Brooklyn's debut into the National League in 1890 began on a positive note as the team nicknamed the "Bridegrooms" won the championship with an 86-43 record. It was the first of 21 National League pennants that the Dodgers would win during the next 100 years.
The moniker "Bridegrooms" was attached to Manager William "Gunner" McGunnigle's 1890 ballclub because seven of the players got married around the same time in 1888. Despite the success of the Bridegrooms, McGunnigle didn't last past the initial year and the team paraded through six different managers before the end of the decade. The skippers included John Montgomery Ward (1891-92), Dave Foutz (1893-96), William Barnie (1897-98), Mike Griffin (1898), Charles H. Ebbets (1898) and Ned Hanlon (1899-1905).
The term "Trolley Dodgers" was attached to the Brooklyn ballclub due to the complex maze of trolley cars that weaved its way through the borough of Brooklyn. The name was then shortened to just "Dodgers." During the 1890s, other popular nicknames were Ward's Wonders, Foutz's Fillies and Hanlon's Superbas.
Baseball was not new to Brooklyn, which had fielded a team as early as 1849. Charles Byrne, president of the Brooklyn club which started in the Interstate League and moved into the American Association, built Washington Park on the approximate site where George Washington's Continental Army had fought the battle of Long Island. The Dodgers of 1890 transferred to the National League from the American Association, where they had won the 1889 pennant.
Under Hanlon, who joined the Dodgers from Baltimore, the team brought stars to Brooklyn including "Wee" Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings and Joe Kelley. Sportswriters dubbed the team "Hanlon's Superbas" because of a popular Broadway troupe of the same name. Brooklyn won the 1899 title under Hanlon, the first of two consecutive pennant winners.
Brooklyn-born Keeler, famous for saying "I hit 'em where they ain't," had great bat control and was an adroit bunter. He compiled a .345 career batting average, fifth best all-time in baseball. The 5-foot-4 Hall of Famer had a league-leading 140 runs scored in 1899. First decade stars also included pitcher William "Brickyard" Kennedy, who won 176 games; pitcher Tom Lovett, who won 30 games in 1890 (the only Dodger pitcher to record 30 wins in one season); outfielder Tommy "Oyster" Burns, who batted .300 from 1890-95 and led the league with 128 RBI in 1890; Mike Griffin, who batted over .300 in an eight-year period (1891-98) before managing; first baseman Dan Brouthers, who was the club's first batting champion with a .335 average in 1892; shortstop Tommy Corcoran, who batted .300 with 173 hits in 1894; and first baseman Candy LaChance, who hit .290 for six seasons (1893-98).
The turn of the century was marked by the Dodgers' second consecutive pennant-winning team (82 wins) under Manager Ned Hanlon. In 1900, the league was pared from 12 teams to eight, with Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville and Washington dropping out. Baltimore transplant McGinnity, nicknamed "Iron Man" because of his ability to pitch both ends of a doubleheader, was 29-9 for the ballclub and once won five games in six days.
Beginning in 1901, the newly-formed American League began taking shape, luring top-notch talent from the National League. With a "raided" roster, Hanlon watched the Brooklyn foundation crack. Stars like McGinnity departed, as did Keeler, Jones, Kelley, Tom Daly and "Wild" Bill Donovan. It would not be until 1916 that the Dodgers would again be perched above their National League competition.
In 1901, Brooklyn slipped to third place and managed a second-place finish in 1902. In Hanlon's final season in 1905, they hit rock bottom with an eighth-place finish, 56 1/2 games behind New York. In 1903, Jimmy Sheckard became Brooklyn's first home run champion, as he led the league with nine home runs and stole 67 bases to tie for the league lead.
One of the most exciting stars of the period was pitcher "Nap" Rucker, dubbed "Napoleon" by Grantland Rice. He played on the same South Atlantic League (Class C) team as Ty Cobb, which was considered the best club ever assembled at that level. The left-hander won 15, 17 and 13 games in his first three seasons with the Dodgers and wound up pitching in the 1916 World Series during his final season.
Zack Wheat was another Dodger great to emerge in the last year of the decade and would eventually play in more games (2,322) than any other Dodger.
The ownership of the ballclub was in a state of flux, as Charles Ebbets had become a 24-year employee of the original triumvirate of owners -- Charles Byrne, Joseph Doyle and Ferdinand Abell. Ebbets, who toiled at almost every aspect of baseball management -- from selling peanuts, scorecards and tickets to working as Byrne's assistant in the front office, used every opportunity to purchase even a small amount of stock in the team. He eventually held nearly 10 percent of the stock and after Byrne died in 1897, Ebbets managed to get elected as club president.
Then in a wild plan, Ebbets and Baltimore owner Harry Von der Horst became partners and while Von der Horst held 30 percent ownership of the Dodgers, Ebbets in exchange received Manager Ned Hanlon and several of Baltimore's top stars, including Keeler, Jennings, McGinnity, Kelley, Jones, Dahlen and Donovan.
When things turned for the worse in early 1900, Von der Horst wanted to sell his stock and Ebbets purchased it to become owner of the club. Immediately, he dreamed of expanding to a larger facility than Washington Park to accommodate the large crowds that were attending Dodger games against the rivals from New York, but would have to wait until the next decade for funding of the project.
A decade of changes was marked by the Dodgers' move to a new home park, Ebbets Field, and the managerial era of Wilbert Robinson. "Uncle Robbie" arrived on the scene in 1914 and would stay through 1931. He made such an impact on the team and the city, that the Brooklyn ballclub was known as the "Robins" during this period.
The 1916 club won the National League pennant and finally played in its first true World Series with the help of the amazing Casey Stengel. Although the Dodgers (or Robins) fell to the Boston Red Sox in the 1916 World Series, Stengel was the team's leading hitter with a .364 mark and right-handed pitcher Jeff Pfeffer won 25 games that season for the 94-60 club.
