He has num­bers, not votes

Karros gets few votes in poll to list great­est Dodgers. But then, recog­ni­tion has been de­nied be­fore.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Steve Dil­beck sports@la­times.com

Eric Karros owns a Dodgers home run Karros mark, but got lit­tle sup­port in bal­lot­ing to name team’s all-time greats.

Eric Karros was pretty much the per­fect Dodger.

A lo­cal UCLA boy. Looks to make a school­girl swoon. Se­ri­ous power in his bat. Never in trou­ble. Maybe the best hair in base­ball — ever.

Karros played 12 suc­cess­ful years here and be­came the Los An­ge­les Dodgers’ all-time home run hit­ter. That’s right, it’s Karros. Not Mike Pi­azza; not Steve Gar­vey.

But when The Times re­cently asked on­line read­ers to name their 10 great­est Dodgers of all time, more than 14,000 bal­lots were cast and Karros re­ceived … four votes. Four? “Wow,” ex-Dodger Orel Her­shiser said. “Wow.”

“That’s amaz­ing,” said Tim Wal­lach, a for­mer Karros team­mate and cur­rent Dodgers bench coach.

Hey, Los An­ge­les, where is the love? All Karros did was end his ca­reer third on the fran­chise list with 270 home runs — be­hind only Duke Snider (389) and Gil Hodges (361) — fifth with 582 ex­tra­base hits and sixth with 976 runs bat­ted in.

Karros ap­peared non­plussed when told of the re­sult. Took it com­pletely in stride. Even made a lit­tle jab at him­self.

“The four peo­ple who voted for me got it wrong,” he said. “I’d be the first to tell you I wouldn’t be in a top-20 list of Dodgers.”

Whether he de­serves to be part of the top 20 is cer­tainly de­bat­able. A lot of ac­com­plished play­ers did not make the im­pres­sive list, in­clud­ing Pi­azza, Ron Cey, Johnny Po­dres, Wil­lie Davis, Dazzy Vance, Bill Rus­sell and Zack Wheat.

But just four measly votes? It’s not as if Karros has dis­ap­peared. He’s a base­ball an­a­lyst for Fox and has been on the air for some net­work or lo­cal TV sta­tion since he re­tired in 2004. He still lives in Los An­ge­les, yet sta­dium or­gan­ist Nancy Bea He­fley prob­a­bly gets more love.

Karros said he’s al­ways greeted warmly by fans at the sta­dium, at the air­port, any­where in the Los An­ge­les area.

“I’ve al­ways felt very ap­pre­ci­ated by the fans in L.A.,” he said. “I couldn’t have had a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence as far as my re­la­tion­ship here with every­body. I make my home in L.A. I love it.

“As far as I’m con­cerned, the four peo­ple who put me in the top 10, they need to be checked be­cause I’m def­i­nitely not in the top 10 of the Dodgers’ list his­tor­i­cally.”

It’s not as if Karros is just now un­ap­pre­ci­ated. He has a long his­tory of it.

Try this one on: Karros never made an All-Star team. Not in 1995 (.298 av­er­age, 32 homers, 105 RBIs), not in 1999 (.304, 34, 112) and not in 2000 (25 homers and 70 RBIs at the break).

Karros did al­low that he felt he should have made the All-Star team in ’95 and 2000, though that’s not the part that stings.

“In 2000, [Mark] McGwire was hurt,” Karros said. “He pub­licly comes out and says I should be on the team. And then on top of that, in that year at the All-Star break there was not a first base­man in the Na­tional League who had more home runs or RBI than I did. Of course I’m go­ing to get on it, right?

“So not only do I not get on it, but then ESPN — I’ll never for­get this — runs a spe­cial with Dan Pa­trick about the guys who got snubbed. I didn’t even get on the all-snubbed list.”

Karros played in an era when there were sev­eral out­stand­ing NL first base­men — McGwire, Todd Hel­ton, An­dres Galar­raga, Fred McGriff, Jeff Bag­well — but you’d think he would have slipped into the All-Star game at least once.

And now this be­lated lit­tle in­dig­nity.

“Eric was al­ways a fairly quiet guy,” Wal­lach said. “He wasn’t putting him­self out there. I’m sure that may have had some­thing to do with it.

“He just came out ev­ery day and did it the right way. I know in the ’90s he was with­out ques­tion one of the top two or three guys here.”

Karros played at the same time that Pi­azza dom­i­nated head­lines. And his teams never won a World Se­ries ti­tle, so there is that. No one who played pri­mar­ily in the ’90s made the fi­nal top-20 list.

But 14,383 peo­ple cast bal­lots and the L.A. Dodgers’ all­time leader in home runs picked up four votes?

“There is no rea­son, other than that’s an anom­aly,” said Her­shiser, now a team broad­caster. “It’s not like there’s any kind of rep­u­ta­tion. If any­thing, his rep­u­ta­tion is stel­lar. I don’t un­der­stand the over­sight.

“He is an ab­so­lutely great guy. He was a great team­mate. That is re­ally an odd out­come.”

‘If any­thing, his rep­u­ta­tion is stel­lar. I don’t un­der­stand the over­sight.’

— Orel Her­shiser,

re­fer­ring to Eric Karros, who had a solid Dodgers ca­reer but re­ceived four votes in poll

Ge­orge Wil­helm Los An­ge­les Times

ERIC KARROS hit 270 homers for the Dodgers, but the first base­man never made an All-Star team.

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