Here it is January already and with Spring Training right around the corner, there is very little to talk about it in Dodgerland. As we wait to see if there will be a starting pitcher fall out of a tree before Spring Training, what do we do with our Dodger time? We read what other fans are saying.
In perusing other blogs I see some who are trying to pass the time gathering nostalgic facts and living in a time when all seemed right with the Dodgers – and that time of course is “the past”.
On one site they are talking about the All Decade Dodger team, and some of the names are very interesting. Here is an update:
C: Russell Martin (68%)
1B: James Loney (62%)
2B: Jeff Kent (88%)
3B: Adrian Beltre (80%)
SS: Rafael Furcal (87%)
LF: Gary Sheffield (62%)
CF: Matt Kemp (94%)
RF: Shawn Green (79%)
LH starter: Clayton Kershaw (56%)
RH starter: Kevin Brown (42%)
LH reliever: Hong-Chih Kuo (57%)
RH reliever: Paul Quantrill
Beltre with one good year leads the list of 3rd baseman, which I find sadly revealing. Jeff Kent? Please. Loney, Kemp, Martin and Kershaw are ours, as is Kuo. Hopefully they will be around for their prime years. But looking at that list of overpaid hired guns (some were very unlikeable with nasty temperments) makes me rather pensive and I find myself longing for the years when I knew who my team was and I actually liked them.
The Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Cey era was a good one. Yeager, John, and Sutton. Hooten didn’t come up with the Dodgers but was with them ten years. I remember when Valenzuela came up as a 20 year old and blew people away. That was fun. Pedro Guererro was an odd duck, but he could sure hit. From ’79 through ’96 the Dodgers had 9 Rookie of the Year Awards, with 4 in a row and 5 in row during that period. We haven’t had one since, and it doesn’t look like we will have one any time soon. Hershiser had some magic in him. Shaun Green was likeable, but wasn’t worth the money. Mike Piazza was a Dodger favorite, until he was traded because he wanted $100 million. We then turned around and gave $105 million to Kevin Brown. Kevin Brown. Surly prima donna. Yuck.
I am beginning to sound a bit like Andy Rooney here.
So, I put together my favorite All L.A. Dodger Team. I started following them as a 5th grader in ’59. Some of these picks may date me, and I am partial to the O’Malley ownership years. Good memories, falling asleep on warm summer nights in Canoga Park listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on my turquoise Admiral radio. Those were good years.
- 1b Gil Hodges (I saw the end of his career, but he was a class act)
- 2b Davey Lopes (Charlie Neal a close second)
- SS Maury Wills (had dinner with him in Palm Springs and he is a great guy)
- 3bRon Cey
- OF Wally Moon (still love those Moon shots)
- OFDuke Snider (met him at his restaurant in Fallbrook. Nice man)
- OF Tommy Davis (I met him at a clinic and learned a lot from him)
- OFReggie Smith
- C Mike Piazza (Johnny Roseboro a close second)
- SP Sandy Koufax
- SP Fernando Valenzuela
- SP Don Sutton
- SP Don Drysdale
- SPOrel Hershisher
- RRPEric Gagne
- LRPRon Perranoski
Feel free to disagree.
I hope the Dodgers can rediscover what it was that made them great over the years. I believe the current owner is well intended and that is a good thing. But intentions and results don’t always match up. I miss the O’Malley years.