Los Angeles Dodgers All Time 25-Man Roster
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most storied and historic franchises in the history of baseball. They’ve had many Hall of Famers don the Dodger blue over the years, but which ones were the best?
The Brooklyn Bridegrooms joined the National League as an expansion team in 1890. The brand new club went 86-43 en route to winning the pennant. While bad weather forced a tie in the World Series between Brooklyn and the Louisville Colonels, their early success marked a strong start to a franchise that is still around today.
The team eventually settled on the name Dodgers prior to the 1932 season, poking fun at the trolley cars that sped around the city and occasionally forced pedestrians to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. Choosing the name didn’t go so far to help them very much on the field, however, as the team would fall short of the Fall Classic every season until 1941.
Over the next 14 years, the Dodgers would make it to the World Series five times only to lose. They finally captured their first championship in 1955, beating the Yankees four games to three. Since then the franchise has won five more World Series titles, giving them the sixth most in the history of the event. Two of those victories came after the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
With all those titles, feared hitters and dominant pitchers alike have played major roles in the team’s success. 44 different Hall of Famers have stepped onto the field as a Dodger, but which ones stand out as the best? Here is a look at the Dodgers’ All Time 25-Man Roster.
First Baseman – Gil Hodges (1943, 1947-1961)
Stats*: 16 years, 2006 games played, 44.4 WAR, .274/.360/.488, 361 home runs, 295 doubles, 1254 RBIs, 1088 runs scored, 63 stolen bases, 943 walks and 1137 strikeouts.
Accolades: 8x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove
Things did not go as planned for young infielder Gil Hodges to kick off his career. After being called up to Brooklyn at 19 years old, Hodges had a messy debut in which he made two costly errors and went hitless at the plate. Less than two weeks later, he joined the Marine Corps and served the country overseas.
Hodges wouldn’t return to baseball until 1945, and the rust showed. He hit .237 through the next two seasons, but then was able to turn things around. Hodges made the All-Star Team in each of the next seven seasons, finishing inside the top-19 for the first six of them. He played a key role in each of the franchise’s first two World Series runs, posting a .761 career OPS in postseason play.
In addition to providing steady production at the plate, Hodges was a highly-regarded defender as well. He won three straight Gold Gloves from 1957 to 1959, the first three years it was awarded. Hodges spent the final two years of his career with the Mets before retiring at the age of 39. He still holds the records for most home runs, RBIs and runs scored by a first baseman in Dodgers history.
*All statistics and accolades listed are representative of the players’ time spent as a member of the Dodgers. Some of these players may have put together strong seasons for other ballclubs, but this is a list of the best Dodgers of all time, not the best players to ever play for them.
Second Baseman – Jackie Robinson (1947-1956)
Stats: 10 years, 1382 games played, 61.5 WAR, .311/.409/.474, 137 home runs, 273 doubles, 734 RBIs, 947 runs scored, 197 stolen bases, 740 walks and 291 strikeouts.
Accolades: 1947 NL Rookie of the Year, 1949 NL MVP, 1949 NL Batting Title, 6x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1962
There may not be a single player in the history of baseball that had a bigger impact on the game than Jackie Robinson. The first black player to play in the major leagues, Robinson embraced the pressure and controversy and put together a spectacular playing career.
Built more like a running back than an infielder, Robinson’s abilities were publicly downplayed by newspapers and baseball officials prior to his debut. He responded by taking the league by storm, winning Rookie of the Year his first season and capturing an MVP award two years later. Quick on his feet despite his size, Robinson led the league in stolen bases twice.
Over the course of the ten seasons he played in Brooklyn, not a single second baseman in baseball hit more home runs than Robinson did. He was a dominant force in the batter’s box and was the perfect candidate to break the color barrier in the majors. Between his baseball abilities, resilience and determination, there was no one quite like Jackie Robinson.
Shortstop – Pee Wee Reese (1940-1942, 1946-1958)
Stats: 16 years, 2166 games played, 66.4 WAR, .269/.366/.377, 126 home runs, 330 doubles, 885 RBIs, 1338 runs scored, 232 stolen bases, 1210 walks and 890 strikeouts.