In Game 2 of the Series, the Dodgers lost to a pitcher named Babe Ruth, who won a 2-1 decision in 14 innings. After allowing a first-inning inside-the-park home run to Hy Myers, Ruth hurled 13 consecutive scoreless innings.
In 1913, Jake Daubert became the first Dodger to win Most Valuable Player honors, as he batted a league-high .350. First baseman Daubert won the National League batting title again in 1914 with a .329 mark.
With the rivalry between the Brooklynites and Manhattanites heating up, the Dodgers and Giants feud began to boil. Robinson and Giants' Manager John McGraw took regular jabs at each other in the press and as a result, when the teams met at either New York site, fans packed the fields and were extremely vocal as well.
Dodger owner Charles Ebbets, recognizing that the club could no longer survive in the confines of Washington Park, purchased land in Flatbush bordered by Bedford Avenue, Sullivan Street, Franklin Avenue and Montgomery Street. Although he originally purchased most of the property in 1908, Ebbets was in a pinch for money and had to sell 50 percent of the club's stock to new partners, Ed and Steve McKeever. As a result of the partnership, the Brooklyn Baseball Club, Inc. was formed and Ebbets remained president, while the Ebbets-McKeever Exhibition company was run by Ed McKeever.
After a struggle to secure all of the land, Ebbets broke ground on his field on March 4, 1912. A group of sports editors suggested to Ebbets that the field should not be called Washington Park but "Ebbets Field." The Dodgers played an exhibition game against New York on April 5, 1913 for the unofficial opening of the field. On April 9, the Dodgers dedicated 18,000-seat Ebbets Field in a game against the Phillies.
In 1917, the United States declared war on Germany -- just five days prior to the opening of the season. Baseball owners asked the government to give them guidance on the status of the season. When no reply came from the nation's capital, the season proceeded and the Dodgers fell from the top spot in 1916 to seventh in 1917. The season was eventually curtailed in 1918 as some players began to leave for war.
Top players of the decade included: George Cutshaw at second base; shortstop Ivy Olson, who led the league with 164 hits in 1919; Otto Miller, Brooklyn's catcher from 1912-22; outfielder Zack Wheat, a solid .300 hitter who paced the N.L. in 1918 with a .335 mark; Stengel, very popular with Brooklyn fans and, after being traded to Pittsburgh, is remembered for returning to Ebbets Field in 1918, where he acknowledged the crowd and a sparrow flew out from beneath his cap, and outfielder Hy Myers, who had 73 RBI to lead the N.L. in 1919.
The Dodger decade of the 1920s got off to a roaring start with a National League pennant in 1920. But over the next nine years, Brooklyn could manage only one other season better than fifth place.
Pitcher Burleigh Grimes burst onto the scene in 1918 and made his presence felt in 1920 with a 23-11 record for a league-leading .676 winning percentage. The Dodgers had to squelch a challenge by the Giants late in the season to garner the N.L. flag. In a best-of-nine World Series against the Cleveland Indians, the Dodgers won two of the first three games, only to drop four straight and bow out.
The 1920 World Series will also be remembered for producing the first and only unassisted triple play in Series history. In the fifth game, Dodger pitcher Clarence Mitchell lined a shot to Cleveland's Billy Wambsganss with Pete Kilduff on second base and Otto Miller on first. Wambsganss speared the liner to the right of the bag, stepped on the base to double up Kilduff and tagged Miller, who was running with the shot and was nearly at second base on the play.
The longest Dodger game in history was played on May 1, 1920 when the Dodgers were in Boston to play the Braves. The game was played to a 26-inning, 1-1 tie. What made it so unique was that both starting pitchers -- Leon Cadore for Brooklyn and Joe Oeschger for the Braves -- each went the distance! Cadore yielded 15 hits while the Dodgers had nine before darkness halted play.
In 1921, the fifth-place Dodgers were led by Grimes, who had an N.L. leading 22 wins and 136 strikeouts. "Ol' Stubblebeard," as Grimes was known, won 21 or more games four times as a Dodger.
A great character arrived at training camp in 1922 by the name of Clarence Arthur "Dazzy" Vance. Born on March 4, 1891, the 31-year-old Vance pitched 11 seasons for the Dodgers, winning in double figures all but one year. The right-hander won a league-leading 28 games in 1924 and 22 games in 1925. He was the N.L. strikeout leader for seven consecutive seasons (1922-28) and was twice the ERA champion in the decade (1924 and 1928). The 1922 and 1923 seasons were nearly repeat performances and neither was a pretty sight, as the Dodgers wound up in sixth place in succession. But, in 1924, Uncle Robbie's troops put on a furious run at the pennant, moving up from 12 games back to first place in September, eventually losing to the Giants by 1 1/2 games.
In 1925, Brooklyn president Charles Ebbets was taken ill after returning from Clearwater, Florida in the spring and died on the morning of April 18 in New York. He was 66. The Dodgers were playing the Giants at Ebbets Field that day to begin a three-game series. The games went on as scheduled because Robinson said, "Charlie wouldn't want anybody to miss a Giants-Brooklyn series just because he died." Now acting president Ed McKeever was in charge. The day of Ebbets' funeral was cold and windy. McKeever caught a cold at the grave site that very day. He was stricken with pneumonia and within a week, he, too, was dead.
Grief stricken, the Brooklyn ballclub gathered itself around Steve McKeever and manager Robinson and the new directors to elect a president. Robinson was selected for the job, and would continue to manage as well.
