clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No. 81: Greatest Dodgers of All-Time: Willie Keeler

One of the best hitters in franchise history


Willie Keeler

Time with Dodgers: 1893, 1899-1902

Stats: .352/.389/.425/.815, 8 HR, 219 RBI, 833 H, 469 R, 130 SB, 130 OPS+

Baseball Reference WAR: 15.8

FanGraphs WAR: 16.8

Combined WAR: 16.3

Willie Keeler had two stints in Brooklyn. His first came in 1893 after he was traded from the Giants. Although he appeared in only 20 games, he still hit .313 with the club, which turned out to be the worst he’d ever hit for them. He then played for the Baltimore Orioles for the next five seasons, before returning to Brooklyn in 1899.

During his second return, Keeler was arguably one of the best hitters in franchise history. From 1899 through 1902, Keeler hit .353. He had 808 hits in only 546 games! Just two years prior in 1897, Keeler hit .424 with Baltimore. Like, c’mon!

This guy was an absolute hitting machine for Brooklyn. During his “first” season in 1899, he hit .379/.425/.451/.876. He had 216 hits and led all of baseball with 140 runs scored. Sadly, game logs only go as far back as 1904, so I can’t look up how many multi-hit games he had, or how many 4 or 5 hit games he had. It’s really a damn shame.

The following year, he played in 136 games but still led all of baseball with 204 hits. His average declined, as he hit only .362 with an OPS of .851. Oh, I forget to mention. In 1899 and 1900, Keeler stole a combined 86 bases. So, he was getting 200 hits a year and stealing 40 bases too. What a time to be alive!

Over his final two seasons, Keeler really “struggled” with the bat. Over his final 269 games, he hit only .336 with an OPS of .771. What happened?! He totaled 388 hits and 209 runs scored.

Prior to the start of the 1903 season, Keeler joined the New York Highlanders.

Here’s where Keeler ranks in franchise history:

  • .352 AVG (1st)
  • .389 OBP (11th)
  • 833 H (48th)
  • 130 SB (26th)

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