Ranking the 15 Greatest Individual Offensive Seasons in Dodgers History
In 2011, Matt Kemp had a season for the ages, falling one home run and eight hits short of 40/40 and the Triple Crown, respectively. Before injuring his hamstring this season, Kemp was giving his bold prediction of 50/50 a run for its money.
He is the ultimate five-tool player and a legitimate 40/40 threat every season when healthy. So, was his 2011 one of the best offensive seasons in baseball history? It's certainly something to ponder.
One thing without doubt is that last season, Kemp put together one of the greatest offensive seasons in Dodger history. Here is a list of the top 15 seasons at the plate in franchise history:
15. Eric Karros (1999)
One of the biggest fan favorites from my generation growing up watching the Dodgers, Karros narrowly earns a spot on this list for the big 1999 season he put together. Karros hit .304 that year, right in the middle of his prime.
The mild-mannered first baseman also smacked 34 homers and drove in 112 runs in a season that saw his partner in crime Raul Mondesi put up huge numbers too. (More to come on Mondesi later in this slide.)
Together, they led the Dodgers to a disappointing third-place finish in the National League West that year.
14. Gary Sheffield (2000)
One of the big trade acquisitions for the Dodgers around the turn of the century was getting Sheffield from the Florida Marlins. He helped the team go from a below-.500 third-place team in 1999, to an 86-win team in second place the following year.
In that 2000 campaign, Sheffield used that violent swing to his advantage, hitting .325 with 43 homers and 109 RBI. For how many homers he hit, that is a pretty low RBI total, but he also missed 21 games.
Who knows what Sheffield could have accomplished in a full season?
13. Maury Wills (1962)
You won't see the big power numbers like some of the other guys on this list here. Wills just wasn't that type of player. But he could sure get on base and run.
In 1962, Wills was named the National League MVP for doing precisely that. Wills hit .299 with a .347 on-base percentage that season, and was nearly unstoppable when he did get on.
For the season, Wills stole 104 bases out of 117 tries. That is just mind-boggling.
12. Zack Wheat (1925)
One of the most unknown players in Dodger history is Hall of Famer Zack Wheat, who played all but one season of his 19-year career in Brooklyn. He is the franchise leader in multiple offensive categories, but 1925 was his best overall season.
In that season, Wheat hit .359 with 14 homers, 103 RBI and a ridiculous .403 on-base percentage. Those numbers are pretty similar to some of his other biggest seasons, and the batting average and on-base percentage are even lower than some of those years.
Remarkably, Wheat set a career high in 1925 with 221 hits. Don't forget about him because he's ancient, Dodger fans! Wheat was a stud!
11. Gil Hodges (1954)
Another fan favorite in L.A., Hodges put together some huge seasons in Dodger Blue. Perhaps none were bigger than 1954 when Hodges finished in the top 10 in MVP voting for the huge stat line he finished with.
In 1954, Hodges hit .304 with 42 homers and 130 RBI. The Dodgers won 92 games that year, largely due in part to Hodges' massive offensive numbers.
Unfortunately, I don't have a Hall of Fame vote, otherwise I'd probably be including Hodges on my ballot.
10. Raul Mondesi (1997)
As promised, here is Mondesi's most monstrous season. I had a tough time choosing between 1999 and 1997, but ultimately decided upon this one. Why? Well...for one thing, Mondesi went 30/30 (30 homers, 32 stolen bases), but he also hit over .300 and drove in nearly 90 runs.
The former Rookie of the Year was absolutely a five-tool player in 1997.
9. Jackie Robinson (1949)
This list wouldn't be complete without Jackie Robinson's MVP season of 1949. We all know about Robinson's base-running abilities, but he put up some pretty solid power numbers in 1949 as well.
While hitting .342 and getting on base at a .432 clip, Robinson also hit 16 home runs and drove in 124 runs. Oh yeah, and he had 37 swiped bags. Naturally.
Robinson helped the Dodgers to a 97-win season, although they ultimately lost in the World Series to the Yankees.
8. Shawn Green (2001)
Even younger Dodgers fans surely can't forget the 2001 season Shawn Green put up. He hit .297 with 49 home runs and 125 RBI.
Those numbers don't do his whole season justice. Not only did he mash the ball, he stole 20 bases on 24 attempts. All together, a fantastic season.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers only finished in third place in 2001, but Green was by far their best hitter.
7. Mike Piazza (1997)
One of the all-time great Dodgers, and arguably the best offensive catcher in the history of baseball, Piazza put up huge numbers on the regular. But when faced with choosing one season, I went with '97.
Can you argue with .362/40/124 from the former NL Rookie of the Year? Piazza was second in the NL MVP voting that year, a surprise to nobody.
Huge numbers and a ridiculous average make for a successful recipe.
6. Duke Snider (1953)
The Duke is unquestionably one of the best Dodgers of all time. He constantly put up big numbers in Dodger Blue and was rewarded with Hall of Fame enshrinement in 1980.
His biggest season as a Dodger came in 1953, when he hit .336 with 42 home runs and 126 RBI. Snider also got on base at a .419 average and swiped 16 bases.
Okay, I lied. He did have one season that even topped 1953. Keep reading. You'll see soon.
5. Roy Campanella (1953)
Campy was arguably the most beloved Dodger hitter of the 1950s, largely due to his three MVP awards and tough defense. But it was his bat in 1953 that really brought the hurt.
Teaming up with Duke Snider, Campanella helped the Dodgers to a 105-win season by barely outhitting Snider. Campanella hit .312 with 41 homers and 142 RBI.
Brooklyn was trounced by the Yankees yet again in 1953, but the Dodgers' catcher will still be remembered for this monster year.
4. Adrian Beltre (2004)
Dodger fans fondly remember and thank Adrian Beltre for his ridiculous 2004 season. Mostly because that was the last time for half a decade that he put up such huge numbers.
In that season, Beltre came out of nowhere to hit .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBI. He parlayed that into a big free-agent contract with Seattle, but never returned to form until going to Boston in 2010.
Since Beltre left, the Dodgers have had a gaping hole at the hot corner on offense.
3. Duke Snider (1954)
That's right. The Duke is back. And yes, it's the year after his other entry on this list. That means Snider had an incredible streak over the seasons of 1953 and 1954.
In all honesty, Snider put up numbers like that for a quite a few years in a row. But 1954 was the best of the bunch. Check out this stat line: .341/40/130.
Also that season, Snider had an OPS over 1.000 and fell just one hit shy of 200.
2. Tommy Davis (1962)
It's hard to top Snider's 1954 season, but Davis went above and beyond to do so. Davis hit .346 with 27 homers and a league-leading 153 RBI.
Why Davis didn't win the 1962 MVP is beyond me, as he racked up 230 hits and 18 stolen bases to go with the numbers above. He was probably beaten out of the award only because his teammate Wills swiped over 100 bags.
Wills and Davis combined for huge seasons in 1962 to lead the Dodgers to a 102-win campaign.
1. Matt Kemp (2011)
We will finish right where we left off. Kemp's 2011 season didn't contain the most homers, the most RBI, the highest average or the most steals of anyone on this list. But it was the best all-around season.
Kemp finished second in MVP voting to the Brewers' Ryan Braun, despite having better numbers in almost every offensive category. The 2011 Dodgers were a sad, sorry team; so that definitely contributed.
But a stat line of .324/39/126/40 SB certainly speaks for itself.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!