Tale Of The Tape: Brooklyn Dodgers vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Portrait of members of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team pose in the dugout, 1954. From left, Americans Carl Furillo (1922 - 1989) (#6) and Gil Hodges (1924 - 1972) (#14), Cuban Sandy Amoros (1930 - 1992) (#15), and Americans Jackie Robinson (1919 - 1972) (#42), Duke Snider (#4), Pee Wee Reese (1918 - 1990) (#1), Jim Gilliam (1928 - 1978) (#19), Pete Wojey (1919 - 1991) (#35), and manager Walter Alston (1911 - 1984) (#24). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda looks on during a game against the Montreal Expos at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: J.D. Cuban /Allsport
  • World Series
    1955 will always hold a special place in the history of the franchise, marking the first World Series Title in Dodger history, after an unforgettable series rally after trailing the New York Yankees 0-2. It was the only World Series the club won while in Brooklyn.
    Simply put, there is little comparison. The Los Angeles Dodgers have won five World Series titles since moving west (1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988), providing moments such as the '63 sweep over the Yankees, and the '88 'Miracle at Chavez Ravine'.
  • Retired Numbers
    With Jackie Robinson's No. 42 being retired by every club in the Majors, it is tempting to count him 32 times. However, counting Robinson, Roy Campanella's No. 39, Duke Snider's No. 4, and Pee Wee Reese's No. 1, four Dodgers who spent the majority or entirety of their careers in Brooklyn have had their numbers retired.
    Counting Jim Gilliam's No. 19, who won three World Series in LA, Sandy Koufax's No. 32, Tommy Lasorda's No. 2 (as a manager), Don Drysdale's No. 53, Walter Alston's 24, who also won three of his four World Series in LA, and Don Sutton's No. 20, six numbers have been retired for players and managers who found the majority of their success in California.
  • Identifying With Fans
    This is in no way a knock on Los Angeles fans, who have sported the blue through some of the club's highest and lowest moments, but Brooklyn Dodger fans long ago established a level of their own. From the iconic chimney-sweeping derelict, to Hilda Chester banging her famous frying pan from her seat in the bleachers, it was Brooklyn fans who established the idea of loving a team for their character, rather than their numbers. The ball club was lovingly referred to as "our Bums" for a reason, but the Brooklyn Dodgers put "bums" in the seats of Ebbets Field consistently for decades.
    Shortly after the move out west, the Dodgers' World Series and National League Pennant success throughout the 1960s gradually began to diminish the club's image as "Dem Bums", and started gathering a new and exciting fan base in a region where, previously, there had not been a Major League team. One of the greatest aspects of the Los Angeles fanbase is that they were the first to present such a cultural interest in baseball as diverse as the city itself. However, with other franchises, such as the Lakers, the Dodgers no longer have the image as the only local athletic franchise to rely on, the way they were in Brooklyn.
  • Pennant Races
    In Brooklyn's very first year in the National League, 1890, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms won the Pennant. Since then, the franchise has earned 20 National League Pennants, with 12 of their total of 21 ultimately being accomplished in Brooklyn (1890, 1899, 1900, 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956).
    The club has only won nine of their 21 National League Pennants in Los Angeles (1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988).
  • Impact On Baseball
    From their roots in Brooklyn, the Dodgers were arguably the most influential ball club on the game of baseball. In 1939, they became the first club to broadcast a game over television -- a success that would go on to revolutionize the game's communication and economics. In 1941, they became the first team to make use of batting helmets - another practice that became the norm. Last, but certainly not least, in 1947, when Branch Rickey put a young, African-American ball player on the field, the game's color barrier came down, changing the future of the game, along with the course of civil rights, forever.
    The club has certainly had its marks on history in LA as well. After just one year in California, the LA Dodgers defeated the Chicago White Sox, four games to two, to win the first World Series in far-Western history. Throughout the 1960s, the dominance of pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale lifted the value of pitching in the National League to a new level - one that never looked back. In 1976, Tommy Lasorda took over as manager when Walter Alston retired after 23 years at the helm. Following Alston's retirement, one of the final remaining Dodger links to the Golden Age of Baseball was feared gone. When Lasorda took over, however, his flamboyant demeanor and colorful managing style put worries at ease over fears of the club losing its gritty image completely.
While baseball is a game that generally continues to evolve and look to the future, it is, heart and soul, a game that honors the past, and reminds us where we come from. The Dodgers, while making and leaving ever-lasting marks in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, are no exception to that theory. It is clear that the Dodgers, since their move to Los Angeles, have been one of the most, if the THE most, guiding franchises in the game, in terms of history, leadership and esteem. However, it was in the Elysian fields of Brooklyn, when the game was young, that the Dodgers earned and proudly wore their initial scars, and ultimately, their embodiment of America.

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