Loving and hating are such complicated issues. It's no surprise then that this article includes various reasons for why players either hated, or loved, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether it's a love of the city, the nightlife, the weather; or a hatred of teammates, fans, or management; it's important to understand that the players we're looking at are multifaceted people.
The Dodgers, one of baseball's most storied franchises, have won 6 World Series titles, with their most recent coming in 1988. The team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, capturing 5 of their 6 titles since then.
Although plenty of players loved playing for the city, there are a few who didn't share that same experience. Some players who hated being Dodgers, were hated by Dodger fans, but loved by other fan bases. Either way, you'll see a mixture of greats and fan favorites.
Here are eight players who loved their time with the Dodgers, and seven who didn't.
15 Loved: Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson--there isn't anything to say on the matter than what's already been said. As the Dodgers were the first to desegregate baseball--even before the majority of society had--Robinson became the first out-in-the-open black player, playing among all the heavily white league. While he had to endure being thrown at, shoved on the base, and unfair umpire calls--Robinson must have had great admiration for the Dodger management and their willingness to let him play.
The Dodgers started a trend that overtook major league baseball. Because of the Dodgers and Robinson, today we have stars like Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Torii Hunter. Though Dodger fans were torn on whether or not to like Robinson, he is now universally appreciated and his Dodger Blue number is retired across the MLB.
14 Hated: Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian, Phillies star, and Red Sox World Series hero, was hated in Los Angeles long before he joined the squad. In his time with the Phillies, Victorino was a giant thorn in the chest of Dodger Nation. His work on the baseball field led to many crying children at Dodger Stadium, and the releasing of curse words from the mouths of adults. However, to the horror of many Dodger fans, Los Angeles management traded for Victorino half way through the 2012 season.
Victorino did not play up to his lofty standards. During his 53 games with Los Angeles, Victorino hit .245 with 15 RBIs and 2 Home Runs. Victorino did not stay with the Dodgers. Instead he went to play for the Boston Red Sox, winning a World Series the following year.
13 Loved: Joe Torre
Imagine if you will, being a great manager--having brought your team to a handful World Series, capturing the majority of them. You live in one of the largest cities in the world, and you are beloved by local fans. But your owner is unhinged when it comes to competition, and though you are one of the greatest managers ever, your owner demands in your contract that you get your team to the World Series or your contract is void.
This is something of what Torre ran into at the end of his run with the Yankees. Where did he go? The next biggest city in the United States, where it's warm and sunny, and though traffic is awful, the people are much more relaxer than those New Yorkers. Torre landed in Los Angeles, where the pressure was less, the weather was better, and the ownership kinder.
12 Hated: Andruw Jones
In 1996, a rookie by the name of Andruw Jones was called up to the Atlanta Braves. He only made 106 plate appearances and hit .217. Little did the state of Georgia know that they were getting a superstar. He was the runner up NL MVP in 2005 when he hit 51 home runs and 128 RBIs. With Atlanta, Jones hit a career .263 with 368 home runs and 1117 RBIs. That's the type of player the Los Angeles Dodgers thought they were getting when they pursued Jones in free agency.
Though Jones had shown serious decline the year before, the Dodgers offered Jones a two-year 36.2 million dollar contract, which he accepted. The annual average of 18.1 million per year was the fifth most in the league. Jones did not perform well at all, playing just 75 games, hitting .158 with 3 Home Runs and 14 RBIs. The Dodgers couldn't give away Jones fast enough, and only kept him for that season. Safe to say, it was no fun to be Dodger for Jones.
11 Loved: Kirk Gibson
When you hit a walk-off home run to win game one of the World Series, you gain a certain love with the fans. Gibson's home run is one of, if not, the best home run ever hit in the World Series. On a count of 3-2 with two outs, Gibson launched a shot to the right field bleachers, sealing the win for the Dodgers. From then on, he was immortal with Dodger fans, as is that home run.
Of course, Gibson was also injured in both legs during that Home Run. Fans have seen throughout all sports that if a player doesn't love what they're doing, and they're injured, then they don't play. But Gibson loved LA, loved the Dodgers and played through immense pain--barely able to run around the bases.
10 Hated: Mike Marshall
Mike Marshall. Oh boy. Remember earlier we discussed how if you don't like the place you're working for, you don't play for them injured? Well, unlike Kirk Gibson, Mike Marshall did not play hurt for the Dodgers, even in the World Series. In game 4 of the 88 World Series, Marshall complained of back pain and did not play. Something that's followed him all of his life.
Teammates said he wasn't tough. Media and fans ripped him for not playing hurt. The Dodgers once listed him as out due to "general soreness" which just about every MLB player has every game starting with game two of the season. Marshall even once engaged in a fist fight with a teammate in the Dodger's dugout. Marshall was not well liked, and did not like playing with the Dodgers.
9 Loved: Vin Scully
This entry is an exception - you don't work at a place for 60+ years without loving it. Though Scully didn't play for the Dodgers, he had an incredibly long career with the organization as their broadcaster. Starting in 1950 while the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, Scully has been heralded as one of the best ever at his position. It's still strange to watch Dodger games without him as "the voice."
Scully is now a huge celebrity--on level with Stan Lee, Hugh Hefner for local LA legends. Los Angeles loves him, and he returns the love. Some fans have made the case that Vin Scully is the greatest broadcaster of all time, up there with Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Joe Buck and Al Michaels. He's a Hall of Fame Broadcaster, and they should probably name a lifetime achievement award in sports broadcasting after him.
