The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Brooklyn Dodgers

Was there any doubt who the top Brooklyn Dodgers position player would be? (via Library of Congress

Was there any doubt who the top Brooklyn Dodgers position player would be? (via Library of Congress

Paul Moehringer’s Pyramid Rating System & All-Time Teams

Aug. 27, 2015: The Pyramid Rating System: JAWS on a Career Scale

March 15, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System: The Results

Aug. 12, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System All-Time League and the All-Time Baltimore Orioles

Sept. 2, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Boston Red Sox

Sept. 28, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Texas Rangers

In our latest installment of the Pyramid Rating’s system all-time team series, we take our first glance at the National League and a team that in spite of not being in existence in almost 60 years still ranks as one of the better teams in the National League, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Making the assumption that this is a modern day league puts the Dodgers at some inherent disadvantages. Not being in existence since 1957 means you miss out on virtually every highly rated defensive outfielder that exists. They also don’t have anyone who you could remotely consider a modern day reliever and have very limited depth. No Brooklyn Dodger team ever needed to carry 12 pitchers at a time.

Even so, this is a team that won 12 National League pennants. If that’s the kind of talent pool you have, you’ll be able to win under any constraints, and as we will soon see this is not a team that should be taken lightly.

Franchise Included: Brooklyn Bridegrooms (NL) 1890; 1896-1898, Brooklyn Grooms (NL) 1891-1895, Brooklyn Superbas 1899-1910; 1913, Brooklyn Robins (NL) 1914-1931, Brooklyn Dodgers 1911-1912; 1932-1957
# of Hall of Famers on 25-man roster: 7
Manager: Leo Durocher

For the most part managers tend to be easy calls. Ned Hanlon’s teams were as great as Earl Weaver’s teams ever were, but Hanlon didn’t have the same type of longevity that Weaver had. Ron Washington is the longest tenured manager in Rangers history, the all-time wins leader and at the time of this article still the only one to take the Rangers to the World Series, which he did in back to back years. With the Brooklyn Dodgers there is no obvious choice.

The longest tenured manager in Brooklyn Dodgers history by far is Wilbert Robinson, in which case the team would have to be called Brooklyn Robins. Although this is the era of Brooklyn Dodger history that gives us the “Daffiness Boys”, Robinson actually finished his 18 year Brooklyn tenure with a .506 winning percentage and two National League pennants.

Unfortunately none of Robinson’s tenure captures the franchise’s unquestioned golden years of the late 40’s and mid 50’s. That is the team that won 6 six pennants over 10 years between 1947 and 1956. Any manager who picked up all 6 would be the easy choice to be the team’s all-time manager, but nobody won more than two. The closest to winning three and I feel the best from this era is the Dodgers manager from 1951 to 1953, Chuck Dressen. Despite only managing three years in Brooklyn, Dressen still managed to win 298 games and post an incredible .642 winning percentage.

In the end the person I chose to head up the team was a man with both a higher winning percentage than Wilbert Robinson and a longer tenure than Walter Alston, Leo Durocher. Much has been made in recent years of his temperament and for that reason alone I would say if this was an actual team he would not be someone I would consider, especially in this day and age. Seeing as how this is a fantasy exercise I can forgive myself for looking pasts Durocher’s obvious off field issues and focus squarely on the performance of his teams as a bench mark for whether or not he is qualified to be the skipper of this club. Over an eight and a half year tenure with the Dodgers, Durocher won 738 games, posted a .566 winning percentage and just two losing seasons. In spite of all this success Durocher’s Dodgers only won one National League pennant, but this is somewhat misleading as the 1942 Dodgers, for instance, posted 104 wins, while the ’46 Dodgers won 96. In both years the Dodgers came just two games short of Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Another win or two in those seasons would have made this call easier, but even without the benefit of those few extra wins I still feel like Durocher does just enough to warrant representation ahead of Robinson, Dressen and Walter Alston. No other team will have this close of a debate.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Best Overall Player and Position Player: Jackie Robinson

The golden era of this franchise begins with the arrival of Jackie Robinson and ends with his departure and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. During his playing career Robinson had no equal in baseball. Nobody, especially no  second baseman had a better combination of power, speed and defensive ability when he played than Jackie Robinson. Six times Robinson finished in the top ten in the NL in OPS and nine times Robinson finished in the top ten in stolen bases. In addition to this Robinson also led the NL in double plays turned by a second baseman every year from 1949 to 1952.