Robbie's teams struggled for the balance of the decade, finishing in sixth place five consecutive seasons. Floyd Caves "Babe" Herman joined the Dodgers in 1926 as a first baseman but moved to the outfield to allow Del Bissonette a spot in the lineup. Herman batted over .300 in five of the six seasons he was with Brooklyn initially. He would return to close out his career in 1945. The incredible Zack Wheat would hit over .320 in six straight seasons before an injury slowed him down at age 40 and he batted .290.
No era in Dodger history was as wacky and wild as the 1930s. Unfortunately, the depression years were depressing for the organization as no pennants were won in this decade and the style of play led Brooklyn's teams to be known as the "Daffiness Dodgers."
A forerunner of the frustration for the Brooklyn fans could be summed up in the season of 1930. The Robins made quite a drive for the pennant, taking over first place with 15 consecutive victories and were in the top spot for 75 days. But they dropped a crucial three-game series to the Cardinals at Ebbets Field and wound up in fourth place by six games.
This decade was also marked by changes in baseball -- the development of the farm system, the first night baseball game and the first broadcast on television.
The "Uncle Robbie" period faded after the 1931 season, but his legacy remains as the winningest manager in Brooklyn Dodger history with 1,375 victories in 18 seasons. Four different managers would parade through the decade, including Max Carey (1932-33), Casey Stengel (1934-36), Burleigh Grimes (1937-38) and Leo Durocher (1939-46, 1948).
With Robinson's departure, former Dodger player Max Carey took over the reins, but the results in 1932 and 1933 were less than satisfactory and Stengel replaced Carey.
It was in February of 1934, prior to Carey's departure, that New York Giants Manager Bill Terry was asked what he thought of Brooklyn's chances in the pennant race that season. He answered, "Brooklyn? Is Brooklyn still in the league?" That statement would come back to haunt Terry on the last two days of the season as the Giants were in a neck-and-neck race with the Cardinals for the pennant. The Dodgers proved they indeed were still in the league and they managed to knock out the Giants in the final series and the Cardinals became champions of the league and defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
After three sub-par seasons, Stengel was replaced by Burleigh Grimes, the former Dodger pitching great. In 1937, the Dodgers finished sixth under Grimes, 33 1/2 games out. On January 19, 1938, innovative Larry MacPhail was hired as the team's Executive Vice President to rebuild the Dodgers. While with Cincinnati, MacPhail had introduced night baseball to the Major Leagues as Crosley Field. In March of 1938, Steve McKeever died and MacPhail was appointed president.
MacPhail made needed improvements at Ebbets Field and then hired Red Barber (who had been Cincinnati's broadcaster) to come to Brooklyn for the 1939 season, effectively ending an agreement among the three New York clubs prohibiting radio broadcasts. The first televised game was on August 26, 1939 when the first game of the Cincinnati at Brooklyn doubleheader was aired. The introduction of night baseball to Brooklyn was on June 15, 1938 and Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer pitched his second consecutive no-hitter when the lights went on in Ebbets Field. MacPhail also signed Babe Ruth as a first base coach, the Bambino's last appearance in a Major League uniform as a player or coach.
One of MacPhail's initial acquisitions was purchasing first baseman Dolph Camilli from Philadelphia. Camilli made an immediate impact on the 1938 and 1939 clubs with a total of 50 home runs and 204 RBI.
In the decade, second baseman Tony Cuccinello became the first Dodger ever to be selected to an All-Star Game as he played in the first one in 1933. Babe Herman, who typified the decade of the "Daffy Dodgers," set numerous records, including a .393 batting average in 1930. Outfielder Lefty O'Doul earned a National League batting title with a .368 average in 1932. Other Dodger notables included pitcher Van Lingle Mungo, who twice was an 18-game winner; catcher Al Lopez, who hit .279 in more than 700 games and later became a Hall of Fame Manager; and third baseman Cookie Lavagetto, who averaged .275 for seven seasons.
The 1940s were the beginning of the Dodgers' emergence as a powerhouse and a historical first as Brooklyn broke baseball's color line with the signing of Jackie Robinson.
Under the guidance of Leo Durocher, who became the Dodger manager in 1939, the Dodgers in 1941 won their first National League pennant in 21 years with a 100-54 record and played the first of their classic World Series confrontations against the New York Yankees.
Outfielder Pete Reiser was dynamite in 1941. Reiser led the league in batting, runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage and triples, while teammate Dolph Camilli topped the league in home runs and RBI and was honored as the National League MVP. Whit Wyatt and Kirby Higbe paced the pitching staff with 22 victories apiece.
The Dodgers in 1942 won four more games than the previous year, but finished second to the St. Louis Cardinals. Over the next three years, the Dodgers finished third, seventh and third, respectively. During World War II, many Dodger players were called to military duty.
With the end of the war in 1945, Brooklyn came back in 1946 and put together a big season, going 96-60, and finished tied for first with the St. Louis Cardinals. The two teams played the first-ever playoff series, but it was not a happy one for the Dodgers as the Cardinals won the pennant and went on to win the World Championship.
No playoff series was necessary in 1947 as the Dodgers won the National League pennant by five games over the Cardinals. That was not the only big story in 1947 as Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. In 1945, Robinson had signed a contract with Dodger President and General Manager Branch Rickey. In 1946, the former UCLA star endured his first year of professional baseball playing for the club's top minor league affiliate, the Montreal Royals.
In 1947, Robinson was given an opportunity with Brooklyn. Rickey's thorough research to find an exceptional African-American player was evident in his quote: "I'm looking for a ballplayer with enough guts not to fight back." He found his man in Robinson, who faced all forms of abuse and pressure. The more Robinson was taunted and threatened, the more he let his performance on the field speak for himself. Overcoming the critics and the prejudice, Robinson became one of the great stars of the game, later becoming the first African-American elected to the Hall of Fame. In his first season, Robinson hit .297, scored 125 runs and stole 29 bases en route to being the first-ever Major League Rookie of the Year.
