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The Dodgers-Giants connection

Daryl Spencer was the first one, on May 30, 1961, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, when he started at third base for the Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals. Who knew then?

More than a half-century later, last Aug. 22, reliever Brian Wilson, in his first game with the Dodgers, became the latest when he took the mound in the ninth inning against the Marlins in Miami.

What do they have in common? Spencer and Wilson bookend an eclectic 88-member group that has played for both the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants since the teams moved west in 1958.

The list includes three Hall of Fame members — Duke Snider, Juan Marichal and Gary Carter. None was more surprising than Marichal, signed by the Dodgers before the 1975 season.

During a tense pennant race in August 1965, Marichal was at the center of a explosive confrontation. He struck Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro over the head with a bat after Roseboro had just buzzed or ticked Marichal's ear with a return throw to pitcher Sandy Koufax.

From an incident that sullied Marichal's reputation, a new story eventually emerged.

Roseboro said that in the early 1980s he began talking with Marichal, as he believed that what happened had kept the Hall of Fame doors unfairly closed to the Dominican pitcher.

"There were no hard feelings on my part, and I thought if that was made public, people would believe that this was really over with," Roseboro told The Times in 1990. "So I saw him at a Dodger old-timers' game and we posed for pictures together and I actually visited him in the Dominican. The next year, he was in the Hall of Fame."

At Roseboro's memorial service in 2002, Marichal said that Roseboro "forgiving me was one of the best things that happened in my life . . . When I became a Dodger player, John told all the Dodger fans to forget what happened that day. It takes special people to forgive."

Forgiveness is wonderful, but Dodgers fans also didn't like Marichal because he dominated Los Angeles during his 14 years with the Giants, from 1960-1973. He was 37-18 against the Dodgers — easily his best record against any club — and shut them out 10 times.

And then, the baseball world was turned on its axis just before the 1975 season.

Marichal became a Dodger.

"Dodgers Hoping Ex-Enemy Juan Regains Old Zip," read a headline in the Sporting News.

"Incredible as it sounds, Juan Marichal now is a Dodger," the story began. "Yes, Juan Marichal. The most hated of the hated Giants . . . "

But Marichal's zip was gone. In two games for the Dodgers, he gave up nine earned runs in six innings, losing his lone decision, then retired.

If the sight of Marichal in a Dodgers uniform was a stunner, so was Duke Snider's appearance in Giants colors 11 years earlier.

From 1947 through 1962, Snider was brilliant and beloved. He hit 389 home runs and batted an even .300, helping the Dodgers win seven pennants and their first two World Series.

The New York Mets purchased Snider from the Dodgers on April Fool's Day in 1963, allowing Snider a nostalgic return to New York, but then peddled him the following April to the Giants, for whom he batted .210 with four home runs in 91 games before retiring.

It wasn't his happiest season.

"One of Duke's final appearances at Dodger Stadium was a speech to minor leaguers during the team's winter development program," recalled Dodgers team historian Mark Langill. "His message included the revelation he didn't like Halloween because 'orange and black are Giants colors.' "

Nonetheless, the clubs have a special bond.

"It's important to remember how remarkably this geographical rivalry has been preserved for generations," Langill noted. "The Dodgers and Giants have played one another since the 1880s. The franchises needed one another when making their historic move to the West Coast in 1958. And when it looked like the Giants might leave town in 1976 and 1992 because of ownership changes, the Dodgers quietly worked behind the scenes in hopes their rival would remain in San Francisco."

There are other ties.

When teams made up of major leaguers would barnstorm in the off-season — to stay in shape and bolster their salaries — rivals, including Dodgers and Giants, were often teammates.

Dodgers and Giants have also shared All-Star game dugouts for decades.

The rosters for the first of two All-Star Games in 1962 included five players from each club. Marichal was the winning pitcher in relief of the Dodgers' Don Drysdale.


Here is a lineup of players who have worn the uniforms of each club since they relocated from Flatbush in Brooklyn and Coogan's Bluff in Manhattan in 1958.

While we tried to include only those who were significant with at least one of the clubs and played the position with both teams, we didn't always succeed. Here's our lineup of two starting pitchers, eight position players and a closer:

Starting pitcher: The case has been made for Hall of Famer Marichal, who was 238-140 with a 2.84 earned-run average with the Giants. Orel Hershiser, in 13 seasons as a Dodger (1983-1994, 2000), was 135-107. He won the Cy Young Award in 1988 when he was 23-8 and won three postseason games, including the clincher in Game 5 of the World Series against Oakland. In 1998, his only season as a Giant, Hershiser was 11-10 with an ERA of 4.41 and led the staff in starts with 34.

Relief pitcher: No one was close to being prime closer for both clubs. We'll go with Jim Gott over several others. In five seasons with the Dodgers (1990-1994), Gott saved 38 games and had a 2.99 ERA. In three years in San Francisco (1985-1987), Gott had one save with an ERA of 4.27.

Catcher: Tom Haller batted .248 and hit 107 homers in seven years with the Giants (1961-1967). Traded to the Dodgers before the 1968 season, in the first West Coast swap between the clubs, Haller hit .276 in four years (1968-1971). Yes, Gary Carter is in the Hall of Fame with 324 homers, but he's there because of his 17 seasons as an Expo or Met, not his one year each as a Giant (1990, .254) or Dodger (1991, .246).

1B: It's a small field. In four years as a Dodger (1958-1961), Norm Larker batted .294 and was runner-up for the league batting crown with a .323 average in 1960. As a Giant briefly at the end of 1963, Larker played in 19 games, 11 at first base.

2B: The discussion begins and ends with Jeff Kent. He spent six of his 17 years in the majors with the Giants (1997-2002), hitting .297 with 175 home runs. He was the league MVP in 2000. In four years as a Dodger (2005-2008), Kent batted .291 with 75 homers.

3B: Bill Madlock batted .296 as a Giant (1977-1979), playing a lot at second base as well. With the Dodgers (1985-1987), he hit .285. Madlock won four batting crowns, but none as a Giant or Dodger.

SS: This is a bit of a stretch, but we needed to fill out a lineup. Juan Uribe (Dodgers 2011-current) resuscitated his career with the Dodgers, batting .278 with 12 home runs in 2013 after two poor seasons. And he has been even better this year. Primarily a third baseman, he has played five games at shortstop in his career with the Dodgers. With the Giants (2009-2010), Uribe played more shortstop than third and hit .266 with 40 homers.

OF: Brett Butler hit .293 and stole 125 bases for the Giants (1988-1990) and .298 with 179 steals for the Dodgers (1991-97) and was an excellent defender. Reggie Smith hit .297 with 97 homers with the Dodgers (1976-1981) and twice was fourth in the MVP vote. In his lone season with the Giants (1982), he hit .284 with 18 homers as a first baseman. The best years for Snider were with Brooklyn (1947-1957). Injuries and unforgiving distances to center and right-center at the Coliseum deprived him of considerable power with the Dodgers in Los Angeles (1958-1962), but he batted .292 with 73 of his 407 career homers. We have already reviewed Snider's lone year with the Giants (1964).

One last thing. You know that Hall of Fame broadcaster who has been with the Dodgers for a while?

Vin Scully was a Giants fan while growing up in New York.

Leader is a former editor for the Los Angeles Times.

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