Joe Ferguson

Ferguson became the Dodgers’ regular catcher in 1973 and set a ML catcher record by committing only three errors (700 or more chances), leading the league’s catchers in fielding average and double plays. He hit .263 and reached career highs with 25 HR, 26 doubles, 88 RBI, 84 runs, and 87 walks (for an on-base percentage of .376), despite spending three weeks on the DL in the middle of the season. He also played 20 games in the outfield, and would continue to play both catcher and outfield throughout his career.

In 1974 Steve Yeager, better defensively, took over more of the catching duties. Ferguson hit 16 HR, but gained more attention for his playoff exploits, as the TV announcers were taken with the idea of a strong-armed catcher playing right field. Ferguson hit only .231 but drew five walks, scored three runs, and drove in two in the four-game series. In the World Series he hit a two-run homer off Vida Blue for what proved to be the winning margin in the Dodgers’ only victory over the A’s.

After spending the second half of 1975 on the DL and starting slowly in 1976, Ferguson was traded with two minor players to the Cardinals for Reggie Smith and was sent on to Houston after the season. As the Astros’ primary catcher, Ferguson had another fine season (16 HR, 61 RBI, 85 walks) before the Dodgers reacquired him in July 1978 for Jeff Leonard and Rafael Landestoy. Ferguson helped Los Angeles to another NL pennant. In 1979, again splitting time between catching and the outfield, he hit 20 HR with 69 RBI in 122 games, but he finished his career as a part-timer. He ended the 1980s as a coach with the Dodgers.