This article is the first of a five-part series that will cover the top 20 moments in Dodgers history. This one will reveal #20 – #16 on that all-time list.
With such a historic franchise like the Dodgers, it’s not an easy task to narrow it down to 20 moments. There are so many great ones that didn’t quite make the list, and there’s sure to be some debate and disagreement with these. Nevertheless, this is what we came up with. Enjoy!
#20. Dodgers win the 1963 World Series, sweep the Yankees
This was the Dodgers third Championship, and it was significant for a few reasons. One, it’s the first and only World Series that the Dodgers won at home. Every other Championship has been won on the road, which is also a great feeling in it’s own right, but not quite like it is to win in front of your home fans. More importantly though, this series was against the Dodgers bitter rival, the New York Yankees, and it was the first time in professional sports that a Los Angeles team met up with a New York team to decide a championship.
It was a dominant performance by the Dodgers. Sandy Koufax struck out 15 in the Game 1 win. Johnny Podres got the victory in Game 2, and Don Drysdale pitched a complete game shutout in Game 3. Koufax pitched another gem in Game 4 to close out the sweep, which marked the first time in their history that the Yankees had been swept in a World Series.
#19. Rick Monday’s home run in 1981 NLCS
The strike-shortened 1981 season turned the NLCS into a best-of-five series. The Dodgers faced off against the Montreal Expos, and in Game 5, with the score tied 1-1 in the 9th inning, Rick Monday came up with two outs. He sent a Steve Rogers pitch over the right-center field wall, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that they never gave up. Coined “Blue Monday” by Expos fans, it’s still one of the best moments in Dodgers history, as they very well may have never reached the ’81 World Series without Monday’s heroics.
#18. Dodgers go 43-7 over 50 game stretch
The 2017 Dodgers were such a great team. You could say they were robbed of a World Series, but that’s another story all together. That year, they ran off a 50-game stretch for the ages, going 43-7. That’s an absurd 86% win percentage, and to play that type of baseball over 50 games is really an amazing feat. No team in baseball had gone on such a run since the 1912 New York Giants, and the 43-7 record is the 2nd best mark in MLB history over a 50-game stretch.
#17. Dodgers set franchise record for most wins in a season
As good as the 2017 Dodgers team was that ran off that impressive 50-game streak, the 2019 team may have been even better. And in terms of record, they were. The 2019 club set the franchise record for wins in a season with 106, passing the 1953 team. They set the record on the season finale, against the rival San Francisco Giants (making it that much sweeter.)
Despite losing a bunch of key players from the year prior, including Manny Machado, Yasmani Grandal, Yasiel Puig, and Matt Kemp, the Dodgers came out and dominated opponents in 2019. They won the division by 21 games and finished with the best record in the National League. They also set a record for most home runs by a National League team in MLB history, with 279.
#16. Eric Gagne’s save streak
On August 26th 2002, Eric Gagne blew a save. He wouldn’t blow another one for almost another two years. July 5th 2004, to be exact. Gagne broke Tom Gordon’s MLB record of 54 straight converted saves in a row, and he eventually made it to 84 consecutive games. He was easily the most dominant closer there was in the game at that time. When he entered the game, Dodgers fans knew it was likely “Game Over,” a phrase that became a popular saying when describing Gagne’s entrance.
That wraps up the first part of the Dodgers all-time moments list. Be sure to look out for part two, which will cover moments #15 – #11.