The Perfect 10: The Last 3
In this third and final installment of building the greatest Dodger team ever assembled the positions of catcher, pitcher, and manager will be chosen. The criteria will be a little different than the last two articles considering the nature of the positions. The catcher spot criteria will still be the same. Based off total at-bats (AB), batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), runs batted in (RBI), and postseason performance. The defensive criteria is defensive games played, errors, put-outs (PO), double-plays (DP), and fielding percentage (FLD%). This provides enough information to determine how well rounded the player is and how much he contributed to the perfect ten.
Pitchers and managers can not be measured with the same statistics as the rest of the team. Pitchers are judged on Wins (W), Losses (L), earned run average (ERA), games played, games started (GS), complete games (CG), shutouts (SHO), saves, innings pitched (IP), strike outs (SO), and postseason performance. They will also be judged on their fielding. The criteria for that will be PO, errors, DP, and FLD%. Being able to eliminate hitters is great but a pitcher must be able to protect his part of the field just like everyone else.
The Perfect 10: Manager Criteria
Choosing the greatest Dodger manager to coach the perfect ten will be far easier than choosing the players. The reason for that being is that great managers win games. Players must be broken down by each individual contribution to determine their worth. Managers prove themselves by how well the overall team does. The criteria for the manager will be games managed, wins, losses, world series titles, pennants won, and all-star teams managed. When a team does poorly, the owner doesn’t fire and replace every player. The owner fires and replaces the manager. It is the manager that must take responsibility for the team win or lose. The greatest players are only as great as the man who manages them.
Catching: Roy Campanella
It came down to three Dodger greats; “Campy”, Mike Scioscia, and Mike Piazza. Piazza is an obvious pick considering he is widely known as the greatest hitting catcher ever. One of the factors working against him is that he has half the Dodger AB as Scioscia and Campanella. In his 16 years in the majors only 7 were with the Dodgers. Even though Piazza’s best seasons were in Dodger blue, Scioscia and Campanella gave so much more to the franchise. Because of that, they are the top two contenders.
The Perfect 10: Catchers In The Batting Box
There is no doubt that Campanella beats Scioscia when it comes to hitting. In Campanella’s 4,205 AB as a Dodger he maintained a .276 BA, and a .360 OBP with 856 RBI’s. Though Scioscia has more AB with 4,373 he drove in almost half as many runs with 446 RBI’s. He also falls short in BA and OBP with .259 and .344 respectively. The fact that “Campy” contributed so much more offensively to the Dodgers with three less years than Scioscia gives him the spot.
When it comes to batting under immense pressure the two Dodger greats are little closer. In his 114 postseason AB Roy sustained a .237 BA and a .310 OBP with 12 RBI’s. Scioscia has very similar postseason numbers. In his 84 AB has a .238 BA, and a .312 OBP with 6 RBI’s. These stats show them pretty neck and neck on everything besides RBI’s. Considering Campanella drove in more postseason runs he wins this round but not by much.
Defense Behind The Plate
Scioscia really proves his Dodger legend status when it comes to defense. In his 1,395 games catching he has 8,335 PO (43rd all-time), 97 DP (65th all-time), 114 errors, and a FLD% of .988. Campanella is not far behind when it comes to defensive stats. In his 1,183 games as catcher (79th all-time) he has 6,520 PO (66th all-time), 82 DP (89th all-time), 85 errors, and the same FLD% as Scioscia with a .988. Scioscia beats Roy in every aspect here but he also had three more years to do so. Campanella is still not far behind and this proves he can deliver both offensively and defensively which makes him more well rounded than Scioscia. “Campy” earns his spot on the Dodger’s perfect ten.
