The first two spots in our batting order are taken, so the table is ready to be set by the 60's tandem of Maury Wills and Junior Gilliam.
All-Time LA Dodger Lineup
Since we are going to have so many possible options for the three spot there will be a runoff of the top four unless one player totally dominates the voting.
Now it's time to bring up the big sticks, the guys to drive home our table setters. The all-time LA Dodger leader in games started batting third as well as Win Shares, Willie Davis, is going against some heavy artillery. We have a little more flexibility with Jim Gilliam, as we can put him at 2B or 3B, so I won't automatically disqualify 2B or 3B until we pick one more.
Here are the stats for the primary #3 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 #3 hitter for the Dodgers:
|Pos||Player||Years||#3 Starts||PA||HR||Runs||RBI||SB||Slash Stats||OPS+|
For me, the choices boil down nicely to three categories:
2) Leftfield: One guy who was one half of the first high five in history, or another who came to town in the trade of #1. Kirk Gibson simply wasn't around long enough to build on the greatest sports moment of my lifetime.
3) Rightfield: One guy who hit 4 HR in a game in Milwaukee, or another who jumped into the stands to attack a heckling Giant fan in San Francisco.
I have narrowed my choices to three: Piazza, Sheffield, and Smith. My immediate instinct was to pick Piazza. How can the all-time LA Dodger lineup not have Mike Piazza? It seems so obvious to want to right the wrong of trading Mike over a decade ago, but if you remember our rules this is a strategic pick. If you look at the choices for LF, it is slim pickings outside of Sheffield or Baker, and the alternatives I might have are more associated with positions in the batting order that are either filled by this poll or in my mind. In RF, there are a few other options, especially ones I can place later in the order. Factor in that my favorite catcher growing up and the greatest blocker of home plate in baseball history, Mike Scioscia, can bat either 6th or 7th, and Sheffield seems like a choice I have to make. However, I simply can't let that happen. I'm going with my heart on this one. I'll take the 62nd round pick, Mike Piazza.
Eric and i differ on the players here so I'm adding a couple of my favorites. I may wax a little longer then Eric as some of these are my favorites. None of these may belong with the others but they all deserve a mention.
Tommy Davis was the first great hitter to grace Chavez Ravine. By the time Dodger Stadium had opened Duke Snider was on his last legs and the kid who was recruited by Jackie Robinson put up the highest OPS+ season of the 60's. Once he broke his leg in 65 he was never the same but for two years (62,63) Tommy Davis was the man.
The Toy Cannon only played two years for the Dodgers but he left an impression on many fans with the power he generated from his strange physique. As a Center Fielder his combination of plate discipline and power was unusual and would slot in well in this lineup. He's wasn't the hitter that Sheffield was but Sheff can be replaced with quality in the corners. If Wynn is not the choice the options for center field are slim. Duke does not appear to meet Eric's criteria for games played as he rarely played CF at the end of his career. He might qualify in the four spot but he would have to beat out some juggernauts to make it.
Some of you might remember this moment but he was much more then one plate appearance. Kirk Gibson is one of a handful of LA Dodgers to win the MVP trophy. One of them sits on top of our lineup. Is there room for another MVP?
For informational purposes be aware that some of greatest hitters will fall off this poll if they are not selected for the three spot. No Piazza, No Reggie Smith, No Jimmy Wynn, No Sheffield, and no Wally Moon. No Willie Davis either but if you have a choice between Wynn and Davis for CF....
Mike Piazza is simply my favorite Dodger of all time. Nothing cracked my Dodger amour as much as his trade. It took years to repair the wound but I'm not sure he's the man for this job. Scoscia or Roseboro could easily slot into the 7th hole but I think a team with Steve Yeager batting 8th is going to be the best team given the options in the eight hole.
As a ballplayer Reggie Smith was better then Sheffield. They are close as hitters but Reggie could do it all with one of the greatest arms I've ever seen. I wish like hell he'd batted somewhere other then 3rd. This team needs a left handed presence because I don't think Shawn Green is going to win this vote or the four vote. Jimmy Wynn was the best Los Angeles offensive Center Fielder and it is not even close. So do you pick the best Los Angeles offensive catcher (Piazza), the best all around player (Smith) or the best offensive center fielder (Jimmy Wynn)? My heart says give me the backstop, my brain says give me the best all around player I've ever seen play for the Dodgers. Reggie Smith has been so underrated it drives me crazy to see players like Jim Rice make it into the HOF when Reggie Smith was the better player in every way. Reggie Smith needs to be in this lineup. Sorry Mike, Sorry Jimmy. Screw you Sheff.
Good luck making your decision.
Who is your pick? This poll will run through Saturday at noon, or until four players clearly stand out. We will then go into a runoff with the top four, unless one player gets 50% of the vote and leads by more than 10% over the 2nd place player.
Who is the best #3 hitter in LA Dodger history?
CF - Willie Davis (0 votes)
C - Mike Piazza (57 votes)
LF - Dusty Baker (1 vote)
RF - Reggie Smith (7 votes)
RF - Shawn Green (1 vote)
LF - Gary Sheffield (2 votes)
LF - Wally Moon (0 votes)
CF - Jimmy Wynn (4 votes)
LF - Tommy Davis (6 votes)
LF - Kirk Gibson (1 vote)
Other (write in your choice in the comments) (2 votes)
81 total votes