On October 4, 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series at last, beating the New York Yankees 2-0. They’d lost the championship seven times already, and they’d lost five times just to the Yanks—in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. But in 1955, thanks to nine brilliant innings in the seventh game from 23-year-old lefty pitcher Johnny Podres, they finally managed to beat the Bombers for the first (and last) time.
The Dodgers had lost the first two games of the series at Yankee Stadium–it was the first time in history, in fact, that a team came back to win a seven-game World Series after losing the first two–and then won three in a row at home. The Yanks came back in the sixth, forcing a tiebreaking Game 7 in front of 62,465 fans in the Bronx.
In the fourth inning of the last game, Brooklyn got its first run when catcher Roy Campanella hit a double and Gil Hodges sent him home with a well-placed single. In the sixth, a Yankee error helped the Dodgers load the bases. Even though veteran pitcher Tommy Byrne had only given up three hits, manager Casey Stengel pulled him and sent in right-handed reliever Bob Grim—but that didn’t stop Hodges from knocking a long sacrifice fly to center field. Pee Wee Reese made it safely home, and the Dodgers were winning by 2.
And then, the game’s defining moment. At the bottom of the sixth, Podres walked Billy Martin and Gil McDougald outran a bunt to first, putting two on with nobody out. Then Yogi Berra sliced an outside pitch hard down the left-field foul line–a game-tying double, for sure, until backup outfielder Sandy Amoros came running out of nowhere, stuck out his glove and snagged the ball as he careened toward the stands. He wheeled and threw to shortstop Reese, who tossed it to Hodges at first, who caught McDougald off the bag by inches. The Yanks’ sure thing had soured into a game-killing double play.
The final triumphant out came on an Elston Howard grounder to Reese, the 38-year-old team captain who’d been around for all five of the Dodgers’ losses to their cross-town rivals. Reese scooped up the ball and fired low and wide to first, but somehow–as John Drebinger wrote in the Times the next day, “Gil would have stretched halfway across the Bronx for that one”–Hodges grabbed it in time to send Howard back to the dugout and end the game.
The 1955 series turned out to be the only one the Brooklyn Dodgers would ever win. They lost to the Yanks again the next year. The year after that, the team’s owner decided he’d rather play in a swank stadium in a nicer neighborhood, so he moved the team to California. The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the championship five times.
History of the Brooklyn Dodgers
The Brooklyn Dodgers were a Major League baseball team, active primarily in the National League (founded 1876) from 1884 until 1957, after which the club moved to Los Angeles, California, where it continues its history as the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team moved west at the same time as its longtime rival, the New York Giants, also in the National League, relocated to San Francisco in northern California as the San Francisco Giants. The team's name derived from the reputed skill of Brooklyn residents at evading the city's trolley streetcars. The Dodgers played in two stadiums in South Brooklyn, each named Washington Park, and at Eastern Park in the neighborhood of Brownsville before moving to Ebbets Field in the neighborhood of Crown Heights in 1913. The team is noted for signing Jackie Robinson in 1947 as the first black player in the modern major leagues. 
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&aposMalley, who was originally appointed as the club&aposs attorney in 1941. In October of 1950, O&aposMalley became president and chief stockholder of the Dodgers, a position he would hold for 20 years.
O&aposMalley 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&aposs possible move to the West Coast. Since the early part of the decade, O&aposMalley 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&aposMalley 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.
October 12, 1920: Cleveland Indians win their first World Series
The Brooklyn Robins were on the brink of elimination in the 1920 World Series. They were down four games to two against the Cleveland Indians. Their offense had sputtered the entire Series, scoring a measly eight runs in the first six games. Since the Series had moved to Cleveland three games ago, their bats had gone kaput, managing only two tallies. It was a rude awakening for a club that averaged over four runs a game during the regular season. Yet Brooklyn skipper Wilbert Robinson was still optimistic after his team lost a 1-0 decision in Game Six of the best five-of-nine Series. “Beat? I should say we’re not,” said Robby. “We haven’t been hitting and that’s the only trouble. We’re going out there tomorrow and smash into those Indians so hard they’ll wish they’d never seen a world’s series, and when we get back to Brooklyn, Cleveland won’t have a chance. I’ll pitch either Rube Marquard or Burleigh Grimes and either one of them can stop Cleveland.”1
Zack Wheat, the Robins’ star outfielder, concurred with Robinson. “We’ll hit from now on,” said Wheat. “If Coveleski pitches tomorrow we’ll drive him out of the box, despite his two victories.”2
Whether Robinson really considered Marquard to start Game Seven will never be known. Rube’s arrest before Game Four for scalping tickets to a Cleveland police detective was a huge distraction to the Brooklyn club. His subsequent appearance in Common Pleas Court was a painful reminder as well. (Marquard was fined $1.) Although he started Game One of the Series, he was removed from the rotation and moved to the bullpen. In the offseason, Marquard was traded to Cincinnati for Dutch Ruether.
Grimes had pitched two days earlier, in Game Five, but lasted only 3⅓ innings and took the loss after surrendering seven runs. He was given the ball by Robinson in Game Seven to keep Brooklyn’s hopes alive. Wheat got his wish, and Cleveland manager Tris Speaker countered with Stan Coveleski.
A new rule banned pitchers from using a foreign substance on the baseball or scuffing it. The1920 season was to be a year of transition so that the spitball pitchers could wean themselves from throwing it. However, the players who relied on the spitball as their “money” pitch lobbied to be able to continue to use the pitch. Seventeen of them, including Grimes and Coveleski, were allowed to employ the spitter until the sun set on their careers. (Grimes was the last legal spitball pitcher. He hurled until he was 41, his last stop being with Pittsburgh in 1934.)
