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Top 25 Moments in Dodgers History



#5. Dodgers win 1963 World Series

A slight edge here over the 81’ championship, due to a few key factors. Firstly, it was the first (and still the only) championship the Dodgers would win at home.  Another significant aspect was the fact that this was the first World Series match-up (and first in any professional sports championship) between New York and Los Angeles teams.

It was also a truly dominate performance by the Dodgers team.  They would sweep their New York rival, something that had never happened to the Yankees before in all of their World Series appearances.  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 would pitch another gem in Game 4, and the Dodgers would win the game 2-1, and the series.

#4. Dodgers retire numbers of Robinson, Koufax, and Campanella

On June 4th 1972, the Dodgers would retire the numbers of three of the greatest players to ever wear the uniform.  Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Roy Campanella were all on hand for the ceremony at Dodgers Stadium.  Of the 10 players who have had their number retired by the Dodgers, I’m sure there are many who would considering these guys the top three.

Regardless of where you have them ordered on the Dodgers all-time list, the fact that almost 1/3 of the retired Dodger numbers were done on this one special day, is significant.  Moreover, to be able to honor them all together, in-person, was something to cherish and be grateful for.  Robinson would pass away just four months later.

There are many sporting events I wish I could have attended and seen in person, but I’m not sure there are many I would have rather chosen then to be at Dodgers Stadium on this date.  Getting to hear their speeches, and seeing Robinson, Koufax, and Campanella all get honored together, would have been something special indeed.

#3. Dodgers win 1955 World Series; first and only in Brooklyn

The first championship in franchise history, and the only one in Brooklyn.  After losing to the Yankees time after time in the World Series, the Dodgers finally got redemption in 55’.  They had come up short in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, losing the Series to the Yankees in all those years.

The Dodgers lost the first two games of the series in New York, but would win all three games back at Ebbets Field, taking a 3-2 lead in the series.  The Yankees would take Game 6 and force a 7th game.  Undoubtedly, with the team’s history against the Yankees, Dodgers fans knew their fate.  They were going to lose the Series yet again, somehow, someway.

But they didn’t.  Johnny Podres pitched an absolute 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 4 home runs.

Dodgers fans had waited a long time and endured many defeats.  But in 1955, “dem bums” finally did it.  And now, they could finally call themselves champions.

#2. Kirk Gibson’s home run wins Game 1 of 1988 World Series

The moment that everyone knows, Dodgers fan or no.  The highlight is still played often, and is considered by many to be not only a top Dodgers moment, but one of the greatest moments in baseball history.

As you probably noticed, all of the Dodgers championships are listed separately on this list.  But for the 88’ one, the Gibson home run actually overshadowed the rest of the series, and stands as the defining moment.  It’s almost as if the Dodgers knew they had won the Series after the Game 1 victory, even though they still had to beat the mighty Oakland A’s three more times – which they did.

I’m sure most know how the story unfolds.  Kirk Gibson, the NL MVP that year, had been the centerpiece of the Dodgers offence 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, Vic Scully had famously said, “{Gibson} will not see any action tonight, for sure.”  But down 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th, with Mike Davis on 1st base, Tommy Lasorda took a “roll of the dice,” and sent up Gibson to pinch-hit.

The crowd went nuts as Gibson came out of the dugout.  He 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 weak looking swing must have hit the ball just right on the bat, and the ball sailed over Jose Canseco’s head, into the right-field stands.  Gibson would give the Dodgers the walk-off victory, stunning the A’s, and sending Dodgers Stadium into a frenzy.

It was a moment that seems like it would be something out of a movie.  Gibson’s heroics will forever live on in Dodgers history.Jackie Robinson 4

#1. 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 possibly the most important moment not only for the Dodgers, and not only for baseball, but for all of sports.

At the time of his debut, although it was fairly notable then, I don’t think many knew just how significant it would be.  Certainly, there were many who didn’t think of it as a great moment at all during that time.  The country was still struggling with civil rights, and incorporating players from the Negro Leagues wasn’t an idea that many supported.  Robinson had to endure a tough climate in baseball during his career.

Jackie Robinson would go 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, and the fact that he made it in a Dodgers uniform only makes it more special.

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Written by Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.

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