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LAD World Series Heroes – 1960’s   

Dodgers pitchers (from left to right) Don Drysdale, Pete Richert, Stan Williams, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres

1963

1963 would be a special year. It was the year that Sandy Koufax realized his potential and became the dominant pitcher for the next few years. 1962 had ended in disappointment as the Dodgers were caught by the Giants and lost a three-game playoff. At that time, they called it a tie breaking series.

The series had been needed because over the last 8 days, the Dodgers blew a 4-game lead. Koufax had been out since Mid-July with a circulatory problem in his finger. But even without Sandy, the Dodgers maintained their lead through July, August and September.

But over their last 9 games, they lost 7. The nail in the coffin was a four-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium to end the season. And of course, the Giants won just enough to tie. The heartbreak was because they lost two 3-2 10 inning games in the last 6 they played at home. Koufax had finally pitched on the 21st of September in St. Louis, but was ineffective and lost 11-2.

Now with a lead in the 9th inning of game 3, Roebuck facing Matty Alou, allowed a single. Kuenn then hit into a force-out. McCovey PH for Miller and walked, moving Kuenn to second. Felipe Alou walked to load the bases.

Mays then hit a line drive that Roebuck knocked down, but it was still a single, scoring Kuenn. Stan Williams came in to replace Roebuck. Orlando Cepeda hit a sac fly to tie the game at 4.

With Alou on third, Williams uncorked a wild pitch that moved Mays to second. He then walked Ed Bailey to load the bases. Williams continued to be wild and walked Jim Davenport to give the Giants a 5-4 lead. Pagan hit a grounder to second that Larry Burright misplayed for an error and the score was 6-4.

Billy Pierce pitched a perfect 9th for his only save of the year and the Giants went to the series against the Yankees.

In 63, the Giants were not a factor, it was the Cardinals who chased LA all year. But this time with a healthy Koufax leading the way, and Tommy Davis winning his second batting title in a row, the Dodgers won the pennant by 6 games over the Cardinals.

Koufax went 25-5 and won the Cy Young for the first time and the MVP award in the NL. He struck out 306 batters. Drysdale contributed 19 wins to the cause. Podres and Bob Miller added 14 and 10 respectively. Koufax’s WAR in 63? 9.9

Davis led the offense with a .326 mark, Wills hit .302 and stole 40 bases. Howard hit 28 homers to lead the team. Only Davis, Fairly and Howard hit for double figures. Most of the bench players were below average hitters, Moon led the bench with 8 homers.

No, pitching was the team’s forte, and Perranoski won 16 out of the pen and saved 21. The team went to Yankee Stadium for game one with their ace, Koufax, facing the Yankees ace, Whitey Ford.

In the top of the second, the Dodgers scored four runs with the big blow a three-run shot by Johnny Roseboro. Skowron drove in the first run with a single.

In the top of the third, Skowron drove in another run with another single. It was now 5-0. Meanwhile, Koufax was making short work of the daunted Yankee lineup as the strikeouts kept piling up. The Yankees would not score until the bottom of the 8th when Tresh hit a 2-run homer off of Koufax.

But Koufax threw a complete game, striking out 15 Yankees to set a World Series record, breaking the 14 set by Carl Erskine. The top four in the Yankee lineup accounted for 9 of the 15 K’s, with Bobby Richardson striking out 3 times, Mantle, Kubek and Tresh, twice.

Game 2 featured Johnny Podres back on the Yankee Stadium mound where he pitched the clincher in 1955. His opponent was lefty Al Downing, who years later as a Dodger, would serve up Hank Aaron’s 715th homer.

Once again, the Dodgers jumped out on top in the first inning, scoring 2 on a Willie Davis double. They scored again in the fourth on a homer by Bill Skowron. Meanwhile, Podres kept the Yankees at bay with shutout ball through the bottom of the 8th. Tommy Davis hit his second triple of the game to knock in the 4th run in the top of the 8th.

Podres got one out in the bottom of the 9th before Hector Lopez hit his second double of the game. Elston Howard singled to score Lopez and Perranoski came in to relieve Podres. He got the last two outs, and the Dodgers led the series 2-0 heading home to LA.

