Davey Lopes and the Los Angeles Dodgers' First Base Coaches of the Past 20 Years

Dennis SchlossmanCorrespondent INovember 23, 2010

Davey Lopes and the Los Angeles Dodgers' First Base Coaches of the Past 20 Years

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    After 29 years of being separated from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Davey Lopes is home once again.

    Lopes and the remainder of the Dodgers coaching staff was named on Monday, as Los Angeles continues to restructure last season's club which finished a disappointing fourth in the NL West.

    He hasn't worn a Dodgers uniform since 1981, and with his return to the team that broke him into the majors, hopes to offer a fresh approach and new ideas heading into next year.

    Joining new skipper Don Mattingly, Lopes will be assigned to coach first base. Tim Wallach will coach third base, Jeff Pentland will be the hitting coach, while Trey Hillman will assume the Dodgers' bench coaching duties.

    Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell both will return as pitching coach and bullpen coach, while Dave Hansen joins Dodger legend Manny Mota as a secondary assistant coach.

    Six members of the current nine-person coaching crew have worn Dodger Blue at some point during their playing careers.

    Lopes succeeds Mariano Duncan as the first base coach and looks to provide influence to the squad like many former Dodger players before him.

    Sticking with recent tradition, Lopes will add to the legacy which saw every first base coach over the last 20 years as a player with the Dodgers at some point in their careers.

    Ironically, Los Angeles has seen less first base coaches than managers during the same 20-year time frame.

    The following slides highlight all of the first base coaches since 1990, and share a bit of player and coaching information for each.

Joe Ferguson (1988-93)

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    Joe Ferguson began his career with the Dodgers in 1970, and over the course of his seven seasons in Los Angeles, was used as both a catcher and a right fielder.

    With the emergence of Steve Yeager in 1973, Ferguson saw quite a bit of time in right field, and was perhaps best known for his home run against Oakland A's pitcher Vida Blue in the 1974 World Series.

    Ferguson also spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, and after another brief stint with the Dodgers from 1978 to 1981, finished his playing career with the then California Angels in 1983.

    He began coaching under former Dodger Bobby Valentine with the Texas Rangers in 1986, then returned to Los Angeles to succeed Manny Mota as first base coach in 1988, and help guide the Dodgers to a World Series championship.

    Ferguson went on to manage in the Dodgers farm system in 1994, and also spent time managing in the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres' minor league programs.

    Up until 2010, Ferguson had been managing the Camden Riversharks, a team in the Atlantic League.

Reggie Smith (1994-98)

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    Reggie Smith made his MLB debut for the Boston Red Sox in 1966, and soon after became known for having one of the strongest outfield arms throughout baseball.

    After playing three years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Smith joined the Dodgers in 1976, where he was instrumental in leading Los Angeles to three World Series appearances. Upon leaving Los Angeles in 1981, he joined the San Francisco Giants, and retired as a player just one year later.

    Over his 17-year playing career, Smith was selected to seven All-Star squads, and earned a Gold Glove award in 1968. He played 1987 career games with a .287 overall average, while tallying 314 home runs and 1092 RBI.

    Upon retiring as a player, Smith spent time coaching in the Dodgers' farm system before joining Tommy Lasorda's staff in Los Angeles as both batting coach and first base coach in 1994.

    Smith was also highly involved in USA Baseball as a hitting instructor from 1999 to 2008.

John Shelby (1998-2005)

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    John Shelby began his baseball career as a center fielder with the Baltimore Orioles in 1981, and after six years was traded to the Dodgers during the 1987 season. After four years in Los Angeles, he was picked up as a free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 1990.

    Shelby won two World Series championships as a player—one with the Orioles in 1983, and another with the Dodgers in 1988. During his 11 years in the majors, Shelby hit .239 with 70 home runs, 313 RBI and 98 stolen bases.

    After retiring as a player, Shelby joined the Dodgers as first base coach in 1998, when interim manager Glenn Hoffman took over as skipper for the departed Bill Russell. Shelby maintained the same position for eight seasons, and after a brief stop in Pittsburgh, accepted a coaching position with the Baltimore Orioles.

    Shelby left Baltimore at the end of the 2010 campaign, and will be working under Ron Roenicke, former Dodger and new skipper of the Milwaukee Brewers, in 2011.

Mariano Duncan (2006-10)

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    Signed by the Dodgers as an undrafted free agent in 1982, Duncan made his MLB debut in Los Angeles in 1985. After spending five years with the Dodgers, Duncan also had layovers with the Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies before finally retiring as a player with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997.

    In 1,279 career games, Duncan hit .267 with 87 home runs, 491 RBI, 174 stolen bases and 619 runs scored. As a member of the Reds in 1990 and the Yankees in 1996, he was a member of two World Series championship teams.

    Duncan began his coaching career in 2002 with the Gulf Coast Dodgers. He was a member of the Las Vegas 51s coaching staff in 2005 before becoming the first base coach for the Dodgers in 2006.

    With his fielding expertise and superior knowledge of the basepaths, Duncan will surely be picked up as a coach by another MLB squad before the 2011 season begins.

Davey Lopes

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    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Davey Lopes began his career with the Dodgers in 1973, and quickly elevated to the top of his game as a second baseman with both speed and power.

    Over the course of his nine seasons with the Dodgers, he was a pillar of the legendary infield with Steve Garvey, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. After being traded at the end of the Dodgers' 1981 championship season, Lopes also spent time with the Oakland Athletics, the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros organizations.

    During his 16-year playing career, Lopes batted .263 with 155 home runs, 614 RBI, 1,023 runs scored and 557 stolen bases. He also played in a total of six NLCS and four World Series. He won the 1978 NL MVP and four Gold Glove Awards.

    Following his retirement as a player, Lopes coached for several teams, including the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals, before becoming manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2000.

    Lopes later joined the Philadelphia Phillies, where he was responsible for the highly elevated running game. He was highly influential in both the Phillies' championship in 2008 and World Series appearance in 2009.