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Los Angeles Dodgers

From Academic Kids

Template:MLB Dodgers franchise

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. They are in the Western Division of the National League.

Founded: 1883, as a member of the minor Inter-State League. The team moved up to the American Association in 1884 and transferred to the National League in 1890.
Formerly known as: Brooklyn Dodgers, 1932 to 1957, after which the team moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season.
Prior to declaring "Dodgers" the team nickname in 1932, sportswriters applied a number of nicknames to the club. They were known in various newspapers, and at various times, as the Bridegrooms (after several players married prior to the 1888 season), the Superbas (under manager Ned Hanlon -- "Hanlon's Superbas" was the name of an acrobatic troup popular at the time), the Robins (after Wilbert Robinson, manager from 1914 through 1931) and the Trolley Dodgers -- originally a pejorative term for Brooklyn residents, shortened to Dodgers and officially adopted in 1932. During the Wilbert Robinson years, the newspapers used the nicknames Robins and Dodgers interchangeably, often in the same game summary.
Home ballpark: Ebbets Field (1913-1957), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1958-1961), Dodger Stadium (1962-present). (a.k.a. "Chavez Ravine") (Prior to 1912, the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Washington Park on 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn. Part of the wall of the stadium  (http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/Dodgers/dodgers.html) can still be seen.)
Uniform colors: "Dodger blue" and White; some Red
Logo design: a cursive "Dodgers" superimposed over a red streaming baseball
Wild Card titles won (1): 1996
Division titles won (10): 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1994, 1995, 2004
American Association pennants won (1): 1889
National League pennants won (21): 1890, 1899, 1900, 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988
World Series championships won (6): 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988
Manager: Jim Tracy
General Manager: Paul DePodesta
Owner: Frank McCourt
2005 Season Record: 33-36 (.478) as of June 21
Contents

Franchise history

The Brooklyn years (through 1957)

After their formation in 1883, the first ten years of the Brooklyn club's history were clouded in uncertainty. After their first year they joined the American Association, which they won in 1889 (when they were usually known as the Bridegrooms). Upon switching to the National League in 1890, the franchise became the only one in MLB history to win pennants in different leagues in consecutive years. Eight years passed before any more success followed, when the Superbas, as they were then known won two successive pennats under Ned Hanlon in 1899 and 1900.

In 1902 Hanlon expressed his desire to buy a controlling interest in the team and move it to Baltimore, then without a team. His plan was blocked by a lifelong club employee, Charles Ebbets, who put himself heavily in debt to buy the team and keep it in the borough. Ebbets' ambition did not stop at owning the team. He desired to replace the dilapidated Washington Park with a new ballpark, and again invested heavily to finance the construction of Ebbets Field, which would become the Dodgers' home in 1913.

Manager Wilbert Robinson, popularly known as "Uncle Robbie", restored the Brooklyn team to respectability, winning pennants in 1916 and 1920 and contending perennially for several seasons. Upon assuming the title of president, however, Robinson's ability to focus on the field declined, and the teams of the late 1920s became known as the "Daffiness Boys" for their distracted, error-ridden style of play. After his removal as club president, Robinson returned to managing and the club's performance rebounded somewhat.

