Life without baseball, particularly Dodger baseball, is unthinkable. Yet it’s where we are right now, and unfortunately could be for a very long time. Fortunately, the century-plus of Dodger baseball has given millions of fans more games to savor for a lifetime than could possibly be recounted in a single sitting.
So, with nothing else to fulfill our cravings in 2020 so far, why not relive as much of that history as possible? Here’s a list (by no means exhaustive) of Dodgers regular season glory you can rewatch to pass the time, both in full games and highlights.
Jerry Reuss No-Hits the Giants
For whatever reason, I feel like Jerry Reuss doesn’t get the love he deserves when we talk about Dodger pitching heritage. That could just be because there’s so many hallowed names to consider that some will inevitably fall by the wayside. But from 1979 to 1987, he was rock solid for the rotation year in and year out. His greatest regular season moment was easily this no-no against the Giants in 1980, one year before helping L.A. win a World Series.
Baseball fans love to romanticize walk-off homers and hits. But what about a walk-off sacrifice squeeze bunt? On September 11, 1983, in the stretch of a heated NL West race, Sacramento native R.J. Reynolds did just that against the Braves. If you weren’t around for it, watch the rally below to appreciate small ball at its finest.
Orel Hershiser Sets the Consecutive Scoreless Innings Record
This one needs no introduction. The Bulldog, 1988, San Diego, with history on the line. Much like Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, it’s one of the sacred baseball feats that will likely never be broken.
Fernando Valenzuela’s No-Hitter
Recollection of Fernando Valenzuela’s career generally centers around his groundbreaking 1981 rookie season. But it’s important to remember he had great moments over many seasons, and the best after 1981 is easily his no-hitter against the Cardinals in 1990. It’s been almost 30 years exactly since Vin told us to throw our sombreros in the air. Why not do it again?
Mike Piazza Sinks the Giants
1993 was a middling year for the Dodgers, albeit a lunar leap from the 99-loss disaster of 1992. But it ended on a special high note, as just two years after the Giants eliminated the Dodgers from NL West title contention in 1991, L.A. returned the favor on the final day of the regular season. Unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Mike Piazza launched two homers to fuel a 12-1 trouncing that kept a 103-win San Francisco team out of the playoffs entirely.
Hideo Nomo’s 1996 No-Hitter
There is a case to be made for this being the most remarkable Dodger pitching performance ever. With eight strikeouts, it’s nowhere near the most dominant one like those of Sandy Koufax, Clayton Kershaw and Ramon Martinez. (Or even for Nomo himself, who struck out 17 in a game earlier in April.) But it merits consideration for the simple fact that it was a no-hitter in Coors Field. That seems like it shouldn’t be humanly possible.
Steve Finley Slams the Door Shut on SF
Weird as it is to say aloud, the Dodgers and Giants have never faced each other in the National League playoffs. But time and again over the decades, they have found extravagant ways to crush each other’s playoff hopes at season’s end. None may be quite as epic as Steve Finley’s grand slam in 2004, sending the Dodgers to the playoffs for the first time in eight years in the process.
4 + 1
If you ask me, this right here is the best game in Dodger history. Period. It didn’t mark any historic milestones, nor was it a momentous postseason victory. In fact, all it technically paved the way for was a feeble sweep in the NLDS. But it’s the best because it shows that in baseball, more than any other sport, any comeback is possible.
Yasiel Puig’s Animated MLB Debut
Baseball’s delayed start has temporarily overshadowed a number of compelling storylines, one of which is the fact that Yasiel Puig somehow remains unsigned. Some Dodger fans are clamoring for a reunion, but especially with his well-documented discipline issues and the acquisition of Mookie Betts, the reality is it’s better not to go that route. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate his many signature moments, starting with his June 2013 debut that helped spark 42-8.
Pool Party in Arizona
All through the summer of 2013, the Dodgers turned a lost season into one for the ages with a 42-8 run. It culminated in a come-from-behind win in Arizona that was a fitting microcosm of the season, sealing their first NL West title in four years. It also led to their best celebration, splashing jubilantly in Arizona’s pool. It never gets old.
Of all four players that came in the Nick Punto Trade, you probably think about Josh Beckett the least, as he did in fact contribute the least of all of them. But he made it all worth it with this no-hitter in May of 2014, the first by a Dodger since Hideo Nomo in 1996.
Aside from Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, no regular season pitching effort in Dodger history is as celebrated as his modern-day equivalent’s no-hitter in June 2014. Were it not for a Hanley Ramirez error, it would have been a perfect game as well. You probably already rewatched it on Kershaw’s recent birthday. Whatever…watch it again.
Seager and Culberson Send Vin Off in Style
If there is one game that can conceivably be considered even greater than 4+1, it’s this one. And that’s because it was so, so close to being an unforgivable disaster, as the Dodgers were one out away from losing Vin Scully’s last ever game at Dodger Stadium. Fortunately, ROTY Corey Seager and Charlie Culberson had other plans.
It’s somewhat hard to believe, but the 2017 Dodgers actually got off to a languid start. Just as April was drawing to a close, however, a certain kid named Cody was called up. He helped fuel this improbable comeback against Philadelphia, which Joe Davis exuberantly deemed “Absolute madness!”. You know the rest.
Kyle Farmer Walks Off in his MLB Debut
With the Astros’ cheating scandal forcing fans to relieve 2017, both for better and worse, it’s at least given us a chance to appreciate the singular magic of that year’s team. No game captured that better than this late July gem against the Giants. I was lucky to be there in person, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
Combined No-Hitter in Mexico
Aside from combined no-hitters just not being as sexy as regular ones, this game is easy to forget due to the fact that it happened immediately before the “Rock Bottom” of the Dodgers’ back-and-forth 2018 season. But as the first MLB no-hitter thrown outside of North America, it’s still a keeper.
Matt Kemp Destroys Arizona Back-to-Back
As the Dodgers slogged through the 2018 season, what kept them going during the roughest stretches were unexpected heroes. The best was Matt Kemp’s NL Comeback Player of the Year season, and with the final stretch of a tight NL West race about to commence in September, he rose to the occasion on consecutive occasions against Arizona relief ace Archie Bradley.
Three Straight Rookie Walk-Offs
Unlike the 2017 team, the 2019 Dodgers, despite winning two more games in the regular season, were unable to replicate any of their magic in October. But if there is a possible silver lining, it’s likely the incredible rookie class that arose during the season, and three of them made history with three straight walk-offs in June. Especially now that Alex Verdugo is gone, it’s even more poignant to relive them all now.
How does this list rank? Would you have added any other games? Let us know in the comments below!