Los Angeles Dodgers History: Comparing Adrian Gonzalez’s Smashing April With Steve Garvey’s September of 1976


Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been named the National league player of the month for April. Gonzalez had one of the best opening months for a first baseman in Dodger history. The last Dodger first baseman to win a NL player of the month award was Steve Garvey in September of 1976. Although no Dodger has ever had a month of April like Gonzo did this spring. Gonzalez receives the award after setting a major league record by hitting five home runs in his first three games.

My April Beats out Garvey’s by This Much-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Since it’s been about 38 years since the honor was bestowed upon a Dodger first baseman, I think we should compare the two. We’ll compare Gonzalez’s April of 2015, to Garvey’s September of 1976. I think you’ll find that Gonzo’s month bests Garvey’s month by a slim margin. This shows what a tremendous month of April Gonzo had this year. Both players had similar months, but Gonzo’s power surge is what makes his month top Garvey’s.

Garvey finished the 76 season with triple slash line of .317/.363/.450 with an OPS of .813. Garvey didn’t have much of a power stroke that year, as he hit just 13 long balls. He drove in 80 runs in 696 plate appearances. He played in all 162 games for the Dodgers that season, and drew 50 walks, while stealing 19 bases. He collected 200 hits, and finished the season with an OPS+ of 133. After the season he finished sixth in the NL MVP award voting, and won a gold glove.

Was his month of September better than Gonzo’s April? Probably not in my opinion.

Gonzalez batted .383 in April, with 8 home runs and 19 Runs batted in. Gonzo’s slugging percentage was .790. Garvey’s in September of 1976 was .535. Garvey had a .979 OPS, while Gonzo’s OPS was a ridiculous 1.222.

Gonzalez’s April 2015- .383/.432/.790 8 HR 19 RBI 21 Games 88 plate appearances

Garvey’s September 1976 – ./377/.444/.535 3 HR 14 RBI 32 games 134 plate appearances 

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  • Garvey did get on base at a slightly higher clip, thanks to his 16 walks, compared to Gonzo’s 7 free passes. However Gonzo hit five more home runs, and drove in five more runs in fewer games than Garvey did in his month. Garvey had more hits though. Garvey got 43 hits, and Gonzo had 31. Both players struck out ten times, and both amassed almost equal number of total bases. Gonzo’s 64 beats out Garvey’s 61.

    This is not the first time Gonzalez has won the player of the month award. He won the award in the American League while playing for the Red Sox in June of 2011. Gonzo also won the player of the week award in the first week of April.