8 Hated: Manny Ramirez
This is Ramirez's first of two appearances on this list (spoiler alert - more on that later). Mannywood was almost an epidemic in Los Angeles, and with an exceptional 2008 post-season performance, hopes were up for both Ramirez and the Dodgers. However, the next season, Manny being Manny meant Manny getting suspended. Ramirez was suspended by Major League Baseball for Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Unfortunately, when Ramirez returned, things were never the same. Ramirez became an embarrassment to MLB and the Dodgers, and his poor performance led fans to boo him across baseball. Dodger fans turned their back on him, and in the 2010 season, Ramirez changed uniforms to the Chicago White Sox. Not a fairy-tale ending. In the end, Ramirez became one of MLB's most hated players in his later years, failing multiple drug tests and acting as though nothing happened.
7 Loved: Orel Hershiser
Regular season success creates fan favorites and season heroes. Postseason success creates legends. Hershiser had great postseason success. Winning the Cy Young Award in 1988, Hershiser claimed both the NL Championship MVP and World Series MVP trophies. He shut down the Oakland Athletics in games 2 and 5, and has become immortalized as one of the (there are many of them) the best pitchers in LA's illustrious history.
He played for the Dodgers for ten years until 1995 when he moved to Cleveland. He eventually played for the Giants as well, but all seems forgiven as Hershiser returned to LA for his last season in 2000. Though not as dominant after the '89 season, Hershiser is still a fan favorite today in LA.
6 Hated: Jason Schmidt
A rookie with the Braves, and overlapping with Andruw Jones, Schmidt was traded to Dodger rival San Francisco Giants. With the Giants, Schmidt had a 3.36 ERA and was a great middle of the rotation type pitcher. The Dodgers needed that type of pitcher, and went hard after Schmidt in free agency. They offered Schmidt a three-year $47 million contract.
In his first season, Schmidt started in just six games, going 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA. He went on to miss the entire 2008 season, and Dodgers fans wanted him gone. It can't be any fun to get such a big contract, only to pitch horribly. Schmidt did return for his last season in 2009. He started four games with a 5.60 ERA. His contract ended up paying 15.7 million dollars a win.
5 Loved: Clayton Kershaw
2.37. That's Kershaw's ERA for his entire career. A career that's been entirely with the Dodgers. He's struck out 1,918 compared with the 477 he's walked, and he's won 126 games total. Oh, did we mention he's won the Cy Young three times? He's also one of few pitchers to win a Cy Young and MVP in the same season. Kershaw is a huge fan favorite in Dodger town right now--though he needs more postseason success from the little he's managed.
Safe to say he's probably the most loved Dodger right now. Signed to an enormous contract through 2020, Kershaw has chance to add more Cy Young, MVP and even a World Series win. Though the Dodgers will have to bolster their lineup if that's to be the case. Still, Kershaw could even overtake Sandy Koufax as the most famous Dodgers pitcher ever.
4 Hated: Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig has been compared as the Johnny Manziel of Major League Baseball. Puig came up as a spark plug, and had the chance to be a Draymond Green type presence in the Dodgers' clubhouse. He made big plays early in his career, and helped to electrify Los Angeles once more. Not since Manny Ramirez's 2008 postseason performance had LA been so excited about a batting prospect. He batted .319 and .296 in his first two seasons and became a fan favorite, though some boneheaded plays certainly made fans scratch their heads.
But with a lack of elite production, and more questionable plays, Puig's reputation has taken a hit. Given that players have come out and called him a horrible human being doesn't help. In his last season, Puig became a sort of baseball menace, and did not hide his displeasure with the Dodgers. He was demoted to triple A and fans have been calling for his trade. But for now, Puig is still on the club and will be for the foreseeable future.
3 Loved: Sandy Koufax
One of the greatest pitches of all-time--and probably the best Southpaw ever--Koufax spent his entire career with the Dodgers, though split between Brooklyn and LA. Koufax--like Kershaw-- was a three-time Cy Young winner, and a Cy Young MVP duo. He finished second in MVP voting two other times, and led the league in wins three times, IP twice (putting up a staggering 323 in his final season), SO 4 times and ERA five times.
He's ranked number two all-time in batter's average against him, holding batters to a .205 average over his entire career. Koufax today is still beloved by fans, safe to say he loved being a Dodger. Koufax is one of the most famous pitchers in MLB history, up there with Cy Young, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.
2 Hated: Carl Crawford
A member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and then the Tampa Bay Rays, Carl Crawford was one of the sparkling gems in the Floridian West Coast team. He was perhaps the best prospect before Evan Longoria became a fixture in Tampa. Crawford saw both statistical and postseason success with the Rays, reaching the World Series in 2008. Crawford hit .337 with the Rays and stole 409 bases. The Red Sox swooped in to sign him to a 7-year $142 million dollar deal.
But Crawford performed so poorly with the Sox--hitting .260 with 75 RBIs --over two years, that they traded him along with Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers. Initially, Crawford performed well, hitting .329 with 31 SB. But over the next three years, Crawford became the opposite of a fan favorite, often cited for under performing. Crawford was seen as a complaining player, and not hard working, and eventually the Dodgers released him.
1 Loved: Manny Ramirez
Ramirez was traded from Boston to LA, with Jason Bay from Pittsburgh being the other blockbuster piece of the trade. Manny being Manny had worn out his welcome in Boston, and Red Sox were tired of having to answer questions about Manny's play. Stories later revealed that Ramirez's new agent, the infamous Scott Boras, wanted Manny out of a two year club option the Red Sox wanted. Boston played hardball saying there was no way they'd opt out of those, and Ramirez played himself off the team.
When he got to LA, Ramirez became a fan favorite early, helping the team reach the playoffs. Ramirez himself said he loved being in LA, likening it to vacation. With the cold fall of Boston in the rear-view mirror, Manny became a celebrity in a celebrity town. It helps when fans greet you with love and affection after a trade deadline. He also batted over .500 in the 2008 playoffs.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!