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Dodgers: If You Could Bring a Player Out of Retirement, Who Would it Be?



Recently we asked you, our readers, who you would pick if you could bring one former Dodger out of retirement. With such a storied franchise chock full of elite talent, many of you understandably said it would be almost impossible to pick just one. Of the many responses we received, 220 players were named, and not surprisingly, the top 3 vote-getters from this organization rich in pitching history, were indeed “brothers in arms”. Each of these individuals are legends in the organization and active members of the extended Dodgers alumni family. Their accomplishments on the field are too many to name in a short editorial, so here is a brief look at each of these players still mean to the Dodgers fanbase:

Sandy KoufaxThe ageless Hall of Famer Koufax, who recently celebrated his 84th birthday, is as legendary as they come, and it is no surprise that he was named almost 40% of the time in our informal poll. “The Left Arm of God” will become the first Dodgers pitcher immortalized with a statue at Dodger Stadium when it is unveiled in the summer of 2020 in the new center field entertainment plaza. Koufax, who has become a mentor to the best pitcher of any club over the past decade, can often be seen in a prime seat near the Dodgers dugout, where he has as good of a view as any to the mound where he worked his magic from 1962 until his retirement in 1966.

Dodgers

Orel Hershiser – Orel, a fierce competitor on the mound when he pitched the Dodgers to a World Series championship in his Cy Young Award winning ’88 season, is in many minds (along with his Skipper, Tommy Lasorda) the Ultimate Dodger. His love for the team shines through in everything he does, and though it may be off-putting to some, I personally adore the way he refers to the team as “we” on his broadcasts. He may have left the team as a player in the ’90’s, but he is back to his rightful place in the franchise and he’ll always be lovingly remembered as one of its most endearing personalities.

Fernando Valenzuela – Like Sandy and Orel, Fernando is another beloved Dodger Alumni, even though he too had moved on to other teams in his post-Dodgers career after spawning Fernandomania in the early 80’s. As many lifelong Dodger fans know, the good ones always make their way back to us, and Valenzuela is no exception. He’s been broadcasting Dodgers games in Spanish since 2003, first on radio, then on television with SNLA. When Vin Scully called for a lefty to help with throwing out the first pitch in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, Fernando was his man.

Reader @Augustine864 also raises a very good point:

Not all organizations could deliver on such a requestbut the Dodgers easily can. Of all of the retired players who received votes in this poll, we can field at least one Dream All-Star team. These are the players who received the highest votes by position:

  • C – Roy Campanella
  • 1B – Steve Garvey
  • 2B – Chase Utley
  • 3B – Pedro Guerrero
  • SS – Maury Wills
  • OF – Jackie Robinson, Andre Ethier, Kirk Gibson
  • RH Starter – Orel Hershiser
  • LH Starter – Sandy Koufax
  • Bullpen – Eric Gagne

(I don’t know about you, but I’d pay serious money for the opportunity to see Chase Utley and Sandy Koufax take the field together)

Who are some of your most beloved retired Dodgers? Sound off in the comments below!

Written by Gail Johnson

Biggest Dodgers fan north of the border, living about 3,500 miles from my beloved Boys In Blue, in Moncton, NB, Canada. I think Dodger Stadium is the happiest place on Earth. I'll catch up on my sleep in the off-season.

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    • As good as Piazza was, he’ll as good overall as Roy Campanella who made a seamless transition from the Negro Leagues to MLB handling the pitchers as well as bombing opposing pitchers with ease. Considered one of the greatest catchers of all time, we will never know how truly great he could have been because his career was cut short when he was paralyzed in an car crash only ten years after breaking in with the Dodgers. He was a three time MVP, (in which he batted more than .300, hit more than 30 home runs, and had more than 100 runs batted in ) 8 times an All-star when only the opposing teams nominated players for that honor, Averaged 24 homers a year when that was a big number, had a life time MLB .276 batting average once led the leagues in RBI’s (143 second All time to Tommy Davis’ MLB record 153) and averaged 85.6 rbi’s per year across his career. He held the record for most home runs by a catcher until it was finally exceed by Todd Hundley in 1996, He was elected into the Hall of Fames in 1969, the second black player in MLB history to be accorded that honor, following Dodger great Jackie Robinson.

