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.

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD), for example, has beaten the S&P 500 by 47 percentage points since May 2004, and it currently is rewarding investors with a 9% yield. Or consider South Jersey Industries, which has also topped the S&P by 47 points since December 2006, atop a current 3% yield. While these stocks happen to be Income Investor recommendations, you don't need to be a subscriber to get these 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 120,000-plus members of our CAPS community:

Company

Yield

CAPS Rating (max 5)

Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW)

7.6%

*****

Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC)

2.4%

*****

Boeing (NYSE:BA)

3.7%

****

Terra Industries (NYSE:TRA)

2.3%

****

PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP)

3.1%

*****

Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), Yahoo! Finance, and CAPS as of Nov. 13.

Any one of these quality companies would add some dividend excellence to your portfolio, but let's take a closer look at why CAPS members think that PepsiCo is worth a hard look.

DemonDoug weighs in
Nearly 3,000 members of the CAPS community have weighed in on Pepsi's stock, and an overwhelming majority -- better than 28-to-1 to be exact -- has been in favor of Pepsi's stock. One of CAPS top performing members, DemonDoug, added Pepsi to his CAPS portfolio back in July and gave this bullish pitch:

Pepsi management has shown stellar performance over the past 30 years. It is often held up as a stable of LTBH return value investing by Motley Fool investors going back to 1980. Just like [Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)], Pepsi has strong international sales, and people will continue to use their product aaaaaaaaaaaaand... will also make money whether oil goes to 300 or 30. Yield 2.7%. What's your local bank paying again? And if the dollar goes down by another 20-30% in 5 years, what will be worth more, the dollars in your account, or a well-run large cap with international exposure?

Right off the top, a few things have happened since Doug wrote that pitch. For one, Pepsi's stock has fallen nearly 15%. That, of course, means that the stock's dividend yield has also gone up. But this hasn't happened in a vacuum -- if Mr. Market was pessimistic back in July, he's downright suicidal now.

So what of Pepsi? I'd suggest re-reading DemonDoug's pitch. Though the company isn't talked about in quite the same hushed tones as Warren Buffett's favorite, Coca-Cola, Pepsi has been a solid performer over a long period of time, and sells products that are in demand regardless of the economic cycle.

The beverage and snack giant's third quarter showed that even when it hits a bump in one area -- recently it's been North American beverages -- other areas such as international exposure and its Frito-Lay brands help pick up the slack. For the quarter, revenue was up 11% while earnings per share (excluding mark-to-market losses on commodity hedges) were up 6%. More importantly, the company continues to produce very healthy cash flow that can support not only its dividend, but also generous share buybacks.

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

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

More CAPS Foolishness:

South Jersey Industries, Enterprise Products, and Dow Chemical are Income Investor selections. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Yankees fan and Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not want to talk about the Yankees ... at all. He does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool’s disclosure policy is a true investing dynasty.