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Tuesday, September 24
Gonzalez's injury not necessarily fatal blow

By David Schoenfield

The Arizona Diamondbacks have scored the most runs in the National League, they feature the league's most dominating 1-2 punch in Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and they have a deep and productive bench.

However, Luis Gonzalez's shoulder injury -- he separated his shoulder diving for Tino Martinez's blooper on Monday and may be lost for the entire postseason -- will be a devastating blow.

Or will it?

Gonzalez -- who leads the team in home runs and RBI -- isn't the first star player to get injured late in the season or during the playoffs. Here are some other key injuries suffered by playoff teams since division play began in 1969, and how things played out:

Reggie Jackson, 1972 A's
Mr. October -- Oakland's starting center fielder incidentally -- injured his knee sliding into home in Game 5 of the ALCS against Detroit. The A's won that game but Jackson was out for the World Series. His replacement was rookie George Hendrick, who had hit just .182 in 121 at-bats. Hendrick hit poorly in the Series and was benched after five games, but Oakland beat Cincinnati in seven games.

Jim Rice, 1975 Red Sox
Rice, who finished third in the MVP voting behind fellow rookie teammate Fred Lynn, broke his wrist on September 21 and was out for the playoffs. The Sox were able to shift Carl Yastrzemski to left field and play Cecil Cooper, who had hit .311 with 14 home runs, at first base. But Cooper suffered through a 1-for-19 World Series, a key reason to Boston's seven-game defeat to Cincinnati.

Willie Randolph, 1978 Yankees
Randolph led the team in runs scored but pulled his hamstring with three games left to play, leaving rookie backup Brian Doyle to play second base. The light-hitting Doyle -- he hit .192 in 52 regular-season at-bats with no extra-base hits -- hit .438 in the World Series. He had three hits in each of the final two games as the Yankees beat the Dodgers in six.

Cesar Cedeno, 1980 Astros
The Astros' starting center fielder, Cedeno had led the team with a .309 average and 48 steals while finishing second with 73 RBIs. In Game 3 of the NLCS, Cedeno fractured his ankle trying to beat out a double-play ball. The Astros won that game but lost the final two. His subs, Denny Walling and Gary Woods, went 1-for-9. Worse for Cedeno, he was never the same player again.

Rollie Fingers, 1982 Brewers
Fingers pulled an arm muscle in early September, leaving the Brewers without their All-Star closer. Pete Ladd saved two games in the ALCS and Bob McClure saved two more in the World Series, which Milwaukee lost in seven games to St. Louis. However, McClure also lost two games -- in the eighth inning in Game 2 and the sixth inning in Game 7 -- in which Fingers may have made a difference.

Vince Coleman, 1985 Cardinals
The National League Rookie of the Year after stealing 110 bases, Coleman's leg was caught under an automatic tarp machine before Game 4 of the NLCS and he was lost for the World Series. While the Cardinals lost to the Royals, it certainly wasn't because of Coleman's injury; his replacement, Tito Landrum, was St. Louis' best hitter with a .360 average.

Jack Clark and Terry Pendleton, 1987 Cardinals
The team's lone imposing slugger with 35 home runs, 106 RBIs and 139 walks, Clark's September ankle injury kept him out of the playoffs (except for one pinch-hitting appearance in the NLCS). St. Louis advanced to the World Series, with first base filled by Dan Driessen and Jim Lindeman, who hit a combined .286 with three RBIs in a seven-game defeat to Minnesota. Pendleton played through a torn rib cage muscle, but the switch-hitter couldn't hit right-handed or play third base, leaving the Cardinals with a Game 7 lineup that featured Lindeman hitting cleanup and Tom Lawless playing third.

Kirk Gibson, 1988 Dodgers
Already beat up with a sore knee, Gibson hurt his hamstring stealing a base in Game 5 of the NLCS. He tried to play through the injury, but left Game 7 after two plate appearances. You may remember his one at-bat during the World Series. And his sub, Mickey Hatcher, who had hit one homer all year, hit two as the Dodgers beat the A's in five games.

Ray Lankford, 1996 Cardinals
The team's best all-around player with 21 homers, 86 RBIs, 35 steals and 100 runs scored, Lankford tore his rotator cuff on the next-to-last day of the season. He tried to play through it in the NLCS, but went 0-for-13 as the Cardinals lost to the Braves.

Alex Fernandez, 1997 Marlins
Fernandez went 17-12 during the season before blowing out his rotator cuff in Game 2 of the NLCS against Atlanta. That opened a rotation slot for rookie Livan Hernandez, who fanned 15 Braves in Game 5 and then won two more games in Florida's World Series championship.

Jamie Moyer, 2000 Mariners
Moyer broke his kneecap while pitching a simulated game before the playoffs began. Seattle was forced to start John Halama twice in the ALCS against the Yankees. He pitched six shutout innings in Game 2 (Seattle's bullpen blew a 1-0 lead) but couldn't hold a 4-0 lead in Game 6 (the bullpen again took the loss).

Jermaine Dye, 2001 A's
Dye broke his leg fouling off a pitch in Game 4 against the Yankees in the Division Series. Ron Gant filled in in Game 5 and went 0-for-4 as the A's were eliminated with a 5-3 loss.

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