The Dodgers signed a first baseman that was just 22 home runs shy of 500 for his career on this date in 2002. The team came to terms on a one-year deal with Fred McGriff.
McGriff was coming off a season in which he hit .273 with 30 home runs and 103 RBI for the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers were interested in his power and pursuit of 500 home runs. The then 39-year-old McGriff, also known as the ‘Crime Dog’, was a five-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger in his 17 seasons.
That year for the Dodgers, McGriff struggled at the plate and with injuries, finishing the season with just 13 home runs and 40 RBI while hitting .249 in 86 games. He was still nine home runs shy of 500 but the Dodgers didn’t re-sign him. The left-handed slugger headed to Tampa Bay to try and reach the career milestone; however, he hit just .181 with two home runs in 27 games before being released by the Devil Rays. He wasn’t picked up by another team and retired in 2005. He ended his career with 493 home runs and a .284 career average.
The first baseman began his career in Toronto in 1986 and he stayed there until being traded to the San Diego Padres in 1990. In 1992, he made his first All-Star team and also won his first Silver Slugger, while finishing sixth in the MVP vote. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 1993 in the midst of one of his best seasons in his career. He won another Silver Slugger and finished fourth in the MVP race. The next year McGriff was named the MVP of the All-Star Game and then won a World Series with the Braves in 1995. After the Braves, he was picked up by the expansion Devil Rays and went to his hometown to play. He spent three and a half seasons there before being traded to the Cubs.
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