The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball history. Since its inception all the way back in 1890, the team has seven World Series titles and 24 National League Pennants, which are both impressive numbers.
From Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Clayton Kershaw, Don Drysdale and everyone in between, the list of legends is seemingly endless when it comes to this organization.
But which players are the best of the best when it comes to the Dodgers? Who has the highest Wins Above Replacement (WAR) at every single position on the field? WAR is a powerful formula that helps determine a player's overall value to his squad. It takes offense, defense and even baserunning into account for position players.
Dodgers all-time best starting lineup based on WAR
With this in mind, we've put together the all-time best starting lineup in Dodgers' history sorted exclusively by their WAR per FanGraphs (which is also known as fWAR). Starting from the top, we kick things off at catcher with one of many ex-Dodgers who made it into the Hall of Fame at the end of his career.
Catcher: Roy Campanella, 38.2 fWAR
I mean, what in the world did this guy not do for the Dodgers? Campanella played a total of 18 years, starting with eight seasons in the Negro leagues and the final 10 of them coming for the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. During his career in the Negro leagues, he was a big-time gap power hitter with high batting averages but not a whole lot of home run power to speak of.
Then he joined the Dodgers and things took off for him.
In his decade-long tenure on the Dodgers, Campanella made the All-Star Game eight (consecutive) times while earning MVP votes seven times and winning the award an unprecedented three times in 1951, 1953 and 1955.
In over 1,200 MLB games, he emerged as one of the best hitting catchers of his time and is still to this day viewed as one of the best offensive backstops in the game's history. Campanella ended his storied career with 260 home runs, 1,019 RBI, a .283 average, .859 OPS and 125 OPS+.
Campanella's final game for the Dodgers came in 1957. After the year, the club was in the process of relocating to Los Angeles when he was injured in an automobile accident that effectively ended his playing career. However, he had already made his mark, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1969, becoming only the second black player to earn the honor alongside Jackie Robinson.
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First base: Gil Hodges, 41.6 fWAR
Another Hall of Famer, Gil Hodges is far and away the most successful first baseman in Dodgers history, leading the second-highest player, Steve Garvey by nearly 5 whole Wins Above Replacement.
For Hodges, he spent nearly his entire 18-year big league career on the Dodgers, playing in Brooklyn from 1943-1957 and then Los Angeles from 1958-1961. Even after missing both the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to his time in the military, he still managed to be one of the best hitters of his time.
In a total of 2,006 games for the Dodgers, Hodges hit 361 home runs, drove in 1,254 runs, and recorded a .274 average, .847 OPS and 120 OPS+. In that time, he had one of the very best eyes in the game, walking 925 times while striking out just over 1,100 times. He made a total of eight All-Star Games, won two World Series with the club, and even captured three Gold Glove Awards despite his defensive metrics being consistently below average throughout his career.
In the end, Hodges had his number retired by both the Dodgers and Mets (whom he only played for two seasons before managing for four more), which speaks volumes about his presence.
Hodges passed away in 1972 at the age of 47 after having a sudden heart attack. He was eventually elected into the Hall of Fame in 2022 thanks to the Golden Days Era Committee.