third inning of work in the ninth, despite having a roster of 30 players for a few weeks. After a strikeout of Andre Dawson, Osuna walked three batters and gave up a single and a wild pitch and it was 8-4. Lasorda turned to his closer Todd Worrell, who led the NL in blown saves in 1994 with 8. And Worrell almost blew it again giving up two RBI singles to Pendleton and Colbrunn that made it 8-7. So Lasorda pulled Worrell and brought in Rudy Seanez who struck out Johnson to end the game.

The Dodgers would go on to win the NL West in 1995 by one game over Colorado, who won the wild card. Despite his shaky first day, Worrell would save 32 games for the Dodgers with a 2.02 ERA. Piazza would slug 32 home runs and bat .346, but the real story for the Dodgers was Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo, who led the NL in strikeouts with 236 and jump started attendance in Los Angeles. The Dodgers would be swept by Cincinnati in the Division Series however.

As for the Marlins, they escaped the cellar by a game and a half over Montreal. Injuries limited Sheffield to just 63 games. Veras would lead the NL in steals in his rookie year with 56, but also lead in caught stealing with 21.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.

2006-04-25 07:30:07
1.   coachjpark
I thought Ramon Martinez was a backup utility infielder!
2006-04-25 09:38:41
2.   D4P
"Eric Karros, Delino DeShields, Jose Offerman and Dave Hansen (filling in for the injured Tim Wallach) filled out the infield."

Ahem. Wow.

2006-04-25 11:50:47
3.   grandcosmo
"but Chuck Carr was in centerfield."

BUT Chuck Carr was in centerfield????

2006-04-25 11:54:05
4.   Linkmeister
Burkett's been around that long, huh?
2006-04-25 11:57:14
5.   Bob Timmermann

I think that statement speaks for itself regarding the value of The Chuckie Carr.

2006-04-25 12:46:05
6.   grandcosmo
5. Oh yeah? How many National League Division Series home runs do you have?

He homered on the last pitch he ever saw in the major leagues and Hosken Powell is one of his top ten similarity scores so I rest my case.

2006-04-25 13:02:43
7.   Bob Timmermann
Chuckie Carr would have had a better career if he had gone to a better high school, such as Eisnenhower.
2006-04-25 13:32:01
8.   grandcosmo
7. But he wouldn't have had a better education!

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