The circus atmosphere had returned to Dunn Field on October 12, 1920. The crowd was thirsty for a world title, and to see it accomplished on their home turf. The biggest crowd of the Series, 27,525, pushed through the turnstiles in hopes of seeing history. It was a very warm, sunny autumn day in Cleveland. Elmer Smith was presented with an automobile and a diamond pin for his heroics in Game Five, when he hit a grand slam in the Indians’ 8-1 victory.
The Indians struck first in the fourth inning, when Larry Gardner got a base hit just past Pete Kilduff at second base. Speaker put on the hit and run, and Doc Johnston obliged with a single to right field, moving Gardner to third. Joe Sewell flied out to left field, but Gardner held his place. Tribe catcher Steve O’Neill stepped up to the plate. Grimes and catcher Otto Miller debated about issuing O’Neill a free pass to load the bases. But they decided on pitching to him. Cleveland put on the double steal, and Miller read the play all the way. Instead of firing to second base, he threw back to Grimes to hold Gardner at third. Grimes saw that Johnston was three feet off the bag. He wheeled and threw to Kilduff. But the throw went into center field and Gardner scored the first run easily.
The Indians scratched out another run in the fifth inning. Charlie Jamieson singled to third base, stole second, and scored on Speaker’s triple to right field. Meanwhile, Coveleski kept the Robins off the scoreboard. He registered only one strikeout through the first five frames, but he was in command. The Robins’ best opportunity to break through came in the third inning. With one away, Grimes singled. Ivy Olson, the former Cleveland Nap, sent one to short that Joe Sewell booted for an error. With runners on first and second, Jack Sheehan sent a grounder toward right that struck Olson. Sheehan was credited with a single, Olson was out, and Grimes was sent back to second base. Tommy Griffith flied out to end the inning.
Brooklyn threatened again in the top of the seventh inning. Ed Konetchy was credited with a single on a ball that Sewell knocked down but couldn’t make a play on it. Kilduff likewise sent a grounder in Sewell’s direction, but the youngster muffed it. Again the Robins had two men on, but there were two out. Bill Lamar pinch-hit for Miller and grounded out to end the inning.
Cleveland tacked on another run to take a 3-0 lead. Grimes pitched seven innings. He gave up four walks and struck out two. All in all, Grimes pitched well enough to put Brooklyn in a position to win. But Coveleski needed only 90 pitches to win the game, 3-0.
The Cleveland fans swarmed Dunn Field to congratulate their heroes. Brooklyn owner Charlie Ebbets congratulated the Indians at home plate and the celebration began in the “Fifth City.”
Coveleski, who had won Games One and Four, was tired but exuberant. “Two days’ rest isn’t enough for a fellow who uses the spitter as much as I do,” said Coveleski. “My arm was dead. It didn’t appear to me as if my spitter had the usual snap to it.
“Don’t overlook Steve O’Neill when talking about my pitching. It is great to pitch to a fellow like O’Neill. Seldom do I shake my head at his sign, yet I did it once this afternoon when Wheat was up and he hit the hardest drive of the game.”3
Wheat was writing a column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer to give readers an opposing view. The star outfielder, who had two of Brooklyn’s five hits in Game Seven, put the Series in context. “They beat us and they beat us fairly and squarely,” wrote Wheat. “Yesterday’s game was a good ball game, as games go, but it was all Coveleski’s. He is some pitcher and of the three games he pitched in the series, he worked best yesterday. Grimes worked well, too, but couldn’t win against the pitching that iron-armed Pole put up.
Looking back over the series, the work of Coveleski stands out as the feature surmounting any stunt plays such as triple plays or home runs.”4
Coveleski was 3-0, 0.67 for the Series. O’Neill and Charlie Jamieson led the team in hitting, each batting.333. Speaker (.320) and Elmer Smith (.308) were right behind them. Wheat (.333) and Olson (.320) starred for Brooklyn.
The next season the Indians broke out new uniforms, with “Worlds Champions” emblazoned across their tops. Unfortunately for the Tribe, that particular style was only fashionable for one year. They slipped to second place in the American League, 4½ games behind New York, in 1921. They would not appear in the fall classic again until 1948.
Robinson was replaced by Max Carey after the 1931 season, and with the change Brooklyn’s nickname switched back to Dodgers. Brooklyn returned to the postseason in 1941, against the New York Yankees, who proved to be a formidable opponent, defeating the Dodgers in six of seven World Series in which they faced each other from 1941 through 1956. Brooklyn’s one Series victory in that stretch was in 1955.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author used the Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org websites for material pertinent to this article.
1 “Robins Sure of Victory Today,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 12, 1920: 18.
1941 World Series: Brooklyn Dodgers versus New York Yankees
Brooklyn Dodgers 1941 World Series starting lineup
Photograph courtesy of Detroit Public Library Digital Collections / Ernie Harwell Sports Collection
In 1941, the Dodgers were still based in Brooklyn, which made their first World Series matchup with the Yankees the team’s first “subway series.” (However, in 1889, 14 years before NYC’s subway opened, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms had met up with the New York Giants in an American Association “trolley series.”) The Yankees had failed to make it to the World Series in 1940, but otherwise had been on a long winning streak. That resumed with the Yankees taking the championship in 1941–and the win cemented a rivalry between the Dodgers and Yankees that has continued for decades.
Dodgers History: The Brief Reign of the Brooklyn Superbas
The final two decades of the nineteenth century, which were also the first two full decades of major league baseball, featured four dynastic teams. Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings, the forebears of today’s Cubs, won five pennants from 1880-86. The American Association’s St. Louis Browns, led by manager/first baseman Charlie won four straight pennants from 1885-88 and beat the NL’s White Stockings in the 1886 World Series. They would later join the National League and become the Cardinals. The Boston Beaneaters, now the Braves, book-ended the 1890s with five pennants under the guidance of manager Frank Selee and behind the workhorse pitching of Kid Nichols. In between, the NL’s Baltimore Orioles won three straight pennants and posted a winning percentage of .658 or better every year from 1894-98.
