Pick the best Dodgers second baseman
Fans will choose the greatest for the All-Time Roster
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers second basemen will forever be overshadowed by the heroics and courage of the best second baseman to play in the Dodgers organization, Jackie Robinson. But since moving to Los Angeles in 1958, the Dodgers have had several second basemen who have stood out amongst the rest.
This month, Dodgers fans will be able to vote for the second basemen as part of the team's All-Time Roster in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles. Other positions will follow in the coming months as fans put together their All-Time Roster, to be announced in 2008.
The list consists of a gutsy player in Charlie Neal, an offensive spark plug in Jim Gilliam, a key role player in Jim Lefebvre, the speedy Davey Lopes, a five-time All-Star in Steve Sax and a future Hall of Famer, Jeff Kent.
Below is list of the six candidates with a quick overview of their career with the Dodgers. The rest is up to you, the fans, who have watched and cheered for your favorite Dodgers over the years.
Neal was a hard nosed second basemen, who made his Major League debut in 1956 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He compiled a .259 average with 87 homers and 391 RBIs in eight seasons in the Majors.
His two homers in Game 2 of the 1959 World Series helped the Dodgers win their first championship in L.A. He hit .370 (10-for-27) with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in the series as the Dodgers defeated the White Sox in six games.
The 1959 season was also his best as a Dodger. Neal hit a career-high .287 with 19 homers, 30 doubles and 83 RBIs. He also led the league in triples with 11, and notched a his only Gold Glove. That season Neal finished eighth in the MVP balloting and was named to his first All-Star team.
The two-time All-Star played six seasons with the Dodgers and retired after the 1963 season.
Gilliam was a speedy infielder, who played his entire 14-year career with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. The switch-hitting leadoff hitter was the team's offensive spark plug for most of his career, scoring more than 100 runs in his first four Major League seasons.
Gilliam was a member of 10 National League Championship teams from 1953 to 1978, and won four World Series titles in his career. The 1953 Rookie of the Year Award winner led the NL in triples in 1953 with 17 and was a two-time All-Star.
His best season as an L.A. Dodger came in 1963 when he hit .282 with six homers, 27 doubles, four triples and 49 RBIs. Gilliam finished sixth in the MVP voting that season, and helped the Dodgers sweep the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Gilliam retired in 1966, but continued to help the Dodgers as a coach. He died in 1978 after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage. The Dodgers retired his No. 19 jersey two days after his death, prior to Game 1 of the 1978 World Series.
The National League Rookie of the Year in 1965, Lefebvre was a key role player for the Dodgers from 1965 to 1972. Lefebvre hit .251 with 74 homers and 404 RBIs in eight seasons with the Dodgers and was a member of the 1965 World Series team.
An All-Star in 1966, Lefebvre enjoyed his best season as a Dodger, notching career highs in batting average (.274), home runs (24), doubles (23) and RBIs (74).
As a member of the 1965 championship team, Lefebvre hit .400 (4-for-10) with two runs scored in the World Series as the Dodgers defeated the Minnesota Twins to win their third World Series title since moving to L.A. in 1958.
With a rare blend of speed and power, Lopes was an offensive nightmare for opposing pitchers. The four-time All-Star teamed up with Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Steve Garvey to form the longest-running infield in baseball history (seven seasons), which was nicknamed "The Big Blue Wrecking Crew."
In a 16-season career, Lopes posted a .263 batting average with 155 home runs and 614 RBIs. A member of the Dodgers for nine seasons, Lopes established what was then a Major League Record by stealing 38 consecutive bases in 1975. He led the NL in stolen bases that season with a career-high 77, and again in the 1976 (63).
Lopes also provided some punch at the plate, launching a career-high 28 homers and driving in 73 runs in 1979.
The speedy second baseman helped the Dodgers win the 1981 World Series by stealing five bases in the NLCS and four in the World Series against the New York Yankees. Lopes ranks second in Dodgers history with 413 stolen bases behind Maury Wills (480).
He was named to the All-Star team in four consecutive season's from 1978 to 1981, and won his only Gold Glove in '78.
Sax was manager Tommy Lasorda's do-it-all second baseman for nine seasons in Los Angeles. Sax, who won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1982, was a solid-hitting second baseman, and an offensive catalyst for the Dodgers.
Sax stole 40 or more bases six times in his career and hit .300 or better three times. Despite his occasional errant throws that ended up in the first row behind first base, Sax was a dependable infielder, as well.
The five-time All-Star enjoyed his best season in 1986 when he hit a career-high .332 with 43 doubles, four triples and 41 RBIs. That season, Sax won the NL Silver Slugger Award for second basemen, and finished 13th in the MVP voting.
Sax was a key member of the 1988 World Series team, hitting .300 (6-for-20) with three runs scored as the Dodgers defeated the A's in five games. A member of two World Series teams with the Dodgers, Sax hit .276 with three doubles, 11 runs scored and four RBIs in seven postseasons.
The most prolific power-hitting second baseman in baseball history, Kent has enjoyed an extremely successful 16-year career. Kent, who joined the Dodgers in 2005, has been a stalwart in the cleanup spot, hitting 63 homers while driving in 252 runs in three seasons.
A five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger at second base, Kent is the all-time leader in home runs as a second baseman with 365, surpassing Ryne Sandberg in 2004. He was named the NL MVP in 2000, and is the only second baseman in baseball history to have 100 or more RBIs in six consecutive seasons.
Kent owns a career .290 batting average and has driven in 1,459 runs in his career. As member of the Dodgers, Kent produced his best season in 2005 when he hit .289 with 29 homers and 105 RBIs.
In his only postseason appearance with the Dodgers in 2006, Kent hit an astonishing .615 (8-for-13) with a homer, a double and two RBIs, but the Dodgers were swept by the Mets.
This season, Kent provided his usual offense, hitting .302 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs as the Dodgers finished fourth in the NL West.
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.