      While I give Piazza his due, Campanella was the consummate pro in an era when performance enhancing drugs and cheating were not yet as prolific as they became in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

  1. I’m with you! Koufax and Utley at the same time – what a camera shot from home plate! Heck, if they just lined ‘em up like that today and sold autographed 8×10’s they could pay for the renovation!

  2. Chase Utley over Davey Lopes???
    Pedro Guererro over Ron Cey???
    If you have Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, how can you overlook the great Duke Snider from the same era?
    Tommy and Willie Davis deserve a mention, as does Don Dyrsdale.

  3. Brett Butler. Not only did he catch any ball hit in the same time zone, he was a great leadoff hitter. An off-the-field leader as well, and all-round nice guy.

  4. If you brought back Koufax, the Dodgers would only let him pitch twice through the lineup, so that would be a waste. So, I’d have to say Lee Lacy, as he would probably be the cheapest.

  5. Koufax, no one like him! The best left handed pitcher during his short time! I grew up in Bklyn. My cousin played with him and Wilpon on the same High School team! Watched Sandy pitch and listened on my transistor radio. THE BEST!

  6. Mike, do we have to think “cheap” ? Friedman & Co. do enough of that already!

    This was a question about “IF” we could bring back guys out of retirement, who would we bring?

    I am in total agreement with *everyone* named in the “roster” and am REALLY glad to see Steve Garvey
    (a longtime friend) there as well. He gets passed over by writers etc., when he should be spotlighted!
    I have the famous infield pic of Steve, Billy, Davey, and Ron (Garvey, Russell, Lopes and Cey) autographed and hanging on my wall! I would add the late, great Don Drysdale (another good friend sorely missed) as I see that Jackie Robinson also made the cut.

    DODGERS FOREVER!!

  7. Big D Don Drysdale great Intimidator, we need him, also three dog willie Davis, just my opinion one of the best Dodgers center fielder we ever had growing up seeing him , covering center field

    • A great defensive player. But Duke Snider gave you both defense and power.No offense to Willie but Snider was the better overall player.

  8. ahem… Hershiser & Fernando over….DRYSDALE? Are the voters insane? there will be an argument but first neither of the first two should be in the HOF on their first ballot. Both had great seasons but not close to Drysdale brings. And if people believe in Hershiser was a tough competitor, try digging in against the Big Righty. His viscous desire to win let no batter in baseball ever dig in…the man probably would knock his grandmother down if needed. The man was amazing. There was a reason Koufax & Big D were, maybe the scariest duo in any rotation.
    Utley? nope gimme 2b Lopes, SS Wills is ok. Garvey…hardly, and where is Hodges? Gagne was maybe the best Dodger closer BUT Jansen did it w/o chemical enhancements…so i take Jansen. Don’t neglect the fact Gagne turned to crap post PED Jansen right now is better than Gagne in the latter portion of his career. But Gagne was beyond ridiculous when he was at his peak…if there wasn’t the shadow cast by PED’s he would be my choice.

    Gibson, he’s on any team I’d create despite just a few injury riddled seasons. Best FA signing in Dodger history, i feel anyway.

    It’s a fun discussion and take my comments as light hearted. It’s about fun.

    And at 3rd…Guerrero was scary good at the plate… for a short few seasons, the man wrecked his career because he didn’t know how to slide and while he did really try to learn 3rd, he became merely adequate…gimmie Beltre who only left because the FO buggered offering him a contract, hence yet another Dodger FA screw-up. But Beltre was the whole package once he recovered from his botched, appendectomy i think? surgery. He will be a true HOF member.

    • Just too many don’t remember seeing Drysdale. Fernando popped on the scene farther down the road so that i bout where most current fans started their initiation.

      You really need more players to make this definitive, You couldn’t have just two pitchers you’d need 6 starters plus 5 bullpen pitchers plus a couple of utilities to fill out a team plus secondary players in the line up for a 24 (or 26) man roster. That would be the best way to make up a team. But that’s just my opinion. That and 3 bits will get you a cup o’ joe.

