Top 50 Los Angeles Dodgers

One of the most celebrated franchises in all sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers were initially the Brooklyn Grays in 1883, but it was a long time before they found an identity.

The organization changed its name multiple times since its origin, the Atlantics (1884), back to the Grays (1885-87), then the Bridegrooms (1888-90), the Grooms (1991-95), the Bridegrooms again (1895-98, the Superbas (1899-1910), the Trolley Dodgers (1911-12), then the Dodgers (1913), the Robins (1914-1931), before settling on the Dodgers again in 1932.  

The Brooklyn Dodgers would sign Jackie Robinson to integrate baseball, and in 1955, on their eighth attempt, they finally won their first World Series.

The fans of Brooklyn were not rewarded for their loyalty and patience, and like the crosstown New York Giants, westward the Dodgers went in 1957, where they remain to this day.

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers won three World Series Titles in their first ten years in the new environment, capturing it all in 1959, 1963, and 1965.  The 1970s saw them competitive at the decade's end, and they won two more Championships in the 1980s (1981 and 1988).  

In recent years, the Dodgers have been a top team, with their last World Series win coming in 2020, giving them seven in total.

This list is up to the end of the 2022 regular season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

When making these lists, they are supposed to be fun and to use the proverbial number 99.9, which is the percentage they are.  With the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was so hard, and there were so many people we could choose from within the top tier that choosing amongst icons was befuddling.  Especially considering the man we decided at the top is a current player. As great as Clayton Kershaw has been, deciding on the Pitcher was very difficult.  It was not all about advanced metrics, as Kershaw has the overflowing trophy case, the World Series Ring, and an eventual plaque in Cooperstown.  The…
One of the many players we could have easily inserted as the greatest Dodger of all time is Sandy Koufax, and had we done this list two years before its first publication (2022), he likely would have been. Koufax was a walk-on at the University of Cincinnati, and while he showed poor control, he had the velocity.  The southpaw was scouted by the Dodgers and was signed by them in late 1954, and his sheer talent propelled him to the Majors the following summer, but the first half of his career was not what got him into the Hall of Fame.…
The Brooklyn Dodgers put together a potent lineup in the 1950s that would feature a collection of future Hall of Famers and legends.  If we hold that true, then let’s remember that the man who batted third in this lineup for years was Duke Snider, the power man of a power team. Snider came up through the ranks with fellow legend Jackie Robinson, and though he fell behind Robinson in fame overall, his performance as a Dodger arguably eclipsed his teammate.  Becoming a starting Outfielder in 1949, "The Duke of Flatbush" might have succumbed to a high share of Strikeouts, but he…
You could say that Don Drysdale was in the shadow of Sandy Koufax for most of his career, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Koufax was a special player in his second half, and no other practitioner of the mound in the 1960s first half-decade would not have been his second fiddle.  Shadow or no shadow, Drysdale was a special Pitcher on an exceptional team and worthy of this top-five rank. Drysdale came up quickly through the system, debuting in 1956 and earning a spot on the Starting Rotation the following year.  Having won a World Series Ring as a rookie in…
The ranking of Dazzy Vance might seem a little high, but much of that stems from Vance being successful for the Dodgers when they were not one of the better teams in the National League.  That should not matter, as, at one time, he was the elite Pitcher in the NL and the top flamethrower for years. Vance bounced between the Minors and Majors for a few years before securing a spot in the Brooklyn rotation in 1922, his first entire season at the elite level.  Vance, who was 31, was an older rookie but still led the NL in Strikeouts (134),…

