“En Fuego” commemorates Pedro Guerrero’s record setting month of June 1985 and his sizzling summer that propelled the Dodgers to the NLCS. For me it also commemorates a friendship spanning more than 30 years and continuing to this day.
My bud Abe and I met in tenth grade, and our lives pretty much revolved around the Dodgers and Lakers. Among the many things we had in common, each of us had the same favorite Dodger, Pedro Guerrero.
Through the first two months of the season, the Dodgers and Pedro were fairly ordinary. The Dodgers were 23-24 and in fourth place in the division. Pedro was batting .268 with a measly 4 home runs.
Beginning June 1, the Dodgers went on a 40-18 tear fueled by an otherworldly .380/.481/.810 slash line and 24 home runs from their Dominican slugger who had just moved from third base to left field. Guerrero’s 15 round-trippers in June tied a Major League record held by Babe Ruth (1930), Bob Johnson (1934), and Roger Maris (1961).
Pedro would go on to finish the season as the National League leader in both slugging and on-base percentage, trailing only Willie McGee in the NL MVP race. Guerrero’s Dodgers would similarly fall short against McGee’s Cards in the NLCS, a series I don’t think you could pay any true blue Dodger fan $1000 to re-watch.
Since then the Dodgers have had several exciting Octobers and hopefully will continue to, but ask me my most exciting month as a Dodger fan, and I suspect only October 1988 tops June 1985. Watching your favorite player go video game en fuego all month and turn your team into a winner, all while kicking it with your best bud as the school year turns to summer, is pretty damn hard to top.