#20. Dodgers win 56’ Pennant behind Don Newcombe, Duke Snider
The 1956 NL Pennant race went down to the wire, with the Dodgers, Milwaukee Braves, and Cincinnati Redlegs all close in the standings. On the last game of the season, Dodgers starter Don Newcombe earned his 27th victory of the year, giving the Dodgers the NL Pennant by 1 game. In the game, Duke Snider would hit his league-leading 42 & 43 home runs of the year. The Dodgers went on to lose the World Series against the Yankees, but the 56’ Pennant was a memorable moment for the club.
#19. Dodgers move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles / First game in L.A.
Many in Brooklyn might not consider this a “top moment” at all. When Walter O’Malley relocated the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles at the end of the 1957 season, it left many fans heart-broken. Nonetheless, it was a historic decision, and one that would pave the way for other teams to move out west.
The Dodgers played the last game at Ebbets Field on September 24th 1957, and the first game in L.A was on April 18th 1958, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Dodgers would defeat the New York Giants 6-5 in that game. Four years later, Dodgers Stadium opened in 1962.
#18. 42-8 record over 50 game stretch in 2013
Another one that may be hard to describe as a particular “moment,” but in my opinion, this may be one of the more over-looked achievements in Dodgers history. Sure, 50 games may just be an arbitrary timeframe, but it is a nice round number that one can use as a gauge.
Increasing the importance was the fact that the historic run came at such an important time. It wasn’t simply a great run by a 1st place team. The Dodgers were in last place and 9 ½ games back on June 21st. They then proceeded to win 42 out of their next 50 games, propelling them into 1st place with a 7 ½ game lead. No team had a better 50 game stretch in over 100 years.
#17. Clayton Kershaw’s No-no
Perhaps the greatest game ever pitched. No exaggeration. He may not have got the perfect game, but Kershaw was perfect that June night in 2014 against the Colorado Rockies. A Hanley Ramirez error was the only blemish in Kershaw’s 15 strikeout performance. At the time, Kershaw received the highest game score ever for any pitcher with a perfect game or a no-hitter with no walks/hit batters (game score being a metric devised by Bill James to determine a pitcher’s overall effectiveness in a game.) Since then, Max Scherzer has achieved a better score in 2015, with his 17 K no-hitter. However, Scherzer was also facing the lowly hitting Mets offence, which had not only been no-hit 112 days earlier by Chris Heston, but was also using many reserves in the 2nd game of a double-header. Not to split hairs or anything… I digress.
Many expect greatness all the time from great players. When it happens though, we shouldn’t be any less amazed. Greats like Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, & Steve Carlton, never threw a no-hitter. A great performance by one of the great Dodgers players like Kershaw will always be remembered.
#16. Dodgers win 1988 NLCS
The Dodgers surprised everyone by winning the NL West in 1988, but they came into the 88’ NLCS as big underdogs. The New York Mets were heavy favorites in the series, and for good reason. They had won 100 games on the season, and beat the Dodgers 10-1 during the regular season.
It was a remarkable series. After blowing a 2-run lead in the 9th inning of Game 1, the Dodgers won Game Two, splitting the first two games in L.A. The Mets trailed 4-3 in Game 3 heading into the bottom of the 8th but scored 5 runs in that inning to take the lead and go up 2-1 in the series. Fortune was reversed in Game 4, when the Dodgers trailed by 2 runs going into the 9th, only to tie the game on Mike Scioscia’s 2-run homer off Dwight Gooden. The Dodgers would win in 12 innings after a Kirk Gibson home run gave them the lead. Gibson would go deep in Game 5 as well, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the series.
After the Mets took Game 6, Orel Hershiser was his dominate self in Game 7. He pitched a memorable complete game shutout, propelling the Dodgers to the World Series, and completing the shocking upset against the Mets. A truly remarkable series that continued the Dodgers magical run in 88’.