The All-Time LA Dodger Team: The #1 Starter

All-Time Lineup#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6 | #7 | #8

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

No Player Pos
30 Maury Wills
SS
19 Jim Gilliam 2B
31 Mike Piazza C
28 Pedro Guerrero RF
6 Steve Garvey 1B
10
Ron Cey 3B
12
Dusty Baker LF
3
Willie Davis CF

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):

Pitcher Starts W-L Win% ERA+
Don Sutton 533 233-181 .563 110
Don Drysdale 424 187-152 .552 117
Claude Osteen 335 147-126 .538 106
Fernando Valenzuela   320 141-116 .549 107
Orel Hershiser 309 135-107 .558 116
Sandy Koufax 286 156-77 .670 135
Bob Welch 267 115-86 .572 114
Burt Hooton 265 112-84 .571 113
Ramon Martinez 262 123-77 .615 109
Johnny Podres 220 95-74 .562 104
Jerry Reuss 201 86-69 .555 113
Hideo Nomo 191 81-66 .551 104
Doug Rau 184 80-58 .580 106
Chan Ho Park 181 84-58 .592 109
Bill SInger 179 69-76 .476 105
Tommy John 174 87-42 .674 118
Tom Candiotti 159 52-64 .448 106
Ismael Valdes 158 61-57 .517 115
Derek Lowe 135 54-48 .529 122
Pedro Astacio 132 48-47 .505 104
Kevin Brown 129 58-32 .644 147
Stan Williams 129 57-46 .553 105
Andy Messersmith 123 55-34 .618 129
Odalis Perez 120 45-40 .529 102
Al Downing 120 46-37 .554 107
Tim Belcher 119 50-38 .568 118
Brad Penny 115 46-33 .582 108
Darren Dreifort 113 48-60 .444 95
Rick Honeycutt 108 33-45 .423 100

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.

Eric's Pick

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.

Tom Verducci, otherwise known as Joe Torre's co-author, described Koufax this way for Sports Illustrated in 1999:

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.

Phil's Pick

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?

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