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Updates

(Los Angeles Dodgers)

(Los Angeles Dodgers)

2020 Season

August 13, 2020: Mookie Betts slugged three home runs against the Padres. It marked the sixth three-homer game of his career. All-time greats Sammy Sosa and Johnny Mize are the only other players to accomplish this feat.

Season Preview: Is this the year for LA fans to celebrate a championship? The Dodgers added superstar Mookie Betts to an already strong lineup that stars Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and AJ Pollock. Their pitching may be even better, with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler at the top of the rotation and prospects Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urias looking like future All-Stars.

2019 Season

Season Recap: All the experts were picking the Dodgers to win the pennant until Howie Kendrick beat them in the playoffs with an extra-inning grand slam. It ruined an otherwise brilliant season, which saw LA win 106 games—the most in the team’s long history. Cody Bellinger had an MVP-type season, while Hyun-jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw were among baseball’s best pitchers. The Dodgers topped the NL with 279 home runs, with Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Joc Pederson among the league leaders.

April 29, 2019: Cody Bellinger set a new record for RBIs before May 1 with 37. Cody Bellinger set a new record for RBIs before May 1 with 37.

March 28, 2019: Los Angeles hitters smashed eight home runs against Arizona to set a new record for Opening Day.

Season Preview: After winning two pennants in a row, the Dodgers look ready to capture their first World Series since 1988. Many players in the LA lineup can play several positions, which give manager Dave Roberts lots of options during a game. The starting staff is great and the batting order doesn’t give opponents a break. The two big questions are whether the bullpen will be good getting from the starters to closer Kenley Jansen, and how well Corey Seager plays coming back from two serious injuries.

2018 Season

Season Recap: Dodgers won the pennant for the second year in a row behind surprising seasons from rookie Max Muncy and veteran Matt Kemp. Ten different Los Angeles hitters smacked more than a dozen home runs, including Manny Machado, who joined the club in July. The Dodgers battled through pitching injuries all year long but were healthy by the end of the year. They could not stop the red-hot Red Sox in the World Series, however, losing 4 games to 1.

May 4, 2018: Four pitchers—Walker Buehler, Tony CIngrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore—combined to no-hit the Padres. It was the 12th combined no-hitter in baseball history, and the first ever for the Dodgers.

Season Preview: The Dodgers have plenty of competition in the NL West this year, but they also have plenty of star power. After a great start in 2017, they stumbled toward the end of the season and played flat against the Astros in the World Series. Which team will they be in 2018? If the Dodgers can avoid injuries, they should be a lock to win the division title. Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Yasiel Puig give LA a power-packed batting order, while the pitching staff—starring Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen—is the best in baseball.

2017 Season

Season Recap: The Dodgers were baseball’s best team from start to finish of the regular season, winning 104 games—the most for the club since moving to Los Angeles from Brooklyn. Clay Bellinger set a new NL record for home runs by a rookie, and Justin Turner proved to be one of the game’s best clutch hitters. An amazing starting staff led by Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, and Yu Darvish pitched the Dodgers into the World Series. They lost in seven exciting games to the Houston Astros.

August 23, 2017: Rich Hill no-hit the Pirates for nine innings, but lost the game in the 11th inning 1–0.

June 19, 2017: Cody Bellinger hit his 21st home run in just his 55th career game. That broke a record for rookies that had stood since 1930.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: After trailing the Giants for most of the season, the Dodgers blew past them in August and held on to win the division. Corey Seager had an amazing season and won Rookie of the Year. Justin Turner became one of the NL’s best all-around players. And Clayton Kershaw was great despite missing two months to injury. Kershaw saved the day against the Nationals in the Division Series, but unfortunately for the Dodgers, they ran into the red-hot Cubs in the playoffs, and lost the NLCS in six games.

August 27, 2016: Corey Seager hit his 23rd home run to break the team record for homers by a shortstop. The old record was set in 1930 by Glenn Wright.

June 20, 2016: Kenley Jansen saved his 162nd game to become the all-time leader for the Dodgers.

2015 Season

May 27, 2015: Adrian Gonzalez knocked in his 1,000th run with a homer against the Braves.

April 5, 2015: Los Angeles has the highest payroll in baseball, and some of baseball’s most awesome talent. Superstars Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, and Yasiel Puig have some teammates—Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Yasmani Grandal, and rookie Joc Pederson—and a burning desire to prove they are worth every penny of their hefty salaries.