Pitching: Sandy Koufax
This one came down to Koufax and Kershaw. They have the two lowest ERA’s out of any Dodger pitcher. Koufax with a 2.76 and Kershaw with a .244. Kershaw doesn’t give up the spot without a noble fight. In 2,274 IP Kershaw has 169 W/ 74 L, 25 CG, 0 saves, 15 SHO, and 2,464 SO. In his 2,324 IP Koufax has 165 W/ 87 L, 137 CG, 9 saves, 40 SHO (44th all-time), and 2,396 SO. Though Kershaw beats Koufax in ERA, W/L, and SO, it’s the SHO and saves that keep Koufax ahead. Koufax’s 9 saves prove that he can come into a game and perform under pressure to finish what another pitcher started to get the team the win. Kershaw’s 0 saves show that he has never done that. Kershaw’s underwhelming performance under pressure will be his undoing in this article.
Also, Koufax has an amazing 40 SHO which demonstrates his superior dominance when it comes to keeping the opposing team to zero runs. Kershaw has a respectable 15, but that doesn’t even come close to Koufax. Kershaw may have given up less runs overall but Koufax performed when it mattered most.
The Perfect 10: Fielding
This is the one area in which Kershaw undoubtedly wins. In his 347 games played he has 65 PO, 15 DP, and 9 errors with a .978 FLD%. He also has a Gold Glove which Koufax does not. In Koufax’s 397 games he has 64 PO, 13 DP, and 14 errors with a .954 FLD%. Though not a horrible defensive performance, Koufax clearly loses when it comes to fielding. However it should be noted that he played 50 more games than Kershaw which gives more opportunity to make an error. Even so, Kershaw has the Gold Glove to prove his worthiness over Koufax when it comes to protecting his part of the field.
Postseason/ Pressure Performance
As stated before, it’s how Kershaw deals with pressure that ultimately dooms him. In his 158 postseason IP he has a 3.99 ERA, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 9 W/ 11 L, and 170 SO. Koufax is one of those rare players where his stats get better under postseason pressure. In 57 IP Koufax maintained an incredible .95 ERA, 4 CG, 2 SHO, 4 W/ 3 L, and 61 SO. Even though Koufax played way less postseason games he was able to help the Dodgers win 3 World Series titles.
Despite having more than double the innings as Koufax, Kershaw has yet to bring a ring back to L.A. The fact that Kershaw has no complete games proves that he has never performed well enough in a postseason game to not be taken out. Koufax was able to do that four times; with two shut-outs! Even with factoring in the Astro’s cheating scandal, Kershaw doesn’t even come close to beating Koufax when it comes to performing in the clutch. Koufax’s consistent dominance helps him earn his spot on the hill.
Managing: Walter Alston
Tommy Lasorda may be the current beloved face of the Dodgers, but when it comes to winning games and bringing home titles, he doesn’t even come close to Alston. In Lasorda’s 3,040 games he has 1,599 W/ 1,439 L, 4 pennants, and 2 W.S. titles. To his credit he also managed 4 all-star teams. There is no doubt he has more than earned his beloved status. But Alston beats him by every metric. In his 3,658 games he has 2,040 W/ 1,613 L, 7 pennants, and 4 W.S. titles. To prove he knows how to manage a team full of legends (much like the perfect 10, all of which are all-stars) he managed 9 all-star teams throughout his career.
This Dodger perfect 10 is an all-star team and Alston has proved his worthiness over Lasorda by managing more all-stars. Despite how much Lasorda is loved, Alston has contributed more to the franchise than any other manager.
All Together Now
With Alston at the helm, there is no stopping this team. Everyone can hit, everyone can field, and everyone can perform in the clutch. Steve Garvey (1B), Ron Cey (3B), and Dusty Baker (LF) all come from the ’81 team. Jackie Robinson (2B), and Roy Campanella (C) come from 40’s and 50’s. Maury Wills (SS), Duke Snider (CF), and Sandy Koufax (P) come from the 60’s. The only odd man out is Shawn Green (RF) from the 90’s and 00’s but he is in good company. Each one of these players gave the best of their years to the Dodgers and that is why they are on this team. Nine players and one manager to call the shots; the perfect ten indeed.
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