In 2008, Dickerson graduated from Poway High School near San Diego, California.
Before that, Alex lived in Tacoma, Washington for two years when his dad was stationed there with the Navy.
His all-time favorite player is Ken Griffey Jr., who played for the Mariners.
When he moved to Poway and became a Padres fan, his favorite player was Tony Gwynn.
Alex played on youth teams in suburban San Diego with the sons of former Major Leaguer Tom Brunansky and one-time Padres scouting director Reggie Waller, getting personal attention from both. And his high school hitting coach at Poway was Deron Johnson Jr., son of the former player and manager.
"Just blind luck," said Dickerson, who used the extra tutelage to earn a scholarship to the University of Indiana and then made the most of it. He hit .370 as Big Ten Freshman of the Year, won the Triple Crown with a .419 average, 24 homers and 75 RBIs as a sophomore and hit .367 while taking All-Big Ten honors for a third straight year as a junior.
In 2008, the Nationals chose Alex in the 48th round, but he chose to attend the University of Indiana on a baseball scholarship instead of turning pro.
In both 2009 and 2010, Dickerson played for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League. Actually, in 2010 he only played a very few games on the Cape, then played for Team USA.
In 2010, Dickerson won the Big Ten Conference triple crown, hitting .419 with 24 homers and 75 RBI. He tied for Indiana's career home run record (47).
In 2011, he got drafted by the Pirates (see Transactions below).
In both 2012 and 2013, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Dickerson as the 11th-best prospect in the Pirates.
In the winter before 2014 spring camps opened, and after being dealt out of the Pirates system, they dropped Alex to #25 in the Padres organization. He is rated #22 in the spring(s) of 2015 and again in 2016.
Dickerson's nickname is "Grandpa."
Alex was named the 2012 Florida State League Player of the Year after finishing the season hitting .297/.354/.454 with 13 home runs and 90 RBIs.
As a youngster, Alex went to a lot of Padres games and watched their run to the 1998 World Series.
August 7, 2015: Alex Dickerson was understandably emotional as he spoke to the media in the same clubhouse he dreamed of standing in when he was a youngster.
Before the Padres faced the Phillies, the Poway, Calif., native talked about memories of playing Little League just down the street from where Petco Park stands and attending Padres' games at Qualcomm Stadium. He got a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning of the Padres' loss to the Phillies for his first Major League hit.
"It feels almost kind of normal—being home again, being on West Coast time again. That's been a pleasant surprise," Dickerson said. "Being home, feels like home. It's where I grew up."
"Since I got [to Miller Park at the] last second, I had to grab a cup of coffee and as soon as I walked out the anthem had started and that's when it hit me," Dickerson said. "I put the coffee down and sprinted out and then you kind of look around. You see that amount of people at a game and then you are like 'Oh, this is it, isn't it?'"
"It's a great thrill for his family and all the people he knows," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "And just knowing inside that he made it to the Major Leagues in his hometown is just a beautiful story." (B Maimam - MLB.com - August 8, 2015)
March 17, 2017: While Alex Dickerson would love to be hitting the field with his teammates and going through the routines of Spring Training, he knows he has to give his back time to heal if he wants to come back strong and stay there.
One day after the Padres announced that Dickerson has a bulging disk in his back and will be out of action for 3-4 weeks—meaning he won't be ready for Opening Day—the 26-year-old outfielder was in the team's clubhouse and prepared to do the one thing his back needs the most right now: rest.
"I don't want to say it's a relief being told that you've got to rest three or four weeks, but having a game plan on how you're going to heal and eventually put it on the back burner and not have to worry about it, that kind of helps my mind a little bit," Dickerson said. "I've just got to focus on what I can do now and let it heal."
Dickerson came into camp with a head of steam, hoping to do whatever he could to ensure he's on the field for Opening Day after some struggles down the stretch last year. He did do everything he could but the back issue was a roadblock from early in camp, keeping him out of Cactus League play until March 11—the one and only game he played before back spasms sent him to a spine specialist in San Diego earlier this week.
Now, the main thing Dickerson has to exercise is patience. After about two weeks of full rest, he'll begin work to strengthen his core and then work his way back into baseball activities. That patience will be tested the longer he's out and the closer we get to Opening Day.(J Schlegel - MLB.com - March 17, 2017)
May 3, 2019: After back surgery in 2017 and Tommy John surgery in 2018, Alex Dickerson's road back to the Padres was a long one. "Long" isn't the only adjective he'd use.
