The 20 greatest Dodgers, No. 16: Walter Alston

The 20 greatest Dodgers, No. 16: Walter Alston
Walt Alston, center, with Dodgers announcers Vin Scully, left, and Connie Desmond in the mid-1950s. (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Continuing our countdown of the 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, as selected by our readers.

No. 16: Walter Alston (No first-place votes, 12,457 points)


Pretty much the opposite of Tommy Lasorda as far as personality goes, Walt Alston was nonetheless one of the most successful managers in Dodgers history.

Alston began managing the Dodgers in 1954 when they were still in Brooklyn and remained manager until 1976, winning seven NL pennants (1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974) and four World Series titles, (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965),  three of them in Los Angeles.

Alston was named NL manager of the year six times before retiring with a final record of 2,040-1,613. He had his number (24) retired by the team in 1977 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

Alston died at the age of 72 on Oct. 1, 1984.

A great Alston story, recounted in many books on the Dodgers, is the time when baseball teams still traveled by bus. One time the bus they used was old and had no air conditioning. Several Dodger players spent the bus trip yelling and getting on Lee Scott, the club's traveling secretary.

Alston, sitting in the front of the bus, stood up and said: "I don't want to hear another word about this bus. And if anyone has something more to say about it, he can step off right now, and we'll settle it right here." No one said a word after that.

Legendary Times columnist Jim Murray wrote the following when Alston retired:

"I don't know whether you're Republican or Democrat or Catholic or Protestant and I've known you for 18 years," Murray wrote of Alston. "You were as Middle-Western as a pitchfork. Black players who have a sure instinct for the closet bigot recognized immediately you didn't know what prejudice was. There was no 'side' to Walter Alston. What you saw was what you got."