Aside from Stan Musial, I don’t believe there is a better player to be found in the National League during the ten year period from ’47 to ’56. Robinson’s ability to play both second and third base will also come in handy as the Dodgers don’t have much depth at either position and without Robinson these would no doubt be weak parts of the team. Robinson assures that at least one of these positions will be one of the best in the National League at all times and transforms what would otherwise be a below average infield into one of the NL’s best.

Best Hitter: Duke Snider

Often glossed over as the third-best (and therefore worst) of the three big New York center fielders of the 1950’s, when age and health began to chip away at Jackie Robinson’s game, Duke Snider took over as the team’s best player and no doubt their best hitter. From 1950-1956 Snider was top five in the NL every year in total bases including three years where he led the league. From ’52 to ’56 Snider finished no lower than second in OPS and also led the league two years in the category.

A fair defensive outfielder, Snider winds up being the best defensive option the Dodgers have in the outfield as well as the best offensive one. Much like the glory days of 50’s the infield/outfield combo of Robinson and Snider is the bedrock by which this team is built on and just like the 50’s it proves to be a very strong foundation.

Best Pitcher: Dazzy Vance

Unlike their LA counterparts, the Brooklyn Dodgers were built largely through offense and haven’t featured a ton of big time aces, but one exception to this rule was the face of the “Daffiness Boys”, Dazzy Vance. Throughout the 1920’s Vance would prove to be one of the most overpowering, durable and dominant starters in the game, leading the NL in strikeouts seven straight years between 1922 and 1928 as well as leading the NL in ERA three times, top ten in strikeout to walk ratio eight times and top ten in innings pitched seven times with Dodgers/Robins. All of this adds up to an average number one starter and a possible all-star candidate. There’s no question this team is built around offense, but unlike what we saw with the Texas Rangers the Brooklyn Dodgers have at least one pitcher who you could definitively say is good enough to be in the starting rotation of all 36 teams in this league and a number one starter for more than one of them. Without Vance the Brooklyn Dodgers would have one of the worst rotations in the league. With him, it makes them roughly above average which combined with their offense would make them an obvious Wild Card contender.

Best Player Not on the Roster Due to the One-Team-Only Rule: Bill Dahlen/nobody

The best Brooklyn Dodger I can find not included on the 40-man roster is Bill Dahlen, one of the most overlooked and underrated players of all-time. Obviously Dahlen will be featured later in this series, but considering the names we’ve seen up to this point, I think its fairly obvious the Brooklyn Dodgers are getting off incredibly easy. Dahlen would only be good enough to make the 40-man squad meaning the Dodgers 25-man team is completely unaffected by this rule.

Having a parade of solid GM’s the likes of Larry MacPhail, Branch Rickey and Buzzie Bravasi in the reserve clause era is no doubt the root cause of this. The Dodgers had a keen eye for scouting talent once they got them they usually didn’t go anywhere else.

Another key factor is that unlike what we’ll see with other teams like the Giants and Braves, the Dodgers have no players who you could argue really belong in both places. Don Drysdale had some success with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but there’s little doubt his peak years came in Los Angeles. Likewise Duke Snider hit .292 with the Dodgers over his five seasons in LA, but was nowhere near the kind of dominant player that he was in Brooklyn.

Position Person
Manager Leo Durocher
Bench Coach Chuck Dressen
First Base Coach Jake Flowers
Third Base Coach Ivy Olson
Hitting Coach Tim Jordan
Pitching Coach Freddie Fitzsimmons
Bullpen Coach Ed Head
vs RHP vs LHP
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
CF L R Augie Galan 2B R R Jackie Robinson
RF L R Duke Snider 1B R R Gil Hodges
1B L L Dolph Camilli CF L R Duke Snider
3B R R Jackie Robinson LF L R Dixie Walker
LF L R Zack Wheat  C R R Roy Campanella
SS R R Pee Wee Reese 3B R R Jimmy Johnston
2B R R Eddie Stanky SS R R Pee Wee Reese
 C R R Roy Campanella RF R R Carl Furillo
 P R R Dazzy Vance  P R R Dazzy Vance
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
CF L R Augie Galan 2B R R Jackie Robinson
RF L R Duke Snider 1B R R Gil Hodges
DH L L Dolph Camilli CF L R Duke Snider
3B R R Jackie Robinson DH L L Dolph Camilli
LF L R Zack Wheat  C R R Roy Campanella
1B R R Gil Hodges 3B R R Jimmy Johnston
SS R R Pee Wee Reese LF L R Dixie Walker
 C R R Roy Campanella RF R R Carl Furillo
2B R R Eddie Stanky SS R R Pee Wee Reese
Pos B T Name
 C R R Bruce Edwards
1B L R Jack Fournier
2B S R Tom Daly
3B L R George Pinkney
SS R R Glenn Wright
IF L R Andy High
OF L R Mike Griffin
OF L R Jimmy Sheckard
SP R R Van Mungo
SP L R Don Newcombe
SP R L Jesse Petty
SP R R Whit Wyatt
RP R R Don Bessent
RP R R Art Decatur
RP R L Larry French


