It’s been 19 years since Dodgers were so bad they became sellers
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They were a bad team. A very bad team. Historically bad.
The 1992 Dodgers were so bad that by the July 31 nonwaiver trading deadline, they were 43-60 and 17 games out of first.
So they did what no Dodgers team has done since -- became sellers at the trading deadline.
No Dodgers team, that is, until now.
These current Dodgers are also a bad team (43-56, 13½ games out), and expected to do their best to become sellers prior to next week’s trading deadline.
Still, this current Dodgers team will have a ways to go to plummet all the way to the depths of that 1992 team. That team finished 63-99 and 35 games out. It was the worst Dodgers season in 83 years.
“It was a difficult year,” said Fred Claire, then the general manager. “In ’91 it came down to the end. I think we were in first place for a while and won 93 games.
“Then 1992 was just a year where nothing went right for us.” Claire thought he had put an impressive roster together. An outfield of Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry and Brett Butler. Kal Daniels was at first, Juan Samuel at second, the promising Jose Offerman at shortstop.
He had a rotation of Ramon Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, Tom Candiotti and Bobby Ojeda. Jay Howell and Roger McDowell to close.
But the team never came together. Injuries limited Davis to 76 games and Strawberry to 43, which forced Daniels to move to the outfield and open first base for a rookie named Eric Karros. He went on to become their first of five consecutive Rookies of the Year for the Dodgers.
Soon Daniels joined Samuel and Howell on the disabled list. A team that was 26-28 on June 9, lost its next 10 games and never recovered.
“I remember we had a great bunch of guys,” said Dave Hanson, then a rookie infielder and now the team hitting coach. “They never broke apart. Tommy (Lasorda) was part of that, keeping the glue together. We still worked and battled; it just seemed like nothing went right for us. But it wasn’t from lack of effort.”
The record, however, was unavoidable, so Claire set out to clear veterans and salary. Soon Daniels was sent to the Cubs, and outfielder Stan Javier to the Phillies.
“I don’t recall anyone being surprised that we made those moves,” Claire said. “The players we moved were not going to fit in for us.”
The players they received in return -- Mike Sodders from the Cubs, Steve Searcy and Julio Peguero -- never played an inning for the Dodgers.
“But in ’93 we got back to .500 and then made it to the playoffs the next two seasons,” Claire said.
Hansen said the experience from that season served him well throughout his career and left him with lessons he can impart to this year’s team as the losses mount.
“It’s a drag. There’s no way around it,” Hansen said. “You have to work at finding the positives every day that winning usually cures. It’s a true test of character.”
-- Steve Dilbeck