What a challenge. Trying to narrow down the top 25 moments in Dodgers history is like trying to name my top five favorite quotes from the Big Lebowski. It’s like trying to name the 10 best songs from Pink Floyd. It’s like…. Ok, I’ll stop the analogies. My point is, that with such a historic franchise like the one the Dodgers have, it’s not an easy task. I went back and forth here, and tried my best to come up with what I thought was the top moments in Dodgers history, based on the importance of the moment, the historical significance, and other factors like how much of an impact it had on Dodgers fans. Some may agree, while others certainly won’t.
First, some calcification. Trying to determine what actually constitutes a “moment” wasn’t as cut-and-dry as I originally thought. Obviously, there are those that go without saying, like a big home run, or an important game. I even expanded that to a series (after all, how can winning a World Series not be a top moment?) But I also included larger timeframes that may not be thought of as a “moment” initially, but after looking back now, could be viewed as such.
Take something like “Fernandomania.” It was such a big part of Dodgers history when Fernando Valenzuela first arrived on the scene in Los Angeles. And though that whole movement encompassed the entire 1981 season, it still seems like it should be included here. Winning an award after a notable achievement (Cy Young, MVP, breaking an MLB record, ect) also qualifies in my opinion, if that achievement truly stands the test of time.
However, some great “times” in Dodgers history don’t necessarily find a place here on top “moments.” For instance, the Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey infield that played together for 8+ years was something Dodgers fans will always remember. But it’s difficult to put an 8-year timeframe on a list of moments, despite how memorable those years were.
Additionally, when Vic Scully calls his last Dodgers game, whether it be at the conclusion of the 2016 season, or at another time, it will be moved on this list. He has been the voice of the Dodgers for 22 of the 25 moments on this all-time list. His influence on the game and his importance to Dodgers history is unparalleled, and whenever he calls it quits, it will be a memorable moment for sure.
So, with all that said, on to the list.
#25. Dodgers win 1949 NL Pennant on last game of season
The 49’ pennant was a tight race between the Dodgers and Cardinals. In the final game of the season, the Dodgers would beat the Philadelphia Phillies to capture the pennant. Carl Furillo had 4 hits and the game went to extra innings. The Dodgers scored 2 in the top of the 10th to win the game, and advance to another World Series, in which they lost to the Yankees.
#24. Dodgers set MLB record for best home start, at 13-0
In 2009, the Dodgers would set the MLB record for the best home winning streak to begin a season, when they went 13-0 to start the year. The previous NL record was 10-0, held by three different teams, and the previous MLB record was 12-0, held by the 1911 Detroit Tigers. The Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 10-3 on May 6th to make it 13 straight victories at home to start the year. They would lose the following day to the Nats.
#23. Don Drysdale’s consecutive scoreless innings streak
The previous record was held by Walter Johnson, back in 1913, who threw 55 2/3 straight scoreless innings. It stood for 55 years, until Drysdale came along and broke it on June 8th 1968 against the Philadelphia Phillies. During his 58 2/3 scoreless streak, Drysdale would throw six consecutive shutouts, which is another MLB record. Often over-shadowed by teammate, and fellow ace Sandy Koufax, Drysdale gave fans one of his lasting legacies with the streak. The record would eventually be surpassed, which was another moment Dodgers fans may remember well.
#22. Rick Monday’s home run in 1981 NLCS
The strike-shortened 81’ season turned the NLCS into a best-of-five series. The Dodgers would face the Montreal Expos, and in Game 5, with the score tied 1-1 in the 9th inning, Rick Monday came up. He sent a Steve Rogers pitch over the right-center field wall, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that would send them to the World Series. Earlier in the game, Monday had also singled and scored the game-tying run.
#21. Five consecutive Rookie of the Year Awards
Starting in 1992, with Eric Karros, the Dodgers would have five straight NL Rookies of the Year (ROY.) Following Karros was Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth. As great as this feat was, it wasn’t the only time the Dodgers had a notable ROY award streak. They also won four straight years from 1979-82, with Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, and Steve Sax. Additionally, they have a MLB record 16 ROY awards in franchise history, twice as much as the New York Yankees, who lead the AL.
**Note: You may wonder why the example I used at the beginning, with the 1970s infield, doesn’t apply here as well. How can a span of five years be considered a top moment? Well, the differentiating factor to me is that there’s a tangible achievement here (the ROY award itself) that you can point to. While many fans may have taken this achievement in stride given how often the Dodgers received the award, it really is a significant accomplishment, and something that likely won’t be duplicated again. Five straight ROY awards showed the level of commitment the Dodgers club had to its storied farm system.