Of those four teams, the Orioles loom largest in the modern imagination for three reasons. The first is that, under manager Ned Hanlon, they pioneered a more team-oriented style of play, which would dominate the ensuing decades. Hanlon and the Orioles didn’t invent the hit-and-run, sacrifice bunting, or backing up other fielders, but they brought all of the above to a new level of prominence. They also bent and broke the rules at every opportunity afforded to them by the fact that the lone umpire then tasked with officiating National League games could only look at one thing at a time. They cut corners on the bases, obstructed runners, and hid extra balls in the outfield so their outfielders could get a throw back in with artificial quickness. They also employed a groundskeeper to alter the field to their advantage, including pouring concrete under the dirt in front of home plate to assist with the Baltimore chops that would ever-after bear their city’s name. As such shenanigans might suggest, the Old Orioles, as they would be known in the twentieth century, also shed whatever decorum remained from the game’s origins as a gentleman’s pastime. Demonstrative in celebration and complaint, they were not above verbally and physically abusing umpires, opponents, and, if necessary fans.
The second reason that the memory of the Orioles endures is that the team’s hyper-competitive approach to the game—with some, but not all, of the roughest edges sanded off—was carried forward into the twentieth century by a managerial tree that began with Hanlon and Baltimore’s irascible third baseman John McGraw and extended through, among others, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, and Lou Piniella, the last of whom managed through the 2010 season. Current Reds skipper David Bell, who played for three-plus years under Piniella in Seattle and led the NL in ejections as a rookie manager in 2019, arguably brings that continuum up to the present day.
What elevates the Orioles from history to curiosity, however, is the fact that the franchise didn’t survive its greatest decade. The Orioles won 96 games in 1898, posted a .581 winning percentage in 1899, and then they were gone. Born in the American Association in 1882, the Orioles spent just eight seasons in the National League, were good or great in the last six of them, then ceased to be. Unlike the White Stockings, Browns, and Beaneaters, they left no descendant. The original American League Orioles, who moved to New York to become the Yankees in 1903, bore no official relation, and the modern Orioles are the relocated American League St. Louis Browns, which themselves came into existence as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1901. The current franchise is related to neither of the nineteenth century dynasties nor the modern expansion team whose names it has shared. The Old Orioles are thus not an official part of any modern team’s history.
If any team could claim them, however, it would be the Dodgers. By the end of the 1898 season, the Dodgers were in financial straits coming off a span of three losing seasons during which two of their four owners, Joseph Doyle and Charles Byrne, died and a third, George Chauncey, sold his shares to Ferdinand Abell, the remaining principal, and rising team executive Charles Ebbets. The Orioles were still winning, but had lost the last two pennants to Boston. Both teams saw their attendance drop dramatically in 1898, the year of the Spanish-American War. The Orioles drew less than half as many fans that year as in 1897.
As there was no rule against owning stakes in multiple teams back then, the owners of the two clubs, Abell in Brooklyn and Harry Von der Horst in Baltimore, came upon a solution to their mutual misery: syndicate ownership. Abell and Von der Horst struck a deal that gave each approximately 40 percent ownership of each club, with Baltimore manager Hanlon and Brooklyn team president Ebbets splitting the remainder. To maximize their revenues, the syndicate then combined the assets of the two clubs to constitute a winner, led by Hanlon, in Brooklyn, the larger of the two markets.
In a single March 1899 transaction, the syndicate reassigned nine Orioles players to Brooklyn, including future Hall of Famers Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, and Joe Kelley, right-handers Jay Hughes and Doc McJames, who would combine for 47 wins that season, and first-baseman Dan McGann. The move also sent shortstop Bill Dahlen, a defensive whiz who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, to Brooklyn less than two months after the Orioles had acquired him in a legitimate trade with Chicago. During the 1899 season, Brooklyn made a pair of trades with Washington to add catchers Duke Farrell and Deacon McGuire and third baseman Doc Casey. Four of the five players dealt in those two trades, McGann among them, had been Orioles prior to the merger.
Piling that talent on top of incumbent ace Brickyard Kennedy, workhorse Jack Dunn, second baseman Tom Daly, and centerfielder Fielder Jones, Brooklyn rocketed from a tenth-place finish in 1898 to a then-record 101 wins and the pennant in 1899, besting the resurgent Beaneaters by eight games. The local press dubbed the super-charged Brooklyn club the Superbas, taking the name from a contemporary acrobatics exhibition called “Superba” (think Cirque du Soleil) staged by the Hanlon Brothers, no relation to skipper Ned but the association certainly intended.
The Superbas lived up to their new name, but the writers could just as legitimately have called them the Orioles. Indeed, the Superbas looked more like the 1890s Orioles than anything we𠆝 recognize as the Dodgers. At home, their uniforms were white with red accents. The only distinguishing mark between their blank white pillbox cap down and their red socks was a red Old English B on the left breast of their collared shirts. The Dodgers’ blue wouldn’t arrive until 1902, the Brooklyn B not until 1909.
Still, the syndicate had not transplanted the Orioles wholesale. McGraw and catcher Wilbert Robinson both refused to move to Brooklyn as they had a thriving sports bar in Baltimore called the Diamond Café, which generated a significant portion of their income. Ironically, both would be key figures in the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in the next century. Jennings, the Orioles’ best player during their heyday in part thanks to his superlative play at shortstop, effectively left his throwing arm in Baltimore, suffering an injury that forced a move to first base.