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If this list were based purely on iconic stature, Jackie Robinson would be number one, and it wouldn't be close.  The same would be true if we looked at importance.  Saying that this is the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the most successful teams in all of sports, and there are many Hall of Fame Dodgers who logged more playing time and compiled more stats than Robinson did while wearing the Dodger blue.  This has to matter. There is nothing we can write about Robinson that you have not heard before.  Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey, wanted to break the color barrier and needed…
How do you not love somebody named Pee Wee Reese? The Dodgers fans did, we do, and as of this writing, it is Reese who is the all-time franchise leader in bWAR for Position Players. We bet that was a surprise! Reese was coming up through the Red Sox system and should have been the heir apparent at Short for Boston.  The problem was that Boston had Joe Cronin at that position, who was also the Manager, and he suggested that Reese be traded, which happened in the summer of 1939.  Reese was called up to his new parent club, Brooklyn, the…
Zack Wheat was one of the top players for Brooklyn in the dead ball era, playing all but his last season in the Majors for Brooklyn. Playing in the Outfield, Wheat first appeared for Brooklyn in 1909, becoming their starting Leftfielder the year after. Collecting 2,804 of his 2,884 Hits with the Dodgers, Wheat batted .317 for the team and was also a solid defensive player. Wheat regularly batted over .300, winning the 1918 Batting Title, and was the Slugging Champion in 1916.   Had Wheat played decades later in the Dodgers heyday, he would be more remembered in the baseball…
Don Sutton might not have looked like an imposing figure on the mound, with his curly hair and friendly face, but he got a lot of players out, often vis three strikes. Sutton debuted in 1966 for the Dodgers two years after he was signed, and he joined Los Angeles's Starting Rotation and proved immediately that he belonged.  Playing 15 years with the Dodgers, Sutton never had less than 11 Wins in a season, at least 15 eight years in a row (1969-76), and a ninth one in 1978. Sutton's best period was in the mid-70s, where from 1972 to 1976,…
Gil Hodges was one of the most popular players in Dodgers history, an incredible feat considering the talent and characters that graced the team. After appearing in one Game in 1943, Hodges entered the American Military, losing two years to due service.  He returned in 1947, the same year as Jackie Robinson, and they were part of a young team on the rise.  Originally a Catcher, Hodges was moved to First Base and was one of the team's power hitters throughout the 1950s. Hodges began a seven-year streak of All-Star Games in 1949, and from 1949 to 1959, he was a perennial…
In 1981, a "mania" took over Los Angeles.  Some would say it took over the entire baseball world.  That was "Fernandomania" in honor of Mexican hurler Fernando Valenzuela. The Dodgers accidentally discovered Valenzuela as they were scouting a Shortstop in Mexico.  They were dazzled by the rotund hurler and signed him, buying out his Mexican League contract in 1979.  A year later, he was a September callup, and in 17.2 Innings, he never allowed a run.  It didn't take a clairvoyant to see what might happen in 1981. "El Toro" helped the Dodgers win the 1981 World Series.  That season, he won the Rookie of the…
One of the most popular and recognizable players of the 1970s, Steve Garvey, first played in the Majors in 1969, but it was not until 1973 that he became Los Angeles's regular First Baseman.  After that year, he was the anchor of one of the top infielders in Baseball and, for many, the face of the franchise. Garvey had his breakout and best season in 1974.  Garvey won his only MVP that year and began a streak of eight All-Star Games and four Gold Gloves.  Establishing himself as one of the top contact hitters, Garvey batted at least .300 seven times and was…
Willie Davis played most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he did an excellent job at the top of the order and defensively in Centerfield. Davis first made the Dodgers roster in 1960, eventually replacing the legendary Duke Snider in Centerfield.  He was one of the fastest baseball players, a skill he used to chase down balls in the outfield and befuddle opponents on the base paths.  Early in his career, Davis helped the Dodgers win two World Series Championships (1963 & 1965), and in the early 70s, he won three Gold Gloves.  He was also a two-time leader in…
Nap Rucker played an even ten seasons with Brooklyn (1907-16), back when the franchise had intriguing team names like the Superbas and the Robins. Rucker only had a career record of .500 (134-134), but it was not until 1915 that he played on a winning team.  In his first seven seasons, Rucker's ERA was below 3.00, and he was always in the top ten in bWAR for Pitchers in those seasons.  Rucker was at the top of that leaderboard in 1911 and 1912.   Considered to be one of the fastest pitchers of his day, Rucker was again in the top ten in…
Burleigh Grimes had a lot of great moments outside of Brooklyn, but the meat of his career took place with the team then named the Robins. From Wisconsin, Grimes began his Major League career with Pittsburgh, where he noticeably lost 13 consecutive Games, so the Pirates fan base did not shed any tears when he was traded to Brooklyn after the 1917 Season.  Grimes made an immediate impact with the Robins, going 19-9 with a 2.13 ERA in his debut season, and once the spitball was outlawed in 1920, he was grandfathered in and allowed to use it throughout the rest…
Orel Hershiser overcame the odds to become one of the Dodgers' best Pitchers, as 17th Round Selections are not expected to be great. Hershiser debuted for Los Angeles in 1983 and was in the starting rotation a year later, eventually supplanting Fernando Valenzuela as the staff ace with a 19-3 year in 1985, which also featured a third-place Cy Young finish with a 2.03 ERA.   From 1987 to 1989, Hershiser was named to the All-Star Game, with the middle seasons seeing the Buffalo native throw one of the best seasons in Dodgers history.  Hershiser won the Cy Young and led the NL…
There is always one player on these top 50 lists that seem impossible to lock down.  For the Dodgers that man is Roy Campanella, as he is a three-time MVP, but had they been judged in terms of current metrics, he likely would not have won any. Before the Dodgers signed him, Campanella had played baseball in the Negro Leagues, Mexico, and Venezuela.  Brooklyn's General Manager had Campanella and Jackie Robinson poised to break the color barrier.  Robinson would shatter that ceiling in 1947, and a year later, Campanella joined the Dodgers. Campanella had a promising rookie year but exploded the year after…
The Los Angeles Dodgers were an excellent team in the 1970s and early 80s, and Ron Cey was a part of it. Nicknamed the "Penguin" for how he moved, this was one non-flying bird that could play baseball.  Cey played at Third, winning that job in 1973 for L.A.  In the following season, he began a six-year streak of All-Star Game appearances.  From 1974 to 1980, he was a 20-plus Home Run hitter, and he probably would have extended that in 1981 had there not been a strike that year.  Nevertheless, that was the season he was a large part of the Dodgers' World…
A member of the Dodgers throughout his entire Major League Baseball career, Jim Gilliam is one of the few players who won a World Series ring in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Gilliam made an instant splash as the National League Rookie of the Year in 1953, where he led the NL in Triples (17) and had a career-high 125 Runs.  Gilliam would have at least 100 Runs in the next three years and was twice an All-Star (1956 in Brooklyn and 1959 in L.A.).  Gilliam performed his role as the Dodgers leadoff hitter, leading the NL in Walks in 1959 and…