Starting in 2013 the Dodgers began a run unprecedented in their long history. Only the Boys of Summer teams come close to the kind of dominance this team has had in the National League West. 8 straight division championships, 10 consecutive appearances in the playoffs, 3 pennants, 1 World Series win. Pretty impressive stuff.
But are Dodger fans satisfied? No. The one series win seems to be the chaffing point. A lot of Dodger fans I have talked to feel they should have won at least two more. 2017 is the obvious one. But they also felt the team should have beaten the Braves to get to the series in 21, and also should have beaten the Padres to get to the NLCS last year.
The Dodgers were after all the best team in the majors and should have rolled into the World Series. As we all know, the best does not always win. As the last decade or so has shown, it now is usually the team that gets on a roll in the postseason.
In comparison to what this present team has done, there is only one 10-year stretch in Dodger history where they even come close to this kind of performance. 1947-1956. The so called, Boys of Summer.
Over that ten year run, they won 6 pennants, finished 2nd 3 times and 3rd once. They totaled 945 wins. They won over 100 only once, 105 in 1953. They had four managers over that period, Leo Durocher, Burt Shotton, Charlie Dressen and Walter Alston. All six of their World Series came against one team, the Yankees. They won only in 1955. They pushed the 47, 52, 55, and 56 series to 7 games. The team that had the best record of any Dodger team in history up to that time lost in 6 games in 1953.
By comparison, the 2013-2022 Dodgers have won 931 games. Take into consideration that one of those seasons was only 60 games long, and they won 43 of those, plus the fact they had to win another 13 games just to win the Championship, well that is pretty impressive stuff. They have bettered the team record for wins three times. 2022, 2021, and 2019. They just missed with 104 wins in 2017.
Also take into account how much harder it is now to just get to the World Series. It is a gauntlet. Brooklyn had to be better than 7 other teams to get there. LA has to win the division, then face opponents in two other series just to get to the big dance. And like I said earlier, the best team does not always win. The Padres and Phillies both proved that decisively last year. Both had to dispatch 100 win teams. The Padres beat two, the Mets and Dodgers. The Phillies took care of the Braves.
They could not beat the 100 plus win Astros though in the series. They did take them to six games and put a scare into them a couple of times. Now there is also a new wrinkle. If you do not have the best record and get a bye in the first round, You have to beat a team in the Wild Card round. So that team has to have 13 more wins to get the title.
I am a lifelong fan. I have been lucky enough to be around for all of the Dodgers World Series wins. The most satisfying was the sweep of the Yankees in 1963. Second would be the 81 team coming back from two games down and winning the next four including a couple of very dramatic wins at Dodger Stadium. Beating the A’s in 88 was sweet, especially because they did it without their best player on the field except for one most memorable at bat.
59 was nice because it was the first. And they were clobbered in game one 11-0. Losing after winning the first two hurt. Losing to the Astros left a really bad taste and a total dislike of Yu Darvish who was supposed to be the co-Ace with Kershaw.
I sincerely hope I get to see another. I like so many here thought that would happen last season. That same optimism is not visible so far this offseason. The fans are restless, they want a earthshattering trade that will suddenly vault the Dodgers back to the top of the heap. Maybe, just maybe, they are better off not being the favorite and having a huge target on their back.
Maybe it is time to make it in the hard way and have no time off to think before you have to play hard. I sincerely believe the layoff of five days affected that team adversely. I have never seen anyone use it as an excuse. But obviously to me, something was way off with the offense, and it showed from game 2 through 4.
Let us then appreciate what this team has accomplished over the last ten seasons. They Boys of Summer won a few more games, made more appearances, and left us broken hearted just as much as this generations team has.
There’s no way to compare the Boys of Summer to the current bunch. Reese, Robinson, Snider, Campanella and Hodges are all in the Hall. From this group. Kershaw for sure, maybe Betts or Freeman. Snider lead all hitters in the 50s in HRs, Hodges the leading RH hitter for HRs in the 50s. Robinson and Campy won MVPs and Robinson ROY, Newcomb won the 1st ever Cy Young award and the MVP, Gilliam also ROY.