  9. Guerrero, “Don’t hit it to me” at third? I’d take Ron Cey at third, and out Guerrero in the OF instead of Ethier.

    • Nice guy, didn’t play long enough for the Dodgers, You’s have to Take Manny Mota over Freese if you are talking pinch hitting…

  10. Sandy. Even at 84, he’s got to be the first choice.

    Surprised I didn’t see Duke Snider in the outfield for the Dream All Start Team. And Jackie belongs in the infield, probably 2nd base. Also Pedro Guerrero at 3rd? C’mon.

  11. As a dodger fan since 1947, needless to say I have others I want out of retirement-2 come to mind immediately-duke snider and Johnny pod res who gave Brooklyn its only World Series win.
    Sid Strauss
    Forest Hills, NY

  12. The Duke of Flatbush. I became a Dodger fan in 1952. I was in the third grade and you were either a Yankee fan or a Dodger fan. I chose the Dodgers for no particular reason other than peer pressure forced you to like one or the other. Once I settled on the boys of summer, my enthusiasm was through the roof. My fondest baseball memory to this day was when my guys finally won the World Series in 1955.

    • You cannot go wrong with The Duke, or Mr. Koufax. Incredible men with fantastic careers. Go Blue!!!!

  13. If we were playing the Astros this year, I’d want Don Drysdale as I know he’d put a fastball in Altuve’s or Bregman’s ear. If he didn’t get tossed, he’d probably do both.

  14. Be like going to the barber shop on a Saturday morning. The barber gets done with one then says “NEXT”.

  15. Really? Utley at second base over Jackie Robinson? Utley over Steve Sax? Duke Snider in the OF over those guys OF in a heartbeat. Ethier is way over-rated.

    • When I think of Chase Utley I think “Philadelphia Phillies” not LA Dodgers, He played for the Dodgers but he was a STAR with the Phillies…

  16. The “Duke of Flatbush”, Duke Snider,
    Gil Hodges, Don Drysdale, Don Newcombe & Mike Piazza should all be on the team.

    • That’s why t needs to be a full 26 man roster so none of the real stars get left off. FOr instance the greatest Dodger pinch hitter of all times, and a one time major league record holder was Manny Mota and you would think there would be a place for him on this team.

  17. Without a doubt it would be David Freese. He had the top Dodger batting average last year, he’s clutch, and I almost lost my breakfast when I read this morning that Tyler White will be in camp. He hit .208 last year.

    • I lost my lunch when they brought Barnes back instead of Martin . Bad choice , we lost a mentor to Smith , he could play 1st 3rd ,pitch never forget he did have an .000 ERA .. BRING BACK MARTIN !!!!

      • He could be back, But at least Barnes will be on the bench where he’ll only get the occasional at bat and who knows, Houston might still trade with us for him. They owe us after what they pulled in 2017.

  18. Campy behind the plate
    Hodges at first
    Robinson at second
    Wills or Reese at short
    Cey at third
    Babe Herman, Duke Snider and Tommy Davis in the Outfield
    Drysdale as RHP
    Koufax as LHP
    Gagne and Perranoski in the pen
    Gilliam off the bench

    Utley and Gibson didn’t play 8 years collectively for the Dodgers, Robinson is not an ootfields.

    • And Mota as the pinch hitter. And if you have to throw a another left hand reliever throw in Jim Brewer, the screwballer from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. And Kenley Jansen IN HIS PRIME wouldn’t be a bad righthander either. All of these guys at least pitched for the Dodgers for more than 7 years. That ought to be the bare minimum requirement to be on this team. You could also add Billy Cox and maybe Adrian Beltre before he cheated the team that made him a name…This team Steve listed would make a great 50’s and 60’s team except that Herman played before that.

  19. Gail!
    Why on gods green earth is Jackie in the outfield?
    That shouldn’t even be an option….

    Second base was Robinson’s best position. In a 1987 “Player’s Choice” survey, he was voted the greatest second baseman of his era despite having played there regularly for only five seasons. Though not a smooth glove man in the classic sense, he was sure-handed and possessed good range and instincts. He made up for an average arm by standing his ground on double plays and getting rid of the ball quickly. Robinson also displayed his versatility by playing regularly at first base, at third base
    If we are talking about all time greats Gail please leave Robinson either 1st or 2ed
    Please stop the shenanigans!

  20. I didn’t curse or say anything disrespectful just by opinion why was my post not allowed to be posted??

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