Over the past few months, we’ve published all-time team articles for the five MLB franchises in California: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, and Oakland A’s.
In those articles, we selected the best players in the history of those baseball teams while they’ve been in California. Three of those franchises, the Dodgers, Giants, and A’s, transferred to the West Coast from other cities. You wouldn’t know it now — those clubs have been warmly embraced by Californians as their own.
Following the popularity of those articles, we wondered which all-time team would win the most games if they competed in a surreal universe where something like that could happen.
That’s what we’re doing here — speculating on which of those five ATTs (all-time teams) would be the best on the field.
Lineups: NoCal Better Than SoCal
|1||Trout, CF||Henderson, LF||Betts, RF||Mays, CF||Alomar, 2B|
|2||Carew, 1B||Giambi, 1B||W. Davis, CF||Ba. Bonds, LF||Finley, CF|
|3||Guerrero, RF||McGwire, DH||Piazza, C||Posey, C||Gwynn, RF|
|4||Ohtani, DH||Jackson, RF||Guerrero, DH||McCovey, DH||Winfield, LF|
|5||Anderson, LF||Monday, CF||Garvey, 1B||Clark, 1B||Machado, 3B|
|6||Fregosi, SS||Bando, 3B||Baker, LF||Williams, 3B||Gonzalez, 1B|
|7||Downing, C||Tenace, C||J. Turner, 3B||Bo. Bonds, RF||Klesko, DH|
|8||Grich, 2B||Campaneris, SS||Lopes, 2B||Kent, 2B||Kennedy, C|
|9||Glaus, 3B||Ellis, 2B||Wills, SS||Crawford, SS||O. Smith, SS|
It makes sense that the Angels would have the weakest of the four lineups, considering they’ve only been in existence since 1961. But they do have a superb top of the lineup with Mike Trout leading the way and Shohei Ohtani as the cleanup man.
The Padres don’t compare to the other four teams 1 through 9, with only Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield standing out in their lineup. Some day maybe Juan Soto will work his way onto the Padres ATT.
The A’s have the greatest leadoff man in history and two of the best sluggers in Reggie Jackson and Mark McGwire. But we like the Giants lineup over the the other four. Each of the first four batters in the Giants lineup won at least one MVP award.
The Dodgers have a surprisingly weak outfield compared to the other three All-Time Teams: Dusty Baker was good, but not great, and same with Willie Davis in center.
We expect the Giants would score the most runs, with the A’s second, and the SoCal Dodgers and Angels following.
Best lineup: San Francisco Giants
Power: A’s Boast Reggie, Big Mac, and Giambi
The A’s All-Time Team has two 500-homer guys (Reggie and McGwire), plus Jason Giambi, who slugged 440 bombs. But, the San Francisco Giants ATT boasts three members of the 500-homer club: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Willie McCovey.
While the Halos have power threats in Trout, Ohtani, Vladamir Guererro, and Troy Glaus, they lack the depth of power that the other lineups have. Even so, we’d rate the Angels’ power ahead of the Padres and their crosstown rivals, the Dodgers, who have only one batter in their all-time team lineup who hit as many as 400 homers.
Most power: San Francisco Giants
Base Stealing: A’s Led By Runnin’ Rickey
For some reason, “Man of Steal” never caught on as a nickname for Rickey Henderson. But it didn’t matter.
Rickey didn’t need a nickname. He was one of those athletes who was so iconic, he was known by one name. He’s the best of the base stealers among many good ones on these lineups. Between Rickey and Bert Campaneris, the A’s have 18 stolen base crowns in their all-time lineup.
The Dodgers have great base stealing threats in Maury Wills (102 steals in 1962), Mookie Betts, and Davey Lopes (who stole 47 bases when he was 40). Though Mays didn’t steal as many as some others on this list, he played much of his career in the 1950s when base stealing was frowned on as a strategy. He and his godson Barry Bonds, and Barry’s dad Bobby, are three of the few players with 300 steals and 300 stolen bases.
