The Rookie of the Year Award was initially started by the BBWAA’s Chicago chapter which voted on the award from 1940-46. The award became national in 1947. One Award was presented in 47 and 48. After that one player in each league was selected.
The first winner was Dodger second baseman, Jackie Robinson. Originally it was called the J. Louis Comiskey Memorial Award, so named after the White Sox owner in the 30’s. In 1987, 40 years after he broke the color barrier, it was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award.
17 players who won the award are now in the hall, six in the AL and the rest from the NL.
It has been shared by two players twice, Butch Metzger and Pat Zachry in the NL in 1976 and then in the AL in 1979 when Alfredo Griffin shared the award with John Castino. Only player to win the award and a Cy Young in the same year is Fernando Valenzuela. Two players, Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki, won the award and the MVP.
The Brooklyn-LA Dodgers franchise has garnered 18 ROY awards, twice as many as their nearest competitor, the Yankees. Sam Jethroe was the oldest player to ever win the award at age 32.
So Jackie won in 47, and the winner in 48 was Alvin Dark of the Braves. In 1949, Don Newcombe became the second Dodger winner. Newk posted a fine 17-8 record with 5 shutouts and a 3.17 ERA in 31 starts.
A Dodger pitcher won the award again in 1952 as reliever Joe Black had a stellar campaign registering 15 saves and a 15-4 record in 56 games. His ERA was 2.15.
They made it back to back wins in 53 when Jim Gilliam earned the honors with a fine rookie season. The versatile Gilliam hit .278 and had 17 triples. He also scored 125 runs for the pennant winning Dodgers. A soon to be Dodger, Wally Moon earned the award as a Cardinal in 1954.
It would be six more seasons before the next Dodger earned the award, in 1960, big, 6’7″ Frank Howard was the man. A .262/23/77 line was good enough to lap the field. Frank would later be involved in one of the more important trades made by the team in the 60’s.
In 1965, switch hitting Jim Lefebvre won the award. His line was .250/12/69. Quite a drop off from the numbers put up in 64 by Dick Allen. But pitchers were more dominant in the mid 60’s.
IN 1969, second baseman Ted Sizemore won. His line was .271 with 4 homers and 69 runs scored. Sizemore improved in 1970 hitting over .300. He was then packaged with C, Bob Stinson and traded to the Cardinals for another former ROY, Dick Allen.
It would be 10 years before another Dodger would win the award, but in 1979, Rick Sutcliffe had a stellar rookie season with a 17-10 record in 39 games his ERA was a solid 3.46 and he pitched 242 innings.
Sutcliffe began a run of four straight ROY’s for the Dodgers. Three of the four were pitchers. Howe won in 1980, the lefty reliever had 17 saves and a 2.66 ERA in 84 2/3rds innings pitched.
81 was the year of El Toro! Fernandomania took over Dodger Stadium and the kid won 13 games. 8 of those were shutouts. He also won the Cy Young, the only ROY ever to do that. He was also 3-1 in the postseason that year.
Steve Sax was next in 1982. Taking over at 2nd base for the departed Davey Lopes, Saxie hit .282, stole 49 bases and scored 88 runs.
Again it would be 10 years before another Dodger won the award and this time, it started a five-year run. Eric Karros was the 92 recipient. A .257/20/88 line was the best by a rookie in the league. Karros would spend 12 years in Dodger blue and is the LA Dodger all time HR leader with 270.
He was followed by a guy named Mike Piazza. Piazza only hit .318/35/112. His BA is the highest ever for a Dodger Rookie of the Year. His 35 HR’s were beaten by Cody Bellinger in 2017 when he hit 39. His RBI total is also the highest for a Dodger rookie of the year.
Next up is Raul Mondesi in 94. Raul, who had a cannon of an arm, went .306/16/66. Mondesi made some of the best throws from RF I have ever seen and no Dodger could match his arm until Yasiel Puig came along.
Japanese import Hideo Nomo won the 95 award. The Tornado had a 2.54 ERA, 234 K’s and a 13-6 record in 26 starts. He would also later accomplish a feat that none had done before when he no-hit the Rockies at Coors Field.
Last in line in 96 was outfielder Todd Hollandsworth. Hollandsworth had a solid rookie year with a .291 avg, 12 homers and 59 batted in. He never really lived up to the promise of that season. He was traded to the Rockies mid-season in 2000.
Another long break until Corey Seager took home the award in 2016. Corey had a very good rookie campaign with a .308/26/72 line. He was a solid player for LA until he left after the 2020 season. He is still one of the top SS in the majors.
In 2017, Cody Bellinger came up to replace the injured Adrian Gonzalez. The kid fit right in and began mashing balls out of parks all over the NL. A late fade got his average under .300, but he still hit .267/39/97. An ankle injury that put him out for 10 days affected his final stats.
Bellinger is the last ROY the Dodgers have had. Who will be next? Some people think Miguel Vargas has a legitimate shot. I think with him learning a new position, it might be a little much to ask. My money is on one of their pitching prospects like Gavin Stone or Bobby Miller. And it might happen sooner than you think.