Our next Dodger in Time, takes us back to 1995. I was looking through my collection of assorted Dodger autographs I had collected over the years while I was looking for Roger Owen’s auto, when I came across Mike Sharperson’s signature. This piece is a bit tragic, and very sad, but I would like to pay tribute to a Dodger player that is no longer with us. Former Dodger infielder and late great Mike Sharperson is our next Dodger in time.
“I first walked in [to the N.L. clubhouse] and saw all the superstars, and I’m not even close to being considered a superstar. But here I am, and I’m going to play with them. I definitely feel like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to take my bats around to be autographed. For me to do what I’ve done, to be selected, is going to stop a lot of critics from doubting me.” -Sharperson 1992 all-star game
Mike Sharperson was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1961. He was 6’3 and 195 pounds, and graduated from Wilkinson high school. He was drafted in the first round and was the 11th overall pick of the 1981 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Sharperson spent about six years in the minors before making his MLB debut in 1987, and was traded to the Dodgers in mid-season. Sharperson played all four infield positions and was a member of the Dodgers 1988 World Series Championship team.
He only played in 10 games for the Dodgers in 1987 and 46 games in 1988. In ’88 he batted .271 in 59 at-bats. In 1989 he only played in 27 games and batted .250. 1990 saw Sharperson play in the most games of his career, he played in 129 games and batted .297, with three home runs, and 36 RBI. The following year in 1991, he played in 105 games, batting .278. 1992 was his best year and he was selected as an all-star for the Dodgers. That year in 128 games, he batted .300 with an OBP of .387, three home runs and 36 RBI. 1993 was Sharperson’s last season with the Dodgers. That season he played in 73 games, hit two home runs, and batted .256.
Sharperson was then released by the Dodgers. He signed contracts with the Red Sox, and Cubs, but never played for them. He payed in seven games for the Braves in 1995. Then he became a free agent, and signed a minor league contract with the Padres. In 1996, Sharperson played in 32 games for the Padres, triple A affiliate, the Las Vegas Stars
On May 26, 1996, Mike Sharperson was driving to San Diego to join the big club after being recalled. He was to fly to Montreal, where the team was playing a series. Ken Caminiti was injured, and Sharperson was being called up to replace him. Sharperson was involved in a one-car accident on interstate 15, and the 215 cajon pass interchange in San Bernadino County. Sharperson had misjudged a curve, and swerved. There was a light rain, and his car crashed into an embankment. Sharperson was not wearing his seat belt, and passed away a couple of hours later. Mike Sharperson was 34 years old. Some of his former teammates inscribed “SHARPE 27” under the bills of their caps in commemoration of the fallen infielder. Former Dodger Lenny Harris had this to say about Sharperson…
“He was like a brother to me. He and I always motivated and pulled for each other. I’m going to miss him. I’ll wear 27 on my hat to represent him, especially on today, Memorial Day. It’s a good day to say a prayer for him.”
Sharperson was well liked by all players, coaches, and fans. Sharperson had a career .280 batting average, hit ten home runs during his eight year MLB career. Stacie and I met him before a Dodger game many years ago. He very kindly signed our autographs near the box seats, after we had been shouting his name for several minutes. Sharperson was survived by a daughter who was only nine months old at the time of his passing. Whenever we lose a member of the Dodger family, it hurts, even after many years have passed. Even though Mike Sharperson is no longer with us, he is not forgotten. Mike Sharperson, we salute you, a True Blue Dodger in time.