In the 1947 World Series, the Dodgers fell to the Yankees in seven games, but there were two memorable moments for the Dodgers. Cookie Lavagetto broke up Bill Bevens' no-hitter in the ninth inning of Game 4 with a game-winning two-run double to give the Dodgers a 3-2 victory; and Al Gionfriddo's great catch of a Joe DiMaggio ball which preserved an 8-6 victory in Game 6.
Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Dodgers in 1948 after being suspended for the 1947 season. Durocher, though, lasted only half the season and was replaced by Burt Shotton, who guided the Dodgers in 1949 to their third pennant of the decade. Robinson was named the N.L. Most Valuable Player and pitcher Don Newcombe won Rookie of the Year honors. The Yankees, though, again defeated the Dodgers in the 1949 World Series.
In the 1950s, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team made its historic move to the West Coast in 1958. Despite the change in location, the Dodgers dominated the National League, winning five National League pennants (1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959) and World Championships in 1955 and 1959.
In eight of the 10 years, the Dodgers never finished lower than second place while winning 913 games, the most wins in a decade in Dodger history.
As the decade started, the Dodgers had a new president, Walter O'Malley, who was originally appointed as the club's attorney in 1941. In October of 1950, O'Malley became president and chief stockholder of the Dodgers, a position he would hold for 20 years.
O'Malley saw his team take back-to-back pennants in 1952 and 1953 under Manager Charlie Dressen. In 1953, the Dodgers won a club record 105 games with the well-known "Boys of Summer," including Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Jim Gilliam, Duke Snider, Preacher Roe and Clem Labine.
Walter Alston became manager in 1954 and guided the Dodgers for 23 seasons, putting together a great list of achievements: 2,042 wins, four World Championships, seven N.L. pennants, nine All-Star appearances and a Hall of Fame induction in 1983.
In 1955, the Dodgers defeated the Yankees and won their first-ever World Championship in a seven-game World Series. The Dodgers took Game 7 at Yankee Stadium as Series MVP Johnny Podres shut out the Yankees, 2-0.
The Dodgers repeated as National League champions in 1956 and once again faced the Yankees. In another heart-stopping World Series, the Yankees prevailed in seven games.
Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe made baseball history in 1956 when he became the first player to win Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season.
As the 1957 season rolled around, the team on the field was overshadowed by the publicity of the team's possible move to the West Coast. Since the early part of the decade, O'Malley had wanted to build a more modern stadium for his ballclub in Brooklyn. New York officials were unable to come up with a suitable site.
On October 8, 1957, O'Malley announced that after 68 seasons in Brooklyn, the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles. In a move to bring baseball to all parts of the country, the Giants also decided to relocate from New York to San Francisco. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, defeating the Giants, 6-5, before 78,672 fans at the Coliseum.
In their final season of the decade, the Dodgers, a team in transition, finished in a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Braves. Two days later, the Dodgers had the N.L. pennant as they swept the Braves in a best-of-three playoff.
The Dodgers then faced the Chicago White Sox in their fifth World Series of the 1950s. Using timely hitting and outstanding pitching, the Dodgers brought their first championship to Los Angeles and beat the Sox in six games. Larry Sherry was impressive, winning two games and saving two, earning MVP honors. Charlie Neal and Chuck Essegian had two home runs apiece.
The 1960s marked the first full decade of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The location changed, but the results didn't as the Dodgers won two World Series (1963 and 1965), three National League pennants (1963, 1965 and 1966) and just missed a fourth pennant in 1962.
In 1962, Walter O'Malley finally had the stadium he had been seeking for so many years. After four seasons at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the ballclub moved into its new home, Dodger Stadium. The 56,000-seat stadium opened on April 10, 1962 with a game against the Cincinnati Reds. The sparkling new venue did wonders for the Dodgers as they won a Los Angeles record 102 games and tied San Francisco, which won a playoff, two games to one.
Individually, the 1962 season was a success for pitcher Don Drysdale, the Cy Young Award winner; and speedster Maury Wills, who stole a record 104 bases en route to league MVP honors. Tommy Davis won the batting crown and posted a club record 153 RBI and pitcher Sandy Koufax led the N.L. in ERA.
The Dodgers didn't miss another opportunity in 1963 as they won the National League pennant. Winning 19 games in the final month of the season, the Dodgers staved off their challengers. Once again, the Dodgers faced the Yankees in the World Series, but Los Angeles shocked the Bronx Bombers, sweeping them in four games while holding a potent Yankee offense to just four runs.
Koufax was the key to the championship year. The overpowering left-hander, who was later named Player of the Decade, was 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts. He was selected Most Valuable Player and Cy Young winner, while also garnering World Series honors and was named to the All-Star team.
In 1965, the Dodgers were once again World Champions. After winning the pennant with a 97-65 record, the Dodgers won a hard-fought, seven-game World Series over the Minnesota Twins. Koufax was again masterful as he posted two complete game victories in the Series, including a 2-0 shutout in Game 7. The Dodgers followed up in 1966 with another big year as they once again won the National League pennant before losing to Baltimore in the World Series.
Like Koufax, Drysdale was another pitching great of the decade. He won 158 games for the Dodgers and was selected to the All-Star team seven times. Johnny Podres also continued his outstanding pitching in the 1960s with 68 victories, including an 18-5 mark in 1961. Ron Perranoski was the Dodger bullpen stopper, compiling 101 saves and 54 wins with the Dodgers from 1961-67. During the 1963 championship season, he was nearly unbeatable, going 16-3 with 21 saves and a 1.67 ERA.