We’ve seen teams use and take advantage of platoons, but we haven’t seen anything quite like this up to this point. The Dodgers only feature four full-time starters in Campanella, Jackie, Snider and Pee Wee Reese. For most teams this would be a detriment but for the Dodgers, it represents a major plus. Let’s start on the infield. At first base the Brooklyn Dodgers feature two borderline Hall of Famers in Gil Hodges and Dolph Camilli. Much has been made about Gil Hodges’ HOF candidacy, but I’m not sure why it’s taken as more or less a given that Gil Hodges was the greatest first baseman in Brooklyn Dodgers history. One of the key pickups made by Larry MacPhail, in addition to his 1941 MVP season, Camilli finished in the top ten in the NL in OPS five times with the Dodgers and three times drew 100+ walks including two years where he led the league.

As far as who was the better player with the Dodgers, it’s a tossup, but unlike most lists which simply concern themselves with who was the best player, this looks at what each brings to the table and how to best utilize each one’s talent. With Camilli being a left handed batter and Hodges a righty a natural platoon arises with Camilli seeing action almost exclusively against righties and Hodges likewise against lefties. On their own Camilli and Hodges would both be adequate starting first baseman but nowhere near all-star quality in a league where you have to a be a no doubt Hall of Famer just to garner consideration. Combined in a platoon and they become far more dangerous with Camilli being a career .294 hitter against righties and Hodges a career .299 hitter against lefties. As you can see with the DH, both players would be seeing action full time and regardless of which one is on the bench, the Dodgers will have a solid pinch hitting option to turn to.

At both second and third, Jackie Robinson presents by far the best option, but he can only play one position at a time and aside from Robinson, the Dodgers lack any quality option at either second or third. Eddie Stanky was a three time all-star in his career and a walk machine but only one of those all-star seasons came in Brooklyn, and with just four year tenure with Brooklyn he rates as a below average starter. Third base is even worse. Cookie Lavagetto may have appeared in four consecutive all-star games with the Dodgers, but only posted an OPS of .800 or better once over those four seasons and his name is hard to come by in top ten lists for any major offensive category in baseball over those four seasons.

A marginally better and far more versatile option at third is Jimmy Johnston, who played in more than 400 games with the Dodgers and had a nearly identical OPS+ as Lavagetto. While Stanky splits are virtually identical against both righties and lefties, Johnston shows a much higher propensity for hitting lefties and is a bigger stolen base threat than Stanky.

Johnston’s ability to backup short as well as third makes him a very valuable bench player as it allows the Dodgers to overload their outfield and allow their platoon matchups to really shine through.

Duke Snider would seem to be the easy call to play center and without question, Snider remains the greatest center fielder in Dodger history, not just Brooklyn, but with the position qualification rules of this league, Snider also qualifies to play in left and right and unlike a lot of other center fielders, Snider has the bat to be justified at the corners.

In left the Dodgers feature two strong left handed batters in Zack Wheat and Augie Galan, while in right field the Dodgers feature two other strong right handed batters in Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo. Zack Wheat only qualifies as a left fielder, but Galan also qualifies as a center fielder having been the team’s primary starting center fielder in 1943, but because his primary position is left and not center, he doesn’t automatically qualify to play right the same way that Snider does. Even so, with his ability to play center and Snider’s ability to play right it still enables to Dodgers to have Galan, Wheat and Snider all in the lineup against a righty simply by moving Galan to center and Snider over to right. Defensively, this is less than ideal but the idea of having two Hall of Famers and a leadoff hitter the quality of Galan, all with lefty-righty matchups in their favor is just too good to pass up. Against lefties, the Dodgers improve markedly defensively in the outfield. Even with Dixie Walker playing out of position in left, I would still consider him a better defensive option there than Zack Wheat. Snider is obvious defensive upgrade in center over Galan and unlike Snider, Furillo is a natural right fielder.