However, syndication set the stage for contraction. The Browns consumed the Cleveland Spiders after the 1898 season, becoming the Perfectos and leaving Cleveland to suffer through a still unmatched 20-134 season. The Pirates, who acquired their name from a contentious player transaction at the start of the decade, were in the process of pilfering Louisville Colonels. With the Superbas siphoning off the Orioles’ best players, the league opted to fold its Cleveland, Louisville, Washington, and Baltimore franchises after the 1899 season.
As a result, Brooklyn added more Baltimore talent for 1900, most notably Hall of Famer Joe McGinnity, righty Frank Kitson, young outfielder Jimmy Sheckard and swing-man Harry Howell, both of whom had been sent in the other direction the year before. Led by the submarining McGinnity, who topped the league with 28 wins and 343 innings pitched, taking on the nickname “Iron Man” both for having worked in an iron foundry the previous offseason and for winning five games in a six-day stretch mid-season, the Superbas repeated as NL champions in 1900, besting the Pirates by 4 1/2 games.
The reign of the Superbas ended almost as quickly as it started, and by similar means. Prior to the 1901 season, Ban Johnson’s Western League was reborn as the American League, a new major league to rival the NL, and declared war on the senior circuit, poaching players at an alarming rate. The Superbas lost McGinnity and Howell to the AL’s new Orioles, centerfielder Jones to the White Sox, and regular third baseman Lave Cross to the new Philadelphia Athletics. To make matters worse for Brooklyn, Johnson chose to leave the Pirates intact in an effort to unbalance the rival league and shift its center of power away from New York.
It worked. The Superbas were still good in 1901, benefitting from the maturation of Sheckard and righty Wild Bill Donovan, but they finished a distant third, 9 1/2 games behind the Pirates, who, led by former Louisville Colonel Honus Wagner, would win three straight NL pennants. After the 1901 season, Kelley jumped to the new Orioles, second baseman Daly jumped to the White Sox, and catcher McGuire jumped to the Tigers. In 1902, Brooklyn finished in second place, but a whopping 27 1/2 games behind Pittsburg (which went without an H from 1891 to 1911). That winter, Donovan and Kitson jumped to the Tigers, Keeler jumped to the relocated Orioles in New York, centerfielder Cozy Dolan jumped to the White Sox, and catcher Duke Farrell jumped to the AL’s Boston franchise. In 1903, Brooklyn sank to fifth place. The team wouldn’t finish higher until the middle of the next decade. The Old Orioles were all gone, and so were the Superbas.
World Series history: Dodgers are looking for title No. 7, while the Rays hope for their first
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The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays will meet in the 2020 World Series.
The Dodgers will be looking for its seventh World Series title after beating the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Los Angeles is in its third World Series in the last four years but has not won the title since 1988.
The Rays are looking for their first World Series title in franchise history after beating the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. Tampa Bay was in the World Series in 2008 but lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Both teams will be trying to make their marks on history.
No team has come close to the dominance in the World Series like the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have the most World Series titles out of any MLB franchise with 27. The St. Louis Cardinals have the second most with 11 and the Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox each have nine.
The Washington Nationals are the most recent World Series champs. But they failed to make the playoffs in the coronavirus pandemic-shortened season.
Read below for a look back at past winners.
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto helped the team to a World Series in 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The World Series in the 2010s saw some long streaks being broken. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. The Kansas City Royals won the World Series for the first time since 1985. The Washington Nationals won the title for the first time ever. The San Francisco Giants won three titles in five years. The New York Yankees didn’t win in the decade – the first time that’s happened since the 1980s.
2019: WASHINGTON NATIONALS
2014: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
2012: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
2010: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
David Ortiz helped break the 'Curse of the Bambino.' (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The New York Yankees capped the 2000s with their 27th World Series championship — the team's first since 2000. The Boston Red Sox took home their first title since 1918 in 2004, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. The Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks also took home championships in the decade.
2008: PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
2001: ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Derek Jeter etched himself into Yankees history in the 1990s. (Getty Images)
The Yankees and the Atlanta Braves dominated the 1990s. Atlanta won the Series in 1995 and won the National League Championship Series in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1999 but only have the one ring to show for it. The Yankees took home three titles in four years and then won in 2000. The Marlins won their first World Series in 1997 over the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds started the decade with a title over the Oakland A’s. The Toronto Blue Jays won back-to-back titles – the first Canadian team to win.
The Athletics and Giants played in the Bay Area series, which had a terrifying earthquake interrupt play for a bit. The New York Mets added to the Boston Red Sox’s headaches with a dramatic victory in 1986. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the only team to win the World Series twice in the 10-year period.
1980: PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
The Athletics dominated the 1970s, winning three consecutive titles from 1972 to 1974. The Reds and the Yankees also won back-to-back titles in the era. Dynasties were born in this era.
Tom Seaver pitched for the Mets in 1969. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
The “Miracle” Mets capped off the 1960s with the franchise’s first-ever World Series. The 1969 Mets were the first team to win the National League Championship Series to get to the World Series. Before that, the best teams in the league would just go head-to-head for the World Series. The Yankees and Dodgers each had two World Series victories in the decade.
Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees celebrate winning the 1950 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
The Yankees reigned supreme in the 1950s. From 1950 to 1954, the Yankees were World Series champions and they won the title again in 1956 and 1958. New York really set the bar for what the organization would expect year in and year out.
It was more of the same in the 1940s. The Yankees and Cardinals were the top teams in baseball. New York won four times and the Cardinals won three times.
Lou Gehrig was on some of the best Yankees teams. (AP)
The Yankees finished the 1930s winning the final four World Series of the decade. The Yankees won five World Series titles in the 1930s. The Cardinals also had two titles in the decade.