Although the pitching was the mainstay of the team in the 1960s, the Dodgers did produce some outstanding hitters. Tommy Davis won two consecutive batting titles in 1962 and 1963 and had a lifetime .304 average with the Dodgers. The other Davis -- outfielder Willie Davis -- enjoyed 14 seasons with the Dodgers. The all-time leader in many offensive categories, Willie Davis posted a club-record 31-game hitting streak in 1969. From 1960-64, 6-foot-7 slugger Frank Howard provided the Dodgers with 121 home runs, including 31 in 1962.
John Roseboro, who joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957, played in three World Series during the 1960s (catching every inning) and was a five-time All-Star during his career.
After working as director of scouting for the Dodgers, Al Campanis was named Vice President, Player Personnel in December of 1968 and he would hold that position until 1987. During his tenure, the Dodgers won a World Championship, four N.L. pennants and six Western Division titles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1970s were a team of winners. Three National League pennants and three appearances in the World Series (1974, 1977 and 1978) along with 910 victories (second-best decade in Dodger history) are certainly enough credentials for a successful decade.
Peter O'Malley was named club president on March 17, 1970 and his father, Walter O'Malley, assumed the position of Chairman of the Board.
In the 1970s, no Dodger team ever finished lower than third. In 1971, the Dodgers finished just one game behind division winner San Francisco. But in 1974, the Dodgers reached the top, winning the division and posting 102 victories, the most by a Dodger team since 1962. The Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the League Championship Series, three games to one, to earn a trip to the Fall Classic for the first time in eight years.
After 23 years, Hall of Fame Manager Walter Alston retired and handed over the reins to Tommy Lasorda, who became only the second National League manager to win pennants in his first two seasons (1977 and 1978). The results were carbon copies as his teams in 1977 and 1978 defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the League Championship Series in four games, only to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in six games.
During this era, the Dodgers had an infield featuring first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, shortstop Bill Russell and third baseman Ron Cey. The foursome began playing as a unit in 1973 and would spend a record 8 1/2 seasons together.
In 1977, the Dodgers made history when four members of the team hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30). Behind the plate, catcher Steve Yeager was the picture of durability. One of the best Dodger catchers in history, Yeager played 14 seasons with the ballclub and was a tri-World Series MVP in 1981.
On the mound, the Dodgers had many stars. Don Sutton won 166 games during this decade, including a career-high 21 victories in 1976. In his final four seasons with the Dodgers from 1970-73, Claude Osteen won 66 games while Andy Messersmith won 55 games during his Dodger career (1974-76, 1979). Burt Hooton won 112 games in 10 years with the Dodgers, including 71 in the 1970s while left-hander Tommy John notched 87 wins and a 2.97 ERA in six years.
Out of the bullpen, the Dodgers looked to Jim Brewer in the early 1970s. In 1974, Mike Marshall became the first reliever in baseball history to win the Cy Young Award. The right-hander appeared in a record 106 games, had 21 saves and posted a 2.42 ERA. In the late 1970s, Charlie Hough and Terry Forster were the aces of the bullpen.
Throughout the 1980s, the Dodgers enjoyed one of their most successful decades in club history. The Dodgers captured two World Championships (1981 and 1988), four National League Western Division titles (1981, 1983, 1985 and 1988) and won 825 games, tying them with the St. Louis Cardinals for most victories by a National League team during the decade.
In 1980, Don Sutton set a Dodger record with his 52nd career shutout. The Dodgers also reached 3 million in home attendance for the second time in three years and hosted their first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Before a capacity crowd of 56,088, the National League beat the American League, 4-2. The All-Star Game also marked the debut of the Dodgers' new Dodger DiamondVision Board.
On Opening Day in 1981, rookie Fernando Valenzuela -- forced to start because of an injury to Jerry Reuss -- blanked the Astros, 2-0, at Dodger Stadium, which was the beginning of "Fernandomania." Valenzuela took the baseball world by storm in 1981. The 20-year-old from Mexico became the first rookie to win Cy Young Award honors and he helped the Dodgers win the World Series over the New York Yankees.
On September 30, 1982, Steve Garvey, cornerstone for the Dodgers at first base, played his final game for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Garvey had three hits in the game and moved into third place on the all-time list with 1,104 consecutive games played. Also in 1982, second baseman Steve Sax won Rookie of the Year honors.
In 1983, without longtime Dodgers Steve Garvey and Ron Cey, a young Los Angeles team won the division with 91 victories. Steve and Dave Sax made history as the only brothers to start a game for the Dodgers.
On April 25, 1985, Fernando Valenzuela set a Major League record for most consecutive innings at the start of a season without allowing an earned run (41) before the Padres ended the streak.
Two years later on September 16, 1987, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Dodger Stadium.
The 1988 season was the most memorable of the decade. Picked by some experts to finish fourth in their division, the Dodgers captured the Western Division and defeated the heavily favored New York Mets in the League Championship Series and Oakland Athletics in the World Series.
The 1988 World Series gave fans what was later voted as "The Greatest Sports Moment in Los Angeles History" when Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium. Gibson was later named league MVP.
During the decade, many other great names came to the forefront. Pitcher Orel Hershiser posted double-digits in wins in his six years as a starter, including his phenomenal 1988 Cy Young Award season when he hurled a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings, surpassing the previous mark of 58 2/3 innings by Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale in 1968.
Other significant Dodgers of the 1980s included second baseman Steve Sax, who played seven solid years for the Dodgers; catcher Mike Scioscia, who along with Valenzuela were the only Dodgers to play every year of this decade; infielder-outfielder Pedro Guerrero, who hit 169 home runs and drove in 575 runs; pitcher Bob Welch, who won 103 games and fanned over 1,100 batters; outfielder Kenny Landreaux, who enjoyed seven seasons with the ballclub; and outfielder Mike Marshall, who averaged 17 home runs in the last eight seasons.
