During their glory years, the Brooklyn Dodgers were affectionately known as “Dem Bums” because they were famous for flirting with ultimate success, then flaming out when it was all on the line.
Despite some excellent teams that had great players, the Dodgers could never get over the top and win the World Series, until they finally broke through in 1955.
The modern version of the Dodgers after they moved to Los Angeles is another matter entirely, and the definition of “Dem Bums” changed completely.
The Dodgers quickly became famous for employing players who definitely “went Hollywood,” making gobs of money but producing little to earn it.
It’s a long list to be sure, but here are some of the highlights—or lowlights, as the case may be.
Ethier started his career with a few good years, and he looked like an MVP value after his 2009 season. So the Dodgers did what seemed like a logical thing, signing him to a five year extension at $17.5 million a year.
The size of the contract raised some eyebrows, and Ethier proceeded to justify the concerns of those doing the lifting, having forgettable years from 2013-2015, then playing a total of just 38 games in the two years after that. Not a lot of bang for the bucks for sure!
When he played for Tampa Bay, Carl Crawford was known as “The Perfect Storm,” a five-tool player with blazing speed who could hit for power and play stellar defense.
He was much less than that in Boston, though, and when the Red Sox traded Crawford and what was left of his bloated 7-year/$142 million contract to the Dodgers, it turned out to be just days before Crawford would undergo Tommy John surgery.
Crawford spent most of his time in L.A. as the quintessential Dodger dog. He seemed to live on the disabled list, and by the time he retired in June of 2016, the club still owed him $35 million. Clearly, The Perfect Storm wreaked the most havoc on the Dodger’s salary structure.
Few players were more physically imposing than Broxton, a flame-throwing reliever who stood 6’4,” weighed 300 pounds and could throw 100 miles an hour.
Initially, Broxton’s initial Achilles heel was his performance in the clutch. He blew two critical postseason saves against the Phillies in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Broxton notched a save in the All-Star game the following year, but that was his last moment of glory. He quickly lost his fastball after that, then developed elbow trouble and became a free agent.
Ultimately, the verdict on Broxton is that he was a one-pitch pitcher who couldn’t stay healthy, and he joins a long list of hard throwers who never delivered on the initial potential they showed.
One of the most colorful and controversial players in baseball history, Ramirez was a hitting savant who was prone to using performance enhancing drugs to enhance his already formidable skills.
When his huge contract ended and he wore out his welcome in Boston, he became the Dodgers’ problem. After signing a two-year, $45 million dollar contract, Ramirez was soon suspended once again, and when he came back his skills were clearly in decline.
His power disappeared, too, and Ramirez, who had a reputation for malingering, landed on the disabled list three times with leg injuries.
The Dodgers finally smartened up and traded him to the White Sox in 2010, but clearly the era of “Manny being Manny” and “Mannywood” was most noteworthy for Ramirez turning into the ultimate Bum.