Accolades: 10x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1984
Harold Henry “Pee Wee” Reese was best known for two different things throughout his playing career: stealing bases and sticking up for Jackie Robinson when no one else would. From 1948 to 1953, Reese swiped more bags than anyone else in the league. His most famous story, however, did not happen during a game.
Prior to a game in Cincinnati in May of 1947, Reds players and fans alike heckled Robinson to the point where he began to get rattled. In a display of good faith, Reese walked over to Robinson and put his arm over the second baseman’s shoulders. This iconic image is still widely recognized today.
When he wasn’t helping fight social injustice, Reese was posting staggering numbers on the baseball field. He finished in the top-10 of MVP voting eight times throughout his career, while playing in 140 or more games every season from 1946 to 1956. The Dodgers may not have won their 1955 World Series without him, as he slapped a team-high eight base hits in the series.
Third Baseman – Ron Cey (1971-1982)
Stats: 12 years, 2073 games played, 47.5 WAR, .264/.359/.445, 228 home runs, 223 doubles, 842 RBIs, 715 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 765 walks and 838 strikeouts.
Accolades: 6x All-Star
Among all the non-Hall of Famers in Dodgers history, Ron Cey may be one of the best to ever take the field for the franchise. He leads all third basemen in team history in nearly every offensive stat across the board. After finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1973, Cey made the All-Star Team for six straight years while manning the hot corner.
Fellow All-Stars Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell made up the rest of the infield alongside Cey for a record-setting eight and a half straight years. In 1971, Cey, Garvey, Reggie Smith and Dusty Baker became the first group of four teammates to each hit 30 home runs in a single season.
Los Angeles made it to the World Series in 1981, but their chances of coming away with a victory looked slim after the Yankees took the first two games. Cey then led the team to four straight wins, earning Co-Series MVP honors alongside Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. Cooperstown or not, Cey was a force to be reckoned with.
Left Fielder – Zack Wheat (1909-1926)
Stats: 18 years, 2410 games played, 59.7 WAR, .317/.367/.452, 131 home runs, 464 doubles, 1210 RBIs, 1255 runs scored, 203 stolen bases, 632 walks and 567 strikeouts.
Accolades: 1918 NL Batting Title, Hall of Fame Class of 1959
He may not have taken the field in nearly 90 years or ever worn a jersey with the name Dodgers on his chest, but no player in franchise history has played more games than Zack Wheat. Wheat joined the Brooklyn Superbas in 1909 at 21 years old, enjoying a successful cup of coffee in late September that earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster the following year.
Wheat played for Brooklyn for the next 17 years. He ended only one season over that span with a batting average below .284, while hitting over .300 in 12 of them. In 1918, Wheat finished with an NL-high .335 batting average, narrowly beating out Cincinnati’s Edd Roush and his .333 mark for the batting title.
Wheat never received much MVP consideration, as his ballclub finished in the bottom half of the National League in 15 of the 18 seasons he was with the team. As a result, he had to wait until 1959 for the Veteran’s Committee to vote him into the Hall of Fame. He was the first true superstar of Brooklyn, a title that should not be taken lightly.
Center Fielder – Duke Snider (1947-1962)
Stats: 16 years, 1923 games played, 65.8 WAR, .300/.384/.553, 389 home runs, 343 doubles, 1271 RBIs, 1199 runs scored, 99 stolen bases, 893 walks and 1123 strikeouts.
Accolades: 7x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1980
If there were ever a player that fans wanted to love but his attitude wouldn’t let them, it was Duke Snider. The California native was lauded for his potential prior to breaking into the big leagues, but his negative demeanor and short temper made him a difficult character to like. On the field, however, he just may have been one of the greatest Dodgers ever.