A career OPS split of .743 against lefties and .843 against righties would suggest that Walker is a weak hitter to have against lefties, but most of the plate appearances that led to those extreme splits happened before Walker arrived in Brooklyn. In 1937 with the White Sox, Walker posted OPS splits of .887 against righties and .701 against lefties. But in 1945 with the Dodgers and eight more years of experience under his belt Walker put up a near identical split with a .821 OPS against righties and a .824 OPS against lefties. Because his seasons with the Dodgers are the only seasons that matter, Walker is considered to be just about as strong against lefties as he is against righties.

Through these series of platoons and matchups the Brooklyn Dodgers are able to get far more out of their offense than they have any business doing otherwise. What’s interesting about the platoons is that they highlight different eras as well as different players. Against a righty, the Dodgers lineup pulls from nearly all parts of their franchise’s history, but against a lefty its almost exclusively players from the 1950’s. Of the players in the Dodgers left handed lineup, Jimmy Johnston is the only player to not play alongside Jackie Robinson. Compare that to the right side where Zack Wheat, Augie Galan and Dolph Camilli were all former Dodgers by the time Robinson joined the team. The righty-lefty splits are very reflective of this at a team level. The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers as a team had an OPS split of .911 against left handed pitchers and .795 against righties. Keeping that stat in mind may help explain why neither Warren Spahn, Joe Nuxhall or Johnny Antonelli started a single game at Ebbets Field that year in spite of them being in the top three for innings pitched amongst left handed pitchers.

Defensively the Brooklyn Dodgers are an average team, but do feature two of the greatest defenders of all-time in Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. If Robinson was a full time second baseman on this squad, he would be a Gold Glove contender, and despite of being a strictly get-on-base hitter incapable of driving in runs at the plate, defensively Pee Wee Reese ranks as one of the greatest shortstops of all-time, and makes a solid argument for being one of the five best starting shortstops in the National League.

Starting pitching wise the Brooklyn Dodgers feature an above average rotation. Dazzy Vance gives the team a legitimate staff ace, while Nap Rucker could be the pitcher across the league that nobody has ever heard of. From 1909-1912, a legitimate argument could be made that Nap Rucker was the best pitcher in the National League. Over that four year stretch Rucker finished in the top ten in the NL every year in innings pitched, strikeouts, strikeouts per nine innings, strikeout to walk ratio and in three of the four seasons he was top ten in WHIP and was top ten in ERA twice. Jeff Pfeffer, Burleigh Grimes and Preacher Roe would be very run of the mill starters in this league, but reliable ones as well and combined with their potent offense would prove to be a solid matchup for most any pitcher in the league not named Greg Maddux or Christy Mathewson.


Hugh Casey may have been one of the game’s first true stars to appear strictly out of the bullpen, but aside from that the Brooklyn Dodgers have not featured a lot of notable relievers in franchise history. Their eighth inning man Joe Black won rookie of the year in 1952 and was used as a starter in that year’s World Series in a year where he posted a 2.15 ERA over 142.1 innings pitched, but it was also his only notable season in Brooklyn.

Clem Labine had the longest tenure of any Brooklyn reliever and even led the NL in saves in both ’56 and ’57, but a 3.46 career ERA with Brooklyn is far from lights out. Jim Hughes is somewhat forgotten name from that era of Brooklyn Dodger baseball, but again just a little over two full seasons and a career Dodger ERA of 3.44 doesn’t scream out dominating.

The Dodgers may have had the best bullpen in the NL in the 1950’s, but having the best bullpen in the National League for a few years and next to nothing outside of it is not going to be enough to rank as one of the league’s best. Aside from Hugh Casey there’s really no Brooklyn Dodger reliever I would have confidence in holding a lead. Casey is the only thing keeping this bullpen from being a flat out disaster and the Dodgers may be banking on him to stay healthy more than any other team is banking on their closer to be healthy. If he were to go down, it would start a domino effect that would see Joe Black be moved to the closer’s role with Clem Labine and Jim Hughes acting as bridge men. Not a bad plan of attack if it’s 1953, but in an all-time league such as this one, it would be one of the worst bullpens in baseball.