The 1990s proved to be a series of ups and downs for the Dodgers. It also marked a change of ownership after the O'Malley family's control for nearly five decades. The Dodgers won a division title in 1995 and a wild-card playoff berth in 1996, but it marked the first decade since the 1930s that the ballclub did not make a World Series appearance.
After finishing second in 1990 and 1991, the Dodgers posted a club-record 99 losses en route to a last-place finish in 1992. The Dodgers rebounded to third place in 1993 and held a 3 1/2-game lead in 1994 when a strike halted the season and canceled plans for a trip to the Fall Classic. The Dodgers won the Western Division in 1995, but lost to Cincinnati in the Division Series in three games. The Dodgers and Padres were tied for first place on the final day of the season in 1996. Both teams met at Dodger Stadium, having already clinched playoff berths because of an expanded playoff format that included the second-place team with the best record in each league. The Dodgers lost, 2-0, and were later swept by Atlanta in the Division Series.
The 1990 season celebrated the Dodgers' 100th anniversary in the National League. The pitching staff led the Majors with 29 complete games and the Dodgers finished second to the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds. At age 22, right-hander Ramon Martinez became the youngest Dodger to win 20 games since Ralph Branca. Martinez also tied Sandy Koufax's club record with 18 strikeouts against the Braves on June 4 at Dodger Stadium. Martinez would later join Koufax as the only Dodger pitchers in history to throw both a no-hitter and strike out 18 batters in a game. Dodger shortstop Jose Offerman made his debut in 1990 as he became the 6th Dodger in history to hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat. "Fernandomania" also had one last hurrah as Fernando Valenzuela pitched his only career no-hitter on June 29 against St. Louis.
The exciting 1991 season featured a classic divisional race between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. During the final six weeks of the season, neither club held a lead of more than two games. The Braves finally edged Los Angeles on the final weekend of the season to win the crown by one game. The Dodgers were led by newcomers Darryl Strawberry, whose 28 home runs are the most by a left-handed batter in Los Angeles history; and Brett Butler, the center fielder who set a National League record with 161 errorless games. Bouncing back from shoulder surgery, Orel Hershiser went 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 1991.
During the 1990s, the Dodgers set a record with five consecutive National League Rookies of the Year: Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994), Hideo Nomo (1995) and Todd Hollandsworth (1996).
After belting 20 home runs as a rookie in 1992, Karros became a cornerstone to the Dodger offense in the 1990s. He played in more games than any other Dodger during the decade and his 242 home runs are atop the all-time Los Angeles list, as he surpassed Ron Cey (228) in 2000. Karros also became one of three players in Dodger history to record five or more seasons with at least 30 home runs.
Piazza spent 5 1/2 seasons in Los Angeles, rewriting the record book and placing his name alongside some of the most prolific hitting catchers in history. He set rookie records with 35 home runs and 112 RBI in 1993, including two home runs on the final day of the season as the Dodgers knocked the Giants out of the divisional race with a 12-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. Piazza later set Dodger single-season records in 1997 with a .362 batting average, 40 home runs and a .638 slugging percentage. The Dodgers traded Piazza to Florida in a blockbuster seven-player trade in 1998.
During the 1990s, Mondesi became one of the most productive outfielders in Dodger history. He is the only Dodger to record at least 30 steals and 30 home runs in the same season, having accomplished the 30-30 plateaus in 1997 and 1999. Mondesi also became the first two-time Gold Glove winner since Steve Garvey won four straight from 1974-77.
Nomo burst upon the Major League scene in 1995 after a successful career with the Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Japanese Professional League. As the first Japanese player to appear in the Majors since San Francisco's Masanori Murakami in 1965, Nomo went 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA and a league-leading 236 strikeouts. He also started the 1995 All-Star Game at Texas. In 1996, Nomo pitched his first career no-hitter at the most unlikely site in baseball -- Colorado's Coors Field -- a 9-0 victory on September 17.
In 1994, Chan Ho Park made history as he was the first South Korean-born player to pitch in the Major Leagues. Along with Darren Dreifort, they became the 17th and 18th players since the First-Year Player Draft began in 1965 to make their professional debuts in the Majors.
On March 19, 1998, Major League Baseball owners approved the sale of the Dodgers from the O'Malley family to The FOX Group. In October 1998, the Dodgers were named the "most successful organization in Major League Baseball during the 20th century" in a study conducted by Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Los Angeles finished first with a century performance index of 7.63 on a 10-point scale, based on a rating formula that evaluated the on-the-field and ticket window success of each of the 35 Major League teams that played at least 10 seasons from 1901-98. The Brooklyn Dodgers finished ninth with a 5.38 century performance index rating. The SportsBusiness Journal also calculated separate performance ratings for each decade in the 20th century, with the Dodgers topping the rankings in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The 1998 season marked the Hall of Fame induction of Jaime Jarrin, who became the second Spanish-language broadcaster named to the shrine. The Dodgers also retired the uniform No. 20 of Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, who became the 10th Dodger to have his number retired. The others are Pee Wee Reese (1), Tommy Lasorda (2), Duke Snider (4), Jim Gilliam (19), Walter Alston (24), Sandy Koufax (32), Roy Campanella (39), Jackie Robinson (42) and Don Drysdale (53).
In 1999, Hall of Famers Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda celebrated their 50th season with the organization. Scully, one of the most recognizable voices in baseball who has called three perfect games and 18 no-hitters during his career, was inducted into Cooperstown in 1982 as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award. Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1976-96, guided the Dodgers to World Championships in 1981 and 1988. He also became baseball's goodwill ambassador with his legendary "bleeding Dodger blue" stories. In 1997, Lasorda became only the 14th manager to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
With a crowd of 37,717 for the Dodgers-Braves game on April 20, Los Angeles surpassed the 100 million mark in home attendance since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. The Dodgers also surpassed the 3 million mark in attendance for the fourth consecutive season and 14th time overall, a Major League record. Since 1973, the Dodgers have also drawn at least 2 million fans for a record 27 consecutive seasons.
