Los Angeles Dodgers Tailgating

Los Angeles Dodgers Tailgating

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Dodger Stadium, occasionally referenced by local sportscasters with the metonym Chavez Ravine, is a stadium in Los Angeles. Wikipedia

Los Angeles Dodgers Tailgating

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team located in Los AngelesCalifornia. The Dodgers are members of theNational League West division of Major League Baseball (MLB). Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming the Brooklyn Dodgers definitively by 1932.[1][2] The team moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season.[3] They played their first four seasons in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to their current home of Dodger Stadium, the third-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball (after Fenway Park and Wrigley Field).

The Dodgers have won six World Series titles and 21 National League pennants. Eight Cy Young Award winners have pitched for the Dodgers, winning a total of eleven Cy Young Awards (both MLB records). The team has also produced 12 Rookie of the Year Awardwinners, including four consecutive from 1979–1982 and five consecutive from 1992–1996, the longest consecutive streaks in Major League Baseball.

History[edit]

In the 20th century, the team, then known as the Robins, won league pennants in 1916 and 1920, losing the World Series both times, first to Boston and then Cleveland. In 1941, as the Dodgers, they captured their third National League pennant, only to lose again to theNew York Yankees. This marked the onset of the Dodgers–Yankees rivalry, as the Dodgers would face them in their next six World Series appearances. Led by Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era; and three-time National League Most Valuable Player Roy Campanella, also signed out of the Negro Leagues, the Dodgers captured their first World Series title in 1955 by defeating the Yankees for the first time, a story notably described in the 1972 book The Boys of Summer.

Following the 1957 season, the team left Brooklyn. In just their second season in Los Angeles, the Dodgers won their second World Series title, beating the Chicago White Sox in six games in 1959. Spearheaded by the dominant pitching style of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, the Dodgers captured three pennants in the 1960s and won two more World Series titles in 1963, sweeping the Yankees in four games, and 1965, edging the Minnesota Twins in seven. The 1963 sweep represented their second victory against the Yankees and first against them as a Los Angeles team. The Dodgers won four more pennants in 1966, 1974, 1977 and 1978, but lost in each World Series appearance. They went on to win the World Series again in 1981, thanks to pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela. The early 1980s were affectionately dubbed “Fernandomania.” In 1988, another pitching hero, Orel Hershiser, again led them to a World Series victory, aided by one of the most memorable home runs of all time, by their injured star outfielder Kirk Gibson coming off the bench to pinch hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of game 1, in his only appearance of the series.

The Dodgers share a fierce rivalry with the San Francisco Giants, the oldest rivalry in baseball, dating back to when the two franchises played in New York City. Both teams moved west for the 1958 season. The Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers have collectively appeared in the World Series 18 times, while the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants have collectively appeared 19 times and have been invited 20 times. The Giants have won one more World Series (7); the Dodgers have won 21 National League pennants, while the Giants hold the record with 22. Although the two franchises have enjoyed near equal success, the city rivalries are rather lopsided and in both cases, a team’s championships have predated to the other’s first one in that particular location. When the two teams were based in New York, the Giants won five World Series championships, and the Dodgers one. After the move to California, it has almost been the reverse—the Dodgers have won five in Los Angeles, the Giants won two in San Francisco.

Team history[edit]

Brooklyn Dodgers[edit]

The Dodgers were originally founded in 1883 as the Brooklyn Atlantics, taking the name of a defunct team that had played in Brooklyn before them. The team joined the American Association in 1884 and won the AA championship in 1889 before joining the National League in 1890. They promptly won the NL Championship their first year in the League. The team was known alternatively as the Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Robins, andTrolley Dodgers before officially becoming the Dodgers in the 1930s.

In Brooklyn, the Dodgers won the NL pennant several times (189018991900191619201941194719491952195319551956) and the World Series in 1955. After moving to Los Angeles, the team won National League pennants in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988, with World Series championships in 19591963196519811988. In all, the Dodgers have appeared in 18 World Series: 9 in Brooklyn and 9 in Los Angeles.