The other glaring weakness on this squad is the lack of depth at both second and third base. What allows the Dodgers to carry five outfielders is Jackie Robinson being able to play multiple infield positions. Having that gives the Dodgers a degree of versatility at two positions where depth or lack thereof is a major issue. There are players with more top ten OPS appearances in their career than all Brooklyn Dodger third baseman who have ever finished in the top-ten in OPS combined.

Not including the years from Jackie Robinson, much the same can be said at second base as well, so much like with Hugh Casey, an injury to Jackie Robinson could prove disastrous for this team. Not only would Brooklyn be losing their best player, but also the hardest to replace.

Defensively the outfield leaves little to be desired, but unlike what we see with Texas it’s not a disaster. There’s just simply nobody who I would consider even close to being a Gold Glove contender. Having someone like Carl Furillo on the roster helps mitigate these liabilities, but the inclusion of Furillo is only facilitated by the flexibility of Robinson and to a lesser extent Jimmy Johnston on the infield. If Robinson were to go down, this would also be a depth weakness that could very quickly bubble to the surface.


If not for the inclusion of the Philadelphia Phillies in their division, I would consider the Brooklyn Dodgers the odds on favorite to win the NL East even in spite of their inactivity for all of these years. As it stands the Brooklyn Dodgers already present a solid case for taking one of the two Wild Card spots. This is still a team capable of going toe to toe with the Cubs, Pirates and Reds the three other obvious Wild Card contenders in the National League, but also have the added benefit of playing in a much easier division. The health of both Jackie Robinson and Hugh Casey would go a long way in determining the success of this team. With both of them healthy this should be a solid 85+ win team. Without the benefit of those two and you can probably kiss any realistic chance of making the playoffs out the window and it would probably be a struggle just to get to .500.

This is a superstar laden team, but also one with some obvious depth issues at a number of positions.

Some may disagree with my decision to split up the LA and Brooklyn Dodgers into two separate franchises as they don’t have nearly the same kind of clear split that say the Twins do from Washington, but very little attention has been paid to the Brooklyn Dodgers in this light. An all-time Boston Red Sox franchise is hardly anything new or original, but you’ll be hard pressed to find many all-time Brooklyn Dodger teams that focus solely on their Brooklyn years and don’t include their LA ones and using the righty/lefty splits to build their lineup really helps display what this team was about, especially the Boys of Summer teams from the 50s.

You could attribute this franchise’s history to the New York Mets, as the Mets would have never come into existence if Dodgers and Giants never moved, but the Dodgers have still spent more years in Brooklyn than the Mets have in Queens and I feel have done enough to warrant inclusion in this league as their own individual franchise.

One of the goals of this series is to highlight all era’s of baseball history equally and splitting up the Dodgers franchise is, I think, a good way of doing that. Instead of one jumbled together super team, we now have two separate franchises each representing the pro’s and con’s from their respective era’s and double the amount of players that we would otherwise be talking about.

Paul Moehringer is a data analyst, a SABR member and inventor of the Pyramid Rating System; originally from Mount Olive, NJ, now living in Westwood, MA. Follow him on Twitter @PMoehringer.
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6 years ago

Don Newcombe had 3 20-win seasons with the Dodgers and a better era+ than Pfeffer, Grimes or Roe with the Dodgers and more wins than Roe and Pfeffer. Also, he lost 2.5 seasons to military service. Seems to me he should be on the starting 5 rather than just the 40-man roster.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago

If he didn’t lose those seasons Newcombe would probably be on the team, because those years came right in the middle of his peak. It gets held against him, just like it gets held against everybody else. It may not be fair, but its consistent.

Newcombe’s ERA+ though with the Dodgers is 119. Pfeffer is 125 and has the lowest career ERA in Dodger history, Roe is 124 and Grimes is 105. So he’s only better than Grimes, but this system doesn’t look too much at career numbers. It looks at peak dominance and the best season Newcombe ever put up in terms of ERA+ was his Cy Young season of ’56 when he had an ERA+ of 131.

Pfeffer, Grimes and Roe all have at least two season better than that and that’s what this dials in on. Taking all of them at their best or close to their best, I would put Newcombe last.

Had he gotten those two and a half seasons back, it might be a different story. Longevity is factored in and having those seasons back would have made Newcombe one of the longest tenured starters on this team.

Paul G.
6 years ago

Am I correct that you are ignoring the American Association years? The Brooklyn Dodgers actually started in the AA in 1884. They are also the only team to win consecutive pennants but in different leagues (AA in 1889, NL in 1890). I’m not sure it would make much of a difference to this team.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Yes that is correct.