1930: PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS
The Yankees won their first World Series in 1923 with Babe Ruth, Wally Pipp and Herb Pennock on the team. The team would win three titles in that decade. The New York Giants also had two titles.
1929: PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS
The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth's contract to the Yankees. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
The Red Sox dominated the 1910s. Boston won four World Series titles including their last one in 1918. It would take until 2004 for them to win a title again and legend had it was because the team sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Whether it was true or not, “The Curse of the Bambino” paid enormous dividends for the Red Sox and the Yankees.
The league was also plagued by the Black Sox Scandal in the 1919 World Series which accused eight players, including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson of throwing the World Series. All men involved were banned from baseball
1913: PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS
1911: PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS
1910: PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS
There was no Major League Baseball World Series prior to the 1903 season. National League teams would either play each other or American Association teams. From 1884 to 1892, the Providence Grays, St. Louis Browns, Detroit Wolverines, New York Giants, and Boston Americans would all be champions before the 1903 game.
The Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 in a best-of-eight-games series. The next World Series would be played in 1905.
Dodgers won first World Series title in 1955
The Brooklyn Dodgers won their first National League pennant in 1941, before losing to the New York Yankees. It was the beginning of the Dodgers-Yankees rivalry.
During the next 13 years, the Dodgers won the pennant four times, but then fell painfully each time to the hated Yankees. In 1955, the club finally had its breakthrough.
Led by the first Black player of the modern era in Jackie Robinson and three-time NL MVP Roy Campanella, the Dodgers managed to overcome their rivals to win the organization’s first World Series title in seven games. It turned out to be the club’s only title in Brooklyn.
1955 World Series Champion Brooklyn Dodgers
1955 World Series Champs! After years of frustration, the Dodgers finally win it all!
1955 Record: 98-55, 1st place Won National League Pennant
Postseason: Won the World Series over the New York Yankees, 4-3
Manager: Walter Alston
All-Stars: Roy Campanella, C (Campanella was selected but replaced by Stan Lopata of Philadelphia) Gil Hodges, 1B Don Newcombe, P Duke Snider, OF
Home Games played at: Ebbets Field
1955 World Series Championship Season Recap:
Perhaps the most memorable and satisfying season in Brooklyn Dodger history took place in 1955, as the skeletons of the previous 65 seasons were finally removed from the closet. Finally, this was next year and the wait was over. The Dodgers easily won the National League race by 13 1/2 games, as they started the season by winning 10 straight games and then went to 22-2. The Dodgers had the earliest National League Pennant-clinching in history on Sept. 8, 1955. They lost nine of their last 15 games following the clinch. Roy Campanella led the Dodgers with a .318 batting average with 32 home runs and 107 RBI to win his third National League Most Valuable Player Award.
After losing to the Casey Stengel-managed New York Yankees in the first two games of the World Series, the Dodgers charged back to win four of the next five. They were the first team in history to win a seven-game World Series after losing the first two games. The Dodgers lost 6-5 in Game 1, despite Jackie Robinson’s controversial eighth-inning steal of home plate. Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford and catcher Yogi Berra thought they had nailed Robinson, but a film showing the play reinforces that his foot touches the right side of the plate before the tag.
Left-hander Tommy Byrne pitched a 4-2 complete game against the Dodgers to put the Yankees up two games to none. Johnny Podres, pitching on his 23rd birthday on Sept. 30, defeated the Yankees at Ebbets Field in Game 3, 8-3.
In Game 4, home runs by Duke Snider, Campanella and Gil Hodges powered the Dodgers to an 8-5 win to even the Series. The Dodgers surged ahead with a Game 5 win, 5-3, as Snider hit two home runs off Bob Grim, becoming the first player to hit four home runs in two different World Series. Snider stepped on a sprinkler head at Yankee Stadium and had to come out of Game 6 and the Dodgers lost, 5-1, to Ford.
In the Game 7 finale, Johnny Podres was to face left-hander Byrne. Podres, who had said, “Just get me one run today. That’s all I’ll need. Just one” was true to his word. However, the Dodgers got him two runs, both off Gil Hodges’ bat. Alston decided to insert Sandy Amoros as the left fielder to shore up the defense in the sixth inning. In what was maybe his wisest move of the season, Alston watched the Yankees get runners on first and second with Berra at the plate. To Alston’s amazement, Berra sliced one down the left-field line and Amoros, who was a left-hand thrower, raced full speed over to the line and reached out his glove to barely flag the drive, assuredly preventing a double. Amoros got the ball back to Pee Wee Reese at shortstop who threw to Gil Hodges at first to complete a double play. It is still considered one of the greatest catches in World Series history because it shut down the mighty Yankees’ threat and they were not heard from again in the game. Podres jumped for joy when he blanked the Yankees 2-0 and the Dodgers became World Champions on Oct. 4, 1955 at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 62,465.
Later, though, Podres and his father hugged and shed tears in the clubhouse. For his 2-0 record, two complete games and 1.00 ERA, Podres was named World Series MVP. The battered and bruised Borough of Brooklyn, with its second-class complex, finally was able to rejoice in their first and what turned out to be their only World Championship. A riotous and euphoric celebration continued throughout the night in Brooklyn and phone lines were jammed after the win.
Another smaller celebration took place in little Darrtown, OH, hometown of Manager Alston as an impromptu parade of cars and trucks drove down Main Street with horns blaring. After having lost in the previous seven World Series appearances — 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953 — the Dodgers were finally victorious. The Dodgers had changed personnel in left field and at third base from the 1954 campaign. Robinson played both positions, while Don Zimmer and Amoros, both promoted from Montreal, contributed heavily. Zimmer played second, third and shortstop, while Amoros was in left field part-time and made “The Catch.”
