The Dodgers were the first Major League team in California, moving from Brooklyn after the 1957 season. But the American League St. Louis Browns were planning a move to L.A. after the 1941 season. The Cardinals were to pay the Browns $350,000 to leave the town they shared. The Browns were going to purchase Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field, home of the Pacific Coast League Angels, for $1 million. Cross-country train trips were scheduled because air trave. was not yet commonplace among sports teams. The MLB owners meeting was set for 12/8/41, but the attack on Pearl Harbor on 12/7 meant the Browns’ move was tabled. The Browns eventually moved to Baltimore and became the “Orioles” in 1954.
December 6, 1973 – The Dodgers traded veteran left-handed pitcher Claude Osteen to the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Jimmy Wynn. The Dodgers wanted to add power and took their chances on Wynn, nicknamed “The Toy Cannon.” Wynn hit just .220 with the Astros in 1973, but the Dodgers put him on the cover of the 1974 yearbook. Wynn sparked the Dodgers to the 1974 pennant with 32 home runs, 108 RBI, 108 walks and 104 runs scored. The All-Star finished fifth in the MVP balloting and earned N.L. “Comeback Player of the Year” honors.
December 5, 1973 – The Dodgers traded center fielder Willie Davis to the Montreal Expos in exchange for relief pitcher Mike Marshall. Davis, who made his Dodger debut in September 1960, was the all-time leader in most L.A. categories. Marshall finished second in the N.L. Cy Young Award balloting in 1973 behind the Mets’ Tom Seaver after Marshall appeared in 92 games with the Expos. With L.A. in 1974, manager Walter Alston called upon Marshall in a record 106 games and the right-hander became the first reliever to win the Cy Young Award, going 15-12 with a 2.42 ERA and 21 saves in 208.1 innings. He also finished third in the MVP balloting behind the Dodgers’ Steve Garvey and Lou Brock (Cardinals).
December 4, 1958 – The Dodgers traded center fielder Gino Cimoli to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Wally Moon. The idea of playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum initially didn’t appeal to the left-handed hitting Moon. But Cardinals teammate Stan Musial suggested Moon had the swing to “pepper” the Coliseum’s left-field screen, which was just 240 feet from home plate. Moon gave it a try and his opposite-field home runs became “Moon Shots” as the Dodgers went from seventh place in 1958 to World Champs in 1959.
December 3, 2008 – Baseball pioneer Walter O’Malley is elected to the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in the class of executives and managers. O’Malley was the president of the Dodgers from 1950-70 and later served as chairman of the board until his passing in 1979. His son, Peter O’Malley, was the Dodger team president from 1970-98. Walter O’Malley began his association with the ballclub in 1933 as a lawyer for the Brooklyn Trust Company, which owned the estate of Charles Ebbets and half of the Dodger franchise.
November 29, 1966 – The Dodgers trade two-time batting champion Tommy Davis and outfielder Derrell Griffith to the New York Mets in exchange for outfielder Jim Hickman and infielder Ron Hunt. The Davis trade is one of many roster moves for the reigning N.L. champions. Sandy Koufax retired during the offseason after winning 27 games during the regular season because of arthritis in his left elbow. Shortstop Maury Wills was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates because he left the team early during its goodwill tour of Japan. The Dodgers later reacquire Wills in June 1969 in a trade with the expansion Montreal Expos.
November 27, 1956 – A week after winning N.L. MVP honors, Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe receives the inaugural Cy Young Memorial Award after leading the Dodgers with 27 victories during the regular season. Newcombe, who also won the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 1949, was the only MLB player to win baseball’s top three postseason awards until Detroit’s Justin Verlander in 2011. The Cy Young Award was given to one pitcher among the two leagues until 1967 when a pitcher from each league was selected. Other Dodger Cy Young Award winners include Don Drysdale (1962), Sandy Koufax, (1963-65-66), Mike Marshall (1974), Fernando Valenzuela (1881), Orel Hershiser (1988), Eric Gagne (2003) and Clayton Kershaw (2011).
November 26, 1962 – The Dodgers trade pitcher Stan Williams to the New York Yankees in exchange for first baseman Bill “Moose” Skowron. The veteran will spend only one year in Los Angeles, but it was memorable as the Dodgers won the 1963 World Series and Skowron hit a home run in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium as Los Angeles completed a four-game sweep. Skowron also appeared with his teammates on a 1963 TV episode of “Mister Ed” filmed at Dodger Stadium. The talking-horse character tries out for the Dodgers, but doesn’t make the team, lamenting “they’ve got a Moose!”
November 21, 1952 – Receiving 19 of 24 first place votes, Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Joe Black is selected as the National League’s Rookie of the Year. Hoyt Wilhelm, Dick Groat and Eddie Mathews also garner first place votes. At age 28, Black was 15-4 with a 2.15 ERA and 15 saves in 1952 to help the Dodgers win the pennant. Black was 30-12 in his Major League career from 1952-57.
November 20, 1953 – Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick states his belief that the Pacific Coast League will eventually reach major league status. The PCL is the only minor league in history to be given the “Open” classification, considered a step above the AAA level, that limited the rights of big league clubs to draft players from it teams, and is perceived as a precursor to the the circuit becoming a third major league. As a backup plan for their negotations with New York officials for a new ballpark, the Brooklyn Dodgers in February 1957 will acquire the “territorial rights” to the Southern California market from Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley, who also owns the PCL Los Angeles Angels. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1958 season.