  • It was during this era that Willard Mullin, perhaps the finest cartoonist the sporting press has ever known, fixed the Dodgers forever with the loveable nickname of "Dem Bums" - when, after hearing his cab driver ask "So how did those bums do today?" Mullin decided to sketch an exaggerated version of famed circus clown Emmett Kelly to represent the Dodgers in his much-praised cartoons in the New York World-Telegram. Both the image and the nickname caught on, so much so that many a Dodger yearbook cover featured a Willard Mullin illustration with the Brooklyn Bum.
  • Perhaps the highlight game of the Daffiness Boys era came, interestingly enough, well after Wilbert Robinson had left the dugout. Managed now by Casey Stengel (who played for the Dodgers in the 1910s), the 1934 Dodgers rankled when New York Giants manager Bill Terry - asked about the coming pennant race at the previous winter's baseball meetings - cracked infamously, "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" At season's end, the Giants were tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the pennant with the Giants needing to beat the Dodgers two games to stay alive. Stengel led the Dodgers to the Polo Grounds for the showdown and beat the Giants twice to knock them out of the pennant as the soon-to-be-nicknamed "Gas House Gang" nailed the pennant cold by beating the Cincinnati Reds the same two days.
  • The first televised major-league baseball game is Brooklyn's 6-1 victory over Cincinnati at Ebbets Field on August 26, 1939.
  • Batting helmets were introduced to Major League Baseball by the Dodgers in 1941
  • The only Brooklyn World Series title came in 1955. Rebuilt into a contending club first by Larry MacPhail and then the legendary Branch Rickey, the Dodgers won pennants in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953. In all five of those World Series, however, they proved unable to overcome the New York Yankees. Then, in 1955, the long-cried slogan "Wait 'till next year" became "This year is next year!" The fabled "Boys of Summer" Dodgers - despite their actual peak years having just passed - shot down the Bronx Bombers in seven games, led by the first class pitching of young lefthander Johnny Podres, whose key pitch was a changeup known as "pulling down the lampshade" because of the arm motion used right when the ball was released. Podres won two Series games including the deciding seventh, which turned on a spectacular double play that began with left fielder Sandy Amoros running down Yogi Berra's long fly, then throwing perfectly to shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who doubled up a surprised Gil McDougald at first base to preserve the Dodger lead.

The end of the color line

  • Jackie Robinson's first major-league game on April 15, 1947, was the first appearance by an African-American player in a modern major league game. This event was the harbinger of the integration of sports in the United States, the concomitant demise of the Negro Leagues, and is regarded as a key moment in the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement.

The move to California

  • The myth: Cold-hearted Walter O'Malley moved the Dodgers off to California just so he could get rich quick.
  • The fact: Walter O'Malley was nobody's saint, but neither was he just off on a gold rush. He sought as early as 1952 to buy new land in Brooklyn to build a more accessible and better arrayed ballpark than Ebbets Field. Beloved as it was, Ebbets Field had grown old, to the point where the most pennant-competitive team in the National League couldn't sell the park out even in the heat of a pennant race. New York building czar Robert Moses, however, sought to force O'Malley into using a site in Flushing Meadows, Queens (the future site for Shea Stadium, where today's New York Mets play) - a site featuring a city-built, city-owned park. Moses made it clear that he had no intention of allowing any privately-built, privately owned baseball stadiums in his New York. When it became clear to O'Malley that he wasn't going to be allowed to buy any fresh land in Brooklyn, he began thinking elsewhere.
  • When the Los Angeles city fathers attended the 1955 World Series looking to entice a team to move to the City of Angels, they weren't even thinking of the Dodgers - their original target was the Washington Senators! At the same time, O'Malley knew he'd need a contingency in case Moses and New York's notoriously gamesmanship-addicted politicians refused to let him build a new Dodger home in Brooklyn. O'Malley sent word to the Los Angeles officials at the Series that he was interested in talking. Los Angeles offered him what New York refused him: a chance to buy land suitable for building a new ballpark. That the Dodgers left Brooklyn heartbroken is undisputable; that Walter O'Malley did it deliberately is not.
  • It was announced on October 8, 1957 that the Dodgers would move to Los Angeles. 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.

The Los Angeles years (1958 to present)

Perhaps two names connote "Los Angeles Dodgers" more than any other: Tommy Lasorda and (hometown broadcaster) Vin Scully.

Lasorda, who now serves the ballclub in an executive capacity and as an evangelist for all things Dodger-related, managed the club for 22 seasons, leading it to two World Series championships. By reputation, he has a famed love of Italian food and "bleeds 'Dodger Blue'." He has been with the club all his career, over 50 years, since the time he was a young pitcher (whose playing days didn't last very long).

