The New York Yankees of the '50s and the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys of the '90s had one crucial element in common: consistent excellence in their organizations and performance. That's a rare accomplishment, but if you think it could never occur in your portfolio, think again. Carefully chosen dividend-paying stocks could be your key to superstar returns.

Build the next investing dynasty
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 is our Motley Fool Income Investor service's mission.

Snap-on, for example, has returned 108% since October 2004, and is rewarding investors with a 2.1% yield. Or consider National Fuel Gas, which has returned 75% since August 2005, atop a 2.8% yield. While these stocks happen to be Income Investor recommendations, there are others that offer great gains.

Identify new talent
With the help of Motley Fool CAPS, we'll search for the best dividend-paying stocks around. Here are several dividend picks that have also earned high ratings from the 115,000-plus members of our CAPS community:

Company

Yield

CAPS Rating

ING Groep (NYSE:ING)

7%

****

Marsh & McLennan (NYSE:MMC)

2.5%

****

Pengrowth Energy Trust (NYSE:PGH)

14.3%

****

Gerdau (NYSE:GGB)

5%

*****

Turkcell (NYSE:TKC)

3.8%

*****

Source: Capital IQ, Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS as of Aug. 29. 

Any one of these quality companies would add some dividend excellence to your portfolio, but I thought I'd kick off further research with a closer look at a few of these stocks.

A taste of foreign yield
If you're interested in broadening your horizons, then today's dividend buffet is perfect for you. Though we've got U.S. insurance broker Marsh & McLennan, the other four dividend players are from outside the U.S.

Pengrowth Energy -- an oil and natural gas royalty trust -- gives us a taste of Canada. Because the goal of the trust is to pay out as much to unit holders as it can, don't expect big capital gains on this one -- but then again, who needs capital gains when you have a dividend yield like that? And banking around the world may be a tough slog right now, but ING has swum a little safer than U.S. or other foreign banks like Citigroup (NYSE:C) and UBS and has good support in the CAPS community.

And for some spicier fare, we can head down to Brazil, where Gerdau is the country's largest long, rolled steel manufacturer. For Gerdau, this is a great position to be in, because Brazil is one of the four BRIC countries (the others are Russia, India, and China) that are growing like growth is going out of style.

But my favorite of the group? It's gotta be Turkcell. This Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation operates the largest cell phone operator in Turkey, with a 57% market share in that country. The company also has its hand in other nearby growing markets like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, and it continues to expand its horizons both in terms of locations and services. It recently bought an 80% stake in Belarusian cell operator BeST and hammered out a deal to bring Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 3G to Turkey later this year. My bet is that investors in Turkcell will get a big plate of growth to go with their nice 3.8% dividend.

CAPS member AllStar13913 seems to agree, because he rated the stock an outperformer earlier this year and said that Turkcell "has a moated market in Turkey, a country that is just starting to adopt cell phone technologies. I believe this company has a lot of room to grow, and few competitors."

Get into the action
You can check out who else has been bullish on these stocks, and add 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.

Dividend stocks could help you transform your portfolio from the flash-in-the-pan Florida Marlins into the dependable Yankees. And if you hate the Yankees, it's probably because they're so darn good, so darn often.

More CAPS Foolishness:

Marsh & McLennan is an Inside Value pick and Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Yankees fan and Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer is not sure why the Yanks are fooling around and not just beating up on everyone this season. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool's disclosure policy is a true investing dynasty.