Don Newcombe jumped out to an 18-2 record on July 31, but finished the season with a 20-5 record, after winning two of his last seven starts. Clem Labine was 13-5, pitching 52 of 60 games in relief. Sandy Koufax, a bonus baby signing by Dodger scout Al Campanis, was 2-2 in his debut season for Brooklyn, including two shutouts. Walter O’Malley was named Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News.
1947 Brooklyn Dodgers
The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers won the National League pennant and took the 1947 World Series to seven games before bowing to the New York Yankees. However, the team is perhaps most famous for Rookie of the Year Jackie Robinson, who integrated major league baseball when he took the field on Opening Day. He was also fifth in the MVP voting. He hit .297 with a .383 OBP and 125 runs scored, which was second-best in the league. He led the league in stolen bases.
Leo Durocher was the team's manager in spring training and quickly saw Robinson's value as a player, inserting him in the starting line-up at first base (the Dodgers were already set in the middle infield with Pee Wee Reese as shortstop and Eddie Stanky at second). However, just before the start of the season, Commissioner Happy Chandler suspended him for one year for "actions detrimental to baseball" (being seen hanging out with known gamblers). That left GM Branch Rickey in a quandary, as he had no other manager lined up. Coach Clyde Sukeforth agreed to take the reins in the interim, but only until a new manager was found. That lasted for only two games, including the historic Opening Day when Robinson made his debut. Rickey then made a very surprising choice, picking an old friend, Burt Shotton, who had not managed since the 1930s (and had not been particularly successful then). A mild-mannered man who shunned conflict, he managed in street clothes, like Connie Mack, and was thus prohibited from coming onto the field to talk to his players or to argue with umpires. Shotton had started his major league managing career in 1928, and would go on to manage the Dodgers' 1949 pennant winner as well.
The Dodgers played badly in May and as of the middle of June were in fourth place. However, they recovered to win 18 games in June. They were in first place to stay by the end of June and had a very strong July, going 25-8. The St. Louis Cardinals, who had won the 1946 World Series, finished in second place in 1947.
The highest batting average on the team (for players with at least 100 at-bats) was 35-year-old backup Arky Vaughan, who hit .325. He was also the second-oldest player on the team, behind Dixie Walker. Vaughan had a higher OBP and SLG than any of the regulars. Walker and Pete Reiser had the highest OBP's on the team among regulars at .415 while Pee Wee Reese was close at .414.
The team slugging percentage was .384, fifth in the league, and Carl Furillo was the regular with the highest SLG, although Robinson and Reese tied for the team lead in homers with 12. Walker and Robinson had the most doubles, with 31, while rookie Spider Jorgensen and catcher Bruce Edwards tied for the most triples with 8. Walker had the most RBI with 94.
Ralph Branca was the star pitcher with a record of 21-12, while Joe Hatten went 17-8. Reliever Hugh Casey went 10-4 with 18 saves.
Erv Palica and Tommy Brown, both 19, were the youngest players on the team and both would stay with the team in future years. A couple of other young players, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges, each had fewer than 100 at-bats as they looked for playing time.
THE PLAY THAT BEAT THE BUMS THE 1941 WORLD SERIES, BETWEEN THE BROOKLYN DODGERS AND THE NEW YORK YANKEES, TURNED ON A DROPPED THIRD STRIKE
In all of baseball history few seasons have been the equal of
1941 for sustained drama and majestic achievement, and none has
matched its improbable conclusion. Author Robert Creamer called
it simply "the best baseball season ever."
It was a season played under the deepening shadow of World War
II, which the U.S. would enter two months after the final game
of the World Series. It was the year that the New York Yankees&apos
Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games and the Boston Red Sox&apos
Ted Williams batted .406, feats of prolonged excellence
unsurpassed in the ensuing 56 years. It was the year the
Brooklyn Dodgers became part of American folklore. Finally, it
was the year that the pivotal game of the World Series was won
after the last out was called. That alone would give the &apos41
season a kind of goofy immortality.
But the events preceding that fantastic denouement were in
themselves extraordinary. Not the least of them was the
miraculous transformation of the Dodgers from the laughable
losers of the previous two decades to the beloved Bums of
legend. The Dodgers hadn&apost won a National League pennant since
1920, and they lost the World Series that year in part because
of an unassisted triple play. The 1920 season was followed by
nearly 20 years of unalloyed mediocrity: two seventh-place
finishes (in an eight-team league) and 10 sixth places,
including five in succession from 1925 through 1929. These
Brooklyn teams did, however, lose with a certain panache. These,
after all, were the Dodgers of Babe Herman, Dazzy Vance and Van
Lingle Mungo, players whose eccentricities earned them the merry
sobriquet Daffiness Boys.
Dodgers fortunes began to swing upward in 1938 with the hiring
as executive vice president of Larry MacPhail, a tempestuous but
imaginative executive who had introduced night baseball to the
major leagues during his tenure as general manager of the
Cincinnati Reds. In 1939 MacPhail hired as Brooklyn&aposs manager
the equally uproarious Leo (the Lip) Durocher. Through trades
and purchases these two rogues began building a team that would
lead the borough out of the baseball boondocks. Dolph Camilli,
Mickey Owen, Pete Reiser, Pee Wee Reese, Billy Herman, Whitlow
Wyatt, Ducky Medwick, Dixie Walker and Kirby Higbe all reached
Flatbush from the outside world.
The Dodgers finished a surprising third in 1939 and an even more
surprising second in &apos40. In &apos41 they created a legend. Years
earlier a voluble fan known as Abie the Truck Driver had been
addressing players from his seat in the second deck above third
base as "youse bums." It was not a term of affection. When
Durocher&aposs Dodgers started winning, it quickly turned into one.
