In a comment thread, I asked a trivia question about the last three Los Angeles Dodgers who were originally drafted or signed by the team and went on to win 50 games with the Dodgers.
This question came after I read an April blog post by David Schoenfield at ESPN titled "How difficult to develop a 50-game winner?"
Scheonfield lists the last three from the Dodgers as Chad Billingsley, Chan Ho Park and Ismael Valdez. Then I wondered how many times there were multiple Dodgers with 50 wins on the team. Which is where all of the trouble started.
I went to Baseball-Reference and looked it up. There are 30 Dodgers who started their big league career with the Dodgers and won 50 games. These range, in wins, from Don Sutton (233) to Billy Loes and Tim Belcher (50 each) and, in time, from Adonis Terry (1887) to Billingsley (1910).
However, Belcher was originally drafted by the Yankees and Ron Perranoski (54 Dodger wins) was signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1958. This leaves 28 players. I decided to skip over pitchers who never pitched in Los Angeles. So Ralph Branca (80 Dodgers wins) just missed the cut while Terry (126 Dodger wins) missed by over half a century.
I did decide that the players could have reached 50 wins with the Brooklyn Dodgers as long as they took the mound once as a Los Angeles Dodger.
This leaves just 18 homegrown Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers to reach 50 wins with the big league club.
Then there is the case of Hideo Nomo. Nomo was extremely close to 50 wins as a Dodger (45 wins) before being shipped off to the New York Mets. He came back to the Dodgers in 2002 and reached 50 wins. So what to do with him? I ultimately decided to keep him.
The list of Dodgers who reached my criteria after the jump.
|Name||Wins||50th Win||Last Game|
|Chan Ho Park||80||4/22/00||10/05/01|
Here's the chart of the four second-times around:
|Name||Wins||Came Back||Last Game|
|Chan Ho Park||4||4/1/08||9/28/08|
Wins are win totals as a Dodger only. The last game is the last game they pitched, not their last game on the roster. All info via Baseball-Reference.
Update: I changed it for the four Dodgers who came back so the top chart only shows their wins in their initial stint with the team and the bottom shows on their wins in their second stint.
If only I had the talent of Craig Robinson at Flip Flop Fly Ball I could turn that dry table into a cool infographic. Instead, I have to eyeball it and toss out the highlights.
There were four times, according to my spreadsheet, that three teammates were 50-game winning Los Angeles Dodgers.
From August of 1961 to April of 1966, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres all pitched together with 50 wins.
On the other end of the spectrum, Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela and Bob Welch were all 50-game winning homegrown teammates from just May 26 to October 1 of 1987.
The other two times involved homegrown Dodgers coming back home.
Sutton came back in 1988 to join Valenzuela and Hershiser as 50-game winning homegrown Dodgers from April 7 to August 9 of 1988. <strike>Ismael Valdez came back on August 1 to join Chan Ho Park in the club and two weeks later Hideo Nomo made it three until Valdez left on September 6.</strike>
Update: I messed up in my spreadsheet and put the wrong date of when Nomo reached 50 wins with the Dodgers. As David Young pointed out in the comments, it is not 2000, as I originally had in the table above, but 2002. Nomo was with the Detroit Tigers in 2002.
Hershiser barely missed it, his second time around with the Dodgers lasting from April 5 to May 26 in 2000.
Those are, if my eyes don't deceive me, the only times that there were three at the same time.
Sometime next year, Kershaw (currently at 38 wins) should join Billingsley. And if Kuroda weren't the unluckiest pitcher in baseball, his 34 wins could be up nearer to 40 and he'd have a run at it next year. Unless he's pitching in Japan, of course.
The next closest current homegrown Dodger is Jonathan Broxton with 25. Then we get Hong-Chih Kuo at 12, Ramon Troncoso at 8 and the next starter is Rubby De La Rosa at just 4 wins. In other words, it will be a few years until we see three homegrown Dodgers with 50 wins.
Final note; if we just restrict this list to people who were only Dodgers their entire careers it shrinks to just five, and four in the LA era: Drysdale, Koufax, Carl Erskine and Billingsley.