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No. 92: Greatest Dodgers of All-Time: Andy Messersmith

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One of LA’s most underrated starters

Andy Messersmith

Time with Dodgers: 1973-1975, 1979

Stats: 55-34, 2.67 ERA, 43 CG, 926 IP, 637 SO, 129 ERA+, 3.34 FIP, 1.10 WHIP

Baseball Reference WAR: 15.5

FanGraphs WAR: 14.4

Combined WAR: 14.95


After spending five seasons with the Angels, Andy Messersmith took a trip down the freeway to Dodger Stadium where he joined the Dodgers in 1973. He spent three seasons with LA, and then re-signed with the Dodgers three years after he left.

Messersmith had a really good debut season for the Dodgers in 1973. He went 14-10 and owned a 2.70 ERA, which was the fifth best in the National League. In addition, his 1.03 WHIP was the third best and he had the fifth most strikeouts with 177. Messersmith dominated to close out the 1973 campaign. Over his final 11 starts, he posted a 1.69 ERA while holding opponents to a .199 average. He had four complete games, and had three games where he went eight innings.

The following season was even better for Messersmith. He won a league-leading 20 games, had a 2.59 ERA and threw 13 complete games. He was named an All-Star, won a Gold Glove Award, finished 16th in MVP voting, and finished second in Cy Young Award voting.

Messersmith was near the top in almost every pitching category that season. Aside from his league-leading 20 wins, his 221 strikeouts were the second most, his 1.10 WHIP was the best and his earned run average was the fifth best.

There was a 10-game stretch from June through July where Messersmith was practically untouchable. From June 1 through July 13, he went 6-1 with an ERA of 0.76. He allowed only seven runs in 83 innings. During that 10-game stretch, he threw six complete games

Yet again, Messersmith found ways to outdo himself the following year. In 1975 he won 19 games and had a 2.29 ERA, the second best of his career. He made a league-high 40 starts and had a league-high 19 complete games. In addition, his 321 23 innings were the most, and he allowed the fewest hits per nine innings with 6.8.

He was named an All-Star, won a Gold Glove Award, finished 24th in MVP voting and was fifth in the Cy Young Award voting.

After three years of being with the Braves and Yankees, Messersmith returned to the Dodgers in 1979. He struggled, appearing in only 11 games while posting an ERA of just under five. He was released by the Dodgers, and never pitched in the majors again.

50 pitchers have thrown at least 926 innings for the Dodgers. Here is where Messersmith ranks:

  • 2.67 ERA (5th)
  • .618 winning % (10th)
  • 637 strikeouts (31st)
  • 3.34 FIP (23rd)
  • 17.1 strikeout % (13th)
  • 129 ERA+ (3rd)

Get caught up on the rest of the “All-Time Dodgers” lists!