L.A. Sports Franchises: Los Angeles Dodgers
March 30, 2011 1 Comment
World Series Titles: 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988 (6)
Retired Numbers: #1 Pee Wee Reese, #2 Tommy Lasorda, #4 Duke Snider, #19 Jim Gilliam, #20 Don Sutton, #24 Walter Alston, #32 Sandy Koufax, #39 Roy Campanella, #42 Jackie Robinson (retired league-wide), #53 Don Drysdale
Rivals: San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
In 1884 the team joined the American Association (AA) as the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. The AA folded in 1890 and the team switched to the NL as the Brooklyn Superbas. Under head coach Ned Hanlon, the Superbas won the NL pennants in 1899 and 1900, becoming the only franchise in MLB history to win pennants in different leagues in successive years.
From 1901 until 1916, the team saw various ups and downs. Hanlon’s desire to own the team never truly materialized. He put himself heavily in debt and even invested heavily for the construction of Ebbets Field, which would become the Dodgers’ home in 1913. Under Manager Wilbert Robinson, the Dodgers won pennants in 1916 and 1920, but lost both World Series, to Boston and Cleveland, respectively.
After an astounding 20 year pennant drought, the Dodgers rebounded in 1941.The following season, Branch Rickey was hired as president and general manager of the team. Rickey made history when he integrated the team after signing Negro League superstar Jackie Robinson in 1947. Robinson had an instant impact on the team. He, along with teammates Pee Wee Reese, Arky Vaughan, and Gil Hodges led the club to the 1947 pennant.
Robinson, Catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe became the powerhouse of the team in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. From 1949 to 1952, the Dodgers won six NL pennants with a World Series victory in 1955 against the Yankees.
In 1958, owner Walter O’Malley moved the club to Los Angeles. Manager Walter Alston led the franchise to their second World Series victory in 1959, and guided the program to four more pennants in the 1960’s and ‘70s.The Dodgers’ pitching staff during this era was invincible. This was a key factor in the Dodgers’ defeat of the Yankees in the 1963 World Series, and then the Minnesota Twins two years later, garnering the fourth title in franchise history.
The Dodgers’ winning ways were clear during the decades of success, as the franchise produced fantastic players such as Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, and Orel Hershiser.
In 1976, Future Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda became the team’s new manager. He managed the club for 22 seasons, leading it to four NL pennants and two World Series championships in 1981 and 1988. In 1992, the Dodgers finished the season in last place for the first time in 87 years of their existence. However, Lasorda’s squad rebounded in 1994, 1995, and 1996 to claim the division titles.
A remarkable fact that the Dodgers’ club can boast is that a Dodger won the Rookie of a Year awards for an unprecedented five uninterrupted seasons in the early to mid-90′s, those winners being Eric Karros, Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth. However, despite the talented young guns, the Dodgers’ program has not fared quite as well in the late regular season and postseason as they would like.
However, the Dodgers have recently been on an upswing. Led by some young, powerful bats and solid pitching, as well as an anchor in run-producing Manny Ramirez, a Dodgers resurgence could be on the horizon. Stay tuned tomorrow as we discuss what’s next!