Jackie Robinson[edit]

Main article: Jackie Robinson

For most of the first half of the 20th century, no Major League Baseball team employed an African American player. Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play for a Major League Baseball team when he played his first major league game on April 15, 1947, as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It happened mainly due to general manager Branch Rickey‘s efforts. The deeply religious Rickey’s motivation appears to have been primarily moral, although business considerations were also present. Rickey was a member of The Methodist Church, the antecedent denomination to The United Methodist Church of today, which was a strong advocate for social justice and active later in the Civil Rights movement.[4]

This event was the harbinger of the integration of professional sports in the United States, the concomitant demise of the Negro Leagues, and is regarded as a key moment in the history of the American Civil Rights movement. Robinson was an exceptional player, a speedy runner who sparked the team with his intensity. He was the inaugural recipient of the Rookie of the Year award, which is now named the Jackie Robinson award in his honor. The Dodgers’ willingness to integrate, when most other teams refused to, was a key factor in their 1947–1956 success. They won six pennants in those 10 years with the help of Robinson, three-time MVP Roy Campanella, Cy Young Award winner Don NewcombeJim Gilliam and Joe Black. Robinson would eventually go on to become the first African-American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Move to Los Angeles[edit]

Former Dodger greats who played in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles adorn the exterior of Dodger Stadium.

Real estate businessman Walter O’Malley had acquired majority ownership of the Dodgers in 1950, when he bought the shares of his co-owners, Branch Rickey and the estate of James L. Smith. Before long he was working to buy new land in Brooklyn to build a more accessible and better arrayed ballpark than Ebbets Field. Beloved as it was, Ebbets Field had grown old and was not well served by infrastructure, to the point where the Dodgers could not sell the park out even in the heat of a pennant race (despite largely dominating the league from 1946 to 1957).

O’Malley wanted to build a new, state of the art stadium in Brooklyn. But City Planner Robert Moses and other New York politicians refused to let him build the Brooklyn stadium he wanted. During the 1955 season he announced that the team would play seven regular season games and one exhibition game at Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium in 1956. He expected that this move would put pressure on the city’s politicians to build the Dodgers the park he wanted in Brooklyn.[5] Yet Moses and the others considered this an empty threat, and did not believe O’Malley would go through with moving the team from New York City. That is when Los Angeles came into the picture.

After teams began to travel to and from games by air instead of train, it became possible to include locations in the far west. When Los Angeles officials attended the 1956 World Series looking to entice a team to move to the City of Angels, they were not even considering the Dodgers. Their original target had been the then-current Washington Senators (who would in fact move to Bloomington, suburbanMinneapolis, to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961). When O’Malley heard that LA was looking for a club, he sent word to the Los Angeles officials that he was interested in talking. Los Angeles offered him what New York would not: a chance to buy land suitable for building a ballpark, and own that ballpark, giving him complete control over all its revenue streams. When the news came out, Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. and Moses made a feeble effort to save the Dodgers, offering to build a ballpark on the World’s Fair Grounds in Queens. Wagner was already on shaky ground, as the New York Giants were getting ready to move out of the crumbling Polo Grounds. However, O’Malley was interested in his park only under his conditions, and the plans for a new stadium in Brooklyn seemed like a pipe dream. Walter O’Malley was left with the difficult decision to move the Dodgers to California, convincing Giants owner Horace Stoneham to move to San Francisco instead of Minneapolis to keep the Giants-Dodgers rivalry alive on the West Coast. There was no turning back: the Dodgers were heading for Hollywood.[5]

The Dodgers played their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, which the Dodgers won 2–0 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

The Dodgers were the first Major League Baseball team to ever play in Los Angeles. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, defeating the former New York and now new San Francisco Giants, 6–5, before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Catcher Roy Campanella, left partially paralyzed in an off-season accident, was never able to play in Los Angeles.

The 1959 World Series was played partially at the LA Coliseum while Dodger Stadium was being built.

Construction on Dodger Stadium was completed in time for Opening Day 1962. With its clean, simple lines and its picturesque setting amid hills and palm trees, the ballpark quickly became an icon of the Dodgers and their new California lifestyle. O’Malley was determined that there would not be a bad seat in the house, achieving this by cantilevered grandstands that have since been widely imitated. More importantly for the team, the stadium’s spacious dimensions, along with other factors, gave defense an advantage over offense and the Dodgers moved to take advantage of this by assembling a team that would excel with its pitching.

Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have won nine more National League Championships and five World Series rings.

