Which Dodgers regular season is the best?

June 15th, 2021

Over their long and storied history, the Dodgers have done a lot of winning. They’ve won 24 National League pennants and the 2020 team brought home the seventh title in club history. The Dodgers are currently on a run of eight consecutive NL West titles.

But because of the wild nature of the postseason, some of the Dodgers’ best teams in the regular season have not been able to culminate their seasons with a World Series title. Let’s take a look at how the top five teams -- based on winning percentage -- fared over the course of the season and into the postseason. In order to narrow down the list, let’s take a look at the best regular-season teams since the 1940 season.

1. 2020 (43-17 record, .717 win pct.)

The Dodgers have been one of the most successful franchises over the past decade, but the 2020 team was the one that was able to snap the 32-year World Series drought with a 4-2 Fall Classic win over the Rays. The addition of Mookie Betts made all the difference to a Dodgers team that had been knocking on the door for a while, including two World Series losses in the past three seasons.

Because the 2020 season was only 60 games, this one carries a bit of an asterisk. But with the amount of talent that was on the roster, I don’t think anybody would have been surprised if they kept up this pace over a 162-game campaign.

2. 1953 (105-49, .682)

With an abundance of talent, this Brooklyn Dodgers team did a lot of damage in the regular season. Had this team played in a 162-game season, they could’ve reached the 110-win mark. This team was star-studded. 

Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella, who are all now in the Hall of Fame, were among the notable hitters. Carl Erskine was the team’s ace. But despite all the talent on the roster, the Dodgers fell to the Yankees, 4-2, in the World Series.

3. 1942 (104-50, .675)

Reese, in his final season before joining the Navy for the remainder of World War II, earned his first of 10 consecutive All-Star selections and helped anchor a lineup that featured four future Hall of Famers, but the true backbone of this team was the pitching staff, led by Kurt Higbe (16-11, 3.25 ERA) and 34-year-old righty Whit Wyatt (19-7, 2.73 ERA).

Despite all that, the 104-win club went home after the season ended, as the juggernaut Cardinals (106 wins) steamrolled to a World Series title. Such was the nature of baseball in the pre-division era.

4. 2019 (106-56, .654)

In terms of regular-season wins, this was the best Dodgers team. But unfortunately for L.A., that success didn’t hold up in the postseason, as the Dodgers' run ended in Game 5 of the NLDS at home against the Nationals, who would eventually beat the Astros in the World Series.

Cody Bellinger led the way offensively, smacking 47 home runs and driving 115 RBIs as he took home NL MVP honors as well as a Gold Glove in the outfield. Hyun Jin Ryu led a talented pitching staff that included Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill.

5. 1941 (100-54, .649)

The 1941 team was the first Brooklyn Dodgers club to win 100 games, and it isn't hard to figure out why. It featured the top three finishers in NL MVP voting that season: first baseman Dolph Camilli, who won the award after leading the league with 34 homers and 120 RBIs; outfielder and NL batting champ Pete Reiser; and ace Wyatt, who went 22-10 with a 2.34 ERA.

The 1941 team also earned Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, who also hit .286 in 18 games as a player that year, the only pennant of his nine-year Brooklyn tenure. For all those regular-season accomplishments, the team fell short in the World Series, losing to the Yankees in five games.