The Dodgers ended the century with a third-place finish in 1999. On the field, right-hander Kevin Brown anchored the starting rotation with 18 wins and Jeff Shaw led Los Angeles with 34 saves. Mark Grudzielanek's .326 average was the highest by a Dodger shortstop in history and outfielder Gary Sheffield joined Hall of Famer Duke Snider as the only Dodger to hit at least .300 in one season with 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs and 100 walks.
Following the 1999 season, Robert A. Daly, Chairman and Co-CEO of Warner Bros. and Warner Music Group since 1980, purchased a minority ownership stake in the Dodgers on October 28. Daly became Chairman and CEO to serve as the club's managing partner.
From 1900-99, the Dodgers posted an 8,061-7,361 record, the third-highest winning percentage (.523) among teams in the 20th century. Los Angeles also registered the best record (797-757) among National League West teams during the 1990s and ranked fourth in winning percentage (.517) among National League teams.
In addition to a winning tradition, the Dodgers played a major role among sports franchises throughout the 20th century. From Uncle Wilbert Robinson to Tommy Lasorda, a collection of unforgettable personalities and great moments fills Dodger scrapbooks with golden memories.
Manager Jim Tracy has called winning a process and through the first four seasons of the new decade and century, the Dodgers steadily improved, culminating in a National League West Division crown in 2004.
The 2000 season saw the Dodgers win 86 games with some explosive offense. The Dodgers set a club record for home runs with 211, led by Gary Sheffield who tied Duke Snider 1s single-season club mark of 43 home runs. For the second straight season, Sheffield hit better than .300, with at least 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 walks and 100 runs becoming the first Dodger ever to do so twice.
Eric Karros became the L.A. Dodger all-time leader with his 229th home run and Dave Hansen set a Major League record with seven pinch-hit home runs and breaking a club mark set in 1932 by Johnny Frederick.
On the mound, pitcher Kevin Brown became the first Dodger since 1984 to lead the league in ERA with a 2.58 ERA. Rookie Matt Herges who spent eight years in the minors, started the season 8-0, making him the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela to open the season with eight straight victories.
In 2001, the Dodgers turned over the managerial reins to Tracy, who had served as the bench coach the previous two seasons. Under Tracy, the Dodgers once again won 86 games but finished just six games behind the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
Shawn Green had his finest season as a Major Leaguer, belting a Dodger-record 49 home runs while also setting L.A. club marks for extra-base hits (84) and total bases (358). He became only the fifth left-hander in Major League history to hit at least 49 home runs in a season and only the fifth player to hit 40 or more home runs in both leagues.
Paul Lo Duca earned the starting spot as catcher for the first time in his career and didn't disappoint as he led the club with a .320 batting average to go along with 28 doubles, 25 home runs and 90 RBI.
On the mound, the Dodgers had to use 12 different starting pitchers over the course of the season. Jeff Shaw became the club's all-time leader in saves finishing with 129.
The 2002 season saw Dan Evans take over as the general manager of the club and in his first season, Evans saw his team win 92 games and not get officially eliminated from postseason play until the next to the last day of the season.
Green hit 42 home runs to become the first L.A. Dodger to have back-to-back seasons of 40 or more. Four of those home runs came in one game, May 23 at Milwaukee, tying a Major League record. In that game, Green set a Major League mark for total bases (19).
Eric Gagne who had shuttled back and forth from the bullpen to the starting rotation during his first three seasons in the Majors, found his niche as the closer in 2002 setting a club mark with 52 saves and earning a trip to the All-Star Game joining teammates Green and Odalis Perez and manager Tracy, who served as coach. Gagne, who was named National League Pitcher of the Month in June, became just the eighth reliever to record 50 or more saves.
Dodger fans continued to show their tremendous support as more than three million fans attended games in each of the first three seasons of the decade, extending their Major League record to a total of 17. In addition, the Dodgers recorded their 9,000th victory in the National League during the 2002 season.
The 2003 season saw the Dodgers make another run for a postseason berth as the Wild Card team, but they fell short, winning 85 games. It was the year of pitching as the Dodgers led baseball in numerous categories, including earned run average. Gagne became the first Dodger to earn the NL Cy Young Award since 1988 and only the ninth reliever in Major League history. The right-hander converted all 55 of his save opportunities and entered 2004 with 63 consecutive saves over a two-year period. Gagne had a 1.20 ERA in 77 games and struck out 137 batters in 82.1 innings.
In addition, Shawn Green set a new L.A. Dodger single-season record with 49 doubles and Paul Lo Duca had a 25-game hitting streak, the longest by a Dodger since 1986.
On Jan. 29, 2004, Major League Baseball unanimously approved the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt, opening up a new chapter in the history of the Dodgers. Paul DePodesta was named general manager, replacing Dan Evans, and quickly acquired center fielder Milton Bradley, just in time for Opening Day.
The Dodgers were led offensively by Adrian Beltre, who won a Silver Slugger Award for leading the Major Leagues with 48 home runs, which tied Mike Schmidt for the most by any third baseman in history and set the mark for most by any right-handed Dodger. Beltre's 376 total bases also surpassed the Los Angeles mark set by Green in 2001.
Gagne won his second consecutive National League Rolaids Relief Man championship after establishing the all-time Major League record with 84 consecutive saves. He set a big league record for saves over a three-year period, eclipsing the mark of 142 set by Dennis Eckersley (1990-92). Gagne also became the third MLB pitcher to notch 45 or more saves in three seasons and the only one to do it in consecutive campaigns.