Game three pitted the Dodgers other Ace, Don Drysdale against the Yankees Jim Bouton. Yep, the same guy who would later write “Ball Four.”

This game was a certified pitcher’s duel.  Bouton was a 21-game winner that year, and he pitched like it. The Dodgers scored one in the bottom of the first inning on a run scoring single by Tommy Davis. That would be it for the day.

Drysdale struck out 9, walked one, hit one and allowed only three-hits in one of his best performances of the season. Bouton went 7 innings, walked five, stuck out four and gave up four hits. Hal Reniff relieved him and pitched the 8th inning, walking one and striking out one. The game’s last out was a long drive to RF off the bat of Joe Pepitone. Ron Fairly made the catch against the bullpen gate.

Game four was played on Sunday October 6th. Koufax and Ford once again facing off.  The game was scoreless until the 5th inning when Frank Howard hit a towering drive down the left field line that landed in the Loge seats above the reserved level.

Koufax for his part held the Yankees at bay until the top of the seventh when Yankees superstar, Mickey Mantle, finally touched him for a long homer to center field.

With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Jim Gilliam hit a high bouncing ball to third, Clete Boyer leaped and made the grab, he then threw to first and Pepitone lost the ball in the white shirted crowd. The ball bounced off of his arm and rolled down the right field line. By the time it was recovered, Gilliam was standing on third.

Moments later, Willie Davis hit a sac-fly to score Gilliam. Koufax held the Yankees the rest of the way and the Dodgers swept the Yanks in four to win their second title in LA.

Koufax set a two-game record for strikeouts with 23. The bullpen pitched only 2/3rds of an inning with Koufax, 2, and Drysdale pitching complete game wins. It remains the only time the Dodgers have won a title on their home field. For Dodger fans, it still remains as one of the sweetest wins in Dodger history. Sweeping the Yankees.

 

1965

After slipping all the way to sixth place in 1964, the Dodgers were immediately put behind the proverbial 8-ball 26 games into the season. Tommy Davis suffered a serious broken ankle on a slide into second. The team did not have much power as it was since they had traded power hitting outfielder, Frank Howard and three others to the Senators for Claude Osteen and John Kennedy, a SS.

So they reached into their minor league system and called up 30-year-old, Sweet Lou Johnson to play left field. They also that season fielded the first all-switch hitting infield. Gilliam at third, Wills at short, eventual Rookie of the Year, Jim Lefebvre at second, and slick fielding Wes Parker at first.

The staff was anchored by Koufax and Drysdale. Sandy had injury issues in 64, but still won 19 and lost 5 with an ERA of 1.74. Drysdale had gone 18-16, but the offense let them down. The rotation was rounded with Osteen and Podres. Three lefties, something you do not see much of in the majors.

Perranoski, Howie Reed, Bob Miller, and Jim Brewer did the heavy lifting in the bullpen. Fairly, Johnson and Willie Davis manned the outfield. Wally Moon, in his last season in the majors, came off of the bench in 54 games.

Davis was injured during a win over the Giants on May 8th. Johnson came up and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup. When Davis went down, the Dodgers were two games in front.

For Johnson, he was having the time of his life. Playing for a contending team and starting every day. He always had a smile on his face.

The Dodgers led the league from May 6 until July 5th when they dropped into a tie. They went back to first on the 17th of July after going back and forth for a while. They stayed in first through August and were tied on Sept 2nd after two losses to the Pirates.

After that, they fell behind by as many as 4.5 games on the 16th of September. But on the 16th, they started the longest winning streak in LA Dodger history. 13 games. Drysdale won four of those, Koufax three and Osteen three. On the 30th of September, they were up by two games. They took two of the next three against the Braves and won the pennant.

This time they would face the Minnesota Twins. The transplanted Washington Senators won their first AL pennant since 1935. They were led by slugger Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison. Jim Kaat and Mudcat Grant were their pitching stars.

The series started in Minnesota on the 6th of October, Grant against Drysdale. Minnesota chased Big D with a 6 run third inning and the Dodgers never threatened.  Game 2 pitted Koufax, the eventual Cy Young winner against Jim Kaat.

