Los Angeles Dodgers Mount Rushmore
From left to right: Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Clayton Kershaw, Fernando Valenzuela

A storied franchise with countless impactful players made making this mountain somewhat difficult. Throughout their 63 year history, the Los Angeles Dodgers have always been known as an organization tailored for pitchers. You’ll see that reading the list. My criteria are based upon who has a World Series ring as well as just their legendary status in the city of angels. There is a separate list for the Brooklyn Dodgers, as their history is just as difficult and storied. Without much further to do, here are my picks for the Los Angeles Dodgers Mount Rushmore. The greatest to ever play in blue and white.

Sandy Koufax

When Sandy Koufax flew across the country in 1958, now a member of the newly created Los Angeles Dodgers, he wasn’t well known whatsoever. Lackluster stats didn’t show the whole story, as his teammates knew his full potential. This was the calm before the storm. Fast forward three years and Koufax is absolutely dominating the league. It was known that hitters would know what was coming from the southpaw yet still couldn’t hit it. His curveball was downright unhittable.

The hardware accolades started pouring in on top of downright mind-boggling statistics. Between 1961-1966, Koufax appeared in EVERY All-star game, had three Cy Young Awards, a Most Valuable Player award as well as three World Series rings. During this stretch, he went 129-47 with a 2.19 Earned Run Average with 1,713 strikeouts. That’s 286 Ks per season on average! Then the bomb dropped. Koufax decided to retire from baseball in 1967 due to chronic arthritis in his pitching arm. The sports world sat stunned and saddened. His legacy remains however as arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. The “left arm of God”.

Fernando Valenzuela

It’s hard to say that any other player had such a positive cultural impact which Fernando Valenzuela did. A stocky Mexican southpaw, he took the Los Angeles by storm as a rookie in strike-shortened 1981, taking home both the Cy Young award AND the Rookie of the year award. Never before did LA have a Latino sports icon like Fernando in a city that had a huge Latin population. His popularity earned a nickname, Fernandomania. Pretty soon, Dodger Stadium was filled to the brim with fans to see their favorite pitcher play. It may have been this positive vibe that brought Los Angeles to their first World Championship in 16 years, beating the Yankees four games to two. Like Koufax, Valenzuela appeared in six straight all-star games from 1981-1986. During this legendary stretch, he had a 2.97 Earned Run Average. His career began to dip after the 1986 season, but won another ring with LA in ’88 and threw a no-hitter against the Cardinals in 1990. He’ll be forever ingrained in LA sports history and beloved by the city.

Don Drysdale

Yes, another pitcher. I know what you’re thinking. But this is a franchise who’s basis IS pitching. So including Don Drysdale is an absolute must. The Dodger’s pitching in the 1960s were lethal. The one-two punch of Koufax and Drysdale were hitters’ nightmares. In his career, he was a nine time all-star as well as the 1962 Cy Young award winner. He also has three world series rings. His stats back up his greatness. He has a career 2.95 Earned Run Average with 209 wins and 2,486 strikeouts. He also retired early after his age 32 season due to persistent shoulder pain. His legacy remains, although somewhat overshadowed by Koufax. He was recognized for his legacy and is now a member of the Hall of Fame.

Clayton Kershaw

Don’t hate me for this one. It would’ve been A LOT different had Kershaw not won his ring last season. The greatest left-handed pitcher of our generation is aging, yet finally received that elusive ring. Better late than never. The real question is. What can’t you say about Kershaw’s accolades? I mean, the list goes on and on. He’s an eight-time All-star, 2014 MVP winner, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and a five-time ERA title winner. In an era where players are hitting home runs at alarming rates, Kershaw is an outlier. His mixing of pitches and an awe-inspiring curveball/slider combo have kept him around and putting up consistently unbelievable numbers. Once Kershaw retires, he’ll be a runaway first-ballot Hall of Famer. He proved haters wrong and finally showed success in big postseason moments. What’s there not to love about this tall, lengthy southpaw?

Conclusion

There you have it. The four heads on the Los Angeles Dodgers Mount Rushmore. Pitchers dominate the landscape for this franchise as evident, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. After all, pitching wins games, and the examples have been around for the last 60 years. I could’ve included names such as Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully, but I wanted to limit the LA Dodgers Mount Rushmore to just players. I also considered putting catcher Mike Piazza up there, but in my mind, he is a traitor for the organization and never won a ring as a Dodger.

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