The top five spots in our lineup are now set. Here is the lineup thus far:
All-Time LA Dodger Lineup
Since we are down to the final three hitting spots in the lineup (we will have a separate poll for the pitching staff), we have only a few positions left. Thanks to the positional flexibility of Jim Gilliam and Pedro Guerrero, we do have some flexibility remaining.
We need at least two outfielders (maybe three), preferably one centerfielder (Guerrero in CF with his 99 starts would be a bit of a stretch) and one corner outfielder. If we pick only two OF, we then need either a 2B or 3B to round out the lineup.
Since there are limited choices remaining using the 200 start minimum to qualify for a spot, we have lowered the minimum requirement for the 6/7/8 spots to 100 starts in each spot. This came about because the only person left for the #7 spot using our old requirement was Adrian Beltre. We want choices in this poll -- we want at least slightly more credibility than a old school Chicago election -- so that's why more choices have been added.
In addition, we are combining the final three spots of the lineup in one post just so everyone knows what is left on the table.
The #6 Hitter
Of the eight LA Dodgers with 200 starts batting 6th, three are disqualified due to players already voted into our lineup. Mike Scioscia, John Roseboro, and Eric Karros are ineligible here. Here are the stats for the remaining primary #6 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 #6 hitter for the Dodgers:
|#6 Hitters||Overall Stats as LA Dodgers|
|Pos||Player||Years||#6 Starts||PA||2B||HR||Runs||RBI||Slash Stats||OPS+|
All these players have been featured in previous batting order spots, except of course for Adrian Beltre. Beltre came up as an
18 19-year old in the tumultuous summer of 1998. He showed flashes of brilliance early, giving Dodger fans hope of a future superstar. There have only been 11 3B seasons 21 or under with a 100 OPS+, and Beltre joined Eddie Mathews as the only one to accomplish this twice. Beltre was never the same after his emergency appendectomy in the Dominican before the 2001 season. He had to have a second surgery to close a wound from the surgery, but the wound with Dodger fans seemed to linger for three seasons. Then it all came together in 2004, as Beltre tied Mike Schmidt for most HR by a season by a 3B, with 48. Beltre finished 2nd in MVP voting to Barry Bonds, and led the Dodgers into the playoffs for the first time in 8 years. Sadly, Beltre fled for Seattle after the season.
The #7 Hitter
Of the five LA Dodgers with 200 starts batting 7th, four are disqualified due to players already voted into our lineup. Mike Scioscia, John Roseboro, Steve Yeager, and Bill Russell are ineligible here, leaving only Beltre. So we expanded the list to include all players with 100 starts. Here are the stats for the remaining primary #7 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 #7 hitter for the Dodgers:
|#7 Hitters||Overall Stats as LA Dodgers|
|Pos||Player||Years||#7 Starts||PA||HR||Runs||RBI||SB||Slash Stats||OPS+|
I was pretty excited when Juan Samuel came to the Dodgers. What I knew about baseball stats back in 1990 was mostly based on the back of my beloved baseball cards. Juan Samuel had double digits in 2B, 3B, and HR in each of his first four seasons. I loved that he had 701 at-bats in his rookie year, thinking that was an impressive accomplishment without realizing that meant he really didn't walk much.
When the idea of this list came about, I'm pretty sure Phil and I didn't think we'd be discussing Jeff Hamilton. What I remember about Jeff Hamilton was that my uncle used to rave about him, saying often "the Dodgers should just give him a chance." I'm not certain, but I think my uncle said this up to five years after Hamilton was out of baseball. Oh well, if Hamilton doesn't make it into our lineup maybe he can join our pitching staff.
The #8 Hitter
Of the LA Dodgers with the most starts batting 8th, 18 of the top 27 are disqualified for primarily being shortstops or catchers, or simply not having 100 starts at a single field position. Why 27 players? Well, actually the last 3 are tied with 74 starts batting 8th, so it's really the top 25. Oh yeah, and also the 74-start threshold allows us to include Willie Davis (the 8-dog?). Shady? Perhaps. But looking at the other options at #8, trust me, you will thank me for this choice. Also, this is the cost of voting Maury Wills instead of Brett Butler for the leadoff spot. Here are the stats for the remaining primary #8 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 #8 hitter for the Dodgers:
|#8 Hitters||Overall Stats as LA Dodgers|
|Pos||Player||Years||#8 Starts||PA||HR||Runs||RBI||SB||Slash Stats||OPS+|
I will remember Alex Cora for both his 18-pitch at-bat ending with a HR off Matt Clement, and for watching him in person at Coors Field hit two HR and also hit a double off the top of the wall. Well, I guess I will also remember him being a part of the greatest fielding and worst-hitting infield in baseball history.
