The Los Angeles Dodgers are an American professional baseball team based in Los Angeles. The Dodgers compete in Major League Baseball as a member club of the National League West division. Established in 1883 in the city of Brooklyn, which later became a borough of New York City, the team joined the NL in 1890 as the Brooklyn Bridegrooms and assumed several different monikers thereafter before finally settling on the name Dodgers in 1932. From the 1940s through the mid-1950s, the Dodgers developed a fierce cross-town rivalry with the New York Yankees as the two clubs faced each other in the World Series seven times, with the Dodgers losing the first five matchups before defeating them to win the franchise’s first title in 1955. It was also during this period that the Dodgers made history by breaking the baseball color line in 1947 with the debut of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since 1884. Another major milestone was reached in 1956 when Don Newcombe became the first player ever to win both the Cy Young Award and the NL MVP in the same season.
After 68 seasons in Brooklyn, Dodgers owner and president Walter O’Malley relocated the franchise to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. The team played their first four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to their current home of Dodger Stadium in 1962. The Dodgers found immediate success in Los Angeles by winning the 1959 World Series, representing the franchise’s first championship since moving to Los Angeles. Success continued into the 1960s with their one-two punch ace pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale being the cornerstones of two more titles in 1963 and 1965. During the 1980s, Mexican phenom pitcher Fernando Valenzuela quickly became a sensation—affectionately referred to as “Fernandomania”—when he led the team as a rookie to another championship in 1981. Valenzuela became the first and, to date, the only player to ever win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. The Dodgers were once again victorious in 1988, upsetting their heavily favored opponent in each series and becoming the first and only franchise to win multiple titles in the 80s. After a 32-year drought, which included 12 postseason appearances in a 17-year span and eight consecutive division titles from 2013 to 2020, the Dodgers won the 2020 World Series.
One of the most successful and storied franchises in Major League Baseball, the Dodgers have won seven World Series championships and a record 24 National League pennants. Eleven NL MVP award winners have played for the Dodgers, winning a total of 14. Eight Cy Young Award winners have pitched for the club, winning a total of 12—by far the most of any Major League franchise. Additionally, the Dodgers boast 18 Rookie of the Year Award winners—twice as many as the next club. This includes four consecutive Rookies of the Year from 1979 to 1982 and five consecutive from 1992 to 1996. From 1884 through 2021, the Dodgers’ all-time record is 11,123–9,891.
Today, the Dodgers are among the most popular Major League Baseball teams, enjoying large fan support both at home and on the road; they are widely seen as the most dominant team in the National League in the present day. They maintain a fierce rivalry with the San Francisco Giants dating back to when the two clubs were based in New York City, as well as a more recent rivalry with the American League’s Houston Astros due to their role as the victims of the Astros’ sign stealing scandal in the 2017 World Series. As of 2022, Forbes ranks the Dodgers second in Major League Baseball franchise valuation at $4.075 billion.
In the early 20th century, the team, then sometimes called the Brooklyn Robins after manager Wilbert Robinson, won league pennants in 1916 and 1920. The Robins lost the World Series both times, first to Boston and then Cleveland. In the 1930s, the team officially adopted the Dodgers nickname, which had been in use since the 1890s, named after the Brooklyn pedestrians who dodged the streetcars in the city.
In 1941, the Dodgers captured their third National League pennant, only to lose to the New 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, sweeping the Yankees in four games in 1963, and edging the Minnesota Twins in seven in 1965. The 1963 sweep was their second victory against the Yankees, and their 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 in part 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 star outfielder Kirk Gibson coming off the bench, despite having injuries to both knees, 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 won the pennant in 2017 for the first time since their world series victory in 1988, aided by a Justin Turner walk-off home run on the same night of Gibson’s iconic walk-off home run 29 years earlier. They went on to face the Houston Astros and lose in 7 games; however, the series became embroiled in controversy due to the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. The Dodgers won the pennant in 2018 for a second year in a row, moving on to lose to the Boston Red Sox in 5 games. They went on to win the World Series again in 2020 by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in 6 games, after playing a season shortened to 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dodgers share a fierce rivalry with the San Francisco Giants, dating back to when the two franchises played in New York City. Both teams moved west for the 1958 season. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have appeared in the World Series 21 times, while the New York/San Francisco Giants have appeared in the World Series 20 times. The Giants have won one more World Series ; 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, the Dodgers have won six World Series while the Giants have won three.
In Brooklyn, the Dodgers won the NL pennant twelve times 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, 1988, 2017, 2018, and 2020, with World Series championships in 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988, and 2020. In all, the Dodgers have appeared in 21 World Series: 9 in Brooklyn and 12 in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers were founded in 1883 as the Brooklyn Atlantics, borrowing 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, and Trolley Dodgers before officially becoming the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1930s.
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. This was 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 a factor. 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 American Civil Rights Movement.
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 Newcombe, Jim 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 California
Real estate investor Walter O’Malley acquired majority ownership of the Dodgers in 1950, when he bought the 25 percent share of co-owner Branch Rickey and became allied with the widow of another equal partner, Mrs. John L. Smith. Shortly afterwards, he was working to buy new land in Brooklyn to build a more accessible and profitable ballpark than the aging Ebbets Field. Beloved as it was, E…
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