|HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THREE DAYS EARLY.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- A center-field flyhawk, Steve Finley covered more ground than a stray Jack Russell Terrier. He won five Gold Gloves but wasn't known only for his defense. He eventually developed into a dangerous hitter, clubbing 304 home runs to go along with 320 steals during his 19-year career.
- On Oct. 2, 2004, Finley hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth off Wayne Franklin to cap a seven-run rally and give the Dodgers a 7-3 victory over the Giants and the NL West title. Finley was acquired from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline. The circuit clout clinched L.A.'s first postseason trip since '96.
- In '96 with the Padres, Finley finished 10th in the NL MVP voting after hitting 30 home runs, driving in 95 and stealing 22 bases. He hit .298 and had a 5.5 WAR.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- The 30 dingers in '96 were 19 more than his previous high.
- He'd reach 30-plus three more times, including a career-high 36 in '04.
- Led the NL in triples for the second time in '03 with 10, the oldest player at 38 to do so.
- Tied Pete Rose for being the oldest (39) to play 162 games in '04.
- Signed originally by the Orioles and was packaged with #10 Curt Schilling and #62 Pete Harnisch and shipped to the Astros for #41 Glenn Davis, who was a bust because of injuries.