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1972 Los Angeles Dodgers

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[edit] 1972 Los Angeles Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page

Record: 85-70, Finished 3rd in NL Western Division (1972 NL)

Managed by Walter Alston

Ballpark: Dodger Stadium

[edit] Season Highlights

The 1972 baseball season began with the first regular season player strike in MLB history, forcing the cancellation of several games for all teams. The season finally did begin with the Dodgers in Cincinnati on April 15 with a 3-1 Dodger win. The starting lineup for the Dodgers that opening day was:

This lineup was to undergo many changes throughout the season. The much-heralded arrival of Frank Robinson from the Baltimore Orioles never really panned out as Robby hit just 20 home runs while nagging injuries held him to 103 games. Aging star Wills could no longer produce offensively and was replaced at shortstop by Bill Russell on April 28 who held that position for the remainder of the season with the exception of a two-week military commitment in July. Veteran Wes Parker would come back to man first base most of the season with Buckner seeing some time in the outfield. Bobby Valentine would replace Lefebvre at second base by mid-May and would lose that job to rookie Lee Lacy in July. Grabarkewitz was nagged with injuries and was replaced by Steve Garvey at third base with Valentine also seeing considerable time at the hot corner after the arrival of Lacy. Manny Mota would see most of the duty in left field. Sims would share the catching chores with Chris Cannizzaro after Dick Dietz went down with a back injury. Steve Yeager would arrive on the scene in August after Sims was traded to Detroit. Only Willie Davis held his starting spot from opening day until the end of the season. September saw the debut of three-fourths of what would be the Dodger infield for years to come as Ron Cey and Davey Lopes were called up to play third base and second base, respectively.

The starting rotation consisted of Sutton, Claude Osteen, Bill Singer, Tommy John, and Al Downing. Osteen went 20-11 and Sutton 19-9. Jim Brewer was the leading bullpen workhorse with 17 saves and just a 1.26 ERA in 51 games. Also in the bullpen were Pete Richert, Pete Mikkelsen, Mike Strahler, and 49 year-old Hoyt Wilhelm (released in July). Former Dodger star Ron Perranoski was re-acquired late in the season. Rookie Doug Rau showed promise in a late-season promotion.

The Dodgers remained in the race throughout most of the season but never could catch the Reds. In the end, the Dodgers were themselves caught by the Houston Astros, who finished one-half game in front of LA. The Dodgers had to settle for third place.

Following the season Parker, Wills, and Lefebvre were released and never played in the majors again. Parker and Lefebvre continued their careers in Japan. Robinson was traded to the California Angels along with Valentine, Grabarkewitz, Singer, and Strahler in a blockbuster deal for Andy Messersmith and Ken McMullen. The Dodgers would look for better days in 1973.


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