Snider, the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs, smacked 40 long balls in five consecutive seasons from 1953 to 1957. Power wasn’t the only facet of the game he excelled in, however. Despite leading the NL in strikeouts in three different seasons, Snider finished his Dodgers career with a .300 batting average. He also played a great center field and had a cannon of an arm that was feared throughout the league.
Duke helped the franchise win two World Series, one in Brooklyn and the other in Los Angeles. During the club’s seven-game series with the Yankees in 1955, Snider drove in seven runs while hitting .320. He would have taken home Series MVP honors if it weren’t for Johnny Podres tossing two complete games. With the Dodgers moving to LA only three years later, Duke’s postseason performance remained one of the New York fanbase’s fondest memories long after the team was gone.
Right Fielder – Babe Herman (1926-1931, 1945)
Stats: 7 years, 888 games played, 23.1 WAR, .339/.396/.557, 112 home runs, 232 doubles, 594 RBIs, 540 runs scored, 69 stolen bases, 297 walks and 303 strikeouts.
It’s pretty hard not to feel sorry for a superstar player stuck on a bad team. Babe Herman reached the major leagues in 1926 when the team was called the Robins. Brooklyn hadn’t reached the World Series in six years and they weren’t going to anytime soon. Their one bright spot during their years of futility was Herman, who’s youth and exciting style of play drew crowds even when the team floundered.
Herman never finished higher than eighth in MVP voting in his career, but that was by no means a fault of his. In 1930, he smashed 35 home runs, drove in 130 runs and hit .393. No official MVP honors were awarded that season. While he never quite reached those numbers again, Herman’s ballclub and their lack of success doomed him from ever receiving serious consideration anyway.
Originally a first baseman, Herman moved to the outfield early in his career in order to get more playing time. He struggled to make adjustments at first, but by 1930, he was known as one of the best corner outfielders in the sport. Herman may not be the most memorable player in Dodgers history, but his peak years were some of the best the franchise has ever seen.
Catcher – Roy Campanella (1948-1957)
Stats: 10 years, 1215 games played, 34.2 WAR, .276/.260/.500, 242 home runs, 178 doubles, 856 RBIs, 627 runs scored, 25 stolen bases, 533 walks and 501 strikeouts.
Accolades: 3x MVP, 8x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1980
Another member of the 1955 World Champions, Roy Campanella provided offensive stability behind the plate in an era where it was pretty tough to find. Campanella spent his entire career with the Dodgers, earning a spot on the All-Star Team in every season he played more than 103 games. Between him and Yogi Berra, the class of the catcher position during the early-to-mid 1950s had been established.
Campanella won three MVP awards during his career, including one in 1955 that he barely edged out teammate Duke Snider to win. Perhaps he could have won more, but racism and prejudice prevented him from reaching the major leagues until he was 26 and in 1958 a car accident paralyzed him from the chest down, giving him the distinction of the only position player in the Hall of Fame with less than 5000 plate appearances.
The friendly and upbeat attitude that Campanella displayed both during his career and after the fateful accident endeared him to the hearts of baseball fans across the country. While he never got the chance to play in Los Angeles once the team relocated there, he still had a special place in their fans’ hearts.
Utility Outfielder – Willie Davis (1960-1973)
Stats: 14 years, 1952 games played, 54.4 WAR, .279/.312/.413, 154 home runs, 321 doubles, 849 RBIs, 1004 runs scored, 335 stolen bases, 350 walks and 815 strikeouts.
Accolades: 3x Gold Glove, 2x All-Star
The first step to building a bench: finding a speedy outfielder with an above average glove. Willie Davis, who is the only outfielder in the history of the Dodgers’ franchise with three Gold Gloves, fits that mold perfectly. His 335 stolen bases with the club are the third most in team history.
Davis played for the Dodgers during the ‘60s when they made four World Series appearances. He led the National League in triples twice, smacking the third most three-baggers in the big leagues from 1961 to 1975 behind only Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Lou Brock.
The Mineral Spring, Arizona native’s best season came in 1964, when he set career highs in hits (180), stolen bases (42) and WAR (8.3). He played center field in all 152 of his starts, accumulating a defensive WAR of 3.4 and making a career-high 16 outfield assists.