2014 Season

November 15, 2014: Clayton Kershaw won his third Cy Young Award and was named NL MVP. He is the third Dodgers to win both awards in the same season. Don Newcombe (1956) and Sandy Koufax (1963) were the first two.

November 1, 2014: After started the year slowly, the Dodgers rose from third place to first by the end of July and won the NL West by 6 games. Ina lineup filled with high-priced superstars, it was young Dee Gordon who ignited the offense with 64 stolen bases. The pitching staff was led by Clayton Kershaw, who led the NL with 21 wins and a 1.77 ERA. Kershaw lost his magic in the postseason, however, lfallingosing twice to the Cardinals in the Division Series, as LA went 3 games to 1.

September 28, 2014: Dee Gordon led the NL with 12 triples and 64 stolen bases, while Adrian Gonzalez was the league RBI champ with 116. Clayton Kershaw was the NL leader with 21 wins and a 1.77 ERA.

May 25, 2014: Josh Beckett pitched his first career no-hitter, against the Phillies. He struck out Chase Utley to end the game. Going against tradition and superstition, Beckett joked with teammates about his no-hitter from the middle of the game on.

May 22, 2014: Zack Greinke allowed three runs in a game for the first time in 21 starts. The old record was 16 starts, set in 1917.

March 31, 2014: The Dodgers have put together one of the strongest teams in their history. If stars like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez stay healthy—and young Yasiel Puig can play like Superman for an entire season—L.A. could win over 100 games.

2013 Season

November 13, 2013: Clayton Kershaw was named the NL Cy Young Award winner for the second time in his career. Kershaw won the award in 2011 and finished runner-up in 2012. In 2013, he led the majors in ERA for the third straight season. Greg Maddux and Lefty Grove are the only other players to do that. Kershaw also joined Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale as the only Dodgers to strike out 200 batters four years in a row.

October 18, 2013: After tumbling into the NL West cellar in June, the Dodgers woke up and lost only 10 games over the next 10 weeks to surge into first place. Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw led the charge. L.A. defeated the Braves in the Division Series but could not overcome the pitching of the Cardinals in the NLCS, and lost in six games.

June 30, 2013: Cuban refugee Yasiel Puig broke into the majors like a tornado. He became the first player in history to be named Rookie of the Month and Player of the Month in his first month in the big leagues.

March 30, 2013: The Dodgers have the most star-studded lineup in baseball. Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke rank among the biggest names in the game. If they stay healthy and get contributions from the supporting cast, the Dodgers could win it all.

2012 Season

October 3, 2012: The Dodgers made a big trade in July hoping to make the playoffs, but fell two ins short. The good news is that, for 2013, the L.A. lineup will include Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Shane Victorino—none of whom began 2012 with the club. Had Matt Kemp stayed healthy during the season, there is little doubt that he and Clayton Kershaw would have led the team to the top of the NL West.

July 25, 2012: The Dodgers welcomed All-Star infielder Hanley Ramirez to the team. They traded young pitching star Nate Eovaldi to the Miami Marlins for Ramirez.

April, 2012: The Dodgers will have three hot-prospect pitchers at Spring Training—Nathan Eovoldi, Allen Webster, and Zach Lee. Lee looks like the best bet to become a star, but Eovoldi has the best chance to make the team in 2012. Lee is just 20, so the Dodgers will bring him along slowly.

More Go-To Guys

This Cracker Jack card of Nap Rucker was made around 1914. I have an old scrapbook with a lot of these cards pasted into it. (F.W. Rueckheim & Son)

I met Babe Herman a couple of times at baseball card shows. He was a nice guy. (Author’s Collection)

During the 1940s, the New York papers ran color pictures on Sundays. This Pete Reiser photo was clipped out of a 1942 issue. (New York Daily News)

This Carl Furillo card is from 1950. From 1948 to 1950, Bowman baseball cards were small and square. (Bowman Gum Co.)

I was amazed how small and skinny Maury Wills was when I met him at an autograph show. (Author’s Collection)

Don Sutton pitched forever! He was already a star when I was a kid, and he was still pitching when I was in my 20s! (Topps, Inc.)

