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Brooklyn, New York was the original home of this team back when it was founded in 1883. The organization tried out a number of different monikers over the years before finally settling on Dodgers in the 1930s. Named after the residents of Brooklyn that constantly would have to dodge the trolley cars, this team would embody that hustle on the baseball diamond.
The year 1947 holds a special place in Dodgers history as well as that of the rest of Major League Baseball as it was on April 15th of that year that the Brooklyn Dodgers lineup card would insert Jackie Robinson as the first African American player to play in the MLB. Breaking the MLB color barrier was the first domino to fall in a line of barriers in sports and is widely regarded as a key moment in the American Civil Rights movement. Robinson went on to win the first Rookie of the Year award and a World Series title with the Dodgers in 1955.
The team would go on to win another title in 1959 behind tremendous pitching from Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale before leaving Brooklyn amid a battle over a new stadium for sunny California. Making Los Angeles their new home, the Dodgers old New York rival, the Giants, also made the move, settling in San Francisco. This bitter rivalry continues to this day.
Los Angeles would be good to the Dodgers in those early years as they would add more World Series titles in 1963 and 1965. More NL Pennants would follow, but the Dodgers would not go on to win the Fall Classic again until 1981, led by the pitching efforts of Fernando Valenzuela.
Winners of 21 National League Pennants, their most recent trip to the World Series earned them their last title, which was captured in 1988. This series, against the Oakland Athletics is best remembered for a home run in game one which would go down in MLB history. Veteran outfielder Kirk Gibson limped to the plate with two bad legs in the bottom of the 9th with two outs as a pinch hitter. Gibson was not even expected to play at all in the series but on this night, with one man on base, he ripped one over the right field wall for a walk off home run. Setting the tone for the series, the Dodgers went on to win in five games.
Dave Roberts serves as skipper in the dugout these days. In his first season, Roberts took a team fraught with injuries to the NLCS. The goal for his second season is to exceed these results and bring Los Angeles back to the World Series. The talent on his roster only adds to his confidence. Big names such as Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal are starters for this team. Dodgers fans were excited by the play of 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe last season and look forward to a repeat of those stats in 2018. Young 1st baseman Cody Bellinger exploded onto the scene last year to become an everyday player and has cemented that status early on this year. However, the standout star on this team is starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Racking up seven all-star appearances, three NL Cy Young Awards, a Triple Crown in 2011, and NL MVP in 2014, this threat from the mound scares every batter he faces. After an injury-filled 2016 season, Kershaw returned to his old form, going 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts on his was to his first World Series appearance.
While the Dodgers did make it to the game’s greatest stage, they came up one win short of a championship. Falling to the Houston Astros in a decisive game seven by a score of 5-1, LA has regrouped in the offseason and are ready to make another run to the Fall Classic. They will do so without the help of Manny Machado. A standout player in both Baltimore and Los Angeles, his time with the Dodgers was short-lived as he opted for another California team in the San Diego Padres this offseason.
While the current status of this team is World Series contender, this organization can always look to its past draw inspiration when times get tough. Fan favorites of this illustrious franchise include Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snyder, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hersheiser, and Kirk Gibson. Also beloved by Dodgers fans are the legendary announcer Vin Scully and manager Tommy Lasorda. More information about the team can be found by clicking here.