Also, to get to the Series, you had to win the pennant. Now, you don’t even have to win the division. You can win 82 games like the Mets and make the Series – but not before the divisional play format (or the wild card).
Actually, two others who were part of those teams are in the hall, Koufax, who arrived in 1954, and Big D, who made his debut in 56. Granted, the Boys of Summer had some stars. This group has mostly very good players and some journeymen. But the fact remains that it is not as easy to get to the Series period. Yes, an 88-win team can defeat a 100-win team and get to the series. The only reason I compared the two is because those are the only stretches in their history where the Dodgers dominated the league in this fashion.
First, thanks for the post Bear. Well written.
Secondly, what dodgerrick said.
What I see when I look at this run is not a comparison to The Boys of Summer, but a comparison to the Kasten’s Braves run of 14 playoff appearances ending in “Lost” 13 times.
I do look forward to this years team. Maybe being an underdog is what we need to get back to the top.
Times were different in those days. The Boys of Summer had the Stars, but they still lost 5 World Series to the Yankees. The game now is different. Those guys might face one pitcher 4 times in a game. Now, after 2 at bats, you are facing the bullpen. Even Kasten’s Braves are not really a good comparison. They had to win the division then the NLCS. That changed in 1994, but since the Braves consistently had the best record in the NL, they did not have to win a NLDS until 2000. In their best 10-year stretch they won 100 or more 5 times. The fans might not appreciate the fact that they have one World Championship. But what they achieved in today’s game is remarkable. The Giants won three World Series with teams that were not this good.
Yeah, the giants did it, Boston is doing it, the A’s did it, and the Yankees have done it several times. Most teams are lucky to make it to the playoffs once. The Braves did it 14 times in 15 years. The Dodgers have done it 10 years in a row. That’s 25 years of making the playoffs with 2 Championships.
Simply proves the best team does not always win.
Somehow in football the best team makes it. We either are chokers or baseball is just different.
Well maybe I should have read Vargas’ MiLB stat sheet a little more closely.
In 5 years of minor league ball he’s played 229 innings at second base and actually has a better fielding percentage there than at third base. Not a whole lot being written about it. Are there any beat writers watching workouts this winter? I’ll take a shot at it:
“Miguel Vargas has been laboring intensely this off season, adding fast twitch muscle to both his swing and agility in the field. He has shown an impressive ability to cover ground and make plays with sure hands and quick feet at both the third base and second base positions. He’s been working with Woodward on the turn at second and is showing remarkable improvement. He and the coaching staff are very much looking forward to displaying his development at Camelback this Spring.
As a side note, Max Muncy is spending his winter doing intense yoga, eating kale and bok choy sandwiches and passing afternoon time in the sauna attempting to get down to 200 pounds. He feels a need to be lighter on his feet at third base. He’s also deadlifting and swinging weighted bats so as not lose power in his swing.”
He also has given up meditation in an effort to help him swing at more strikes and be less passive at the plate.
I get your point. But I would think meditation would help him to focus on barreling strikes.
That reminds me, as a kid I had a hitting coach who told me to focus on hitting strikes back where they came from at twice the speed in which they arrived. That was very interesting to me because to do that required I hit the ball when it was directly over the plate. The results were amazing. Only occasionally would I hit a line drive directly back at the pitcher. But I did start hitting more line drives. Sometimes the simplest adjustments illicit the greatest changes.
No matter where Vargas plays, he is not going to be a GG caliber defensive player. Vargas will be in the lineup because of his bat. He is a bat first player, and the team is trying to find a defensive home for him. That is not a bad thing.
I saw Vargas play 2B last year in Sacramento. While he was not an ooh and ahh guy at 2B, he did make plays. Not a lot of range, but he was not a statue. He was not instinctive. He was more reactive than anticipatory. That makes that first step a little more hesitant. He did not back up particularly well, but that comes with experience. His one big flaw was taking throws in front of the bag and trying to sweep tag behind him. Again, he needs to be taught and learn with experience.
Perhaps the biggest acquisition the Dodgers made this offseason was re-hiring Chris Woodward. I think he will make a huge difference in both Vargas and Busch defensively at 2B. While there is a shift ban per se, defensive positioning will remain being a key. So if he is indeed adding quick twitch muscle, that is going to be a positive. Vargas has always had good hands. It was his footwork and throw accuracy that hurt him defensively, and the quick twitch muscles should improve his agility.
