Dodgers: Ranking the Top 5 centerfielders in franchise history

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Matt Kemp #27 Dodgers celebrates after hitting 3 run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) ***Matt Kemp
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Matt Kemp #27 Dodgers celebrates after hitting 3 run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) ***Matt Kemp /
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BROOKLYN – 1949. Pee Wee Reese poses with Pete Reiser at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1949. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

5. Best Dodgers centerfielders: Pete Reiser

Pete Reiser is one of the all-time overlooked Dodgers. After a short stint bouncing around the diamond in 1940, Reiser assumed the centerfield role in his first full season in 1941. He did so in a big way, making the All-Star team and finishing second in MVP voting. Pistol Pete hit a cool .343 with 39 doubles, 17 triples, and 14 homers. He appeared to be destined for stardom, but he was never the same player after that season.

Although he was blessed with great speed and power from both sides of the plate, a lot of Reiser’s game hinged on his hard-nosed style of play. He was known for giving max effort every play, regardless of the toll it took on his body.

Despite being a switch hitter (he was also said to have an arm that rivaled that of Willie Mays from both sides), he would sometimes be relegated to hitting lefty due to injury.

Reiser fractured his skull running into the outfield wall, and was temporarily paralyzed on one occasion. He also forfeited his age 24-26 seasons to fight in WWII, and suffered serious arm and shoulder injuries playing Army baseball.

He managed to appear in two more All-Star games after his 1941 breakout, and showed flashes of his former self, but was forced to abandon centerfield and never stayed healthy for a full season. Over parts of six seasons in Brooklyn, Reiser compiled a .306 average, .845 OPS, 135 doubles, and 78 steals. We can only wonder what he could have accomplished if he had stayed on the field.

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