If you could build the ultimate team, using only Brooklyn and Los Angeles organization players, from the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1884, to the current 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers, what would your line-up look like? Who would you pick?
We at DodgersNation.com have done the homework and research for you. We have based our list on statistical data, World Series won with the team, awards earned, franchise changing effect, and years with the team (longevity). Here is our list, with some honorable mentions.
Catcher: Roy “Campy” Campanella (Hall of Fame). Campy won three Most Valuable Player “MVP” awards as a Dodger.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Piazza (Hall of Fame), Steve Yeager, and Mike Scioscia (World Series Champion as a player and manager).
First Base: Gil Hodges (should be in the Hall of Fame). Defense. Homers. Look it up.
Honorable Mentions: Steve Garvey, Adrian Gonzalez (maybe the inaugural Hall of Fame first baseman for the Dodgers), and Eric Karros.
Second Base: Jackie Robinson (Hall of Fame). “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” -Jackie Robinson
Honorable Mentions: Jim Gilliam and Davey Lopes.
Shortstop: Pee Wee Reese (Hall of Fame)
Honorable Mentions: Maury Wills and Bill Russell.
Third Base: Ron Cey, “The Penguin.”
Honorable Mention: Adrián Beltré.
Left Field: Zach “Buck” Wheat (Hall of Fame)
Honorable Mentions: Tommy Davis, Dusty Baker, and Gary Sheffield.
Center Field: Duke Snider (Hall of Fame)
Honorable Mentions: Willie Davis and Matt Kemp.
Right Field: Carl Furillo (two-time All-Star, 15 years with the Dodgers/his entire career, and received MVP votes 8/15 years in the Majors).
Honorable Mentions: Kirk Gibson, Raúl Mondesí, Pedro Guerrero, Reggie Smith, Andre Ethier, Shawn Green and maybe Yasiel Puig if he meets his potential.
Closers: Éric Gagné and Kenley Jansen.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Shaw.
Top Ten Starting Pitchers (the organization has always been rich in pitching):
- Sandy Koufax (Hall of Fame)
- Don Drysdale (Hall of Fame)
- Dazzy Vance (Hall of Fame)
- Don Sutton (Hall of Fame)
- Clayton Kershaw (placed first (3), second, or third in Cy Young votes 5/8 years in the Majors)
- Orel Hershiser (three time All-Star, Cy Young)
- Fernando Valenzuela (six time All-Star, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year/same year)
- Don Newcombe (four time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young/MVP same year)
- Burleigh Grimes (Hall of Fame; you probably never heard of him, now you know!)
- Nap Rucker (you probably never heard of him, now you know!)
Honorable Mentions: Brickyard Kennedy (guaranteed you never heard of him before, now you know), Hideo Nomo (first Japanese pitcher to permanently relocate to the Major Leagues), Chan Ho Park (first South Korean-born player in Major League history), Claude Osteen (three time All-Star, 9 years with the team), Ramón Martínez (All-Star, placed top five in Cy Young votes twice, 11 years with the team), and many more.
It is of note that most of the Dodgers organization players listed above were in the top 10-20 of the Wins Above Replacement all-time, although our list was not driven from that statistic.
For good measure, how about the front office All-Stars?
Owner: Walter O’Malley. Honorable Mention: Mark Walter.
General Manager: Branch Rickey. Honorable Mention: Buzzie Bavasi.
Manager: Walter Alston. Honorable Mention: Tommy Lasorda.
Announcer: Vin Scully. Honorable Mentions: Jaime Jarrín and Red Barber.
The Dodgers organization has such a rich history. We are sure some names have been left off that you care about, which is really just a numbers game. We cannot include everyone in a best-of-the-best list. You are encouraged to look up the stats for all of these players and even those players not included. The best part of this exercise: to see the history, statistics, and different generations.