Including those years would have given more value to George Pinkney who you’ll find on the 40-man squad.

I went back to the 1890’s because there are a few turn of the century players such as Cy Young who regard as all-time greats that wouldn’t get their proper credit if I didn’t. When it comes to someone like Cap Anson, I don’t have a great feel for the type of player he really was and even less for how it would translate to the modern game.

With someone like Ross Barnes who I have in the top 50 all-time, I don’t even know where you would start. He has career batting average of .360 and a career fielding percentage of .866 over 9 years where he played in 499 games. How do you translate that to 2016 with any degree of certainty? In my opinion you can’t.

6 years ago

The Phillies have the best team in the NL East? That must be a very week division.

Paul G.
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott

Given Moehringer’s system, the Phillies are the franchise with the most seasons in the NL East. Everyone else is either an expansion team or moved somewhere else. Time may or may not heal all wounds, but it does wonders for filling in positional needs even if the franchise has been generally terrible.

Also, keep in mind that with all-time teams, it is less about general talent and more about finding someone good to plug into each position. Having a dozen great first basemen is far less useful than having four very good players that can fill out the entire infield. It’s not like you can trade excess talent for bullpen help.

6 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

That makes enough sense. It’s still odd that probably the worst pre-expansion franchise is at the top of any list. I also forgot that a lot of the team in the division were at the bottom of the league. The Braves and Dodgers, along with the Phillies, were among the worst teams in the National League, and the Expos and Mets had middling. The New York Baseball Giants are probably hurt by players (Mays) being categorized with San Francisco and general discounting of 19th century baseball.

This really is the most interesting list thus far, what’s amazing is that almost the entire starting line-up consists of players from after WWII and before the move to LA, but they weren’t all Boys of Summer.

Joe Pancake
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott

The all-time Phillies have an amazing starting rotation — Pete Alexander, Robin Roberts, and Steve Carlton are a pretty big “big three,” and they are possibly augmented by guys like Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and Jim Bunning, depending on how everything shakes out.

Joe Pancake
6 years ago

I’m loving this series. But if I may, a few quibbles:

I’d rather see good starting pitchers converted to the bullpen than see the 25-man roster filled out with a bunch of anonymous middle relievers. If there was a “real” all-time Brooklyn Dodgers team, pitchers like Van Mungo and/or Don Newcombe would be in the bullpen over guys like Jim Hughes. And it hardly seems unfair to assume a starter could move to the bullpen, being that it happens all the time in real life.

Also, it feels cheap to put a guy like Jack Quinn on the Dodgers when he pitched much longer/better for at least three other franchises. Quinn threw nearly 4,000 innings in his career and not even 155 of them came with Brooklyn! I think a player should have to have some minimum level of overall value with a team — maybe 30% of his total WAR (could be modified in the case of guys who go from starter to reliever like Quinn) — to qualify for that team, regardless of whether or not they make their other teams’ rosters or not.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Pancake

If this was a real team, the Dodgers probably would move guys like Don Newcombe to the pen in place of guys like Jim Hughes, but in terms of how they would fair as relievers I’m not sure which is why I don’t allow it.

We’ve seen borderline starters move to the pen and become lights out closers and we’ve seen solid starters move to the pen and basically have the same level of success.

I think its too hard to predict and I did everything I could to make teams as flexible as possible while at the same time not getting too deep into speculation over what player X might do as a reliever even though they never were a reliever in their career.

Jack Quinn is an odd case. As mentioned before guys are not necessarily to end up where they had their best years. Its where they are needed the most and even though Quinn had much better years with the Red Sox, A’s and Yankees, there’s a reason he’s on Brooklyn and not there.

Why he misses out on making those teams is because they can only use him as a starter and he’s not even close to cracking the rotation for any of the three teams previously mentioned. With Brooklyn he only qualifies as a reliever and even though he was only there two years, he led the NL in both saves and games finished in both years. Its enough for him to make the squad as the innings eater out of the pen.

The Dodgers might be Quinn’s fourth best franchise, but its the only one that would put him on a 25-man roster. Are there 180 starters in MLB history better than Jack Quinn? I would say no, but most guys didn’t play for eight different teams either.

Cases like Jack Quinn are going to be few and far in between. I’m hard pressed to come up with any player that ended up on their third best team, let alone their fourth. What you will see a lot more of is pitchers who should be held in a higher regard not given their full credit because they moved around too much.