"It's been boring, to be honest," he joked. "It was obviously pretty devastating. To miss a year in baseball feels like a long time. Two years feels like an eternity. You feel pretty useless at points when you’re not moving much."
The Padres selected Dickerson's contract ahead of the series opener against the Dodgers. They optioned righthander Luis Perdomo to clear space.
With Travis Jankowski (left wrist) and Franchy Cordero (right elbow) on the injured list, the Padres' bench—and particularly their outfield—is devoid of lefthanded bats.
In that regard, Dickerson will almost certainly fill the same role he filled in 2016 when he broke onto the scene as a fourth outfielder and a useful bench bat. That year, Dickerson hit .257/.333/.455, and he seemed destined to become an important cog in the Padres' outfield moving forward.
That obviously never materialized. The Padres designated Dickerson for assignment during the offseason after two years of injuries. He inked a Minors deal shortly thereafter. In his mind there was never any doubt he was coming back to San Diego.
"I just wanted to be somewhere I was comfortable," Dickerson said. "I'd gone through two years already of the rehab process with this group of trainers and people that knew my body best. I didn't want to take the risk of going somewhere else."
Dickerson, whose defense remains a question mark, was raking at Triple-A El Paso. He hit .360/.462/.593 in 24 games. (AJ Cassavell - MLB.com - May 4, 2019)
June 23, 2019: No Giants player had ever recorded more than seven RBIs in his first two games with the club, but Dickerson bypassed John Bowker’s (April 12-13, 2008) previous high with a two-run double in the third inning of Saturday’s win over the Diamondbacks.
Dickerson became the second Giants player to finish with four extra-base hits in his first two games with the club, joining Mark Wasinger (May 7, May 9, 1987) as the only other player to achieve the feat. With 12 total bases in his first two games, Dickerson set a new franchise-high and provided an immediate jolt of energy into a lineup that needed it.
Dickerson’s nine RBIs are already tied for the third-highest total on the team in the month of June as he trails only Kevin Pillar (12) and Brandon Crawford (11). (Kerry Crowley - Bay Area News Group)
Toughness and discipline are traits of the Dickerson family. His dad, Ross, was a Navy fighter pilot and a graduate of TOPGUN, the United States Navy Strike Fighter tactics instructor program.
His grandfather, Howard, was also a Navy pilot, flying in the battle of Midway during World War II. Ross wanted his son to follow family tradition and enter military service, but Alex had other ideas.
Instead, he brought toughness to the baseball field. His high school coach, Deron Johnson, recalls a game when Dickerson got spiked in the arm while picking a ball out of the dirt while playing first base, during the first game of a doubleheader against crosstown rival Rancho Bernardo High School. Blood flowed down Dickerson's arm and his coaches wanted to rush him to the Emergency Room. But Alex's dad insisted that his son stay in the game
"He said, 'He'll be fine. Tape him up. We'll take him after the game,'" Johnson sid.
Alex would go on to play both games and got three hits. He ended up getting a dozen stitches in his arm after the game.
Dickerson likes to dabble in music. He plays the trumpet, guitar and piano. He likes to listen to 90's punk rock. His favorite bands include Blink 182 (the band's members attended Poway High School), Green Day and Reel Big Fish.
Alex attended Poway High with Bruce Bochy's son, Brett, who appeared in seven games with the Giants from 2014-15. Brett is two years older than.
Dickerson's younger sister, Kelsie, was a walk-on to the Univ. of California-Berkeley women's soccer team. She played for Cal's intramural and club teams before the Cal soccer coach invited her to try out. She made the team and played for three years, earning Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. She is now an assistant scientist for a pharmaceutical company in Southern California.
Sept 19-21, 2020: Alex was on the paternity list.
Alex joked that he’d have to make his first son, Levi Ross, a scrapbook to document the “craziness” that unfolded in the nine months leading up to his birth on September 20, 2020.
