Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Dodgers' Top 5 right fielders: Gurnick's take

@kengurnick
May 12, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings

LOS ANGELES -- No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only … if you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Here is our ranking of the top five right fielders in Dodgers history.

• Dodgers' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | LF | CF

1. Dixie Walker, 1939-47
Key fact: Hit above .300 in seven of his eight full Brooklyn seasons.

Walker was a five-time All-Star and batting champion in 1944, beating Stan Musial. He drove in 124 runs the next year and was a right-field fixture for seven years and one of the most popular players in Brooklyn history -- “The People’s Choice,” as broadcaster Red Barber called him. The native Georgian’s on-field accomplishments, however, were in many ways overshadowed by his vocal opposition to baseball’s integration after Jackie Robinson was promoted to the Major Leagues. Walker, who ran a hardware store in Alabama, later apologized for his actions.

 Stan Musial and Dixie Walker in 1944.

2. Babe Herman, 1926-31, '45
Key fact: Had back-to-back OPS totals of 1.047 and 1.132 in 1929 and '30.

In his six full seasons with Brooklyn, Herman averaged .340 with a .955 OPS. His .393 batting average, .678 slugging percentage, 241 hits and 416 total bases in 1930 remain franchise records. Herman had issues on defense and running the bases, earning him a leadership role on the “Daffy Dodgers,” most infamously being one of three Dodgers to wind up at third base at the same time.

3. Reggie Smith, 1976-81
Key fact: Has run a baseball academy in Los Angeles for 25 years.

Smith was already in his 30s when he joined the Dodgers, but he was a force when they could keep him on the field around his injuries. A switch-hitting slugger with a right-field power arm, he represented the club in the All-Star Game three times and played in three World Series for Los Angeles, part of the triumphant team in 1981. In parts of six Dodgers seasons, Smith compiled a .915 OPS and led the NL in on-base percentage with a .427 mark in '77.

4. Carl Furillo, 1946-60
Key fact: Batted over .300 five times.

Furillo went to war in his early 20s for three years and was a center fielder his first three seasons in Brooklyn before making way for Duke Snider and moving to right, where he took advantage of his power arm and knack for the quirky configuration of Ebbets Field. He totaled 15 seasons in his career -- all with the Dodgers -- in which he was twice an All-Star and winner of the 1953 batting title, receiving MVP votes in eight different campaigns. Furillo played in seven World Series, winning in '55 and '59, and his teammates included Walker, who was born in 1910, and Tommy Davis, born 29 years later.

5. Shawn Green, 2000-04
Key fact: Only the second Dodger to hit four homers in a game, joining Gil Hodges.

Green, acquired from Toronto for Raul Mondesi, put together two of the finest offensive seasons in Los Angeles history with 49 homers in 2001 and 42 in '02, when he finished sixth and fifth, respectively, for NL MVP voting. He had one All-Star berth and his other three seasons in Los Angeles weren’t as productive, as a shoulder injury took its toll.

Honorable mentions: Raul Mondesi, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Willie Keeler.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.