Speedster Gordon continues to emulate Pierre

Batting champ contender has patterned his game after former leadoff man since their days with LA

Speedster Gordon continues to emulate Pierre

MIAMI -- As a prospect with the Dodgers, Dee Gordon used to pattern his game after Juan Pierre. So much so that he was granted permission to take a few minutes out of his own practice schedule to watch Pierre take batting practice in Spring Training.

Gordon has learned well, and now the All-Star second baseman has a chance to accomplish something only Pierre has done in the history of the Marlins -- pace the National League in hits.

Gordon entered Sunday as the NL and MLB hits leader with 153. In 2004, Pierre paced the NL with 221.

"I used to have video of Juan hitting," Gordon said. "I used to run all the way down a path in the morning to watch Juan Pierre hit, and then I'd run back."

Pierre and Gordon were together again on Sunday at Marlins Park for Juan Pierre/Dontrelle Willis Day.

Pierre and Willis were two of the most popular and biggest contributors on the 2003 World Series title team. Willis, however, was unable to attend due to a conflict.

Gordon is challenging for the batting title, entering Sunday leading the NL with a .336 average. The only player in club history to achieve that honor is Hanley Ramirez, who batted .343 in 2009.

Pierre is not surprised Gordon tops the list in several prominent categories. Pierre saw Gordon's blazing speed and work ethic at an early age.

"But he was still raw," Pierre said. "Dee was a basketball guy, so he's still learning the game. I think he's still in the process of learning. And when you're still in the process of learning and go out and bat .330, steal bags and get all these hits, you can only go up from there."

With the game shifting toward power, the pure speed players like Gordon and Pierre are becoming harder to find.

Gordon was influenced by Pierre and Chone Figgins, who had a similar style.

"You don't see a whole lot of them," Gordon said. "We just see guys hitting the ball out of the ballpark. You don't see it a lot, or you don't see guys do it as well a lot."

Gordon has been a bright spot in a rough season for the Marlins.

"Everybody in that clubhouse loves Dee," manager Dan Jennings said. "They recognize what he does every day and what he brings. I think it would be a tremendous accomplishment in a year that hasn't exactly been the way we put it on paper.

"I know this is team sport, and everybody is about the team, but when you can have personal achievements that echo that type of season, it is remarkable."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.