Bums became the team&aposs unofficial nickname, and cartoonist
Willard Mullin created their insignia with his drawing of a
charmingly tattered bum who looked more than a little like the
famous clown Emmett Kelly.
The Bums, playing with a fury characteristic of their manager,
stormed through the National League with flashing spikes, edging
the St. Louis Cardinals by 21/2 games to win the pennant. They
set a franchise record with 100 wins. Camilli, a heavily muscled
power hitter who was also an uncommonly graceful fielder at
first base, led the league in home runs with 34 and in RBIs with
120 and was named the National League&aposs Most Valuable Player.
(DiMaggio, like Camilli, an Italian-American from San Francisco,
was the American League MVP.) Reiser, the fiery Pistol Pete who
tried unsuccessfully to run through outfield walls in pursuit of
fly balls, led the league in hitting (.343), doubles (39) and
triples (17). Both Wyatt and Higbe won 22 games. Medwick hit
.318, Walker .311.
"No one man carried our club," says Camilli. "We all had great
Now all the Brooklyn Bums had to do was beat the Bronx Bombers
in the World Series. The Yankees, too, were on a mission in &apos41.
Unaccountably, they had surrendered their proprietary claim on
the American League pennant the previous year to the Detroit
Tigers. Stunned by this event and inspired by the courageous
fight for life of former teammate Lou Gehrig (he died in
midseason at age 37), the Yankees played with much of their old
fervor, winning 101 games and finishing 17 ahead of the
second-place Red Sox. Their peerless outfielders, DiMaggio,
Tommy Henrich and Charlie Keller, all hit 30 or more homers.
"The Yankees then had great pride, great dignity," says Henrich.
But they were too coldly efficient to match in popularity a
Dodgers team that had been clasped to the national bosom.
"Rooting for the Yankees," it was said, "is like rooting for
U.S. Steel." So there was considerable resentment among these
proud warriors of their suddenly lovable opponents from that
other borough. And the Yankees had an abiding distaste for
Durocher&aposs ruthless tactics. "He was the kind of guy who&aposd run
over you to win," says Henrich. "We just didn&apost want to lose to
The Yankees beat Durocher in the first game of the Series at
cavernous Yankee Stadium. Ever the gambler, the Lip took a
chance on 38-year-old Curt Davis as his starter. The surprise
move didn&apost pay off, although Davis pitched well enough in a 3-2
loss to Yankees ace Red Ruffing. The Dodgers won the second game
by the same score behind Wyatt, who went the distance despite
giving up nine hits and five walks. The game was notable for a
hard slide by Owen in the fifth inning that upended the Yankees&apos
tiny rookie shortstop, Phil Rizzuto. "He must have gone 10 feet
out of his way to smack Phil down," said an angry DiMaggio after
the game. So Owen joined Durocher as a bete noir to the Yankees.
New York would soon exact terrible revenge on the Brooklyn
The oddities and ironies that were so characteristic of this
Series began to assert themselves in the third game, at Ebbets
Field before a riotous crowd described by Red Smith, then a
columnist for the Philadephia Record, as "curious creatures that
are indigenous to Flatbush." For seven innings this game was a
scoreless pitching duel between the Dodgers&apos 40-year-old "Fat
Freddie" Fitzsimmons and the Yankees&apos Marius Russo, who was, of
all things, a Brooklyn native.
In the seventh inning, the final Yankees out was anything but
routine: Russo himself smacked a vicious line drive to the
mound, and the ball struck Fitzsimmons just above the left knee
with such force that it rebounded directly into shortstop
Reese&aposs glove without touching the ground. Fitzsimmons, who had
pitched masterfully, was helped off the field. "I don&apost think
the Yankees would have touched him the rest of the way if he&aposd
been able to stay in there," says Camilli of Fat Freddie.
Hugh Casey, who had won 14 games that season and saved seven,
came on in relief and gave up two runs on four straight hits in
the eighth inning. The Dodgers scored a run in their half of the
eighth, but Russo held on for a 2-1 win. All three Series games
had been decided by a single run.
Despite or maybe because of their similarities in temperament,
Durocher and MacPhail had an uneasy relationship. MacPhail had
fired his manager numerous times during the season, usually late
in an evening of serious tippling by MacPhail, only to rehire
him in the clear light of morning. Casey&aposs shoddy relief
performance had given MacPhail further cause for displeasure,
since he was convinced Durocher had not given the pitcher time
enough to warm up properly. But the Lip, faced with another
dismissal, held his ground. "There is a thin line between genius
and insanity," he once remarked. "In Larry&aposs case it&aposs sometimes
so thin you can see him drifting back and forth." Durocher
expressed renewed faith in his bullpen ace.
Casey himself was a most unusual character, even for a Dodger.
Supremely confident on the mound, mainly because of his dazzling
curveball, he was shy and moody off the field, "two different
guys in one," said the Yankees&apos Henrich. Casey was also a heavy
drinker, a common failing among ballplayers of his day. And he
was physically very tough, mean when he had to be.
Higbe started for the Dodgers in what was for them a must-win
fourth game. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up three runs
on six hits. Casey came into the game with two outs and the
bases loaded in the fifth inning, in relief of Johnny Allen. The
batter was Joe Gordon, the hitting star of the Series thus far
with a .625 average. The ordinarily raucous Dodgers fans held
their collective breath. But Casey was equal to this occasion,
inducing Gordon to fly out to end the inning. He then pitched
flawlessly into the ninth as his teammates staked him to a 4-3
lead, the go-ahead run scoring on Reiser&aposs two-run homer in the
Victory was clearly in sight as Casey retired Johnny Sturm and
Red Rolfe on infield grounders in the Yankees&apos half of the
ninth. The maligned reliever was, wrote Smith, "making a hollow
mockery of the vaunted Yankee power." He worked the count to
three balls and two strikes on the dangerous Henrich. Dodgers
fans were on their feet howling for the final out. Casey was but
"one pitch short of complete redemption for his sins," wrote
Smith. Catcher Mickey Owen called for his pitcher&aposs surefire
At first base Camilli was ready to rush the mound and embrace
his pitcher in joyous celebration of this heroic performance.
