Author Archive

Turning Point?

October 22, 1981 – It was a quiet red-eye flight from New York to Los Angeles after the Dodgers had lost the first two games of the World Series at Yankee Stadium by scores of 5-3 and 3-0. But the Dodgers received good news in the early morning after landing at LAX. Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles had jammed his thumb while diving for a grounder hit by Bill Russell in the sixth inning of Game 2. Nettles, whose defense sparked the Yankees to World Series titles over Los Angeles in 1977 and 1978, would not be available for Game 3. The Dodgers would sweep the next three games at Dodger Stadium by scores of 5-4, 8-7 and 2-1 and clinch their first title since 1965 with a 9-2 victory in Game 6 at New York.​


One Game Away …

October 19, 1988 – The Dodgers took a 3-1 lead in the World Series with a 4-3 victory over the Athletics in Game 4 of the Fall Classic at Oakland. Tim Belcher pitched 6 2/3 innings and reliever Jay Howell escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by retiring Mark McGwire on an infield popout. The Howell-McGwire confrontation occurred one day after the Oakland slugger hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3, which gave Oakland a 2-1 victory. Howell pitched the final 2 1/3 innings of Game 4 for the save. Oakland starter Dave Stewart allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Burt Shotton

October 18, 1884 – Future Dodger manager Burt Shotton is born in Brownhelm, OH. Shotton was a Major League outfielder with the Browns, Cardinals and Senators from 1909-23. But he is best known as the last manager in history not to wear a uniform in the dugout. In 1947, Dodgers manager Leo Durocher was suspended for one year by Commissioner Happy Chandler. Team president Branch Rickey called Shotton, who agreed to the job but told Rickey he wasn’t going to wear a uniform at age 62. Clyde Sukeforth managed the Dodgers in the first four games (Jackie Robinson’s first MLB manager), and Shotton guided the Dodgers the rest of the way to the 1947 pennant. Durocher returned in 1948, but Rickey allowed him to switch to the Giants during the season and Shotton was brought back. Shotton remained with Brooklyn through 1950 and he compiled a 326-215 record, including pennants in 1947 and 1949.

’78 Fall Classic

October 17, 1978 – The Yankees beat the Dodgers, 7-2, in Game 6 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium to clinch their second consecutive title. The Dodgers won the first two games of the Fall Classic, but the Yankees stormed back to win the next four. Shortstop Bucky Dent earned Series MVP honors and rookie second baseman Brian Doyle, filling in for the injured Willie Randolph, batted .438. It was the career highlight for Doyle, who batted .161 in 110 lifetime regular-season games with New York and Oakland from 1978-81. Shortstop Bill Russell led Dodger hitters with a .423 average in six games (11-for-26).

1988 Series

October 16, 1988 – One day after Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run in Game 1 of the World Series gave the Dodgers an improbable 5-4 victory, Orel Hershiser blanked the Oakland Athletics, 6-0, in Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. Hershiser scattered three hits on the pitcher’s mound and at the plate went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Oakland starter Storm Davis allowed six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Jackie’s Wish

October 15, 1972 – Jackie Robinson makes his last public appearance at a Major League ballpark while attending Game 2 of the World Series at Cincinnati. MLB honored Robinson in pregame ceremonies on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of him breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson tells the crowd at Riverfront Stadium about his hope that one day there would be an African-American manager in the Majors. Robinson passed away nine days later at age 53.

Game 7 Drama

October 12, 1988 – Orel Hershiser pitched a 6-0 shutout against the New York Mets in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, lifting the Dodgers to a World Series appearance against the Oakland Athletics. It remains the only Game 7 in Dodger Stadium postseason history. The ballpark also hosted the deciding Game 5 of the 1981 Division Series when the Dodgers beat the Astros, 4-0, behind left-hander Jerry Reuss. The only Game 7 in Los Angeles World Series history was the final game of the 1965 Fall Classic at Minnesota, when Sandy Koufax blanked the A.L. Champion Minnesota Twins, 2-0.

Rookie vs. Mr. October

October 11, 1978 – In one of the most famous at-bats in World Series history, Dodger rookie Bob Welch fanned Yankees’ slugger Reggie Jackson to preserve a 4-3 victory in Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. The 21-year-old Welch entered the ninth inning with one out after Terry Forster had allowed a single and walk. Jackson, nicknamed “Mr. October” after his three home runs in the clinching Game 6 victory in the 1977 World Series at Yankee Stadium, fouled off three two-strike pitches and eventually fanned on a full count. The win gave the Dodgers a 2-0 series lead, but the Yankees would win the next four games to claim another championship. The Dodgers would not get revenge until the 1981 Fall Classic when New York won the first two games and Los Angeles won the next four.

Billy Loes

October 5, 1952 – The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the World Series with a 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. The Dodgers appeared poised for their first championship with Games 6 and 7 at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. But the Dodgers lost the final two games by scores of 3-2 and 4-2. Brooklyn pitcher Billy Loes, the losing pitcher in Game 6, got in trouble before the Series when asked who would win the title. “I’d like to pick the Dodgers, but I have to go along with the Yankees in six games,” he said. When Dodger manager Chuck Dressen asked Loes if the quote was true, Loes said he had been misquoted and said he told the reporter the Yankees would win in seven games. The following year, Loes said it wasn’t a good idea for a pitcher to win 20 games. “If you win 20 games, they expect you to do it every year,” he said.

October 3 – Giants vs. Dodgers

October 3, 1993 – The Dodgers knocked the San Francisco Giants out of the playoffs with a 12-1 victory on the final day of the regular season. The Giants needed a victory to force a one-game playoff with Atlanta for the N.L. West title. Mike Piazza hit two home runs to cap his N.L. Rookie of the Year season with 35 home runs, 112 RBI and a .318 batting average. The Giants hoped October 3 would bring a lucky omen because it marked the anniversary of the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” home run by Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants in 1951 against the Brooklyn Dodgers, which gave the Giants a 5-4 walk-off victory in the third and deciding playoff game at the Polo Grounds. San Francisco also won the deciding third playoff game in 1962 at Dodger Stadium, turning a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning into a 6-4 victory.