The Dodgers traded Milton Bradley to get Andre Ethier. What a steal that was! (Black Book Partners)

  • Zack Wheat — Outfielder
    Born: 5/23/1888
    Died: 3/11/1972
    Played for Team: 1909 to 1926
    Zack Wheat was the star of Brooklyn’s pennant-winning teams in 1916 and 1920. His sharp batting eye and smooth swing made him one of the best curveball-hitters who ever played. Wheat was also one of the most graceful outfielders of his era.

  • Nap Rucker — Pitcher
    Born: 9/30/1884
    Died: 12/19/1970
    Played for Team: 1907 to 1916
    Nap Rucker was a bright and talented pitcher who could get batters out with his fastball, curve, or knuckleball. He led the NL in shutouts twice and had 38 in his career.

  • Burleigh Grimes — Pitcher
    Born: 8/18/1893
    Died: 12/6/1985
    Played for Team: 1918 to 1926
    When the spitball was banned in 1920, a handful of pitchers who relied on the pitch were allowed to continue throwing it. Burleigh Grimes was one of those pitchers, and he used his darting spitter to win 20 games four times for Brooklyn.

  • Babe Herman — Outfielder
    Born: 6/26/1903
    Died: 11/27/1987
    Played for Team: 1926 to 1931 & 1945
    Babe Herman was one of the great power hitters in the National League during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1930 he batted .393 with 241 hits and 416 total bases. All are still team records more than 80 years later.

  • Pete Reiser — Outfielder
    Born: 3/17/1919
    Died: 10/25/1981
    Played for Team: 1940 to 1942 & 1946 to 1948
    Pete Reiser was the most exciting player in baseball during the early 1940s. He was a ferocious hitter and swift baserunner. In 1941, the 22-year-old helped the Dodgers win the pennant and led the NL in doubles, triples, runs scored, batting average, and slugging average. Reiser’s aggressive defense led to many collisions with outfield walls, which were not padded when he played. After a 1942 injury he was never the same again.

  • Gil Hodges — First Baseman
    Born: 4/4/1924
    Died: 4/2/1972
    Played for Team: 1943 & 1947 to 1961
    In the years after World War II, no one in the NL was better at driving runners home than Gil Hodges. He had 100 or more RBIs each year from 1949 to 1955. Hodges was an All-Star eight times during the 1950s and won the Gold Glove the first three years it was given out.

  • Carl Furillo — Outfielder
    Born: 3/8/1922
    Died: 1/21/1989
    Played for Team: 1946 to 1960
    Carl Furillo had a strong outfield arm and a powerful bat. He helped the Dodgers win seven pennants and was the NL batting champion in 1953. Furillo retired one hit short of having a .300 career batting average.

  • Don Newcombe — Pitcher
    Born: 6/14/1926
    Played for team: 1949 to 1958
    In 1956, Don Newcombe became the first payer to win the Cy Young Award and MVP in the same season. Newcombe could do it all on a baseball diamond. He won 20 games three different times and one year batted .359 with seven home runs.

  • Junior Gilliam — Second Baseman/Third Baseman
    Born: 10/17/1928
    Died: 10/8/1978
    Played for Team: 1953 to 1966
    Jim “Junior” Gilliam was a player and coach for the Dodgers for 25 seasons. He batted leadoff for the team during the 1950s and retired in 1964. The team asked Gilliam to come back and play third base in 1965 and 1966, and he helped the Dodgers win pennants both years.

  • Maury Wills — Shortstop
    Born: 10/2/1932
    Played for Team: 1959 to 1966 & 1969 to 1972
    Maury Wills was the NL stolen base leader six years in a row with the Dodgers. He was named NL MVP in 1962 when he broke the modern record for steals with 104. Wills was also a good fielder. He won Gold Gloves in 1961 and 1962.

  • Willie Davis — Outfielder
    Born: 4/15/1940
    Died: 3/9/2010
    Played for Team: 1960 to 1973
    Willie Davis is one of only three players with 2,000 hits and 1,000 runs as a Dodger. The other two were Zack Wheat and Pee Wee Reese. Davis also stole 20 or more bases 11 years in a row. He was the center fielder on three pennant-winners and won three Gold Gloves.

  • Don Sutton — Pitcher
    Born: 4/2/1945
    Played for Team: 1966 to 1980 & 1988
    Don Sutton won at least 11 games for the Dodgers an amazing 15 years in a row. He led the NL with nine shutouts in 1972 and had the league’s lowest ERA in 1980.