Koufax went 6, giving up 2 runs, one of them earned, and the Twins won 5-1 as Kaat shut them down on 7 hits. The series shifted to Dodger Stadium with LA down 2-0. Claude Osteen got the start in game 3 against Camilo Pasqual. All he did was toss a 5-hit shutout against the powerful Twins. The Dodgers won 4-0. Lou Johnson had two doubles and drove in a run, Roseboro drove in two with a single while Maury Wills knocked in the other run.

Game 3 pitted Drysdale against Grant again. This time the Dodgers jumped out to a lead, 2-0. They were up 3-2 going into the bottom of the 6th.

Gilliam led off with a walk. Willie Davis singled to right and advanced to second when Oliva missed the cutoff man. Al Worthington came on in relief and Fairly hit a single through the drawn-in infield to score Gilliam and Davis. Fairly went to second on Hall’s overthrow to the plate. Johnson then bunted for a base hit and Worthington made an error trying to get Fairly at home. 3 runs on 3 singles and some shoddy fielding. Johnson homered in the 8th to end the scoring. The series was now tied.

Game 5 pitted Koufax against Kaat again. This time LA jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back. Koufax cruised with a 4-hit, 10 strikeout performance. 7-0 Dodgers. Wills went 4-5 with a stolen base and 2 runs scored, Gilliam had 2 hits and scored a run. Willie D had 2 hits and stole 3 bases, Fairly had 3 hits, and Koufax had a hit and an RBI. Heading back to Minnesota, they were up 3-2.

Game 6 saw Osteen on the mound again. Facing Mudcat Grant. The Twins scored 2 in the fourth and 3 in the sixth, LA only got a solo shot from Ron Fairly in the 7th. They headed to a deciding seventh game on October 14th.

Alston met with Koufax and Drysdale the night before the game, he told them he had decided to pitch Sandy on two days’ rest even though it was Drysdale’s turn to pitch. He told Big D to be ready in case he was needed.

It turned out he wasn’t. Once again Koufax shut down the Twins, who had hit almost twice as many homers as the Dodgers, 150-78 during the year. Koufax struck out 10 again, walked 3 and gave up 3 hits. The Dodgers scored their two runs on a homer by Lou Johnson that hit the foul pole, a double by Fairly and a single by Wes Parker in the 4th inning. For the fourth time in Dodger history, they were the champs. Koufax once again was the series MVP.

The hitting stars were Fairly, .379 with 2 homers 6 driven in, Johnson, .292 with 2 homers and 4 driven in, and Wes Parker, .304, a homer, triple and 2 driven in. But make no mistake, it was the Dodger pitchers shutting down a high power offense that won the series.

 

 

1966

It is more relevant to talk about the season than the series simply because the Dodgers were totally outmatched against the Orioles. It was a four game sweep. The Dodgers were never really in the series. They would get 17 hits in 120 at bats. Only three of their regulars hit .200 or better in the series. Their only home run came from Jim Lefebvre, and they were shut out by Orioles pitching from the 4th inning of game one to the end of the series. Two of their losses were 1-0 games.

This was the season of the holdout by Koufax and Drysdale, and while Sandy was not affected by the holdout, Drysdale never really got untracked. Koufax would earn his third and final Cy Young award.

The only player on the team who hit .300 during the season was Tommy Davis who hit .303. But TD was not a power threat anymore and his speed was reduced since his broken ankle. Lefebvre had a good year hitting 24 homers to lead the team, but it was once again about pitching as Sandy won 27, lost 9 and chalked up 317 Ks. All the starters were in double figures with rookie Don Sutton winning 12.

Koufax would retire from baseball in November, angering the front office, especially Buzzie Bavasi who declared Koufax never told us he was hurting. It was the end of an era. It would be seven years before they would return to the series.