Having played for a franchise that has seen a ton of superstars don its jersey, Davis is often overlooked as a Dodger great. His speed on the basepaths coupled with his stellar glove work, however, make him one of the most underrated players to ever play in L.A.
Utility Outfielder – Gary Sheffield (1998-2001)
Stats: 4 years, 526 games played, 17.0 WAR, .312/.424/.573, 129 home runs, 88 doubles, 367 RBIs, 358 runs scored, 43 stolen bases, 365 walks and 232 strikeouts.
Accolades: 2x All-Star
While on his way to becoming a member of the 500 home run club, Gary Sheffield was one of the premier sluggers of the early 2000s. He hit at least 34 home runs in each of the three full seasons he spent with Los Angeles, leading the team in RBI over that span. The converted outfielder was a major liability in the field, but he was consistent enough at the plate to negate the damage he did with his glove.
The Dodgers never finished any better than six games back of first place in the NL West during Sheffield’s tenure with the club, failing to win more than 86 games in each of his four seasons. Sheffield was able to finish in the top-10 of NL MVP voting in 2000, when he smacked 43 home runs and posted an OPS of 1.081.
Sheffield’s final season with the Dodgers had a bit of a sour taste to it, as he’d publicly criticized the front office and coaches for their spending habits over the previous offseason and demanded to be traded. GM Kevin Malone was unable to work out a deal, and Sheffield was forced to play for L.A. once again. He still had a productive year, but his relationship with the players and fans never quite mended.
Corner Infielder – Steve Garvey (1969-1982)
Stats: 14 years, 1727 games played, 36.4 WAR, .301/.337/.459, 211 home runs, 333 doubles, 992 RBIs, 852 runs scored, 77 stolen bases, 367 walks and 751 strikeouts.
Accolades: 1974 NL MVP, 8x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove
One of the faces of the Dodgers in the 1970s, Steve Garvey was a hit machine for Los Angeles. He led the team in that category during his time with the team, racking up at least 200 hits in six seasons. Garvey is one of two players in franchise history to play at least 1500 games and hit above .300.
A former first round pick, Garvey made his major league debut in 1969 at just 20 years old. The Tampa, Florida native broke onto the MLB scene as a third baseman but made the permanent switch over to first once Wes Parker retired prior to the 1973 season.
Garvey was one of the most enduring players of the 1970s, playing in every single Dodgers game from September 3, 1975 through their final regular season contest of the 1982 season. He won NLCS MVP in 1978 for his efforts at the plate against the Phillies, hitting four home runs. Los Angeles wouldn’t win the World Series that season, but they returned to and captured the Fall Classic in 1981. Garvey played in all six games, leading the team’s starters with a .417 batting average.
Middle Infielder – Davey Lopes (1972-1981)
Stats: 10 years, 1207 games played, 32.1 WAR, .262/.349/.380, 99 home runs, 165 doubles, 384 RBIs, 759 runs scored, 418 stolen bases, 603 walks and 629 strikeouts.
Accolades: 1978 Gold Glove, 4x All-Star
Garvey’s fellow infielder for parts of ten seasons Davey Lopes was another key contributor for the Dodgers team that made four World Series appearances in eight years. Used primarily as the leadoff man, Lopes owns the second most stolen bases in team history behind 5x All-Star Maury Wills. He stole 130 bases between 1975 and 1976, leading the National League each year.
During the 1975 season, Lopes swiped 38 straight bags without getting caught. This set an MLB record that stood until Vince Coleman stole 50 in 1989. In addition to his speed, Lopes also had sneaky pop at the plate. He hit a career-high 28 homers in 1979 and broke double digits in five separate seasons with the team.
The man behind the mustache played primarily second base, but he mixed in time in the outfield as well. He was a solid defender, winning a Gold Glove in 1978, but also tended to make a lot of errors. Lopes finished the season with 15 or more fielding miscues five times throughout his Dodgers career.