  • Steve Garvey — First Baseman
    Born: 12/22/1948
    Played for Team: 1969 to 1982
    Steve Garvey was the NL’s Iron Man. He once played 1,207 games in a row. Garvey was an All-Star eight times for the Dodgers. He topped the NL in hits twice and was the league MVP in 1974 when he led the team to the pennant.

  • Ron Cey — Third Baseman
    Born: 2/15/1948
    Played for Team: 1971 to 1982
    Ron Cey was an All-Star for the Dodgers six years in a row during the 1970s. He was one of three players who shared the MVP award in the 1981 World Series.

  • Fernando Valenzuela — Pitchers
    Born: 11/11/1960
    Played for Team: 1980 to 1990
    Fernando Valenzuela tied hitters into knots with his screwball and filled stadiums wherever he pitched. In 1981, he threw eight shutouts and won the league Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year. Valenzuela led the league in wins in 1986 and was almost unbeatable in postseason play.

  • Andre Ethier — Outfielder
    Born: 4/10/1982
    First Year with Team: 2006
    In 2009, Andre Ethier tied a record with four walk-off homers. In 2011, he set a new record for the longest hitting streak in April, reaching base safely in 23 straight games. The streak continued into May and reached 30 games, which ranks second on the team’s all-time list.

More Fun Facts

Mike Marshall used to kill the New York Mets. I’ll bet they tried to trade for him more than once. (Donruss/Panini)

  • LIKE MIKE
    The Dodgers had two players named Mike Marshall—one in the 1970s and another in the 1980s. The first was a relief pitcher who set a record by pitching in 106 games in 1974. He won the NL Cy Young Award that season. The second was an outfielder who topped 20 homers three times and was an All-Star for L.A. in 1985.

  • SHORT STUFF
    You don’t have to be big to be a Dodger. Over the years, the team has had several stars who were 5–9 or shorter, including Davey Lopes, Rafael Furcal, Paul Lo Duca, Eric Young, Chad Fonville, Vic Davalillo, Don Zimmer, Hack Wilson, and Sandy Amoros. In case you were wondering, Pee Wee Reese stood 5–10.

  • OH SAY, CAN YOU SEE?
    From 1958 to 1961, the Dodgers played in the oval-shaped Los Angeles Coliseum. It was not a good fit for a baseball diamond. The left field fence was only 250 down the line. Meanwhile, some fans in centerfield were sitting more than 700 feet away from home plate!

League Leaders

This comic book shows how popular Dixie Walker was with baseball fans in the 1940s. (Street & Smith)

Jackie Robinson was on the cover of Sport five times. This was his first cover, from 1949. (Macfadden Publishing)

This photo of Kirbe Hugbe came in a picture pack sold at Ebbets Field in 1941. (Brooklyn Dodgers)

This is my all-time favorite magazine cover. It shows Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson at an Old-Timers Day in the early 1970s. (Los Angeles Dodgers)

I met Johnny Podres in New York when I was a kid. After winning Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, he became a baseball legend in the city. (Author’s Collection)

  • Home Runs
    1924 — Jack Fournier — 27
    1941 — Dolph Camilli — 34
    1956 — Duke Snider — 43
    2004 — Adrian Beltre — 48
    2011 — Matt Kemp — 39

  • Batting Average
    1892 — Dan Brouthers — .335
    1913 — Jake Daubert — .350
    1914 — Jake Daubert — .329
    1918 — Zack Wheat — .335
    1932 — Lefty O’Doul — .368
    1941 — Pete Reiser — .343
    1944 — Dixie Walker — .357
    1949 — Jackie Robinson — .342
    1953 — Carl Furillo — .344

  • Runs Batted In
    1919 — Hy Myers — 73
    1941 — Dolph Camilli — 120
    1945 — Dixie Walker — 124
    1953 — Roy Campanella — 142
    1955 — Duke Snider — 136
    1962 — Tommy Davis — 153
    2011 — Matt Kemp — 126
    2014 — Adrian Gonzalez — 116