Vargas is a good athlete. Not James Outman good, but a good athlete still. I also think he wants to be a good ML player. I do not get the impression that he has any sense of entitlement that many of the Dodger IFA players before him and after him. He did not get the big bonus that the others got. He has worked hard every season in professional ball, and has succeeded. Just do not expect to see him as the next Dustin Pedroia, Ryne Sandberg, or Craig Counsell defensively. I hope he hits enough so fans do not worry about his defense. He is capable of that.
From Keith Law’s chat:
Question : How do the Dodgers consistently pick at the end of the first round (if they don’t lose their pick for signing a QO FA) and have reduced international spending pools because of the luxury tax, but consistently have an incredibly deep system filled with future all-stars?
Keith Law : They are the model franchise right now when it comes to scouting and player development. They draft exceptionally well, they do have good pro scouts and use them well as part of their process, they have a strong international group, and I don’t think any team improves players as consistently as they do. And all that stuff I just mentioned? ANY team could do it. That’s not a budget issue. It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to any MLB team payroll. The Rays do it too, and they couldn’t be further from the Dodgers in top-line revenue. If you handed me the reins of any MLB team right now, the first thing I’d do is staff up in those areas. Hiring scouts and player dev folks is cheap and offers a strong ROI if you just find one or two more players per year to help the big-league club. (No slight against R&D folks, but most teams have staffed that up already.)
I do not have a problem at all with Keith Law’s response. I think they have improved their international scouting tremendously since AF has taken over with Ismael Cruz.
I would agree they improve players better than any other team. But they also find them.
They are heavily scouting and player development driven, and spare no expense in making that element top notch.
The only quizzical comment made was that they draft so well. I think they draft okay, especially where they do draft. But I have a problem with the premise of the question that the Dodgers “consistently have an incredibly deep system filled with future all-stars.” Outside of 2015 and 2016, there have not been any drafts in the AF era that have produced any All Stars, and that is two All Stars (Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin).
All Stars signed under Ned Colletti: Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Dee Strange-Gordon, Yasiel Puig, Ross Stripling, Hyun Jin Ryu, Takashi Saito.
Kenley Jansen signed in 2004 – Paul De Podesta
Dan Evans had three draft classes: 2001, 2002, and 2003. 2001 should go down as one of the very worst drafts in MLB history. The Dodgers drafted and signed Edwin Jackson, their only MLB player from that draft. But he made up for it in 2002 and 2003 with 4 future All Stars with the Dodgers: Russell Martin (2002), Jonathan Broxton (2002), Matt Kemp (2003) and Chad Billingsley (2003).
Dan Evans (3 years) – 4 All Stars
Paul De Podesta (1 year) – 1 All Star
Ned Colletti (10 years)– 9 All Stars
Andrew Friedman (8 years) – 2 All Stars
Other LAD All Stars since 2015:
Zack Greinke (FA), Adrian Gonzalez (Trade) and Justin Turner (FA) – Ned Colletti
Mookie Betts (Trade), Freddie Freeman (FA), Tyler Anderson (FA), Max Muncy (signed after being released by Oakland), Chris Taylor (Trade), Yasmani Grandal (Trade) – AF
AF generated more All Stars from FA and trade than through draft and IFA. He should get credit for not trading any of Seager, Pederson, and Bellinger, but he did not draft them.
Well said Jeff.
I think the Giants will go after Machado hard and get him next year if he becomes a free agent. The Padres can move Tatis back to short and move Bogaarts to third and use their Machado dollars for a run at Ohtani. I can see them moving on from Soto if they sign Ohtani. Moving on could be not trying to resign Soto or trading him if they do sign Ohtani.
I like it that the Dodgers are looking at resetting their CBT payroll this year but the reasons should be more about flexibility than to position themselves for an illusive Ohtani.
Greinke re-signed with the Royals for one year.
Former scout and executive for the Dodgers, Ralph Avila passed away today at age 92. Among the players he signed were the Martinez brothers, Candy Maldonado, Mariano Duncan and Raul Mondesi. RIP Ralph.