Five of the nine players in the starting lineup for the Dodgers All-Time Team were members of the “Boys of Summer” – the Brooklyn clubs that won six pennants in ten years from 1947-1956. That includes the legendary Jackie Robinson, and then throw in starting pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale (shown above with Don Newcombe) from the 1960s LA Dodgers, who won four pennants in eight years. From 1941 to 1988, the Dodgers never went more than eight years without going to the World Series, and they had some of the best teams in National league history as they won the World Series six times, two times in each the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s.
Roy Campanella – C
No question that this three-time MVP is the best catcher to ever strap on shin guards for the Dodgers. Even if Mike Piazza was eligible for this team (he’s not, since he played more games for the Mets), Campy would be our man.
Gil Hodges – 1B
One of the members of the 1950s Brooklyn team that won four pennants in five years, Hodges was a great all-around player: a power hitter and a fine defensive first baseman. When compared to the other firstsackers who have plaques in Cooperstown, Hodges should really be in the Hall of Fame too.
Jackie Robinson – 2B
Are you detecting a theme on this club? Robinson is one of five Dodgers who played with the club in Brooklyn in the 1950s. He could fill in at first, third, and in the outfield if needed too, and we’ll bat Jackie at the leadoff spot.
Ron Cey – 3B
The only other player who put in as many as 900 games at third for the Dodgers is Adrian Beltre, but given Cey’s long tenure in Los Angeles his edge of Beltre with the glove, The Penguin gets the nod. He ranks fifth in Dodger history with 228 homers.
Pee Wee Reese – SS
No other Dodger touched home plate more often than Reese, who scored 1,338 times for the team in his 16-year Hall of Fame career. Reese missed three full seasons in his prime when he was in service in World War II. He could have easily had 2,700 career hits otherwise. As it was he still accumulated 2,170, all of them as a Dodger. In his 14 seasons as the Dodgers starting shortstop, the team won seven pennants.
Pedro Guerrero – DH
This guy could just flat out hit. He batted over .300 for his career and for a stretch in the 1980s he was one of the 3-4 best hitters in the National League. He was a DH in a non-DH league, so LA and the other clubs he played for did whatever they could to get his bat in the lineup.
Zack Wheat – LF
In more than a century of Dodgers baseball history, no player has approached Wheat’s franchise record for hits (2,804). The Hall of Fame left fielder hit .300 14 times, won a batting title in 1918, and a had .317 batting mark.
Duke Snider – CF
The best all-around player who has ever wore the Dodger uniform, Snider will bat third on our all-time team, right behind Wheat and in front of Hodges. Snider is probably one of the most underrated players in baseball history. “There was nothing he couldn’t do on a ballfield,” teammate Billy Cox said.
Raul Mondesi – RF
One could alsoargue for Carl Furillo, or current star Matt Kemp (moving him from center to right), or possibly Dixie Walker, the colorful Brooklyn batting champ. But Mondesi had some great seasons with the Dodgers and a very good career overall. He was a Rookie of the Year for LA in 1994 and then hit 30 homers in three straight seasons for the Dodgers. He was also a very good defensive right fielder, winning two Gold Gloves.
Sandy Koufax – SP
For half a decade he was as good a pitcher as there ever has been. Koufax had the best fastball and curveball in the game during his prime, the two pitches were so good that it almost wasn’t fair.
Don Drysdale – SP
“I start a game mad and I stay that way until it’s over,” Drysdale said. He led the National League in Ks’ three times and was a right-handed perfect partner in the Dodger rotation with Koufax.
Fernando Valenzuela – SP
What is it with the Dodgers and pitchers who burned out by the age of 30? Fernando looked like a Hall of Famer in his first seven full seasons, finishing in the top five in Cy Young voting five times. He pitched on four Dodger teams that went to the post-season, the same as Koufax and one less than Drysdale.
Dazzy Vance – SP
Unlike Koufax and Drysdale, Vance had his sore arm BEFORE he put up Hall of Fame numbers. Dazzy suffered numerous arm problems in his 20s and didn’t pitch regularly in the big leagues until he was 31. But he still had a dazzling fastball, leading the NL in K’s a record seven straight seasons. Despite his blazing heater, Vance also had excellent control and won even on bad teams (22 wins twice for sixth place teams with Brooklyn).
Don Sutton – SP
The fourth Hall of Famer in the rotation, Sutton was an excellent pitcher, and even though he didn’t have as good a stuff as the other four, he is the only one to win 300 games. That came in large part because he was consistently excellent and he was never – not once – on the disabled list in 23 years in the game.