A global pandemic that shut down the baseball season for three months. A positive COVID-19 test result temporarily placed Dickerson in isolation a week before his wife, Jennifer, was due. The stress from that harrowing weekend caused the family to fear that Jennifer would go into labor at 39 weeks pregnant, but their peace of mind was restored after Dickerson subsequently tested negative in multiple tests, suggesting the scare was caused by a false positive.
The saga took an emotional toll on Dickerson, though it culminated in a moment of unadulterated joy with the arrival of Levi on September 20 at 1:47 p.m. in La Jolla, Calif. Shortly thereafter, Dickerson boarded a flight back to San Francisco, where he began scripting a memorable epilogue to the story.
Dickerson homered in his second consecutive game since returning from paternity leave on the 22nd, crushing a pinch-hit, go-ahead home run in the seventh inning to help the Giants even this four-game series against the Rockies at Oracle Park.
It was Dickerson’s third career pinch-hit home run and his first in exactly four years. The last time he accomplished the feat was as a member of the Padres on Sept. 22, 2016. The opposing team? The Giants.
Dickerson was dealing with some right elbow soreness after being hit by a pitch on the 21st, but his decisive shot still traveled an estimated 409 feet, a testament to his newfound Dad Strength.
“It was a long process,” Dickerson said of his wife’s pregnancy. “I think I realized the weight off my shoulders on the flight back, just how good I felt. Everybody's healthy and looking great. I’m extremely excited for the offseason and getting to spend time with my family.” (Guardado - mlb.com - 9/22/2020)
2020 Season: Dickerson was a classic Zaidi pickup. He had a decent, albeit not electric, rookie year with the San Diego Padres in 2016. Then he missed 2017 with a bulged disk and 2018 with a torn UCL, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the end of him.
But after setting flames to the PCL for a month in 2019, Dickerson was recalled by the Padres, who gave him a mere 19 plate appearances before designating him for assignment. The Giants swooped him for the lowly price of Franklin Van Gurp, and went to work helping Dickerson with his swing.
I don’t know enough about mechanics or analytics to tell you what the Giants helped Dickerson do, but they obviously helped him do something. And the .788 OPS in 2016 turned into a .880 OPS with the Giants in 2019, which turned into a .947 OPS in 2020, which has turned into Dickerson feeling like part of the Giants core, even if he’s 30 on a rebuilding and/or retooling team.
It would be understandable if you expected regression, but Dickerson moved in the other direction instead. He proved capable of being a middle-of-the-lineup stalwart, and put together two of the hottest streaks of any Giants hitter this year.
From Aug. 29 through Sept. 4, Dickerson went 13 for 24, with 4 home runs, 4 doubles, and 2 walks. And then, from Sept. 16 to 23, he hit 11-20 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs, and 3 walks. When he was on, he was mesmerizing, such as in the Giants 23-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies, when Dickerson had one of the greatest games in MLB history.
The Giants offense dramatically outperformed expectations, and Dickerson was their third-best hitter, so he deserves much credit for that.
There are still some holes in his game. He’s poor defensively, so he needs to keep hitting at this level to provide value. And the Giants trusted him with only 12 plate appearances against lefthanded pitchers all year. That might just be the team taking advantage of having a large roster to work with, but it’s likely that they don’t trust him when not platooned.
But even with those weaknesses, he was dynamic, and had a better wRC+ than Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts, or Manny Machado (that was, of course, helped by only hitting against righties, but still).
Role in 2021: Unless the Giants try to sell high on him, which seems unrealistic given his age and injury concerns, he’ll be a staple of the 2021 team. The question is not if he’ll be on the roster, but if he’ll be trusted to be an everyday player, or just a platoon option.
Grade: A- When you’re the team’s third-best hitter and have one of the best offensive days in franchise history, you get a good grade. (Brady Klopfer@BradyKlopferNBA - Oct 26, 2020)
June 2011: The Pirates chose Dickerson in the third round. And Alex signed for a bonus of $380,700, via scout Jerry Jordan.
November 25, 2013: The Padres sent OF Jaff Decker and RHP Miles Mikolas to the Pirates, acquiring Dickerson.
November 2, 2018: Dickerson became a free agent.
May 3, 2019: The Padres signed Alex.
June 10, 2019: The Padres traded LF Alex Dickerson to the Giants for RHP Franklin Van Gurp.
- Dec 2, 2020: Alex agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.1 million and fully guaranteed for 2021.