3) 1978: Almost champions
The Dodgers trotted out the same lineup for three straight Opening Days between 1977-1979. But I think 1978 was the best iteration, as Rick Monday put together his best season as a Dodger to complement the ever-reliable production from Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith.
Monday made the All-Star team in 1978 in what was really his last full productive season as a professional. He joined the Dodgers in 1977, but batted .230 and saw his power drop significantly from the season before with the Cubs. In 1978, while he didn’t get all of his power back, he upped his slugging percentage from .383 to .468. With Monday adding depth to the lineup, this veteran group presented a tough match-up for an opposing pitcher.
Steve Garvey led the league in hits and finished second in MVP voting. Ron Cey improved his average 30 points on the season before and made his fifth All-Star team. And switch-hitting Reggie Smith continued to rake with an OPS+ of 162.
The dependable Don Sutton took the ball for Game 1 in what turned out to be his final Opening Day start for the boys in blue, handing the reins to Burt Hooten the next two seasons. This lineup would carry the Dodgers to their second consecutive World Series match-up against the New York Yankees.