Eric Gagne – RP
For three seasons he was close to being the best reliever the game ever saw. He saved 152 games from 2002-2004 when he posted a 1.79 ERA and struck out more than 13 batters per nine innings. He was implicated in the report on PEDs, so he’ll never make the Hall of Fame, but based solely on results he was the best closer in franchise history.
Burleigh Grimes – RP
Like Drsydale, Grimes was a tough guy who didn’t hesitate to knock down hitters. He used a spitball and an average fastball to win 270 games. Most of his 158 victories for Brooklyn came as a teammate of Vance. The fifth Hall of Famer on this staff.
Preacher Roe – RP
The left-hander’s best pitch was his change up because his fastball was just average for most of his career. He was one of the smartest pitchers in the league and he was also famous for being a very slow worker on the mound.
Don Newcombe – RP
Another hard thrower, like many pitchers on this Dodger staff, Newcombe led the league in strikeouts at some point in his career. if he hadn’t missed two seasons to military service and 2-3 more due to the color barrier, Newk came have been a Hall of Famer.
Johnny Podres – RP
Our second southpaw out of the pen, was sort of like Fernando – he won a lot of games before his 30th birthday and then tailed off. He pitched on four Dodger teams that won the World Series.
Mike Scioscia – C
Would it surprise you to learn that Scioscia holds the Dodger record for most games caught? Though he was a slow, low-average hitter, Scioscia wasn’t a pushover at the plate. He struck out infrequently and hit well against right-handed pitchers. His strength was his defense – he was a great game caller, blocked the plate as well as any catcher ever has, and he cut down the running game very well.
Steve Garvey – 1B
The passage of time hasn’t been good to Garvey, whose numbers don’t look as gaudy when compared to many first basemen who came after him. But he was a very good hitter and there’s some evidence that suggests he was a clutch player. he was a key part of four LA clubs that won the pennant, winning a World Series in 1981.
Davey Lopes – 2B
Garvey’s teammate was a converted outfielder who ended up playing more than 1,400 games at second in his 16-year career. He was one of the best basestealers of his generation, swiping bases at a feverish rate. At the age of 40, he pilfered 47 bases while being thrown out just four times. He was a four-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner at second base.
Maury Wills – SS
Few players in baseball history had their careers shaped more by factors out of their control than Maury Wills. He was stuck in the Dodgers minor league system for seven years and the Reds sytem for one before he got a chance to be a major leaguer once Reese’s career was winding down. But even though he didn’t play his first full ML season until he was 27 years old, Wills still managed to bang out more than 2,100 hits in his career. Had their been rules in place then to protect young players from being stuck in a farm system, Wills would most likely have gotten 3,000 hits.
Jake Daubert – 1B
Who? Maybe you haven’t heard of him, but he was a great hitter. Daubert was Brooklyn’s star first baseman from 1910-1918, back when they were called the Superbas and later the Robins. A left-handed batter, Daubert won two batting titles and was named NL Most Valuable Player in 1913. He was one of the first players at his position to field throws with one hand and range far to his right to pursue groundballs.
Brett Butler – CF
The pesky little Butler didn’t become a Dodger until midway through his career, but he played four full season as LA’s starting center fielder, and then came back at the end to put in three seasons as a fourth outfielder and pinch-hitter. At the age of 40 he was the Dodgers starting center fielder and swiped 15 bases. He got about as many singles and bunt hits as anyone in his era, and he stole a lot of bases too – 558 in his career.
Willie Davis – CF
Davis was the Dodgers first black star in Los Angeles, serving as their center fielder for 13 seasons. He was quick on the basepaths (398 steals) and in the field (three Gold Gloves). He helped the Dodgers win three pennants.
Carl Furillo – RF
“Skoonj” won a batting title in 1953 and usually hit right around .300 (.299 for his career). He had the strongest throwing arm of any outfielder in the National League in the 1950s. He’s the sixth position player from the 1950s Brooklyn teams on this roster.
Matt Kemp – CF
Eventually he’ll probably be the right fielder on this All-Time Dodgers team, or maybe if he continues in MVP-like fashion, he might even supplant Snider in center field.
Tommy Lasorda – MGR
It was either Lasorda or Walter Alston, both are Hall of Fame managers. But they possessed much different personalities. Alston, who preceded Tommy, was tough almost to the point of combative. He did not believe in fraternizing too much with his players, and he liked to have a team filled with veterans who knew how to play the game the Dodger way. Lasorda was the cheerleader who could talk anyone’s ears off with his stories and opinions. He was a rah-rah guy who liked to pat his players on the butt. He loved working with young players, and he probably made more youngsters into regular players in the majors than any other manager in history. Alston won seven pennants and four World Series in 23 seasons. Lasorda won four pennants and two World Series in 21 seasons. We pick Lasorda because he’d be the one we’d want to go out and have pasta with after the game.