Other historical notes[edit]

Historical statistics[edit]

  • First MLB team to employ and start an African-American player in the 20th century (Jackie Robinson, 1947)
  • First baseball team to win championships in different leagues in consecutive years (1889–1890)
  • First television broadcast (1939)
  • First use of batting helmets (1941)
  • First West Coast team (1958) – along with the San Francisco Giants
  • First MLB team to open an office in Asia (1998)
  • Largest home-opener attendance: 78,672 (1958) (since broken by the Colorado Rockies in 1993)
  • Largest single game attendance: 93,103 (1959) and 115,300 (2008) *World Record
  • Longest MLB record for home start going 13–0 (2009)
  • North American record for the buying of a sports team ($2 billion, 2012)
  • First MLB team to employ a female lead trainer (Sue Falsone, 2012)

The team’s nickname[edit]

By 1890, New Yorkers (Brooklyn was a separate city until it became a borough in 1898) routinely called anyone from Brooklyn a “trolley dodger”, due to the vast network of street car lines criss-crossing the borough as people dodged trains to play on the streets. When the second Washington Park burned down early in the 1891 season, the team moved to nearby Eastern Park, which was bordered on two sides by street car tracks. That’s when the team was first called the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. That was soon shortened to Dodgers.[6] Sportswriters in the early 20th century began referring to the Dodgers as the “Bums”, in reference to the team’s fans and possibly because of the “street character” nature of Jack Dawkins, the “Artful Dodger” in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist

Other team names used by the franchise which would finally be called the Dodgers were the Atlantics, Grays, Grooms, the Bridegrooms, the Superbas and the Robins. All of these nicknames were used by fans and sportswriters to describe the team, but not in any official capacity. The team’s legal name was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.[7] However, the Trolley Dodger nickname was used throughout this period, simultaneously with these other nicknames, by fans and sportswriters of the day. The team did not use the name in any formal sense until 1932, when the word “Dodgers” appeared on jerseys for the team.[1] The “conclusive shift” came in 1933, when both home and road jerseys for the team bore the name “Dodgers”.[2]

Examples of how the many popularized names of the team were used are available from newspaper articles from the period before 1932. A New York Times article describing a game the Dodgers played in 1916 starts out by referring to how “Jimmy Callahan, pilot of the Pirates, did his best to wreck the hopes the Dodgers have of gaining the National League pennant”, but then goes on to comment “the only thing that saved the Superbas from being toppled from first place was that the Phillies lost one of the two games played”.[8] What is interesting about the use of these two nicknames is that most baseball statistics sites and baseball historians generally now refer to the pennant-winning 1916 Brooklyn team as the Robins. A 1918 New York Times article does use the nickname Robins in its title “Buccaneers Take Last From Robins”, but the subtitle of the article reads “Subdue The Superbas By 11 To 4, Making Series An Even Break”.[9]

Another example of the ease of use of the different nicknames is found on the program issued at Ebbets Field for the 1920 World Series, which identifies the matchup in the series as “Dodgers vs. Indians”, despite the fact that the Robins nickname had been in consistent usage at this point for around six years.[10] The “Robins” nickname was derived from the name of their Hall of Fame manager, Wilbert Robinson, who led the team from 1914 to 1937[11]

Uniforms[edit]

The Dodgers’ home uniforms have remained relatively unchanged for 70 years

The Dodgers uniforms have remained relatively unchanged for over 70 years. The home jersey is white with Dodgers written in script across the chest in blue. The road jersey is gray with Los Angeles written in script across the chest in blue. The word Dodgers was first used on the front of the team’s home jersey in 1933, and the uniform was white with red pinstripes and the Brooklyn stylized B on the left shoulder.[12] The Dodgers also wore green outlined uniforms and green caps throughout the 1937 season but reverted to a blue template the following year. The current design was adopted in 1939, and has remained the same ever since with only minor cosmetic changes.

Since 1952, the home uniform has had a red uniform number under the Dodgers script. The road jerseys also have a red uniform number under the script.

The most obvious of these is the removal of “Brooklyn” from the road jerseys and the replacement of the stylized “B” with the interlocking “L.A.” on the caps in 1958. In 1970 the Dodgers removed the city name from the road jerseys and had Dodgers on both the home and away uniforms. The city script returned to the road jerseys in 1999. Also in 1999 the tradition rich Dodgers flirted with an alternate uniform for the first time since 1944 (when all blue satin uniforms were introduced). These 1999 alternate jerseys had a royal blue top with the Dodgers script in white across the chest and the red number on the front. These were worn with white pants and a new Dodger cap complete with a silver brim, silver top button and silver Dodger logo. These alternates proved unpopular and the team abandoned them after only one season just as they did 55 years earlier with the blue satin uniforms.

