History of the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have had 9 different names in their almost 120 year history. Their winning history also has large numbers - 6 World Series titles, 21 National League pennants, 11 West division titles, and 2 Wild Card wins. In 2008, with the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers were able to win the National League West division title but it has been more than 20 years since they won their last pennant race.

Prior to the Dodgers entry into the National League in 1890, Brooklyn had several baseball teams and the modern Dodgers probably had their roots with some of those teams. The team’s name changed numerous times, starting in 1890 as the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and going through six changes before they became permanently known as the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932. Prior to that time, the Brooklyn team had won 5 National League pennants (1890, 1899, 1900, 1916, 1920) but no World Series. In fact, it would take until 1955 for the Brooklyn Dodgers to become the World Champions.

By the mid-1920s, the Brooklyn team, then known as the Brooklyn Robins, became a losing team with terrible fielding. Changes did not come until the mid-1930s when Casey Stengel, a former Dodger player, became the team’s manager. In 1938, Larry MacPhail was named general manager and under MacPhail and Stengel’s leadership, the newly renamed Brooklyn Dodgers rose again, winning the 1941 National League pennant race.

The war years brought about a major change to the Brooklyn Dodgers and major league baseball when Branch Rickey took over as general manager of the team. In 1947, Rickey made the courageous decision to place Jackie Robinson, major league baseball’s first African-American player, on the Dodgers’ starting line-up. Behind Robinson’s powerful hitting, speed on the bases and expert fielding, the Brooklyn Dodgers began a series of National League pennant wins. From 1947 through 1966, the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles, won 10 National League pennant races (1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966). Some of the players joining Robinson on the Dodgers’ roster were Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, and Don Newcombe.

In 1955, the Dodgers finally won their first World Series, defeating the powerful New York Yankees in 7 games. They won the National League pennant the next year but lost the World Series to the Yankees. The next time the Dodgers would win a post-season series, they would be in their new home in Los Angeles.

In 1950, Walter O’Malley became the majority owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. After years of trying to build a new ballpark for his team in Brooklyn and unable to overcome the obstacles in his way, O’Malley struck a deal with the city of Los Angeles and, in 1958, the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers left their fans and moved to the West Coast.

One year after moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers won the National League pennant and their second World Series. For the next six years, 1960-1965, the Dodgers had several future Hall of Famers leading them to victories. On the mound, they had the unbeatable team of Cy Young award winners, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and on the bases, they had the incredible speed of shortstop Maury Wills. Behind great pitching, defense and speed, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League pennant three times (1963, 1965, 1966) and two World Series (1963, 1965).

As so often happens with great teams, the Dodgers tumbled down and did not see post-season play again until 1974 when they won the National League pennant. It was the last pennant the Dodgers won under the leadership of Walter Alston, who had managed the Dodgers since 1954. Two years later, close to the end of the 1976 season, Alston retired and he was replaced by a 49-year-old Tommy Lasorda, who would soon become the next great, long-term Dodgers manager.

The 1970s Dodgers once again had a team filled with top players, including Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Ron Cey, and on the mound, Don Sutton and Tommy John. These players led the Los Angeles Dodgers to 4 National League pennant wins (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981) and their fifth World Series win in 1981.

Although the Dodgers won the National League West division title in 1983 and 1985, they did not win a pennant race again until 1988. That year, they went on to win their sixth and last World Series. It was also the last year that the Dodgers won the National League pennant race.

Tommy Lasorda led the Dodgers to two winning seasons that resulted in playoffs for the team in 1995 and 1996. They won the National League West division title in 1995 and the National League Wild Card in 1996, just before Lasorda retired. Two years later, the O’Malley family ended their 48 year ownership of the Dodgers, selling the team to Rupert Murdoch’s news empire.

It took the Dodgers several years and two new managers to win another playoff spot. Under new manager Jim Tracy, and with good players, including Shawn Green, Adrian Beltre, Paul Lo Duca, and Eric Gagne, the Dodgers had four consecutive winning seasons, including another National League West division title in 2004. That year was also the one in which the Dodgers were sold to Frank McCourt.

McCourt hired a new general manger, Paul DePodesta, who began making changes to the Dodgers’ line-up. By the start of the 2005 season, Green and Beltre were gone and Dodgers fans saw new faces, including Derek Lowe, J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent. The changes, however, did not result in a winning season, due in large part to player injuries. The Dodgers’ poor record in 2005 led to managerial changes, with Ned Colletti taking over as general manager and Grady Little as manager.

Changes in the Dodgers roster occurred once again, and the 2006 season saw a new line-up that included Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Kemp, and veteran pitcher Greg Maddux. The new, revitalized Dodgers won the National League Wild Card spot in 2006. They continued on an upward pace, winning the National League West division title in 2008 and 2009. Joe Torre retired after the 2010 season and the Dodgers hired former Yankees and Dodgers superstar player Don Mattingly to manage the team.

Source for Information
Wikipedia - Los Angeles Dodgers