Joe Pancake
6 years ago

I hear you. I’d just rather see starters who put together multi-year, sustained runs of success with teams selected ahead of relievers who had one or two good-but-not-great seasons — especially since in many (most?) cases a reliever is a reliever because he isn’t good enough to be a starter.

But, like I said, just quibbles. Keep up the good work!

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe Pancake

Thanks for the feedback.

Like I said you’ll get no argument from me in terms of what would actually be more realistic.

Thing is you can’t pick and choose who this applies to. Best example I can offer up for this is Dennis Eckersly. I actually have his tenure Red Sox being slightly better than what he did with Oakland.

Why he doesen’t make Boston is because he only qualifies as a starter with them and isn’t good enough to make the rotation. He would be good enough to make the bullpen however and putting Dennis Eckersly in the pen would give the Red Sox a significant upgrade, but it wouldn’t be reflective of how the Red Sox used him and in my opinion not representative of the true strengths or weaknesses of the team either.

It’s a very fine line between realism and speculation with a number of different ways you can go.

The Dodgers don’t have a strong bullpen mainly because they never really needed one in order to be successful for much of the franchise’s existence. I think that is a fair assertion.

6 years ago

re 1B:

Gil Hodges OPS+ is 125 (10 yrs)
Dolph Camilli OPS+ is 143 (6 yrs)
Babe Herman OPS+ is 144 (7 yrs), and he would also be OF eligible

Sure seems to me that Herman’s positional versatility gives him the advantage over Camilli. This is a 23-28 yr old Herman vs. a 31-36 yr old Camilli. They had similar dWar.

6 years ago
Reply to  BobDD

Another detraction from Camilli (I was surprised how close, even superior his stats were to Hodges) is that 2 of his seasons with the Dodgers were war (not WAR) years.

6 years ago

oops – shoulda added Zack Wheat in that last posttoo; his OPS+ is 130 for Brooklyn years (virtually whole career), and similar dWar. Babe Herman would be ahead of him too on depth chart. WDYT?

6 years ago

Pete Reiser, another LH batter with a 132 OPS+, much better dWar. And 45 games at 3B – would that help any?

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  BobDD

A couple things.

With regards to Herman. If I wanted to bring a guy up for pure offense, I wouldn’t go with Babe Herman, I would go with Jack Fournier.

Only played four years in Brooklyn but he had an OPS+ of 157 with the Robins. He also finished second in the NL in OPS once and third twice.

In terms of hitters for the first half of the 20’s, the only NL batter to put up better numbers at the plate was Rogers Hornsby.

Why Fournier isn’t on the team is because he also made 66 errors over those four seasons. With Babe Herman, it’s the same issue.

Offensively he’s right there, but defensively he’s about as bad as you can get. As it is already the Dodgers have one of the worst defensive outfields in the NL. Throwing Babe Herman out there would make them the hands down the worst.

In terms of versatility, on a team already carrying five outfielders, it would be largely wasted.

With Pete Reiser it’s a situation very similar to Tony Coniglario where the talent is far greater than the numbers would otherwise indicate. He led the NL in OPS in 1941 and probably should have won the MVP award over his teammate Dolph Camilli.

But what does 616 games played over 6 seasons say? He can’t be trusted to stay healthy and that’s costs him a spot on the team.

He doesen’t qualify for third base, but he doesn’t miss the 40-man squad by that much either. If he was able to stay healthy and didn’t miss out on years because of WWII, not only would he be on this team, he would probably be in Cooperstown as well.

John G.
6 years ago

Interesting, as usual. One suggestion for the coaching staff, since it seems to be a sort of way to remember some additional players who didn’t make the roster…

Sandy Amoros made an improbable catch, late in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, which was credited with preserving the Dodgers’ 2-0 lead in the game (that ended up as the final score), and therefore was a key play in Brooklyn’s only World Series title.

Perhaps you might honor Amoros’ role in Brooklyn lore by hiring him to coach first or third base? Considering some of the financial hardships he endured after Castro took over Cuba, and other post-career adversities he faced, Amoros certainly could have used the job.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  John G.

It’s one way of looking at things I guess.

I don’t really have any good reason why I would go with Ivy Olson over Sandy Amoros, or vice versa. I like the the 25 and 40-man rosters there was not a lot of attention played to these. It’s mainly there just for fun.

If you want to picture Sandy Amoros down there instead of Ivy Olson, fine with me.