Backup Catcher – Mike Piazza (1992-1998)
Stats: 7 years, 726 games played, 31.9 WAR, .331/.394/.572, 177 home runs, 115 doubles, 563 RBIs, 443 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, 283 walks and 440 strikeouts.
Accolades: 1993 NL Rookie of the Year, 6x Silver Slugger, 6x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 2016
Mike Piazza may have the Mets logo on his Hall of Fame plaque, but he posted some of the best numbers of his career during his time in Los Angeles. The Dodgers drafted Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 amateur draft because manager Tommy Lasorda was a family friend. The move would ultimately pay dividends, as Piazza would take the major leagues by storm in his first full season.
During his monster rookie campaign, Piazza hit .318 with 35 homers in 149 games en route to winning NL Rookie of the Year. His batting average ranged from .319 to .362 over the next four seasons. Piazza’s best season with L.A. came in 1997, when he finished second in MVP voting for the second consecutive season despite hitting 40 homers and driving in 124 runs.
One of the greatest hitting catchers of all time, Piazza holds the franchise records for batting average, on-base percentage and slugging among backstops with at least 500 games with the team. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in 1998 at 29 years old, leaving many Dodgers fans wondering what could’ve been had they kept him in L.A.
No. 1 Starter – Sandy Koufax (1955-1966)
Stats: 12 years, 397 games (314 starts), 53.2 WAR, 2.76 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 1.106 WHIP, 165-87 record, 137 complete games, 2396 strikeouts and 817 walks.
Accolades: 3x NL Cy Young, 1963 NL MVP, 5x NL ERA Title, 4x NL Strikeout Leader, 6x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1972
Sandy Koufax, the greatest pitcher to ever take the mound in a Dodgers uniform, had one of the most historic stretch of peak years this league has ever seen. From 1962 to 1968, Koufax posted a staggering 1.95 ERA, struck out over 1400 hitters and tossed four no-hitters (including one perfect game). He won three Cy Young Awards and an MVP. Then, as quickly as he came, the Brooklyn native disappeared from center stage and retired at only 30 years old.
While it took him a few years to harness his ridiculous fastball/curveball combination, Koufax’s postseason appearances were nothing short of spectacular. He posted a 0.95 ERA in 57 October innings, propelling the Dodgers to three World Series victories. The Brooklyn native was named Series MVP both in 1963 and 1965, where he threw four complete games in five starts.
Koufax was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972 at only 36 years old, making him the youngest player to ever be elected. Universally considered one of the greatest southpaws ever, Koufax’s legend still looms large today.
No. 2 Starter – Clayton Kershaw (2008-present)
Stats: 9 years, 265 games (263 starts), 52.7 WAR, 2.37 ERA, 2.55 FIP, 1.007 WHIP, 126-60 record, 24 complete games, 1918 strikeouts and 477 walks.
Accolades: 3x NL Cy Young, 2014 NL MVP, 4x NL ERA Title, 3x NL Strikeout Leader, 6x All-Star
Spoiler: The Dodgers have four Hall of Famers that make the cut for this rotation, but aside from Koufax, Clayton Kershaw is better than them all. The 28-year-old left-handed phenom has been on the fast track to Cooperstown almost his entire career, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Kershaw’s 9.8 K/9 is the third highest in MLB history among pitchers to throw at least 1700 innings. His 2.37 ERA is the second lowest of that group and his 1.007 WHIP is the best ever. The only thing holding him back at this point from surpassing Koufax is innings, and those will come with time.
Last season, Kershaw became only the third pitcher this century to rack up 300 strikeouts in a season. This year, due to a back injury that caused him to miss two months, he may fail to finish within the top three of Cy Young voting for the first time since 2010. That is, unless his mind-boggling 1.69 ERA and 15.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio is enough to convince the writers otherwise. Kershaw is one of the faces of baseball today, and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the face of a generation.
No. 3 Starter – Don Sutton (1966-1980, 1988)
Stats: 16 years, 550 games (533 starts), 50.7 WAR, 3.09 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 1.123 WHIP, 233-181 record, 156 complete games, 2696 strikeouts and 996 walks.
