The baseball playoffs are down to a final four: the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. These are four of the sport’s most venerable franchises. So why not pick all-time teams (25 players and a manager) for each of them?
Doing so is a highly subjective exercise, of course. The biggest problem is comparing players who played well for a team for many years with those who played great for a much shorter period. But that’s part of the fun.
In some cases, we also have to consider steroids, I think. That’s not fun.
I’ll start with the first team to battle its way into the final four — the Los Angeles Dodgers.
C Roy Campanella — Piazza hit better but Campy was a better catcher and a three-time MVP.
1B Gil Hodges — Higher OPS than Garvey; more RBI and home runs
2B Jackie Robinson — No more needs to be said.
3B Ron Cey — Tenth on the Dodger RBI list; no Dodger third baseman is close.
SS Pee Wee Reese — All time Dodger leader in runs; second in hits.
OF Zack Wheat — Batted .317 during am 18-year Dodger career.
OF Duke Snider — All time team leader in RBI and home runs.
OF Carl Furillo — Based on longevity, mostly. Fourth in RBI and had that great arm.
P Sandy Koufax — No more needs to be said.
Dolph Camilli — Seventh in OPS; led the league in homers and RBI for ’41 pennant winners.
Matt Kemp — One of two current Dodgers, but out of post-season due to injury.
Babe Herman — Fourth in OPS; those ahead of him played fewer games for the Bums.
Clayton Kershaw — The other current Dodger. He’s amazing.
Eric Gagne — Canada’s contribution.
Walter Alston — More wins than Lasorda, more championships, higher winning percentage.
NOTE: In the original version of this post I said “OBS” where I meant to say “OPS,” which means on-base percentage plus slugging percentage.