The All-Time LA Dodger Team: The Closer, Part I

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

We have the foundation set for our all-time team, now that both the lineup and starting pitchers are set.

All-Time LA Dodger Starting Lineup

No Player Pos
30 Maury Wills
SS
19 Junior 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

All-Time LA Dodger Starting Pitchers

No Player Pos
32 Sandy Koufax
LHP
53 Don Drysdale RHP
55
Orel Hershiser RHP
34 Fernando Valenzuela LHP
20 Don Sutton RHP

Now it's time to focus on the bullpen.  We are going to have only four spots in our bullpen, mostly because our starters are so awesome.

1) Closer (Eck era, 1988-2008)
This will be our one-inning short man at the end of the game, the modern closer. This pattern of closer usage -- mostly one inning -- became the norm with Dennis Eckersley's ascension to the Hall of Fame in 1988.

2) Ace Fireman (pre-Eck, 1958-1987)
This will be our smokejumper-type bullpener, the multi-inning ace reliever much more common in the first 30 years of the Dodgers' Los Angeles existence.

3) Setup RHP

4) Setup LHP

Today's vote will concentrate on the best closers of the last 21 years.  With apologies to Jim Gott (38 saves over five seasons, only one of which as full-time closer), we are setting the bar at 50 saves.  Here are the candidates with their stats as a Dodger reliever.

Closer Years IP W-L Saves ERA+ WHIP
Jay Howell 1988-1992 308.1 22-19 85 169 1.086
Todd Worrell 1993-1997 268.0 17-19 127 99 1.280
Jeff Shaw 1998-2001 235.1 9-17 129 124 1.186
Eric Gagne 2002-2006 262.1 14-7 161 219 0.827
Takashi Saito     2006-2008 189.2 12-7 81 229 0.912

Eric's Pick

This really is a two-man race, between Eric Gagne and Takashi Saito.   Saito was a nice surprise, but I have to go with Gagne here.  Nobody was as good as Gagne's 2002-2004, when "Game Over" became a phenomenon.  I'm sticking with the man with 84 straight saves and the 2003 Cy Young Award winner, Eric Gagne.

Phil's Pick

Nice to see HOF Don Sutton cruise to the fifth spot on our team. Gagne created Dodger fans but I can't vote for him.  I'll go with the guy who in my mind was the most improbable Dodger to ever make it big.  Smiling Sammy Saito.

Who's your pick?

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