Best base stealing: Oakland A’s
ATHLETICS: Here’s Our Oakland A’s All-Time Team
Starting Pitching: Koufax and Kershaw Lead Dodgers Aces
|Nolan Ryan||Vida Blue||Sandy Koufax||Juan Marichal||Jake Peavy|
|Chuck Finley||Catfish Hunter||Clayton Kershaw||Gaylord Perry||Gaylord Perry|
|Jered Weaver||Dave Stewart||Orel Hershiser||Madison Bumgarner||Andy Ashby|
|Frank Tanana||Tim Hudson||Fernando Valenzuela||Matt Cain||Andy Benes|
|Mark Langston||Barry Zito||Don Sutton||Tim Lincecum||Randy Jones|
How good is the Dodgers all-time rotation? There’s a 300-plus game winner and Hall of Famer in the No. 5 spot. Don Sutton and Orel Hershiser balance from the right side the lefty pitching from Sandy Koufax, Clayton Kershaw, and Fernando Valenzuela, all of whom won the MVP and at least one Cy Young.
Second to the Dodgers in starting pitching is the Giants, who have two Hall of Famers with distinctly different styles at the top of the rotation: high-leg-kicking Juan Marichal, who used 5-6 pitches; and Gaylord Perry, who rarely threw a dry baseball. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
We’d rank them this way:
There’s a large gap between No. 1 and No. 2, and No. 4 and No. 5. As the youngest Cali MLB franchise, the Padres just haven’t had enough time to put together as deep an ATT.
Best starting pitching: Los Angeles Dodgers
Relief Pitching: Rollie, Goose, and K-Rod
Let’s break it down in list style, and go five pitchers deep (that’s four more than we picked in our original team articles).
Oakland A’s All-Time Bullpen
- Rollie Fingers
- Dennis Eckersley
- Huston Street
- Rick Honeycutt
- Paul Lindblad
That’s a wicked tough 1-2 punch. Fingers pitched when a reliever was more of a “fireman,” coming in when the game was on the line. Eck was a classic one-inning closer with impeccable control and ice water in his veins. We’d rank this bullpen slightly ahead of the next team …
San Diego Padres All-Time Bullpen
- Trevor Hoffman
- Goose Gossage
- Rollie Fingers
- Mark Davis
- Craig Lefferts
We could be convinced that this is the best bullpen of the five teams. Hoffman, Goose, and Rollie are all in the Hall of Fame, and Mark Davis was one of the 2-3 best relievers in his prime. The Padres need this pen, seeing as how their starting rotation is lesser than the other teams ranked here.
Angels All-Time Bullpen
- Troy Percival
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Bryan Harvey
- Dave LaRoche
- Scott Downs
We like this quintet over the Dodgers because of the power pitching. Percival and K-Rod averaged more than a strikeout per inning and were lights out for several years.
LA Dodgers All-Time Bullpen
- Kenley Jansen
- Eric Gagne
- Ron Perranoski
- Mike Marshall
- Todd Worrell
Good, but not great. Clearly the Dodgers have had effective relief pitchers since moving to LA, but not the iconic types the teams ahead of them here had.
San Francisco Giants All-Time Bullpen
- Robb Nen
- Stu Miller
- Rod Beck
- Sergio Romo
- Gary Lavelle
Stu Miller deserves to be remembered. He was one of the first fully realized closer types in baseball history, and he did a very nice job in windy Candlestick Park. But these five Giants don’t stack up against the other groups here.
Best bullpen: Oakland A’s
Defense: Giants Have Edge With Mays, Bonds, Posey
How do you like that outfield in San Fran of Willie, Barry, and Bobby? The elder Bonds was a fantastic outfielder who could run (faster than his son and Mays), and had a strong arm. Basically, the Giants have three center fielder types in their all-time outfield.
Only weakness? The limp wing attached to Barry’s left shoulder.
We like the Angels’ interior defense as the best infield: Glaus with a strong arm, Jim Fregosi and Bobby Grich superb range, and Rod Carew as a solid first sacker. The A’s left side plus Mark Ellis is very good as well. Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey was famous for not throwing the baseball because his arm was erratic.
The best defensive catcher on these teams is Buster Posey, who was slightly better than Terry Kennedy of the Padres. Neither Gene Tenace nor Brian Downing were considered above average behind the dish, and Mike Piazza was dreadful as a defender.
Best defense: San Francisco Giants
Best California MLB All-Time Team
Considering their depth in the lineup and rotation, and superiority in the bullpen and as a base-running team, the Oakland A’s All-Time Team ranks No. 1.
Next is the Dodgers, based largely on the fantastic starting rotation. Bullpen? Who needs a bullpen with those guys?
Here’s our final rankings of the California MLB All-Time Teams:
- Oakland A’s
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants
- Los Angeles Angels
- San Diego Padres
What do you think? Send me a message on my Twitter: @thedanholmes.