Glad you’re enjoying the series.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago

*unlike the 25 and 40-man rosters

6 years ago

So, is Ortiz on the Mariners or Twins? Or was he not able to make their rosters?

Rainy Day Women 12x35
6 years ago

You make a case for Robinson being at 3B because there’s no one else…..what about Billy Cox? True, he wasn’t a great hitter. But he was widely regarded as the best glove at third during the late 40’s to the mid 50’s. Would make a terrific compliment to an offensive juggernaut. And, would allow Jackie to slide back to second and take Stanky out of the starters. While Stanky was a very, very good, he wasn’t with the Dodgers after 1947, meaning he did not contribute to their best run in the 1950’s.

Don’t like Cox? How about Jim Gilliam? Can play 2b or 3b for this team, and scored 533 runs in his 5 years with Brooklyn. And stole 91 bases in an era when they were very rare.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago

It’s true Cox wasn’t a great hitter, but it’s also true that he wasn’t even an average hitter. OPS+ of 82 over 7 years.

In this league he would be a low .200’s singles hitter and I don’t care how good of a glove he might have, I can’t justify my third baseman being that much of a black hole in the lineup.

Johnston played more years in Brooklyn, had better offensiv numbers than Cox and defensively I figure he would be somewhere between average and below average at the position.

Not a great option by any stretch but it’s something.

As Jim Gilliam, he played 761 games in his career at third, but 0 of those games came with Brooklyn, so he’s not considered to be an option there. Left field and second base are the only two positions he qualifies for with Brooklyn.

Cliff Blau
6 years ago

Curious why you have Snider hitting third against LHP, when he couldn’t hit them to save his life (okay, .754 OPS 1947-1957).

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago
Reply to  Cliff Blau

It’s simply all the Dodgers have.

Augie Galan is no better than Snider against lefties and is a defensive downgrade, while their other two options in center Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo are already in the lineup.

After Fruillo, the next best righty bat I can come up with who can also play center is Danny Taylor. I think that says it all right there.

Paul Moehringer
6 years ago

Sorry misread the question.

Why Snider third? Well the two best hitters the Dodgers have against righties in my opinion are Hodges and Campanella.

Hodges is a bit more of a contact hitter, while Campy has a career slugging percentage of .573 against righties. I figure the five hole would be the area where he could most capitalize on RBI opportunities.

I think most people would hit Campanella third, but there’s a few seasons where Duke was a .300 hitter against lefties. Not a ton of power but I do trust him enough to at least be able to get on base.

Similar case with Dixie Walker, so what I do is essentially follow the idea of using my first two hitters as contact guys and then bring up my big booker third. I’m just doing it with the 3-4 and 5 hitters instead of the 1-2-3 hitters, becuause I have Jackie who is one of if not the best lead off man in the NL against lefties and Hodges who can both a table setter and an RBI guy batting behind him.

I really appreciate the question. A lot of thought goes into those lineups and this is the first question I’ve ever gottten about a batting order.

6 years ago

Great series. The questions about why player A over player B for a long man or backup LF just shows how baseball is still America’s past time. No other sport’s history compares to baseball. An all time Lakers, Packers or Red Wings team might bring some heat on choices, but the entire league can’t compare. Part of what makes baseball great is the history, from the stats to who belongs in the Hall. Does any other hall selection get the press that baseball gets from mid December until after the announcement? Looking forward to reading the rest.

6 years ago

During 1953 the Dodgers usually had an infield of Hodges, Gilliam at 2B, Reese at SS and Cox at 3B, with Robinson in left field. The above infield would be very strong defensively, and good offensively. Gilliam drew lots of walks and hit for a good average, tho Robinson in left is a definite negative.

The 1953 team had Snider in CF and Furillo in RF, two great defensive players. Furillo’s throwing ability was legendary.

6 years ago

In terms of putouts per 9 innings as a left fielder, Robinson scored very well for the 1953 Dodgers:

Putouts per 9 innings as Left Fielder
Antonello 3.09 for 67 innings
Robinson 2.16 for 601.1 innings
Hodges. 1.96 for 156 innings
Thompson 1.79 for 186 innings
Shuba 1.76 for 297 innings

While putouts per inning can be a function of many variables in addition to a players ability to judge, run down and catch fly balls and line drives, the data suggests that Robinson covered a fair amount of ground in left compared to the other Dodgers who played left field.

Wayne Jones
6 years ago

You have Dixie Walker listed as a right handed hitter, but I was sure he was a left-handed hitter.