"Now, who's on the table. who's to tell me?"
-Bob Dylan, Apple Sucking Tree
Now that Maury Wills has won your vote as the top leadoff hitter in LA Dodger history, we move on to the second spot in the batting order. Wills is our shortstop, so that position is off the table for future batting order spots. That means our starting lineup will not feature Bill Russell, Alfredo Griffin, Jose Offerman, or the like.
All-Time LA Dodger Lineup
Please remember it is important to consider that all positions on the diamond will be used in this lineup so you may want to vote strategically. For instance, someone might be the best player at a certain position so it might be worth it to vote him over a superior spot at that lineup. Also, a player might fit better later in the lineup. Jim Gilliam didn't win a spot as the leadoff man, but he's back again as a candidate for the #2 spot.
Here are the stats for the primary #2 hitters in Los Angeles Dodger history. Their overall stats as a Dodger are listed, along with the games started and years they were the primary #2 hitter for the Dodgers:
|Pos||Player||Years||#2 Starts||PA||Runs||RBI||SB||Slash Stats||OPS+|
Jim Gilliam is tough to pigeonhole into one position. In his years as the primary #2 hitter (1961-1965), he started 292 games at 2B and 261 games at 3B. If Gilliam wins the poll, I'm willing to have him flexible as to create more options later in the lineup.
Bill Russell could have ended up as a choice later in the lineup as well, as he spent a considerable amount of time batting both 7th & 8th in his long Dodger career. However, with a shortstop at the top in Wills, Russell is stuck on the outside looking in.
Many remember Bill Buckner as a creaky-kneed immobile first baseman, but as a Dodger he was a young and agile outfielder. You may remember Buckner as the Dodger leftfielder trying to climb the wall in Atlanta to retrieve Hank Aaron's 715th HR. He spent time in both OF corners and at 1B before Steve Garvey took over, but his position is RF since he started more games there than at 1B or LF combined.
Ken Landreaux caught the final out of the 1981 World Series, and had a solid if unspectacular Dodger career.
Mark Grudzielanek came to LA as a shortstop, but eventually moved to second base. During his three years as the Dodgers' #2 hitter, he started more than twice as many games at 2B than he did at SS.
If there was a spot in the lineup for a pinch-hitter, Manny Mota would be a lock. However, he was a semi-regular outfielder for the Dodgers for a little while. He also has the best bat of the bunch.
When I started writing this, Brett Butler had a sizable lead over Davey Lopes, and Maury Wills was a distant third. I planned ahead thinking centerfield was taken. My initial vote went to Gilliam, but given the circumstances I'm going with the 3-Dog, Willie Davis. It's hard to have a lineup without the all-time LA Dodger Win Share leader on it.
I'll go with Eric's original pick of Junior Gilliam as a 2nd baseman. During his stint as the number two behind Wills he was the ideal number two hitter. 3 Dog's .312 OBP is not endearing and the goal is to build the best lineup with players who batted in the lineup. Gilliam was an ideal number two as explained by teammate Jeff Torborg
What a great team player he was. He'd hit behind Maury, take pitch after pitch after pitch. And when Maury got to second, he'd give himself up by hitting the ball to the right side, even with two strikes, which most hitters won't do.
Willie Davis would be the wrong choice to follow Wills. History already shows how effective Wills/Gilliam were batting 1/2. Eric is worried about how the lineup will play in the future but let us cross that bridge when we get to it. Besides I now see a role for the Toy Cannon since Eric has approved 3 Dog with only 208 games batting 2nd.
Who is your pick? (This poll runs through Thursday at noon)