#5. Koufax’s perfect game
On September 9th 1965, Sandy Koufax pitched a historic perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Stadium. It was the 4th no-hitter of his career, a record at the time, and he struck out 14 batters, still a record for most in a perfect game performance. Koufax struck out at least one batter in each inning, including all three he faced in the 9th.
The game itself goes down as one of the best pitched by two different pitchers. Opposing starter, Bob Hendley, also had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning. He surrendered only one hit, and the sole Dodgers run of the day was unearned. The entire game had a total of two base runners.
Koufax’s greatness was becoming routine by 1965. His performance on this night though will always be remembered as his greatest.
#4. Dodgers win 1955 World Series, first and only title in Brooklyn
The ’55 championship was the first one in franchise history, and the only one the Dodgers won in Brooklyn. The Dodgers had come up short in ’47, ’49, ’52, and ’53, losing the World Series to the New York Yankees in each of those years. They finally got redemption in ’55.
The ’55 series was a classic one, going seven games, with each team winning the first six games at home. With Game 7 being back at Yankees Stadium, and given the Dodgers’ history over the past 10 years, fans knew their fate. They were going to lose the series to the Yankees yet again, somehow, someway.
But this time, they didn’t.
Johnny Podres pitched a gem, blanking the Yankees in a complete game shutout. He was 2-0 in the series and earned the MVP. Duke Snider also had a great series, hitting four home runs.
Dodgers fans had waited a long time and endured many defeats. But in 1955, “dem bums” finally did it, and could now call themselves champions.
#3. Vin Scully’s last game at Dodger Stadium
Vin Scully started broadcasting games back in 1950, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn, and he continued for 67 seasons. Scully has been a fixture of the Dodgers franchise, witnessing and announcing some of their greatest moments. Of the 20 moments on this list, Scully was the Dodgers broadcaster for 17 of them. Every Dodgers fan has their own favorite Vin Scully call or memory.
There have been so many other great broadcasters in baseball history, each meaning so much to their own team’s fan base. Still, it’s almost universally agreed on that Scully was the best of the best. He had his own unique style (he broadcasted games solo) and had the ability to draw in listeners with unmatched storytelling, along with a calm, reassuring voice. He could tell you a detailed life story about the opposing team’s backup catcher, all while delivering play-by-play of the game.
In his final game at Dodgers Stadium, Scully had one last memorable call. After tying the game in the bottom of the 9th, the Dodgers won the NL West on a walk-off homerun by Charlie Culberson… because of course they did. What other kind of ending would be fitting for a career like the one Scully had? The team honored Scully at the end of the game, and to say it was an emotional moment for Dodgers fans, would probably be an understatement.
#2. Jackie Robinson’s debut
On April 15th, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the first African American player to play in major league baseball, Robinson changed the game forever. Branch Rickey’s decision to give Robinson a shot with the Dodgers goes down in history as one of the most important moments not only for the Dodgers — and not only for baseball — but for all of sports.
At the time of his debut, many probably didn’t know just how significant it would be. The country was still struggling with civil rights, and incorporating players from the Negro Leagues wasn’t an idea that everyone supported. Obviously, Robinson had to endure a tough climate in baseball during his career.
Robinson went 0-3 with a run scored in his debut. But he didn’t need a big game in the box score to make a difference on this date. Ending segregation in baseball was truly historic itself, but it also served as a catalyst for even bigger social change and acceptance. Robinson’s debut stands as a significant moment in sports history, and the fact that he made it in a Dodgers uniform only makes it more special.
#1. Gibson’s homerun in 88’ World Series
The moment that everyone knows, Dodgers fan or not. The highlight is still played often and is considered by many to not only be a top Dodgers moment, but one of the greatest moments in baseball history.
Everyone knows how the story unfolds. Kirk Gibson, the NL MVP that year, had been the centerpiece of the Dodgers offense all season. But with injuries to both knees, his availability for the World Series was in doubt. And saying “in doubt” is putting it mildly. No one expected him to play. During the game, Vin Scully had famously said, “[Gibson] will not see any action tonight, for sure.” But down 4-3 with a runner on in the bottom of the 9th, Tommy Lasorda took a roll of the dice and sent Gibson up to pinch-hit.
Gibson hobbled to the plate against the best closer in the game, Dennis Eckersley. After falling behind 0-2, Gibson worked the count full. Then, Eckersley threw him a 3-2 slider that Gibson put a weak looking swing on. But that swing hit it just right, and the ball sailed over Jose Canseco’s head, into the right-field stands. Gibson gave the Dodgers the walk-off victory and sent Dodgers Stadium into a frenzy. It also paved the way for the Dodgers to win three more games against the mighty Oakland A’s, and claim their sixth Championship.
It was a moment that seemed like it was something out of a movie. Gibson’s heroics will forever live on in Dodgers history.
That concludes this four-part piece covering the Dodgers all-time moments. How do you think we did? What moments were too high, too low, or missed altogether? Let us know in the comments below!