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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

They're Getting Closer to 30-30-30-30 Club Again

September 24, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER

When the Dodgers had four players hit at least 30 homers in 1977--Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30)--they were the first club to achieve that distinction.

The Colorado Rockies, however, have made the unique routine.

When Ellis Burks hit his 30th home run over the weekend against the Dodgers, he joined teammates Larry Walker, Vinny Castilla and Andres Galarraga to give them four players with 30 or more for the third consecutive season.

The Dodgers could have four 30-homer players this year. Mike Piazza has 37. Todd Zeile, who hit two homers Tuesday against the Padres, and Eric Karros, who hit one, need one more and Raul Mondesi needs two in the last five games to reach 30.

Considering four of those games will be played at Denver's Coors Field, anything is still possible.

*

Brett Butler was torn as he stood at the plate as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Sunday night's game against the Rockies.

On the one hand, with the San Francisco Giants having already won and the Dodgers trailing, 10-5, he was trying to concentrate on getting on base.

On the other hand, it was hard to ignore the standing ovation he was receiving from fans who figured that this might be the final appearance at Dodger Stadium for Butler, who is retiring after 17 big league seasons.

"It was kind of awkward," he conceded. "That was not really the appropriate time with us behind. But it was spontaneous and you've got to acknowledge the crowd and how much support they've shown me. That really touched my heart the way they reacted."

Butler stepped out of the batter's box, tipped his cap to the crowd and then got on with the business of trying to get aboard.

Business wasn't too good, Butler fouling out to the catcher. But that didn't blunt the enthusiasm of the crowd. They cheered him all the way back to the dugout.

"When you look back at your career," he said, "what are you going to remember? Moments like that. It moved me with emotion. It's something I'll remember all my life."

Butler was born in Los Angeles and lived in the Dodger Stadium area for the first two years of his life.

"I feel like I've come full circle," he said.

*

Add homers: With 37, Piazza has the most in Los Angeles Dodger history. But he is still six shy of the all-time Dodger record, set in Brooklyn by Duke Snider, who hit 43 in 1956.

Snider hit 40 or more five times in Brooklyn, Gil Hodges did it twice and Roy Campanella once with 41 in 1953.

*

Tuesday night's game was Terry Bales' last as an official scorer at Dodger games. Bales is retiring after serving in that capacity for 13 years.

Counting his time as a stinger for United Press International, Bales has been in the Dodger Stadium press box for 33 years.

*

Shortstop Greg Gagne, out since suffering a bruised tendon in his left forearm when he was hit by a pitch Friday night, returned to the lineup Tuesday.

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' TOM CANDIOTTI (10-6, 3.53 ERA) vs. PADRES' JOEY HAMILTON (10-7, 4.39 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 5 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West 2. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update--Tonight's starting time was dictated by the fact this is the first half of a nationally televised doubleheader. This will be the Dodgers' final appearance of the season at Dodger Stadium unless they make the playoffs. With the sale of the club to Rupert Murdoch imminent, Dodger Stadium might have a new look next season. Unless the Dodgers get into the playoffs, this will be the final start for Candiotti, 40, and perhaps his last start as a Dodger. But he is not complaining. He began the season in the bullpen, yet will start his 18th game tonight. Candiotti won his only decision against San Diego this season. Hamilton has won five of his six decisions against the Dodgers in his career while compiling a 2.72 earned-run average. Hamilton is 2-0 against L.A. this season with a 1.59 ERA.

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