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Jackie Robinson - Matt Kemp

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Many Dodger fans who did not grow up in Los Angeles become Dodger fans the day that Jackie Robinson took the field on opening day 1947. From that time on the Dodgers have had an excellent legacy of American born black baseball players. Even though the event happened long before I was born, I can't think of any single action that makes me prouder to be a Dodger fan.

A common debate among baseball fans is to debate which player they would like to have seen play the game if you could go back in time. It always comes down to two players for me. Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth. Jackie for the  historic nature of what he was doing but also for his skill at his peak,  and Babe simply because I wanted to witness how one player could so dominate his peers without the use of chemical enhancements.

On Martin Luther King day let us take a look at the cream of the crop of these excellent American born black ballplayers.


Batting

Player OPS+ G From To Ages PA Runs Hits 2b T HR RBI BB SB OBP SLG
Gary Sheffield 160 526 1998 2001 29-32 2276 358 583 88 6 129 367 365 43 .424 .573
Reggie Smith 151 542 1976 1981 31-36 2055 314 516 89 11 97 301 271 32 .387 .528
Jackie Robinson 132 1382 1947 1956 28-37 5802 947 1518 273 54 137 734 740 197 .409 .474
Roy Campanella 124 1215 1948 1957 26-35 4816 627 1161 178 18 242 856 533 25 .360 .500
Dusty Baker 117 1117 1976 1983 27-34 4552 549 1144 179 12 144 586 392 73 .343 .437
Tommy Davis 117
821 1959 1965 20-27 3216 392 912 109 22 86 465 154 65 .338 .441
Willie Crawford 118 989 1964 1975 17-28 3198 437 748 125 29 74 335 360 45 .351 .413
Mike Sharperson 108 108 1987 1993 25-31 1271 144 316 56 4 10 112 132 20 .363 .373
Willie Davis 107 1952 1960 1973 20-33 8035 1004 2091 321 110 154 849 350 335 .312 .413
Jim Gilliam 93 1956 1953 1966 24-37 8321 1163 1889 304 71 65 558 1036 203 .360 .355
Johnny Roseboro 97 1289 1957 1967 24-34 4582 441 1009 162 44 92 471 444 59 .327 .382
Maury Wills 87 1593 1959 1972 26-39 6156 876 1732 150 56 17 374 456 490 .331 .332
Jimmy Wynn 143
280 1974 1975 32-33 1185 184 247 33 4 50 166 218 25 .394 .463
Dick Allen 151 155 1971 1971 29-29 649 82 162 24 1 23 90 93 8 .395 .468
Kal Daniels 126 302 1990 1992 26-28 1173 144 272 43 2 46 175 141 10 .357 .450
Eddie Murray 125
477 1989 1997 34-41 1953 231 483 74 5 65 282 226 25 .359 .439
Darryl Strawberry 121
214 1991 1993 29-31 885 118 185 32 4 38 136 110 14 .340 .445
James Loney 114 305 2006 2008 22-24 1137 127 315 59 15 32 175 81 8 .353 .480
Bill Madlock
112
166 1985 1987 34-36 618 63 158 22 0 15 82 46 10 .346 .406
Milton Bradley
111 216 2004 2005 26-27 912 121 220 38 1 32 105 96 21 .358 .446
Lou Johnson
111 387 1965 1967 30-32 1461 167 353 58 4 40 172 69 27 .319 .407
Charlie Neal
93 728 1956 1961 25-30 2822 374 659 86 28 73 312 249 45 .334 .409
Matt Kemp 109 305 2006 2008 21-23 1134 170 315 57 11 35 141 71 51 .342 .474
Lee Lacy 101 497 1972 1978 24-30 1468 179 360 56 13 26 143 111 26 .324 .390
Player Name ERA+ G From To Ages GS CG SHO W L SV IP H BB K ERA
Don Newcombe 116 258 1949 1958 23-32 230 111 22 123 66 0 1662 1567 413 913 3.51
Joe Black 112 101 1952 1955 28-31 5 1 0 22 7 20 237 202 78 139 3.45
Al Downing 107 170 1971 1977 30-36 120 25 12 46 37 1 897 814 326 532 3.16
Dave Stewart 105 124 1978 1983 21-26 15 0 0 18 13 15 267 245 96 164 3.33
John Candelaria 105 109 1991 1992 37-38 0 0 0 3 6 7 59 51 24 61 3.36

So we have a plethora of hitters but very few pitchers. He are the names of those who were not included in the table above:

Ken Landreaux, Marquis Grissom, Franklin Stubbs, Eric Young, Lenny Harris, John Shelby, Dave Roberts, Delino DeShields, Von Joshua, Derrel Thomas, Frank Robinson, Brian Jordan, Hubie Brooks, Willie Randolf, Ricky Ledee, Kenny Lofton, Chris Gwynn, Devon White, Terry Whitfield, Reggie Williams, Delwyn Young, Eric Davis, Roberto Kelly, RJ Reynolds, Billy North, Juan Pierre, Wayne Kirby, Mike Davis, Rudy Law, Charles Johnson, Tom Goodwin, Glenn Burke, Chad Fonville, Baldwin, Ken Howell, Edwin Jackson, and James McDonald

Amazing how close the stats are for Kemp and Loney. I'd like to spend more time reviewing each of these players but I've run out of time. The only players I haven't had the honor of watching were Jackie, Newcombe, Campy, Sweet Lou, and Joe Black.