One of the advents of sports is the seemingly endless debate of who the greatest player may be. On occasion, a general consensus may eventually be arrived at, but it likely wasn’t without spirited discussions, objections and cases being made for other players.
What can be slightly easier to decide on is a Mt. Rushmore of sports, specific franchise, era, etc. That is what MLB.com is seeking to name for all 30 teams with the help from the voting public.
Each team has eight players to choose from, comprised by a panel of MLB historian John Thorn, representatives from Elias Sports Bureau, MLB.com, MLB Network and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America; there’s also the option for a write-in vote.
Represented in the top eight Dodgers that fans can chose from are Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Steve Garvey, Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Fernando Valenzuela.
Campanella joined the Dodgers in 1947 and became the first black catcher in MLB the following season. In his first full season with the Dodgers (1949), Campanella hit .287 with 22 home runs and 82 RBIs. He also threw out 59 percent of would-be base stealers en route to earning All-Star honors.
While Campanella was strong for the Dodgers through his first three seasons with the team, he broke out in 1951 and won the first of three career MVP Awards. Camapnella’s career was sadly cut short due an accident and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969 and The Roy Campanella Award has been also established by the Dodgers to annually recognize a Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.
Koufax is of course widely considered the greatest Dodger pitcher of all-time and best left-hander in MLB history, though Kershaw is certainly making a push for both unofficial titles. Drysdale spent all 14 seasons of his career with the Dodgers and is second in franchise history with 209 wins and 3,432.0 innings pitched. On top of being supremely talented, Robinson has breaking the color barrier to his credit.
Snider, a seven-time All-Star with the Dodgers, ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,995 hits. Garvey won the World Series with the Dodgers in 1981 and ranks fifth on the franchise’s all-time hits list.
Valenzuela of course took the Majors by storm as a rookie when he won the Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year. The Mexican native started 320 games with the Dodgers, which ranks sixth all-time in franchise history.
Current Dodgers to appear on a ballot for another team are Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Rays), Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego Padres) and Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia Phillies). Additionally, fans can vote for the top-four greatest living players, which includes Koufax on the ballot, and top-four pioneers (careers beginning in 1915 or earlier) in MLB history.
The players who receive the most votes, including those from all 30 teams of the Franchise Four voting, will be honored July 14 at the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Click here to vote now, which ends May 8.
Don Mattingly Discusses Dodgers Catching Situation