 

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Duke Not Snider

Thanks for the memories, Bear. My recollections of those series are fond but fuzzy.
This passage jumped out for me: “Once again Koufax shut down the Twins, who had hit almost twice as many homers as the Dodgers, 150-78 during the year. Koufax struck out 10 again, walked 3 and gave up 3 hits. The Dodgers scored their two runs on a homer by Lou Johnson that hit the foul pole, a double by Fairly and a single by Wes Parker in the 4th inning. For the fourth time in Dodger history, they were the champs. Koufax once again was the series MVP.”
Koufax and Wills were my favorites, but Lou Johnson quickly joined them. He was a journeyman who seemed to play with joy and had a knack of coming through in the clutch. A homer off the foul pole. Perfect.
And how about that stat: the team had only 78 HRs during the season. That’s fewer than 0.5 per game. That’s only five fewer than Barry Bonds hit in ’21.
The ’24 Dodgers should set a new team record for HRs. It would not be surprising if two Dodgers–Shohei and Mookie, or Shohei and Max, or maybe both sets– combine to match or exceed the 78 the team hit back in ’65.

Oldbear48

Thanks Duke, Barry actually hit 5 less than the 65 team, 73, and he did it in 2001. Loved watching Johnson play. He was always smiling, and the guy played hard. Here is another Johnson tidbit. He scored the run in Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs. He walked, went to second on a sacrifice, then stole third and when the throw went into left field and he scored. He also got the only hit when he doubled off of Hendley in the 7th. Becoming the only player in MLB history to record all the hits for both teams in a 9-inning game.

Lou_Johnson_Dodgers
Last edited 23 days ago by Oldbear48
Wally Moonshots

I read that by the time Koufax got to game 7 in ‘65, he had very little left in the tank. He couldn’t get his curveball to work so he basically threw nothing but fastballs all game to a great hitting team (the Twins). The fact that he struck out 10 and gave up only 3 hits is remarkable.

Jeff Dominique

Bobby Miller will start Sunday, Gavin Stone on Monday, and James Paxton on Tuesday. That pretty much sets the rotation: Glasnow, Yamamoto, Miller, Stone, Paxton. How everyone performs will dictate what happens when Buehler is ready to return.

SandyAmoros

Bear excellent as usual thanks for the memories

Oldbear48

You are welcome

Jeff Dominique

Well, we have finally learned the true reason why JDM turned down the Giants offer.




Bobby

Dodgers and Cubs will be the two teams to open the 2025 season in Tokyo

Jeff Dominique

I am not in favor of this. Not that anyone has asked me or even cares what I think.

Jeff Dominique

Another young player extension. This time it is Colorado Rockies SS, Ezequiel Tovar. Tovar signed a  seven-year deal with a club option for the 2031 season that could see Tovar earn up to $84MM if the option is exercised. Tovar, who was under club control through the end of the 2028 season prior to the extension, is now slated to hit free agency following his age-29 season.

Bluto

Hurt and Grove made the roster.

Feyerheysen, Varland and Knack sent down.

Badger

Ohtani looks distracted tonight. Wonder what might be on his mind.

That picture above is the one where Stan Williams and Sandy Koufax switched gloves. Bear might have mentioned that but I didn’t see it if he did.

OhioDodger

Damn, I hate strike outs on offense.

OhioDodger

Dodgers may want to think about moving Yamamoto down in the rotation and moving Miller up.

OhioDodger

Well, I guess they listened to me.

Bluto

Honest question, what does it matter?

OhioDodger

I would rather have him going up against the other teams 4th or 5th starter as opposed to their #1 or #2.

Bobby

If we assume he’d be facing the same team whether he starts game 2 or game 4 of a series, he’d still be facing the same lineup, regardless of who the other pitcher is.

Why does it matter who pitches against our lineup, when it has nothing to do with who Yamamoto faces? The other team’s lineup isn’t worse when their #4 is pitching.

OhioDodger

Duh. Better think again Scooter. It may be the same lineup, however, their 4th or 5th starter is liable to give up more runs than their #1 or #2 starter. A better chance to keep us in the game. Let him cut his teeth against lesser pitchers. If he gives up 3 or 4 runs against a teams best pitchers we are in trouble. If he gives up 3 or 4 against a teams 4th or 5th starter, we still have a good shot.

Last edited 22 days ago by OhioDodger
Badger

Don’t those matchups change as the season progresses?

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