Gold Gloves went to shortstop Cesar Izturis and center fielder Steve Finley as the Dodgers finished with the best fielding percentage in the Major Leagues.
The 2004 Dodgers won 93 games and captured the National League West Division title for the first time since 1995. Finley's walk-off grand slam to beat the Giants and clinch the division was the exclamation mark on a season that saw the Dodgers set a club record with 53 come-from-behind wins.
Non-roster invitee Jose Lima had the highlight of the postseason for Los Angeles by pitching a complete-game shutout against St. Louis at Dodger Stadium. The victory was the first postseason win for Los Angeles since they captured the World Series championship in 1988.
The Dodgers finished the 2005 season 71-91, their worst record since the 99-loss season of 1992. They finished in fourth place for the first time since 1993. They were 5 1/2 games back and in second place on Sept. 15, but lost 12 of their last 16 and ended 11 games behind the Padres. After the best start in franchise history (12-2), the roster was decimated by 24 disabling injuries and the club used 20 rookies.
In his first season as Dodger manager, Grady Little guided the club to a 88-74 record and a berth in the playoffs as the National League Wild Card. From July 27 through the end of the season, Los Angeles went 41-19, the best winning percentage of any team in baseball (.683). The Dodgers led the National League in attendance and set the single-season franchise record for attendance (3,758,545) as they surpassed the previous best of 3,608,881 from 1982.
The 2007 season was Grady Little's second and last at the helm. The Dodgers had the best record in the league through 100 games but wobbled down the stretch to finish fourth amid clubhouse turmoil that led to Little's resignation.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers had three All-Stars - catcher Russell Martin, starting pitcher Brad Penny and closer Takashi Saito. Martin won the Roy Campanella Award as most inspirational Dodger, while Penny was 16-4 and Saito had 39 saves.
Matt Kemp and James Loney emerged by batting .342 and .331, respectively, while Juan Pierre stole 64 bases.
Joe Torre arrived in 2008 and led an impressive turnaround, as the Dodgers fell seven games behind before rallying to win the division by two games. That put Torre in the postseason for the 13th consecutive season, all the others coming with the Yankees.
The Dodgers offense came alive after the All-Star break arrival of new hitting coach Don Mattingly. Of course, he enjoyed the additions of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake, the former unleashing the most amazing two months of offense the Dodgers have ever seen, the latter stabilizing the infield and the lineup. Ramirez hit .396 with a 1.232 OPS as the Dodgers reached the NLCS.
Chad Billingsley led the club with 16 wins while Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp established themselves as every-day outfielders and James Loney drove in 90 runs.
After opening their new Spring Training complex in Arizona, the Dodgers posted the best record in the league; for the first time since 1977-78 they won back-to-back division titles and reached the postseason for the third time in four years for the first time since 1963-66. That sent Joe Torre to his 14th consecutive postseason, tying Bobby Cox for the MLB record.
The Dodgers had the highest team batting average and lowest team ERA in the league. But the season will also be remembered for the 50-game suspension received by Manny Ramirez for violating the MLB drug agreement. Andre Ethier took over as the main run producer with 31 homers and 106 RBIs, with Matt Kemp adding 26 homers, 101 RBIs, 34 steals.
Although the club won 95 games, the leading winner was Chad Billingsley with a modest dozen. Clayton Kershaw checked in with his first full season in the rotation. Jonathan Broxton emerged as the closer with 36 saves.
The Dodgers in 2010 finished fourth with their first losing record in five years and it was enough to convince Joe Torre to step down and turn over the reins to protégé Don Mattingly. The team went 12 games below .500 after the All-Star break and Torre said the young nucleus needed a new, younger voice.
Four Dodgers went to the All-Star Game - Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Rafael Furcal. Ethier, however, battled after breaking a finger. A distracted Matt Kemp regressed. Broxton never seemed the same after a collapse against the Yankees. Furcal hit .300, but played only 97 games.
Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley swapped roles, as the lefty became the ace with a 2.91 ERA. Kuo put together one of the great seasons ever for a set-up man and Kenley Jansen, a converted catcher, came out of nowhere and was virtually unhittable.
The Dodgers rode an organizational roller coaster in 2011. The team was placed in bankruptcy protection and finished fourth for the second consecutive season, but Clayton Kershaw won the Cy Young Award and Matt Kemp just missed a batting Triple Crown and the MVP Award while playing for new manager Don Mattingly. Kershaw, Kemp and Andre Ethier were All-Stars and won Gold Glove Awards.
Kershaw and Kemp combined for the best pitching/hitting tandem since Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson in 1988. Kershaw led an efficient pitching staff, even though the bullpen had to be rebuilt on the fly after closer Jonathan Broxton was injured. Javy Guerra had 21 saves and fellow rookie Kenley Jansen broke the MLB record for strikeout frequency.
James Loney revived his career with a productive second half and the All-Star break acquisition of Juan Rivera jump-started the offense.
In 2012, the Dodgers went 86-76 and finished second in the NL West in their second season under manager Don Mattingly. It was the clubs sixth winning season in the last seven. The club finished 7-1 in the last eight games and missed the second Wild Card berth in the NL by two games.
The season was marked by the May 1 arrival of new ownership Guggenheim Baseball Management, headed by controlling partner Mark Walter and partners Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly and a subsequent cash infusion that led to bold in-season acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Brandon League, Joe Blanton, Randy Choate, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford.
Led by defending Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, the pitching staff ranked third in the Major Leagues in ERA and opposing batting average, but the offense struggled while centerpiece Matt Kemp battled injuries.
A.J. Ellis established himself as the starting catcher and Luis Cruz took charge of third base in two of the better developments of the season. But 50 players were used as 20 players spent at least one stint on the disabled list, 10 finished the season on the 60-day disabled list and 13 required operations.