Camilli is 90 now, living in suburban San Francisco. Tanned and
fit, he swam daily in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay
until he was sidelined by a recent illness. The &apos41 Series
remains for him unforgettable.
Henrich lives in Prescott, Ariz.--"God&aposs country," he calls it.
He&aposs 84 but, like Camilli, looks years younger. He can recount
the events of 1941 as if they occurred yesterday.
"I knew that Casey had a very good high curve, and that&aposs a
pitch that always gave me trouble," Henrich recalls. "Couldn&apost
hit it for the life of me. And so here I am with two strikes on
me, and here it comes. It was a beauty, one of the best and
craziest curveballs I&aposve ever seen. It was definitely not a
spitter, as some people have claimed. I thought it was going to
be a strike, so I started my swing. And then that pitch broke
sharply down. I tried to hold up, but it was too late. I&aposd
committed myself. The funny thing is that even in that instant,
while I was swinging, I thought to myself that if I&aposm having
this much trouble with the pitch, maybe Mickey Owen is, too. So
I looked around behind me after I missed the ball."
Henrich missed the pitch badly. Umpire Larry Goetz shot his
right arm upward, signifying strike three. Game over. Dodgers
win. Series tied. There&aposs joy in Flatbush.
But no. Henrich was right the wicked curve he couldn&apost hit was
a pitch Owen couldn&apost catch. The ball bounced off the tip of the
catcher&aposs mitt and rolled off toward the box seats along the
first base line, where Dodgers fans looked on in amazement.
Henrich sped safely to first.
Roger Angell, now a writer and editor for The New Yorker, was in
Ebbets Field that steamy October Sunday, home in New York for
the weekend from his studies at Harvard. "The minute that
happened, as soon as Owen dropped the ball," he recalls, "you
knew somehow the Yankees were going to win."
Camilli, waiting hopelessly at first for an Owen throw that
never came, was fighting off a similar premonition. "There&aposs no
question that was the turning point of the entire Series," he
says. "I couldn&apost believe it. Mickey Owen was a great catcher
who hardly ever made an error [only three all season]. It looked
to me as if he just took his eye off the ball. All he had to do
was knock the darn thing down and throw it to me. But it didn&apost
"It was all my fault," a disconsolate Owen said after the game.
"I should have had it."
DiMaggio, the next hitter, singled cleanly to left, and Henrich
held at second. Then Charlie (King Kong) Keller--"Lord, how that
sensitive man hated that nickname," says Henrich--lofted a high
fly ball to rightfield that hit the screen above the 19-foot
concrete fence, then rolled lazily down the wall to the concave
bottom for an easy double.
"I scored from second with the tying run," says Henrich. "And
then, to my surprise, here comes DiMaggio. The ball Charlie hit
on the screen took just long enough to roll down for Joe to
score all the way from first. Joe, you know, always had an extra
gear. He could really run. He slid home so hard he finished up a
good eight feet past the plate."
The Yankees tasted Dodgers blood now. Bill Dickey walked then
Gordon followed with a screaming liner that hit the leftfield
fence so hard that it rebounded past a pursuing Jimmy Wasdell.
"Jimmy was really a first baseman," says Henrich. "He misplayed
that ball." Dickey and Keller scored on the double. Casey was
finished, and so were the Dodgers. "They&aposll never come back from
this," DiMaggio correctly predicted.
Devastated by the defeat, the Dodgers succumbed quietly the next
day, losing 3-1 to the Yankees&apos Ernie Bonham. But players on
both teams knew that this Series had been lost the day before.
"It could happen only in Brooklyn," Smith wrote. "Nowhere else
in this broad, untidy universe, not in Bedlam nor in Babel nor
in the remotest psychopathic ward. only in the ancestral home
of the Dodgers. could a man win a World Series game by striking
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR, the headline in the Brooklyn Eagle read.
But with a war on and several stars in the armed services, "next
year" wouldn&apost come to Brooklyn for six more. The Bums would be
supplanted by the Boys of Summer in the late 1940s and early
&apos50s. And then it would all end. Brooklyn would lose its Dodgers
and with them its very identity.
Casey lasted until 1949 in the big leagues and then, on July 3,
1951, at age 37, he committed suicide, despondent apparently
over a failed romance. MacPhail quit the Dodgers in September of
1942. "He fired me 60 times," said Durocher, "but I was there
when he left." MacPhail would later become president of the
despised Yankees, and Durocher would make the astonishing jump
in 1948 from the Dodgers to the New York Giants.
Owen and Henrich didn&apost say a word to each other that fateful
day, but years later they became fast friends. Sometimes,
cautiously, they would discuss the infamous passed ball. "We
even posed for a picture together," says Henrich. "In it, Mickey
is choking me." He laughs. "Time&aposs a great healer, you know."
Well, that&aposs easy for him to say.
B/W PHOTO: JOHN DURANT "I should have had it," Owen said of the strikeout ball that would have retired Henrich and tied the Series. [Mickey Owen and Tommy Henrich in game]
B/W PHOTO: AP PHOTO DiMaggio&aposs slide for the winning run in Game 4 all but iced the last prewar Series for the Yankees. [Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Owen in game]