November 6, 1996
Todd Hollandsworth became the fifth consecutive Dodger to be named National League Rookie of the Year on this date 17 years ago. The Dodger outfielder followed first baseman Eric Karros, catcher Mike Piazza, outfielder Raul Mondesi and pitcher Hideo Nomo. Hollandsworth would help the Dodgers set an MLB record with his award in 1996.
Hollandsworth debuted for the Dodgers in the 1995 season but didn’t have enough at-bats to qualify as a rookie. In 1996, he came back and hit .291 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI to earn the honors. The then 23-year-old led all NL rookies in home runs, RBI, hits (139), doubles (26) and stolen bases (21). He played in 149 games for the Dodgers, mostly in left field.
That year, the Dodgers made the playoffs as the Wild Card team, but were swept by the Atlanta Braves. Hollandsworth batted .333 in the series and drove in a run. He also had two at-bats in the 1995 postseason but failed to record a hit.
Drafted in the third round of the 1991 MLB draft, Hollandsworth spent the better part of five seasons in the minor leagues before being promoted to the Dodgers. After his rookie season, Hollandsworth had a tough time replicating his numbers and struggled with injuries. He remained with the team until 2000 when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies along with two minor league players in exchange for outfielder Tom Goodwin and cash. He continued playing until 2006 with a few teams, but never became the everyday player he was expected to become after the 1996 season.
Since 1996, the Dodgers haven’t had another Rookie of the Year winner but may have a chance with the announcement of rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig as a finalist for the award this season. As a franchise, the Dodgers have the most Rookie of the Year winners with 16 in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
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