Accolades: 1980 NL ERA Title, 4x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1998
The model of consistency, Don Sutton may not have ever put together a Cy Young campaign, but he was a dependable as they come whenever he was needed. According to his Hall of Fame plaque, Sutton “did not miss a turn in the starting rotation due to injury or illness.” He won 11 or more games in fifteen straight years for the Dodgers, never failing to toss at least one complete game shutout throughout the year over that span.
Sutton’s best season perhaps came in 1980, when he won the ERA title with a 2.20 ERA while leading the league with a 0.989 WHIP. Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton, who had Sutton beat in strikeouts and home runs allowed, won the Cy Young in a landslide. Oddly enough. Sutton didn’t receive a single vote.
No one through more innings in a Dodger uniform than Sutton. He holds club records for shutouts, wins and strikeouts. His peripheral numbers may not jump off the page like some other Hall of Famers, but there is was no one more reliable.
No. 4 Starter – Don Drysdale (1956-1969)
Stats: 14 years, 518 games (465 starts), 61.2 WAR, 2.95 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.148 WHIP, 209-166 record, 167 complete games, 2486 strikeouts and 855 walks.
Accolades: 1962 NL Cy Young, 3x NL Strikeout Leader, 8x All-Star, Hall of Fame Class of 1984
Don Drysdale would have been a perennial Cy Young winner if it were not for the fact that he pitched alongside Koufax for eleven years of his career. A lifetime Dodger, Drysdale is the only pitcher in team history since 1920 other than Koufax to throw at least 2000 innings and post a sub-3.00 ERA.
Drysdale played a major role in all three of the club’s World Series runs during his career, both his arm and with the bat. In their quest for the pennant in 1965, he was the only player on the team with over 100 plate appearances to hit .300. He won the Cy Young in 1962, but that wasn’t even his best season. During the 1964 season, Drysdale posted career lows in ERA (2.18) and WHIP (0.965) while throwing a league-leading 321.1 innings.
From 1962 to 1965, Drysdale struck out at least 210 hitters in four straight years while never finishing a season with an ERA above 2.83. He tossed 58 straight scoreless innings in 1968, a run that included six straight shutouts. Overshadowed by Koufax, Drysdale didn’t always get the attention he deserved. But there’s no doubt about it, he was one hell of a pitcher.
No. 5 Starter – Dazzy Vance (1922-1932, 1935)
Stats: 12 years, 378 games (328 starts), 61.6 WAR, 3.17 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 1.212 WHIP, 190-131 record, 213 complete games, 1918 strikeouts and 764 walks.
Accolades: 1924 NL MVP, 3x NL ERA Title, 7x NL Strikeout Leader, Hall of Fame Class of 1955
Entering his age 31-season, not much had gone Dazzy Vance’s way during his career. A minor league journeyman, Vance bounced around several different major league organizations during his 20s but was never able to stick. He had elbow problems and a career 0-4 record and 4.91 ERA heading into 1922. A miracle surgery performed prior to that season allowed him to pitch painlessly, and Vance never looked back.
Vance led the National League in strikeouts for the Brooklyn Robins every season from 1922 to 1928. He was an artist with the strike zone, rarely walking opponents. In fact, the only pitchers in franchise history with more than 2000 innings and a better strikeout-to-walk ratio are the three Hall of Famers ahead of him on this list. His 135 ERA+ is the sixth highest ever by a starting pitcher in his 30s with at least 1500 innings.
Vance never made a World Series appearance for Brooklyn, as the team was struggling to keep its head above water in the National League. The club was able to come in second in the Senior Circuit in 1924 behind Vance’s MVP campaign, but that was the closest they would get to a championship appearance.