  • Current logo using “Dodgers” Script

  • Los Angeles Dodgers Script on Dodger Blue

Asian players[edit]

The Dodgers have been groundbreaking in their signing of players from Asia; mainly, JapanKorea, and Taiwan. Former owner Peter O’Malley began reaching out in 1980 by starting clinics in China and Korea, building baseball fields in two Chinese cities, and in 1998 becoming the first major league team to open an office in Asia. The Dodgers were the second team to start a Japanese player in recent history, pitcher Hideo Nomo, the first team to start a Korean player, pitcher Chan Ho Park, and the first Taiwanese player, Chin-Feng Chen. In addition, they were the first team to send out three Asian pitchers, from different Asian countries, in one game: Park, Hong-Chih Kuo of Taiwan, and Takashi Saito of Japan. In the 2008 season the Dodgers had the most Asian players on its roster of any major league team with five. They included Japanese pitchers Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda; South Korean pitcher Chan Ho Park; and Taiwanese pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo and infielder Chin-Lung Hu. Furthermore in 2005, the Dodgers’ Hee Seop Choi became the first Asian player to compete in the Home Run Derby.[13] For the 2013 season, the Dodgers signed starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu with a six-year, $36,000,000 contract, after posting a bid of nearly $27,000,000 to acquire him from the KBO‘s Hanhwa Eagles.

Rivalries[edit]

The Dodgers’ rivalry with the San Francisco Giants dates back to the 19th century, when the two teams were based in New York; the rivalry with the New York Yankees took place when the Dodgers were based in New York, but was revived with their East Coast/West Coast World Series battles in 1963, 1977, 1978, and 1981. The Dodgers also had a heated rivalry with the Cincinnati Reds during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The rivalry with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the San Diego Padres dates back to the Angels’ and Padres’ respective inaugural seasons (Angels in 1961, Padres in 1969). Regional proximity is behind the rivalries with both the Angels and the Padres.

San Francisco Giants[edit]

The Dodgers–Giants rivalry is one of the greatest longest-standing rivalries and is regarded as one of the biggest in American baseball.[14][15]

The feud between the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants began in the late 19th century when both clubs were based in New York City, with the Dodgers playing in Brooklyn and the Giants playing at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan. After the 1957 season, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley decided to move the team to Los Angeles for financial reasons, among others.[16] Along the way, he managed to convince Giants owner Horace Stoneham (who was considering moving his team to Minnesota) to preserve the rivalry by bringing his team to California as well.[16] New Yorkbaseball fans were stunned and heartbroken by the move.[16][17] Given that the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco have been bitter rivals in economic, cultural, and political arenas for over a century and a half, the new venue in California became fertile ground for its transplantation.

Each team’s ability to have endured for over a century while leaping across an entire continent, as well as the rivalry’s growth from a cross-city to a cross-state engagement, have led to the rivalry being considered one of the greatest in sports history.[18][19][20]

Unlike many other historic baseball match-ups in which one team remains dominant for most of their history, the Dodgers–Giants rivalry has exhibited a persistent balance in the respective successes of the two teams. While the Giants have more wins in franchise history, and lead all NL teams with 22 National League pennants, the Dodgers have won 21;[21] the Giants have won seven World Series titles, while the Dodgers have won six. The 2010 World Series was the Giants’ first championship since moving to California, while the Dodgers’ last title came in the 1988 World Series.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim[edit]

Main article: Freeway Series

This rivalry refers to a series of games played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The series takes its name from the massive freeway system in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, the home of both teams; one could travel from one team’s stadium to the other simply by traveling along Interstate 5. The term is akin to Subway Series which refers to meetings between New York City baseball teams. The term “Freeway Series” also inspired the official name of the regions’ NHL rivalry: the Freeway Face-Off.

Historical Rivalry[edit]

New York Yankees[edit]

The Dodgers–Yankees rivalry is one of the most well-known rivalries in Major League Baseball.[22] The two teams have met 11 times in the World Series, more times than any other pair of teams from the American and National Leagues.[22] The initial significance was embodied in the two teams’ proximity in New York City, when the Dodgers initially played in Brooklyn. After the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the rivalry retained its significance as the two teams represented the dominant cities on each coast of the United States, and since the 1980s, the two largest cities in the United States.

