The 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 10: Fernando Valenzuela
We recently asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time, and vote you did, as we received an amazing 12,231 ballots. So many people voted that we have decided to expand the list from the top 10 to the top 20. Each weekday at 11 a.m. PDT, a new player will be listed as we count down all 20.
Remember, any Dodger, Brooklyn or L.A., was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you listed the person on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.
So without further ado, here is No. 10:
No. 10: Fernando Valenzuela (17 first-place votes, 23,106 points)
Before Mannywood, before Nomomania, there was the original and the best: Fernandomania.
After an injury to Jerry Reuss prevented him from starting the Dodgers’ 1981 season opener, the Dodgers turned to 20-year-old rookie Fernando Valenzuela. He pitched a shutout, and Fernandomania was off and running. He began the season 8-0 with five shutouts, and was the runaway winner of the rookie of the year and Cy Young awards after finishing 13-7 with a 2.48 earned-run average.
Valenzuela’s last great season with the Dodgers was in 1986, when he went 21-11 with a 3.14 ERA. In that year’s All-Star Game, he tied a record by striking out five consecutive batters.
Valenzuela’s last great moment with the team came on June 29, 1990, when he pitched his first and only no-hitter, against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was released by the Dodgers during spring training in 1991.
On the all-time Dodgers list, Valenzuela is eighth in wins (141), fifth in strikeouts (1,759), ninth in losses (116), 16th in complete games (107), ninth in innings pitched (2,348.2), third in walks (915) and sixth in shutouts (29).
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