Closer – Kenley Jansen (2010-2016)
Stats: 7 years, 409 games, 11.4 WAR, 2.20 ERA, 1.93 FIP, 0.893 WHIP, 189 saves, 13.9 K/9
Accolades: 2016 All-Star
While it remains to be seen if the Dodgers will re-sign him over the offseason, Kenley Jansen has already done enough to be considered the greatest closer in team history. He is the franchise leader in saves and has the lowest ERA among Dodger pitchers to throw at least 250 innings with 80% or more of them coming in relief.
Jansen may only have one All-Star appearance, but his 127 saves over the past three years are the second most in baseball behind only Mark Melancon. When the postseason rolls around, Jansen takes his game to an even higher level. In 20.1 October innings, he has a 2.66 ERA with 35 strikeouts (good for a 15.5 K/9) while never blowing a save.
Jansen quickly established himself among the league’s elite closers, never finishing a season with a K/9 below 13.0. Only Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman have more strikeouts as a reliever since he entered the league in 2010. Jansen is one of the best in the sport at keeping the ball in the strike zone. He and Sergio Romo are the only relievers in the majors to throw at least 400 innings and post a K/BB ratio above 5.0 over the past seven seasons. At 29 years old, he figures to sign a hefty free agent deal this winter.
Set-Up Man – Eric Gagne (1999-2006)
Stats: 8 years, 298 games, 10.9 WAR, 3.27 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 1.111 WHIP, 161 saves, 10.4 K/9
Accolades: 2003 NL Cy Young, 2003 NL Saves Leader, 3x All-Star
Before Jansen came around, Eric Gagne was considered the best closer to ever don the Dodger blue. He won the NL Cy Young Award in 2003, leading the league with 55 saves while posting a 1.20 ERA and 15.0 K/9. Gagne is the only reliever in Dodgers history and one of nine all-time to receive the honor.
Gagne’s 3.27 ERA with the club was bloated by a few bad seasons as a starter early in his career. From 2002 to 2006, he put together a 1.82 ERA and only gave up 15 home runs in 240 appearances. Gagne is the only reliever in franchise history to rack up 100 or more strikeouts in three consecutive seasons.
Once he made the shift to the bullpen, Gagne’s career took off. He was the fastest pitcher ever to notch his 100th career save, settling into his ninth inning role easily. From August 26, 2002 to July 5, 2004, Gagne converted all 84 of his save opportunities, setting a major league record that still stands today.
Set-Up Man – Jim Brewer (1964-1975)
Stats: 12 years, 474 games, 15.7 WAR, 2.62 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 1.129 WHIP, 126 saves, 7.4 K/9
Accolades: 1973 All-Star
Probably the most dominant left-handed reliever in team history, Jim Brewer was one of the faces of the Dodgers’ bullpen during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. He has the most strikeouts (672) in team history among southpaw relievers and is the only Dodger pitcher regardless of what arm to finish a season with 15 or more saves six times.
Brewer’s premiere pitch was the screwball, a rare sighting at the time that made him one of the most dangerous late-inning relievers in the league. In 1965, he led the team with a 1.82 ERA in 19 appearances as the Dodgers won 97 games and took home the Fall Classic.
In 1972, Brewer made a team-high 51 appearances. He posted a minuscule 1.26 ERA while notching 17 saves. Brewer’s 2.9 BB/9 ratio that season was the lowest by any reliever on the team. He pitched for Los Angeles until his age-37 season when the front office traded him to the Angels for reliever Dave Sells. Sells would make five appearances for the Dodgers in 1975 but never pitched in the majors again after that.
Left-Handed Reliever – Ron Perranoski (1961-1967, 1972)
Stats: 8 years, 457 games, 14.9 WAR, 2.56 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.302 WHIP, 100 saves, 5.4 K/9
Another left-handed reliever that pitched for the Dodgers in the late 1970s, Ron Perranoski was the biggest workhorse of his time. From 1961 to 1967, no pitcher in baseball appeared in more games than Perranoski. He racked up 100 saves during that time, which tied for the fifth most in the league.
Perranoski struggled a little bit with his command from time to time. He was never much of a strikeout artist and had trouble walking hitters, but Perranoski was still able to work out of jams and put together productive outings. In 1963, he finished fourth in MVP voting after putting together a 16-3 record with a 1.67 ERA in an astounding 69 outings without making a single start.
