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record-setting base stealer
David Earl Lopes was born in East Providence, Rhode Island, on May 3, 1945. He was All-State in baseball and basketball while at LaSalle Academy (RI), attended Iowa Wesleyan College, and graduated from Washburn University, where he earned NAIA All-American honors in baseball and basketball, in 1969.
A second-round pick for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, Lopes began his professional career as an outfielder with the Division A Daytona Beach Dodgers. He was moved up to the AAA Spokane Indians in 1970, for which he played second base until being called up to the majors. He made his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 22, 1972.
During his career with the Dodgers, Lopes was a member of an infield team that played together for a record eight-plus seasons (1974-1981) -- Steve Garvey (1B), Lopes (2B), Bill Russell (SS), Ron Cey (3B). Although primarily a second baseman, Lopes also played 239 games in the outfield and some at third base and shortstop. As a second baseman, he was the recipient of the 1978 NL Rawlings Gold Glove Award. As a hitter, Lopes is still the all-time Dodgers' home run leader for second basemen (98) and holds the Dodger record for most career leadoff home runs (28), including a record 7 in 1979.
Lopes is best known for his ability to steal bases. On August 24, 1974, he stole five bases in one game to tie a National League record set by Giant Dan McGann on May 27, 1904. On August 9, 1975, he stole his 38th consecutive base to break a record set by Pirate Max Carey in 1922 (that record was 31). He led the National League in stolen bases in both 1975 (77) and 1976 (63), and is second in Dodger history with a total of 413 stolen bases as a Dodger. During his time with the Dodgers, Lopes played in one Division Series, six League Championship Series, four World Series (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981), and four consecutive All-Star Games (1978-1981).
Lopes was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1981, and played there until being traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1984. On September 25, 1985, he set a new record for stolen bases by a player over 40, 47; the old record was 23, set by Honus Wagner in 1914. He was traded to the Houston Astros in 1986, and played his last game on October 4, 1987. By the time he retired as a player Lopes had stolen a total of 557 bases.
Since retiring as a player, Lopes has been the first base coach for the Texas Rangers (1988-1991), Baltimore Orioles (1992-1994), San Diego Padres (1995-1999 and 2003-2005), Washington Nationals (2006), and Philadelphia Phillies (2007-2010). Lopes was also a baserunning instructor for the Phillies, and the team had the best stolen-base percentage in Major League Baseball in each of Lopes's four seasons, including record a 87.9 percent in 2007. His short stint as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, 2000-2002, was less than successful, with the Brewers going 144-195 during that period.
Davey Lopes was hired as a coach by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011. He currently lives in San Diego.
Robinson Library >> Recreation >> Baseball >> Biography
This page was last updated on September 23, 2017.