Dave Anderson will always be remembered -- according to a first-hand report from my cousin Alex -- for running down a fan on the field during the 1988 NLCS celebration after Game 7 ended.
Derrel Thomas is easily the all-time Dodger utility man. He started at least three games in his career at every defensive position except pitcher, including at least 200 at 2B, SS, and CF. He was a very versatile player, a valuable asset for the 1979-1983 Dodgers, and even went 5 for 10 in the two NLCS with LA.
As a hitter, Nate Oliver was a nice fielder. The Dodgers were able to move Oliver with HBP magnet Ron Hunt for all-star catcher Tom Haller, who provided four solid seasons with LA.
Ted Sizemore won Rookie of the Year in 1969, one of 12 LA Dodgers to win the award (five more won the award in Brooklyn). After two solid seasons at 2B for the Dodgers, he was traded, with catcher Bob Stinson, for Dick Allen. See, these #8 hitters are good for something!
Word came out this week that former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez hired his brother to be his agent. I hope it works out better for him than it did for Jody Reed, who hired his brother-in-law to be his agent, then proceeded to turn down a multi-year contract with the Dodgers and eventually signed for $300,000 with Milwaukee. Needing a second baseman, the Dodgers traded...you know the rest.
Charlie Neal was a solid 2B for the Dodgers' first two years in Los Angeles, with over a 100 OPS+ each season. He hit .370 in the 1959 World Series against the White Sox, and perhaps would have won the MVP if not for the amazing Larry Sherry.
Before the picks, I want to thank the incomparable Baseball-Reference.com. Sean Forman has created a wonderful site for baseball fans worldwide, and it helped a great deal in the research for this lineup project. I encourage everyone to poke around that site if you haven't already done so. Even if you have, I'm sure you will be able to find something great that you've never seen before.
The key to remember on these picks is that we need either:
1) Three OF
2) Two OF and a 2B or 3B
While Adrian Beltre would make a fine third baseman, especially batting 7th, I simply can't envision an all-time LA Dodger lineup without The Penguin, Ron Cey. He bats 6th for me.
Needing two outfielders to round out the lineup, I'm picking the two best OF available, Dusty Baker batting 7th and Willie Davis batting 8th.
My lineup is thus:
Not the lineup I envisioned when we talked about this project but it is what it is. To me Baker and Willie Davis are the shoe-ins because of what we need. Baker doesn't get much ink around here anymore because he turned Giant on us but after he shook off his first year blues with us he was one of the most complete left fielders of his era. He was not great at anything but there was nothing he wasn't good at. Hitting, power, base running, fielding, and throwing. He was the complete package.
3-Dog is going to make the team. Hot dog
So for me it is between the Penguin and Beltre. They started out their Dodger careers in opposite fashion. Beltre was gone from the Dodger scene by the time he turned 25 while Ron Cey didn't become a full time regular until age 24. Beltre had already put in five seasons as our starting 3rd baseman by the time he was 24. He's the only 19 year old I've ever seen starting in August on a regular basis. His 2004 season is still the greatest season ever for LA Dodger infielder . His offense was Jeckel and Hyde. We got used to use poor first halves and his torrid 2nd halves.
Beltre Splits Per OPS
|Year||1st Half||2nd Half|
That 1,106 OPS came with 319 at bats. That is some mighty fine bat work. But that was just one year, can Beltre stack up against Cey, Dodger career against Dodger career? OPS+ says no, but then Beltre is the best defensive 3rd baseman we've ever had and NOBODY could charge a ball like Adrian. I don't have the fielding bible in front of me but Beltre had a +64 Plus Minus between 2004-2006 and a another +32 in 2008. That closes the gap as Cey was sure handed but his short stature limited his range left/right. This is hard but I'm going with Baker/Beltre/Willie Davis. I expect to get creamed here but part of the fun is the debate.