Although the rivalry’s significance arose from the two teams’ numerous World Series meetings,[22] the Yankees and Dodgers have not met in the World Series since 1981.[22] They would not play each other in a non-exhibition game until 2004, when they played a 3-game interleague series.[22] Their last meeting was in July 2013, when they split a 2 game series in Los Angeles.

Fan support[edit]

A fan waves a rally towel during the 2008 NLCS

The Dodgers have a loyal fanbase, evidenced by the fact that the Dodgers were the first MLB team to attract more than 3 million fans in a season (in 1978), and accomplished that feat six more times before any other franchise did it once.[23] The Dodgers drew at least 3 million fans for 15 consecutive seasons from 1996 to 2010, the longest such streak in all of MLB.[23] On July 3, 2007, Dodgers management announced that total franchise attendance, dating back to 1901, had reached 175 million, a record for all professional sports.[24] In 2007, the Dodgers set a franchise record for single-season attendance, attracting over 3.8 million fans.[25] In 2009, the Dodgers led MLB in total attendance.[26] The Dodger baseball cap is consistently top three in sales.[27] During the 2011-2012 season, Frank McCourt, the owner of the Dodgers at that time, was going through a rough divorce with his wife over who should be the owner of the Dodger team. Instead, Frank McCourt paid $131 million to his wife as part of the divorce settlement.[28] As a result, the team payroll was financially low for a big-budget team crippling the Dodgers in the free agent market. Collectively, the team performance waned due to the distracting drama in the front office resulting in low attendance numbers.[29]

Given the team’s proximity to Hollywood, numerous celebrities can often be seen attending home games at Dodger Stadium. Famous celebrities include newly anointed owner Magic Johnson, Tiger Woods, Alyssa Milano, Shia Labeouf, and numerous others. Celebrities are known to sit at field box seats behind home plate where they sign autographs for fellow Dodger fans.

The Dodgers set the world record for the largest attendance for a single baseball game during an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox on March 28, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in honor of the Dodgers 50th anniversary in Los Angeles with 115,300 fans in attendance. All proceeds from the game benefited the official charity of the Dodgers, ThinkCure! which supports cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and City of Hope.

Radio and television[edit]

Legendary Hall of Fame Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully

Vin Scully has called Dodgers games since 1950.[30] His longtime partners were Jerry Doggett (1956–1987) and Ross Porter (1977–2004).[30] In 1976, he was selected by Dodgers fans as the Most Memorable Personality (on the field or off) in the team’s history. He is also a recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame‘s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters (inducted in 1982). Unlike the modern style in which multiple sportscasters have an on-air conversation (usually with one functioning as play-by-play announcer and the other[s] as color commentator), Scully, Doggett and Porter generally called games solo, trading with each other inning-by-inning. In the 1980s and 1990s, Scully would call the entire radio broadcast except for the third and seventh inning, allowing the other Dodger commentators to broadcast an inning.

When Doggett retired after the 1987 season, he was replaced by Hall-of-Fame Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, who previously broadcast games for the California Angels and Chicago White Sox.[30] Drysdale died in his hotel room following a heart attack before a game in Montreal in 1993, resulting in a very difficult broadcast for Scully and Porter, who were told of the death but could not mention it on-air until Drysdale’s family had been notified and the official announcement of the death made.[31] He was replaced by former Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday.[30] Porter’s tenure was terminated somewhat controversially after the 2004 season, after which the current format of play-by-play announcers and color commentators was installed, led by Monday and newcomer Charley Steiner.[30]Scully, however, continues to announce solo.

As of the 2013 season, Scully calls roughly 100 games per season (all home games and road games in California and Arizona)[32] for both flagship radio stationKLAC and television outlets KCAL-TV and Prime Ticket. Scully is simulcast for the first three innings of each of his appearances, then announces only for the TV audience. If Scully is calling the game, Steiner takes over play-by-play on radio beginning with the fourth inning, with Monday as color commentator.[32] If Scully is not calling the game, Eric Collins and Steve Lyons call the entire game on television while Steiner and Monday do the same on radio. In the event the Dodgers are in post-season play, Scully calls the first three and last three innings of the radio broadcast alone and Steiner and Monday handle the middle innings.[33]

The Dodgers also broadcast on radio in Spanish, and the play-by-play is voiced by another Frick Award winner, Jaime Jarrín, who has been with the Dodgers since 1959. The color analyst for some games is former Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, for whom Jarrin once translated post-game interviews. The Spanish-language radio flagship station is KTNQ.