Thanks to all of your votes -- over 1,500 in all -- our All-Time LA Dodger starting lineup is now set:
All-Time LA Dodger Lineup
Now that we've decided who will score the runs, it's time to find out the primary factors to preventing runs: the starting pitchers.
To decide the five-man starting staff, we are using only pitchers who have started 100 games for the LA Dodgers. There are 29 such pitchers, more than enough from which to choose an excellent starting staff. There are some good pitchers left off the list -- Rick Rhoden and Mike Morgan, for instance -- but none whose absence will affect this list. The only notable name missing really is Chad Billingsley, who is 32 starts shy of the magical 100-start mark, so his 3rd best ERA+ in LA Dodger history will have to wait for future polls.
Here are the 29 starters, ranked by total LA Dodger starts (stats include all games pitched):
|Chan Ho Park||181||84-58||.592||109|
Here's how the voting will work this time around: simply vote for the best starter among all the choices. For instance, now we are voting for the #1 starter. The head honcho. The big cheese. The big kahuna. The guy who will start games 1, 4, and 7 in the World Series. Once that winner is decided, he gets dropped off the poll, and a new poll will commence for the #2 starter, choosing the best from the 28 pitchers remaining. The process will continue until we have chosen five starting pitchers, our all-time starting rotation.
This is a no-brainer, right? Sandy Koufax is without question the top starter in Dodger history. His 1963-1966 run represents four of the top nine ERA+ seasons in LA Dodger history, including the top two.
Kevin Brown actually had a higher ERA+ than Koufax (147 to 135), but Brown simply wasn't healthy long enough to come close to this spot, having only been healthy for 3.5 seasons in Los Angeles. Let's face it, if Sandy Koufax -- he of one of the classic short careers in baseball history -- has you beat on longevity, you aren't going to win that battle.
Don Sutton has all the counting stat records, with 15 full seasons with the Dodgers, but he doesn't hold a candle to Koufax. Of the top 25 game scores in LA Dodger history, Koufax has 13 of them. Sutton has two.
Don Drysdale was a great pitcher, but Walter Alston made the choice for me in the 1965 World Series. In Game 7 in Minnesota, Alston had the choice of going with his star RHP Drysdale, on three days rest, or his star LHP Koufax on only two days rest. Alston chose Koufax, who proceeded to win the title by throwing a shutout.
Koufax was God's template for a pitcher: a prizefighter's back muscles for strength, long arms for leverage and long fingers for extra spin on his fastball and curveball. The baseball was as low as the top of his left ankle when he reached back to throw in that last calm moment of his delivery—like a freight train cresting a hill—just before he flung the weight and force of his body toward the plate.
I'm comfortable with God's template for a pitcher leading our staff.
After getting whacked in my Beltre support I'll slide over today to the guy who should win every vote except those who just want to be different. As we get down to the other spots I'll have plenty to say. Big Don may be in the HOF but will he make our rotation? The starting lineup may not be all I imagined but whoever we put together for our rotation, these guys aren't going to be giving up many runs.
Who's your pick?