  • Stolen Bases
    1892 — John Ward — 88
    1903 — Jimmy Sheckard — 67
    1942 — Pete Reiser — 20
    1943 — Arky Vaughan — 20
    1946 — Pete Reiser — 34
    1947 — Jackie Robinson — 29
    1949 — Jackie Robinson — 37
    1952 — Pee Wee Reese — 30
    1960 — Maury Wills — 50
    1961 — Maury Wills — 35
    1962 — Maury Wills — 104
    1963 — Maury Wills — 40
    1964 — Maury Wills — 53
    1965 — Maury Wills — 94
    1975 — Davey Lopes — 77
    1976 — Davey Lopes — 63
    2014 — Dee Gordon — 64

  • Wins
    1899 — Jim Hughes — 28
    1900 — Wild Bill Donovan — 25
    1921 — Burleigh Grimes — 22
    1924 — Dazzy Vance — 28
    1925 — Dazzy Vance — 22
    1941 — Kirby Higbe & Whit Wyatt — 22
    1956 — Don Newcombe — 27
    1962 — Don Drysdale — 25
    1963 — Sandy Koufax — 25
    1965 — Sandy Koufax — 26
    1966 — Sandy Koufax — 27
    1974 — Andy Messersmith — 20
    1986 — Fernando Valenzuela — 21
    1988 — Orel Hershiser — 23
    2006 — Derek Lowe & Brad Penny — 16
    2011 — Clayton Kershaw — 21
    2014 — Clayton Kershaw — 21
    2017 — Clayton Kershaw — 18

  • Strikeouts
    1921 — Burleigh Grimes — 136
    1922 — Dazzy Vance — 134
    1923 — Dazzy Vance — 197
    1924 — Dazzy Vance — 262
    1925 — Dazzy Vance — 221
    1926 — Dazzy Vance — 140
    1927 — Dazzy Vance — 184
    1928 — Dazzy Vance — 200
    1959 — Don Drysdale — 242
    1960 — Don Drysdale — 246
    1961 — Sandy Koufax — 269
    1962 — Don Drysdale — 232
    1963 — Sandy Koufax — 306
    1965 — Sandy Koufax — 382
    1966 — Sandy Koufax — 317
    1981 — Fernando Valenzuela — 180*
    1995 — Hideo Nomo — 236
    2011 — Clayton Kershaw — 248
    2013 — Clayton Kershaw — 232
    2015 — Clayton Kershaw — 301

    * The 1981 season was shortened by a labor dispute.

  • Earned Run Average
    1924 — Dazzy Vance — 2.16
    1928 — Dazzy Vance — 2.09
    1930 — Dazzy Vance — 2.61
    1957 — Johnny Podres — 2.66
    1962 — Sandy Koufax — 2.54
    1963 — Sandy Koufax — 1.88
    1964 — Sandy Koufax — 1.74
    1965 — Sandy Koufax — 2.04
    1966 — Sandy Koufax  —1.73
    1980 — Don Sutton — 2.20
    1984 — Alejandro Pena — 2.48
    2000 — Kevin Brown — 2.58
    2011 — Clayton Kershaw — 2.28
    2012 — Clayton Kershaw — 2.53
    2013 — Clayton Kershaw — 1.83
    2014 — Clayton Kershaw — 1.77
    2017 — Clayton Kershaw — 2.31
    2019 — Hyun-Jin Ryu — 2.32

Playing for the Championship

The Dodgers were sure that 1952 would be their year to finally defeat the New York Yankees. It wasn’t. But 1955 was! (Author’s Collection)

YEAR OPPONENT RESULT
1916 Boston Red Sox Lost 4–1
1920 Cleveland Indians Lost 5–2*
1941 New York Yankees Lost 4–1
1947 New York Yankees Lost 4–3
1949 New York Yankees Lost 4–1
1952 New York Yankees Lost 4–3
1953 New York Yankees Lost 4–2
1955 New York Yankees Won 4–3
1956 New York Yankees Lost 4–3
1959 Chicago White Sox Won 4–3
1963 New York Yankees Won 4–0
1965 Minnesota Twins Won 4–3
1966 Baltimore Orioles Lost 4–0
1974 Oakland A’s Lost 4–1
1977 New York Yankees Lost 4–2
1978 New York Yankees Lost 4–2
1981 New York Yankees Won 4–2
1988 Oakland A’s Won 4–1
2017 Houston Astros Lost 4–3
2018 Boston Red Sox Lost 4–1

* The 1920 World Series was a best-of-9 format.

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