The Dodgers are probably right behind the Yankees in terms of well-known baseball franchises. Spending their entire history in the two biggest markets in the United States is definitely a big part of that, but so is the success they've had.
The Dodgers are one of the oldest teams in the league, forming in 1884 as the Brooklyn Atlantics. Throughout their history, they've won six World Series titles and had plenty of successful seasons. That made them one of the tougher teams when it came time to decide their best season.
I feel like a lot of the decisions I've made in this series have been more recent teams, and I don't want to seem like I have any sort of recency bias. The Dodgers have had tons of success spread all across their history, from a 101-win season in 1899 to a 105-win season in 1953, to a 106-win season in 2019.
Their last World Series title came during the 1988 season, which was noteworthy for plenty of reasons, but they only won 94 games during the regular season. (I say only like that's not impressive, but when you're talking about the Dodgers, there are far more impressive seasons.)
So I want to make it clear, there is no recency bias here at all. I am trying my best to figure out which Dodgers season saw the best product put on the field. The goal is to figure out which group of players was the best at any given time.
And with that in mind, I have to go with the 2019 Dodgers as the best season in franchise history.
The 2019 squad went 106-56, winning the most games in team history. They won their seventh-straight division championship. Although they weren't able to get far in the playoffs - losing to the Nationals in the first round - their regular season was among the best in history.
Last year's Dodgers team feature their second MVP in the decade as Cody Bellinger took home the National League award. The 24-year-old outfielder hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs and 115 RBIs last year. He finished the season with 9.1 wins above replacement, the most by a Dodgers player since Zack Greinke in 2015.
The Dodgers' bats were great last year as the team hit .257/.338/.472 with 279 home runs. But it was their pitching where they really shined.
Three Los Angeles starters finished in the top 10 of NL Cy Young voting - Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Their pitching staff led the league with a 3.37 ERA. The next-best was 3.65 by Tampa Bay. That's a huge difference, and it really shows how dominant the Dodgers' pitching staff was.
The team sent five players to the All-Star Game in Cleveland - the three pitchers, Bellinger and Max Muncy.
I know it seems like I'm choosing a lot of recent teams for this series, but the fact is that as technology and training methods advance, teams are only getting better. And the Dodgers are at the forefront of that movement. They have had three dominant seasons in a row, and with the team they have put together right now, they'll be dominant for years to come.