Vin Scully has served as the official play-by-play announcer for the Dodgers since 1948, ten years before they even moved from Brooklyn. Fans of the Dodgers listening to his radio and TV broadcasts know and love his distinctive New York radio voice. Perhaps his most replayed call is the one he made after the limping Kirk Gibson circled the basepaths following his legendary home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series: "In a season that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!" (emphasis has)

Walter O'Malley eventually passed control of the Dodgers to his son Peter, who managed the team on his family's behalf. In the late 90's the O'Malley family sold the team to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owner of the Fox network and 20th Century Fox.

In 2004, News Corp. sold the Dodgers to real estate developer Frank McCourt. Paul DePodesta was hired by McCourt as general manager before the start of the 2004 season; shortly before the start of the regular season, DePodesta engineered the acquisition of volatile yet talented outfielder Milton Bradley. The Dodgers played an exciting, competitive brand of baseball during the first half of 2004, yet DePodesta felt something else was needed to vault the team into the postseason. To do this, at the mid-season trading deadline he traded popular players Paul LoDuca and Guillermo Mota to the Florida Marlins for starting pitcher Brad Penny and first baseman Hee Seop Choi; but he failed in his attempt to bring in Randy Johnson from division rival Arizona. While the Dodgers did win the National League's Western Division in 2004, they lost in the Division Series to the eventual NL champion St. Louis Cardinals. Only a masterful performance by journeyman Jose Lima kept the Dodgers from being swept out of the playoffs. After the end of the season, DePodesta was unable to strike a deal with his top free agent, third baseman Adrian Beltre; opted not to resign fan favorite Lima; and only just managed to complete a trade of Shawn Green to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

While unable to resign Beltre and keep Green, DePodesta was able to avoid arbitration and sign top closer Eric Gagne; and signed as free agents starting pitcher Derek Lowe away from the Boston Red Sox, and former Atlanta Braves outfielder J.D. Drew.

Players of note

Retired numbers

Dodgers
Retired Numbers
Pee Wee Reese 1
Tommy Lasorda 2
Duke Snider 4
Jim Gilliam 19
Don Sutton 20
Walter Alston 24
Sandy Koufax 32
Roy Campanella 39
Jackie Robinson 42
Don Drysdale 53

Baseball Hall of Famers

   

Current 25-man roster (updated on June 18, 2005)

Pitchers


Catchers

 

Infielders

Outfielders

Disabled list

Others not to be forgotten

* Manager

* * Player and manager

Awards

Most Valuable Player

Cy Young

Rookie of the Year

Gold Glove Award

Post-Season and All-Star Game MVP

Manager of the Year

Minor league affiliates

Single season leaders

Career leaders

  • Batting average: Willie Keller, .352
  • Home runs: Duke Snider, 389
  • RBI: Duke Snider, 1271
  • Runs: Pee Wee Reese, 1338
  • Hits: Zack Wheat, 2804
  • Doubles: Zack Wheat, 464
  • Triples: Zack Wheat, 171
  • Stolen bases: Maury Wills, 490
  • Walks: Pee Wee Reese, 1210
  • Strikeouts: Duke Snider, 1123
  • Pitching wins: Don Sutton, 233
  • Pitching strikeouts: Don Sutton, 2696
  • Pitching ERA: Jeff Pfeffer, 2.31
  • Pitching saves: [[Eric Gagn靝, 160 *

* Active

Recommended Reading

  • Red Barber, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat
  • Robert W. Creamer, Stengel: His Life and Times
  • Peter Golenbock, Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers
  • Harvey Froemmer, New York City Baseball
  • Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer and The Era.
  • Jackie Robinson, I Never Had It Made
  • Neil J. Sullivan, The Dodgers Move West

External links

Major League Baseball
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World Series | All Star Game | MLBPA | Minor Leagues

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