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Better Know a Dodger . . . Marlon Anderson

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On the heels of taking two games out of three from the San Diego Padres this weekend, the Dodgers have run their record to 8-4, and trail the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks by only one-half game. First place will be up for grabs when the Dodgers travel to Phoenix for a two-game set on Monday. A small component of the Dodgers' on-field success thus far has been the play of veteran utility player Marlon Anderson. Although he's had a limited impact in 2007, Anderson still will garner unlimited attention as the subject of Part 3 of our 436-Part Series, "Better Know a Dodger."

Marlon Ordell Anderson was born January 6, 1974 in Montgomery, Alabama. He went to school and played baseball for the University of South Alabama Jaguars (the fightin' Jaguars!!), and was subsequently drafted in the 2nd round of the 1995 amateur entry draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. Anderson was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers late last summer, and played a key part in their drive to the 2006 National League playoffs.

Anderson's nickname is, creatively, "Marlo". Other famous Marlo's include actress Marlo Thomas, author Margo Morgan, and (of course) proprietor of the knitting website MarlosCrochetCorner.com, Marlo Cairns.

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For the bulk of his major league career Anderson was a second baseman, but he has taken more of a utility role with the Dodgers, helping out in the outfield and as a pinch hitter. His best season came in 2001 with the Phillies, when he hit .293 with 11 home runs and 61 runs batted in. He appeared in the World Series in 2004 with St. Louis. Marlo Thomas has yet to appear in a World Series or hit 11 home runs in a season. Take that, Marlo Thomas.

Anderson lives just outside of Houston in Sugar Land, Texas. There, he is involved in the Joel Osteen Lakewood Ministries. Osteen is one of the hottest young properties in evangelism, and has been dubbed "America's most watched pastor" by Christian Today. Alas, despite his successes, Marlon Anderson has not been dubbed "America's most watched player" by any publication.

Marlon's presence on the ebays is somewhat extensive, with 6 items up for bid, and 116 items listed in ebay stores. As with most players, the bulk of the items are baseball cards. However, there is also a game-used bat from Marlo's days with the Phillies that is available for $125. It is cracked.

Marlon Anderson is 5'11" and weighs in at 200 pounds. He will make $925,000 this season. Marlon is married (sorry yet again, ladies) to Shadia. The couple has two daughters (Zoe and Hannah), and a son (Caleb).

A bit more on Marlo's baseball career after the jump.

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After being drafted in 1995, Anderson spent four years in the Phillies' minor league system. His minor league career peaked in 1998 with Scranton Wilkes-Barre, where he was named the team's Most Valuable Player and won the Paul Owens Award, given to the best player in the Phillies' Minor League system. His terrific '98 season earned Anderson a late season call-up to the big club, where he debuted in dramatic fashion with a pinch-hit home run off of New York Mets' pitcher Mel Rojas.

Anderson stayed with the Phillies through 2002, and has been on the move ever since. Since 2003, he has played with five different clubs including his current stint with the Dodgers, and has evolved into a pinch-hitting specialist. Anderson tied with Orlando Palmiero for the Major League high in pinch hits (50) during the 3-year period 2004-2006.

Marlo is off to a slow start in 2007, hitting .167 in only 6 at bats, including 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in Sunday night's Jackie Robinson Tribute game against the Padres. With Matt Kemp on the disabled list, Anderson is one of only two African Americans on the Dodgers' active roster (Juan Pierre is the other).

Anderson's most memorable moment with the Dodgers came last September, when he was Part 4 in a 4-Part Series of back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs. Jeff Kent, Russell Martin, and J.D Drew were the other members that participated in the historic feat. Marlo Thomas was not involved.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Roberson, AP

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As always, thanks to thebaseballcube.com and dodgers.com for their vast stores of information, and thanks to The Colbert Report for the inspiration.