October 2, 1963 – Sandy Koufax set a single-game World Series record with 15 strikeouts in a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees in the opening game of the 1963 World Series at Yankee Stadium. Koufax surpassed the previous mark of 14 strikeouts set by Brooklyn’s Carl Erskine against the Yankees in the 1953 World Series. Erskine was in attendance and congratulated Koufax in the clubhouse after the game. The Dodgers would sweep the Yankees in the 1963 Fall Classic, Koufax capping the title with a 2-1 victory in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium. Of the six World Series titles in club history, the 1963 victory is the only Dodger championship clinched in their home ballpark.
October 1, 1990 – At age 22, right-hander Ramon Martinez became the youngest 20-game winner since Brooklyn’s Ralph Branca (age 21 in 1947) in a 2-1 victory over the Padres at Dodger Stadium. It was a breakout season for Martinez, who on June 4 tied Sandy Koufax’s single-game record of 18 strikeouts in a 6-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Martinez made the N.L. All-Star team and became the team’s ace after the early-season injury to veteran Orel Hershiser.
September 30, 1956 – Brooklyn’s Don Newcombe won his 27th game and the Dodgers clinched the N.L. title with an 8-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Newcombe won baseball’s first Cy Young Award, along with N.L. MVP honors. Along with his 1949 N.L. Rookie of the Year honor, Newcombe would be the only MLB player to win all three major awards until Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, the 2006 A.L. Rookie of the Year and 2011 Cy Young Award/MVP.
September 28, 1988 – Orel Hershiser set a MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings, surpassing the previous mark of 58 2/3 innings by Dodger Hall of Famer Don Drysdale in 1968. Hershiser pitched 10 scoreless innings against the Padres in San Diego. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Drysdale stood in the dugout as a Dodger broadcaster. On the radio broadcast, Vin Scully described the play-by-play while Drysdale added his commentary. After Keith Moreland flied out to right field for the final out of the 10th, Drysdale greeted Hershiser in the dugout and they embraced. Hershiser left the game and the Dodgers eventually lost, 2-1, in 16 innings. Because it wasn’t a complete game for Hershiser, Drysdale retained his MLB record of six consecutive shutouts.
September 27, 1976 – After 23 seasons with Brooklyn and Los Angeles, Walter Alston announced his retirement as Dodger manager. Alston was a manager in the Dodger farm system when he was tabbed by Walter O’Malley to replace Charlie Dressen, whose teams had won pennants in 1952 and 1953. But Dressen sent a letter to O’Malley, requesting a multi-year contract. O’Malley told Dressen it wasn’t club policy to give a manager a multi-year deal, so Dressen left for the Pacific Coast League’s Oakland Oaks. Alston’s retirement occurred on the 40th anniversary of his only Major League at-bat as a reserve first baseman with the 1936 St. Louis Cardinals. Alston struck out against Cubs pitcher Lon Warneke. Alston guided the Dodgers to championships in 1955, 1959, 1963 and 1965.
September 18, 2006 – Trailing 9-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs (Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson) to tie the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. San Diego scored a run in the top of the 10th, but Nomar Garciaparra’s walk-off two-run homer gave the Dodgers an 11-10 victory. The Dodgers entered the game ranked last among N.L. teams in home runs. The Dodgers became the fourth team in the 20th century to hit four consecutive home runs, joining the 1964 Minnesota Twins, 1963 Cleveland Indians and 1961 Milwaukee Braves.
September 17, 1996 – Right-hander Hideo Nomo became the first pitcher to record a no-hitter in Colorado during a 9-0 victory. Nomo made 110 pitches, walked four and struck out eight. The game was delayed by rain and when play resumed, Nomo opted against the full windup and pitched from the stretch position, even with nobody on base. In the ninth inning, Nomo retired Eric Young and Quinton McCracken on grounders to second baseman Delino DeShields. The last out was a swinging strikeout by Ellis Burks. Nomo, the 1995 N.L. Rookie of the Year, had been the first player from Japan’s professional leagues to appear in the Majors in 30 years. In addition to his two stints with Los Angeles (1995-1998, 2002-04), Nomo pitched for the Mets, Brewers, Red Sox, Devil Rays, Royals and Tigers. When Nomo pitched a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 2001, he became the fourth player in MLB history to pitch no-hitters in each league (Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Nolan Ryan – later accomplished by Randy Johnson).
September 16, 1988 – Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds pitched a perfect game against the Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium in a 1-0 victory. The game didn’t start until 10:02 p.m. because of a two-hour, 27-minute rain delay. The left-hander needed only 102 pitches and he struck out seven, including pinch-hitter Tracy Woodson to end the game. The only run of the game scored in the sixth inning on a throwing error by Dodger pitcher Tim Belcher. It was the first time the Dodgers had a perfect game pitched against them in L.A. history and the first opposing perfect game since the Yankees’ Don Larsen against Brooklyn in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
September 15, 1974 – Jimmy Wynn’s grand slam in the seventh inning sparks the Dodgers to a 7-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium. Going into the weekend series with their National League West rivals, the Dodgers held a 3 1/2-game lead, but the “Big Red Machine” won the first two games and a sweep would cut the deficit to one-half game. Steve Garvey followed Wynn’s grand slam with a solo home run and the Dodgers kept the Reds at bay the rest of the season. The Dodgers acquired Wynn, nicknamed “The Toy Cannon”, from the Houston Astros prior to the 1974 season in a trade for pitcher Claude Osteen. Wynn hit 32 home runs and helped the Dodgers win their first pennant since 1966.
September 14, 1993 – Mike Piazza set a Major League record for rookie catchers with his 29th and 30th home runs in a 5-3 victory at San Diego. Piazza, a 62nd round draft choice in 1988, was on his way to a spectacular Rookie of the Year campaign with Los Angeles. Piazza finished with a .318 batting average, 35 home runs and 112 RBI. Overlooked among Piazza’s franchise rookie records was his 35 home runs, which eclipsed the previous L.A. mark of 33 home runs by Steve Garvey in 1977 and Pedro Guerrero in 1985. Piazza played one season at Miami-Dade North Community College as a first baseman and designated hitter. At the suggestion of Tommy Lasorda, who was a longtime friend of the Piazza family and Mike’s father Vince, the younger Piazza learned to become a catcher at the team’s Campo Las Palmas Academy in the Dominican Republic.