Ten years later: Andrew Toles is Marlon Anderson

Marlon Anderson touches home plate with the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on September 18, 2006 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Marlon Anderson touches home plate with the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on September 18, 2006 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

toles-andersonBy Jon Weisman

We have now entered the 10th anniversary month of the 4+1 Game, the most unforgettable regular-season game for a generation of Dodger fans, and one that cemented Marlon Anderson as a folk hero for the franchise.

It’s been hard not to think of Anderson over the past 20-odd hours since Andrew Toles delivered the biggest hit of what has been a magical debut as a Dodger, the 4-in-1 grand slam that completed Los Angeles’ comeback from an 8-2, eighth-inning deficit to a 10-8 victory at Colorado.

Toles’ slam came, to the day, 10 years after Anderson’s acquisition from the Phillies for 20-year-old Gulf Coast League pitcher Jhonny Nunez. And if you look at Anderson’s record as a Dodger in 2006, you find that he played in 25 games — exactly as many as Toles has played so far.

At this moment, there’s even more to link Toles and Anderson. Among players with at least 50 plate appearances in a season for the Dodgers, Toles and Anderson rank No. 2 and No. 3 in adjusted OPS, trailing only 2008’s Manny Ramirez.

I mean, it’s really quite something.

In terms of weighted on-base average, Anderson tops Ramirez, with Toles fifth behind Fred Sington (1938) and Babe Herman (1930). Sington, like Anderson, only played a few handfuls of games more for the Dodgers in the following season before departing the scene.

(By the way, shout out to Mike Kinkade, whose 194 OPS+ and .471 wOBA in 2002 was fueled by six HBPs in 60 plate appearances.)

Of course, we still have a month to go in the season, so who knows how the Toles Story plays out. Two writers put forth some tea leaves to read today: Dave Cameron at Fangraphs and Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest. As you can imagine, there’s no way Toles continues to hit at this supersonic level, though there are some encouraging long-term signs.

In any case, we can still celebrate Toles’ present, in both senses of the word.

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