Clinton Dodgers

From BR Bullpen

In 1977 the formerly independent Clinton Pilots were replaced in Clinton, IA by a LA Dodgers affiliate. Managed by Dick McLaughlin their first season, the new Clinton Dodgers had a 79-59 record, best in the southern division, but finished second each half and thus missed the playoffs. Drawing a league-low 42,238 fans, the club outscored opponents 651-621, allowing the fewest runs in the league. Dave Stewart (17-4, 2.15) was second in the Midwest League in ERA (trailing only Philip Nastu), third in strikeouts (144), first in wins and winning percentage and tied for the lead in both shutouts (3) and complete games (15). Joining Stewart as All-Stars were C Mike Scioscia (.253/~.364/.371) and OF Mickey Hatcher (.309/~.356/.493, 14 for 16 in SB).

The 1978 Dodgers did much worse. McLaughlin's club finished dead last (22-44-1) in the first half before a 31-39 second half. Again finishing last in attendance (43,921), Clinton was outscored 734-589, going from allowing the fewest runs to issuing the second-most. Russ McDonald (11-8, 3.19) finished 8th in ERA as a rare bright spot and was the only All-Star. 3B Leo Hernandez (.277/~.311/.457) hit 17 homers.

In Clinton's last season as a Los Angeles farm team, they had a 31-35 first half but McLaughlin's nine won the southern division in the second half at 43-24. In the playoffs, they fell 2 games to 1 to the Quad Cities Cubs. Back to being first in fewest runs allowed, the scoring differential was 608-566 in favor of the Dodgers, though they hit a league-low 35 long balls. The team had two All-Stars in OF Mitch Webster (.326/~.406/.404, 54 SB, the league leader in average and in hits [154]) and P Kevin Joyce (5-3, 14 Sv, 2.47, 90 K, 38 H in 62 IP). The club was loaded with future big-leaguers including catchers Dann Bilardello (.231/~.329/.310) and Dave Sax (.270/~.370/.404), Dave's brother Steve Sax (.290/~.386/.355, 25 SB) as an OF-2B-DH, SS Alan Wiggins (.257/~.405/.274, 43 SB), OF Candy Maldonado (.234/~.313/.367) and pitchers Orel Hershiser (4-0, 2 Sv, 2.09) and Alejandro Pena (3-3, 4.18).

In 1980, they switched affiliations and became the Clinton Giants.

Sources: 1978-1980 Baseball Guides

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1977 79-59 2nd Dick McLaughlin
1978 53-82 7th Dick McLaughlin
1979 74-59 3rd Dick McLaughlin Lost in 1st round