Quiz time, sports fans: What did the New York Yankees of the '50s and the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys of the '90s have in common? (And exactly how can this help you with your portfolio?)

It wasn't just that they had some of the best individual players of the time -- Yogi Berra, Michael Jordan, and Emmitt Smith, respectively -- although that certainly helped. And it wasn't just that they were able to bring home world championship trophies on a regular basis. It was simply that their organizations and performances were consistently excellent.

Consistent excellence is rare anywhere, but imagine seeing it in your portfolio. Impossible? No way! Because that's what carefully chosen dividend-paying stocks can offer.

Build the next investing dynasty
Finding these long-haul outperformers can help you build your fortune, as studies from investing gurus such as Jeremy Siegel have shown time and time again. Finding them for you is precisely what we do at our Motley Fool Income Investor service.

Posco (NYSE:PKX), for example, has returned more than 200% since April 2005, and it's currently rewarding investors with a 1.1% yield. Then there's ONEOK (NYSE:OKE), which has returned around 81% since November 2005 on top of a current 3% yield. And while the stock happens to be an Income Investor recommendation, you don't need to be a subscriber to get these great gains.

Identify new talent
With that last thought in mind, I'd like to introduce you to our new community intelligence database, Motley Fool CAPS. There, savvy investors help one another identify stocks that can create consistent and substantial growth for any type of investor. That means whether you're a Buffett-esque value investor or a chart-watching technical trader, you're welcome to strut your stuff. And, just as in professional sports, the cream inevitably rises to (and stays at) the top.

So what are the best dividend-paying stocks around, according to CAPS? Here are a few dividend picks with high CAPS ratings:

Company

Yield

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)

2.2%

CryptoLogic (NASDAQ:CRYP)

2.3%

Pengrowth Energy Trust (NYSE:PGH)

15.0%

Ambassadors Group (NASDAQ:EPAX)

2.5%

Telefonos de Mexico

2.2%

Source: Capital IQ,, Yahoo!Finance, and CAPS as of Nov. 23.

Stake your claim
I encourage you to join CAPS to learn more about why investors are so bullish on these companies, and perhaps to add your own thoughts to the system. I'll get you started with some thoughts about one company here that may be worth checking out: Inside Value favorite Coca-Cola.

Enjoy
The beverage is tasty enough, but there's also plenty to enjoy about Coke the company and the stock. Former top CAPS Fool TMFEldrehad calls Coke "the hands-down premier brand on the entire planet" and has been bullish on the stock in CAPS for well over a year. Radioman101, another of CAPS' very best players, simply says: "It's Coca Cola for crying out loud. Need I say more?"

It's hard to argue those positions -- Coca-Cola has simply been a monster brand, company, and stock for decades. The stock (and the company) has also been a favorite of Warren Buffett and a core holding for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) for a good long time, which is never a bad sign.

Now we're past the time of the Nifty Fifty, so I'd hardly argue that Coke's worth owning at any price, but with a proven ability to produce impressive returns on shareholder equity and a rock solid business, 26 times earnings may not be an overly expensive price tag for the stock.

You can check out who has been bullish on Coke, as well as chime in with your own thoughts by heading over to CAPS. You may also want to check out a few of the other top-rated dividend payers above while you're there.

And looping back around to conclude my (very) extended sports metaphor, allow me to suggest that dividend stocks will help you turn your portfolio into the dependable New York Yankees rather than the flash-in-the-pan Florida Marlins. And if you hate the Yankees, it's probably because they're so darn good, so darn often.

Looking for more great dividend payers? Why not take The Motley Fool's Income Investor for a spin? You can try out Income Investorfree for 30 days. Try getting a BMW dealership to do that!

Yankees fan and Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer hopes the Yanks can continue their legendary excellence (maybe next year) and has his fingers crossed that the Cowboys will never get back to the top again. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is a true investing dynasty. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value pick, and Berkshire Hathaway is both an Inside Value and Stock Advisor selection. Posco and ONEOK are Income Investor picks. The Motley Fool holds stock in Berkshire Hathaway.