The All-Time LA Dodger Lineup: The Cleanup Hitter

All-Time Lineup#1 | #2 | #3

The first three spots in our batting order are now filled.  Mike Piazza was a runaway winner for the coveted third spot in our all-time batting order.  Thanks to your votes, here is the lineup you've chosen so far:

All-Time LA Dodger Lineup

No Player Pos
30 Maury Wills
19 Jim Gilliam 2B/3B
31 Mike Piazza C

Who will be our cleanup hitter?  Catchers are disqualified, and one of 2B or 3B will be disqualified depending on who we choose to take Jim Gilliam's other position.

Here are the stats for the primary cleanup 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 cleanup hitter for the Dodgers:

Pos Player Years Cleanup GS PA 2B HR Runs RBI Slash Stats OPS+
1B Steve Garvey
74-76,79-81 819 7027 333 211 852 992 .301/.337/.459 122
1B Eric Karros
92-93,95-99 775 6624 302 270 752 976 .268/.325/.457 109
3B/OF Pedro Guerrero
1982-1985 581 4089 169 171 561 585 .309/.381/.512 149
3B Ron Cey
1977-1978 444 6108 223 228 715 842 .264/.359/.445 125
LF Tommy Davis
1962-1964 399 3216 109 86 392 465 .304/.338/.441 117
1B Eddie Murray
1989-1991 382 1983 74 65 231 282 .278/.359/.439 125
2B Jeff Kent
2005,07-08 375 2146 122 75 281 311 .291/.367/.479 118
RF Mike Marshall
1984,86-88 342 3546 155 137 395 484 .271/.325/.449 117
1B/RF Ron Fairly
1965-1966 320 4529 168 90 491 541 .260/.347/.385 111
1B Wes Parker
1970 221 4835 194 64 548 532 .267/.351/.375 111

This shouldn't be a surprise, but the cleanup spot is relatively loaded.  There are a couple of Hall of Famers (Murray and Kent) who spent a brief part of their career as Dodgers.  The top three LA Dodgers in HR and the top two in RBI are also on this list.  Tommy Davis still holds the LA Dodger record for hits and RBI in a season, and probably should have won MVP over teammate Maury Wills in 1962.  General Soreness, Ron Fairly, and cyclist Wes Parker round out the list of top cleanup men, wondering if they will garner any votes.  Pedro Guerrero and Ron Fairly both played a large portion of their games at multiple positions, so they provide potential flexibility for the lineup going forward.

Among these cleanup candidates, Garvey, Karros, Mike Marshall, and Ron Fairly also qualify at the #5 spot in the order, and Cey qualifies at #5 and #6.

Eric's Pick

Eddie Murray is my favorite player ever, so it's hard for me not to pick him.  However, he was only a Dodger for three seasons (1997 never happened!) and if I was going to pick a first baseman I'd go with the longevity of Steve Garvey.  A decade of 122 OPS+ outweighs three seasons of 125 OPS+.  However, I have to go with Pedro Guerrero in the cleanup spot.  For as great as Manny Ramirez was in his two months as a Dodger in 2008, Guerrero was even better in a two-month stretch in 1985:

Player Months G PA HR R RBI Slash Stats OPS+
Guerrero   Jun/Jul 1985 45 190 19 52 39 .391/.489/.833 269
Ramirez   Aug/Sep 2008 53 229 17 36 53 .396/.489/.743 219

Guerrero followed up his white-hot 15-HR June by simply hitting .460/.563/.794 the next month, leading the Dodgers from five games behind the Padres on May 31 to five games up on July 31.  Manny may have had his issues in Boston, such as getting into an altercation with a Red Sox employee, but Guerrero had a similar fiery streak as well.  From Jim Kaplan in a 1984 Sports Illustrated article:

When he learned the L.A. papers had raked him over the coals, Guerrero threatened 118-pound L.A. Herald Examiner reporter Ken (Mouse) Gurnick, saying, "I'm going to kick your [bleeping] ass." Instead, Guerrero kicked up his heels: He went 2 for 4, stole a base and scored twice in Hershiser's win.

In my mind, the four greatest hitters in LA Dodger history are Mike Piazza, Pedro Guerrero, Reggie Smith, and Gary Sheffield.  My lineup has the two of those that played the longest as Dodgers, so I'm a happy man.

Phil's Pick

I'm also taking Pedro as he's my 2nd favorite Dodger behind Piazza so it is only fitting that the lineup have Piazza / Pedro back to back. Back in 1981 he broke the Yankee's back but I never expected him to become the force he became. Most people don't think of Pedro as that great, but he was one of best hitter of the 80's. He also played over 100 games in CF so if we have to get creative we have that option. Of all the clean up options he's the only one with a slug% higher then .500. I was a little surprised that Shaw Green was not on the list, I thought he qualified. He would have been my 2nd pick. Green was the best LHH in LA Dodger History and this team looks a little light without Sheffield, Smith, or Green. I think when we are done we could put together a 2nd team that would be better then the team we are creating.

Who is your pick?

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