The Top Five Greatest Los Angeles Dodgers Players of All Time
Clayton Kershaw
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) most famous teams thanks partly to capturing seven World Series titles; only five other teams have won more. If the latest MLB predictions are to be believed, the Dodgers could end this season with their eighth World Series under their belts, tying them with the San Francisco Giants regarding titles won.

Every successful MLB franchise has solid team unity and at least one stand-out player. Over the year, the Dodgers have had more than their fair share of superstar players; here are five of those Dodger legends.

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax is the greatest player ever to don a Los Angeles Dodgers jersey and one of baseball’s best-ever players. A legendary pitcher, probably the best to have ever stood on the mound, Koufax spent his 12-year MLB career with the Dodgers, although his professional career did not get off to the best of starts.

Koufax hardly pitched during his rookie season, a combination of injuries and then manager Walter Alston’s insistence that starting pitchers complete games. He finished his debut season with 41.2 innings from 12 appearances, striking out 30 batters and walking 28. Koufax was 2-2 with a 3.02 earned run average.

Following mediocre seasons in 1957 and 1589, when Koufax went 16-15 and had a 4.24 ERA combined, he got off to a dreadful start in 1959, sporting a 12.27 ERA after only four starts. Koufax considered quitting baseball, but Alston supported him; supporting Koufax turned out to be a masterstroke from Alston.

Koufax played in Game 5 of the 1959 World Series, striking out six and giving up only one run and five hits in seven innings. The Dodgers lost the game, but it was then that Koufax believed he could mix it up with baseball’s greats.

The 1960 season was another fair-to-middle campaign for Koufax, but something clicked in 1961, and he led the league in strikeouts. What followed is arguably the best five consecutive seasons by any pitcher ever.

Koufax was unplayable during the 1965 season, finishing with 335 innings from 41 starts, eight shutouts, a 26-8 record, and a 2.04 ERA. He struck out 382 batters and became only the sixth pitcher in the modern era to throw a perfect game, doing so against the Chicago Cubs in September 1965.

Known affectionately as “the Left Arm of God,” Koufax retired having won four World Series, as a seven-time All-Star, and the first three-time Cy Young winner, among many other achievements and accolades. Unsurprisingly, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Koufax in his first year of eligibility when he was only 36, the youngest age a player has ever been elected.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson is a Dodgers legend and one of the most famous players to have ever played baseball. On April 15, 1947, Robinson became the first African American to play in MLB in the modern era, starting at first base for the then-Brookyln Dodgers.

Breaking the color line was not the only thing Robinson enjoyed during a glistening 10-year MLB career. He won the inaugural Rookie of the Year award in 1947, was the first black player to win the National League MVP, and was the first player of a major league team to have his No. 42 uniform retired. Since 2004, April 15 has become “Jackie Robinson Day” on which every player of every MLB team wears No. 42. That is the impact Robinson had on modern-day baseball.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw arrived at the Dodgers with a glowing reputation and plenty of pressure on his shoulders after being selected seventh overall in the 2006 MLB Draft. Kershaw spent only one season in the Didgers’ farm season, making his MLB debut at 20.

Between 2011 and 2014, Kershaw won the Cy Young award three times and was the runner-up once. In 2015, Kershaw finished with 301 strikeouts, becoming only the 11th MLB player in history to reach 300 in a season and the first since Randy Johnson did it in 2002.

Kershaw has endured several injury-hit seasons, but since he began life as a Dodgers player, he has a 210-92 record, 2.48 ERA, 2,944 strikeouts, and 15 shutouts.

Duke Snider

Duke Snider spent 18 years in the MLB, 16 of those for the Dodgers. Primarily a center fielder, Snider racked up some impressive offensive numbers. Between 1953-57, Snider hit more than 40 home runs each season and averaged 42 home runs, 123 runs, 124 RBI, and a .320 batting average between 1953-56.

Unsurprisingly, Snider was named an All-Star eight times, won the World Series three times (twice with the Dodgers), and finished his career with 2,116 hits, 1,333 runs batted in, 407 home runs, and a .295 average.

Don Drysdale

Don Drysdale spent his entire 14-year career with the Dodgers, and boy, are the Dodgers fans grateful he stayed loyal to the team. Sandy Koufax often overshadowed Drysdale, but he was an incredible pitcher in his own right, one who captured the 1962 Cy Young award and was a nine-time All-Star.

Like Koufax, Drysdale is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1984, his tenth year of eligibility. The three-time World Series champion hung up his glove with a 209-166 record, 49 shutouts, 2,486 strikeouts, and a 2.95 ERA. Those figures would be enough to terrify any seasoned batter, but Drysdale’s aggressive style led to him setting a National League record of 154 career-hit batsmen.

Sadly, Drysdale did not enjoy a full life like the other Dodgers legends because he died at 56. Drysdale was meant to commentate on the Dodgers’ game against the Montreal Expos on July 2, 1993, but suffered a heart attack during the night and sadly passed away.