Dodger Of The Month: Casey Blake
This month’s pick for the Dodger of the month is third baseman Casey Blake. Prior to his career in the majors, Blake was an exceptionally promising athlete. He was a four-sport standout at his high school in Indianola, Iowa. He played baseball, football, basketball and was on the track team.
Blake made his major league debut in 1999 playing against the Oakland Athletics. He played third base and went 0-for-3 against the A’s on Aug. 14. He got his first hit on Aug. 29, 1999, against the Texas Rangers. He hit his first home run off Jim Brower of the Cleveland Indians on Oct. 2, 1999.
Blake was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins in 2000. He played in 20 games for the Twins from 2000-01 before being placed on waivers again. The Baltimore Orioles picked him up in at the end of the 2001 season. He played in six games for the Orioles.
The Twins picked up Blake off waivers from Orioles again. This time, Blake played nine games for the Twins.
Blake went on to play with the Cleveland Indians in 2003 for his first full season in the majors. Blake eventually became the Indians regular third baseman. He had his best season in the majors in 2004. He had career highs in home runs with 28 and RBIs with 88. In 2005, Blake converted to right field to make room for Aaron Boone at third base. Blake spent two seasons in the outfield. He played in only 109 games in 2006, sidelined with a variety of injuries, but hit a career-best .282.
While with the Indians, Blake began to prove himself as a professional athlete. In his first year with the Indians, Blake led his team with 143 hits and 35 doubles. He finished that season with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. Blake played with the Indians for four years and during that time he accumulated two team clutch player of the year awards.
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On July 26, 2008, Blake was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Blake started strong with the Dodgers, batting .274 and continued to improve in the 2009 season with a .280 batting average. In 2010, Blake began a drop in performance and saw his batting average drop to .247. He began to battle back out of his slump and raised his average to .255 as of Sept. 1. He hit his fifth career grand slam in the Dodgers 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 27.
Blake is signed with the Dodgers for next season. He plans on striving for his best and tries to help his team as well as he can. He told the Los Angeles Times, “It’s been a struggle. I know I’m better than a .240-whatever hitter. I have been my whole career. When you’re not doing things night in and night out to help the team, it’s frustrating. I try to do everything within my power to help this team. Even if I’m not swinging the bat well, I try to help out in other ways.”