Los Angeles won two World Series during Perranoski’s tenure with the team. During team’s 4-0 sweep over the Yankees in the 1963 championship series, Perranoski relieved Johnny Podres with one out in the ninth and closed out the game to record the only postseason save of his career. Perranoski would stay with the Dodgers until they traded him to the Twins prior to the 1968 season.
Right-Handed Reliever – Jay Howell (1988-1992)
Stats: 5 years, 236 games, 10.5 WAR, 2.07 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 1.086 WHIP, 85 saves, 7.6 K/9
Accolades: 1989 All-Star
When discussing the best closers to ever step on the mound for Los Angeles, Jay Howell is a name that is often overlooked. While he only recorded 85 saves during his five-year stint with the Dodgers, Howell dominated on the mound. His 170 ERA+ with L.A. is the highest in franchise history among relievers with more than 175 innings pitched with the team.
During his 1989 All-Star season, Howell put together 28 saves, the most he ever recorded as a member of the Dodgers. His 1.58 ERA that year was the second lowest in the National League among relievers with at least 45 appearances. He won the World Series with the team in 1988, making two appearances and recording a save in the five game series against the 104-win Oakland A’s.
Howell was acquired by the Dodgers in the offseason following the 1987 in a three-team trade. He remained with the team until he reached free agency in the winter of 1992. In his final season on the west coast, Howell posted a 1.54 ERA with only two home runs allowed in 41 appearances.
Lefty Long Reliever – Rube Marquard (1915-1920)
Stats: 6 years, 239 games (115 starts), 13.0 WAR, 2.58 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 1.197 WHIP, 56-48 record, 61 complete games, 444 strikeouts and 207 walks.
Accolades: Hall of Fame Class of 1971
With so many Hall of Fame starters that have pitched for the Dodgers over the years, they can’t all fit in the all time 25-man roster’s starting rotation. Rube Marquard last pitched for the Brooklyn Robins in 1920, but his legacy remains as one of the best starters of his era.
Marquard’s best years came with the New York Giants during his mid-20s, but a decline in production prompted New York to place him on waivers during the 1915 season. The Robins claimed him, and the following year, he posted a 1.58 ERA in 36 appearances (21 starts). Marquard eclipsed 200 innings that season for the first of three consecutive years, tossing at least 14 complete games each season.
In 1918, Marquard led the NL with 18 losses despite posting a 2.64 ERA. Members of the sabermetric community, including the biggest voice of them all in Bill James, have criticized Marquard’s selection to the Hall of Fame because some of his numbers indicate he was barely above league average. Regardless, his years in Brooklyn were still some of the best the franchise has ever seen.
Righty Long Reliever – Zack Greinke (2013-2015)
Stats: 3 years, 92 games (92 starts), 17.5 WAR, 2.30 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 1.027 WHIP, 51-15 record, 2 complete games, 555 strikeouts and 129 walks.
Accolades: 2013 Silver Slugger, 2x Gold Glove, 2015 NL ERA Title
Now before you go criticizing the selection of a player that only pitched for three seasons as a member of the Dodgers, consider this: Greinke ranks 86th in franchise history in innings pitched, but sits at 45th in total strikeouts. His 8.3 K/9 with the team is the fourth highest mark in team history among pitchers with at least 600 innings.
Greinke finished second in one of the greatest Cy Young races of all time in 2015. He was barely edged out by the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and his MLB-record 0.75 second half ERA. Greinke did, however, finish ahead of teammate Kershaw, who became the first starter since Randy Johnson in 2002 to rack up 300 strikeouts in a season. Greinke finished that year with an MLB-leading 1.66 ERA and 9.3 WAR.
More from Call to the Pen
The Dodgers are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the game, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Some of the greatest players to ever step on a baseball field did so as a member of the Dodgers. With budding superstars Corey Seager and Joc Pederson still under 25 years old, their best still may be yet to come.