11 Moments of Sporting History from the Yankees Dodgers World Series.
The Yankees-Dodgers rivalry has lain dormant for too long. The former crosstown rivals have met in the World Series 11 times, and yet, they haven’t faced each other on baseball’s biggest stage since 1981.
Both teams have a slew of young talent to keep them very good for a very long time. We’re talking players like Luis Severino, Yasiel Puig, Gleyber Torres, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Corey Seager, and Luis Urias. Just dreaming of these names gives us hope of this rivalry returning at any moment.
In anticipation of the 2019 World Series (yep, we’re calling it now) and in honor of the number of times they’ve met in the Fall Classic, we’ve created a guide to this matchup. Here are our picks for the most insane, hilarious, and unbelievable moments from the history of the Yankees-Dodgers World Series.
Yankees-Dodgers World Series Moments to Remember.
Before you even ask, yes, we included Jackie Robinson stealing home. Yes, Reggie Jackson made our list. But we also included some lesser-known names to give you a deeper dive into this legendary sports rivalry.
These are the players, the plays, and the moments that define this matchup for us.
1. Don Larsen’s Perfect Game.
It’s the only postseason perfect game and just one of two postseason no-hitters in Major League Baseball history, and it didn’t come from a star.
Don Larsen was a middling pitcher for the Yankees. In his 14-year career up to that point, his record was 81-91. But on October 8, 1956, 27 Dodgers went to bat and sat right back down.
Larsen was appropriately humble in interviews after the game, not taking much credit. The whole story is evidence of the magical randomness of baseball, and especially the baseball playoffs.
2. Bill Bevens’ Nearly No-Hitter.
Here’s a similar story to Larsen’s that ends much differently.
Bill Bevens was another Yankee journeyman, pitching for the team 10 years prior to Larsen’s perfect game. On October 3, 1947, he took a no-hitter down to the last out in the ninth inning. The hit he gave up next saddled him with the loss.
Cookie Lavagetto was the pinch hitter for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He hit a double that scored two runs, thanks to the walks that don’t count against a no-hitter. This gave the Dodgers a 3-2 win and Bill Bevens a broken heart.
3. The Catch That Shook DiMaggio.
Joe DiMaggio was famously unemotional, but in the same 1947 World Series, he wasn’t able to contain himself. Al Gionfriddo was another Dodgers replacement, this time on defense. In Game 6 of the series, Gionfriddo caught a ball that DiMaggio smoked in the sixth inning.
The catch preserved a three-run Dodger lead and led to DiMaggio kicking the dirt at second base. This is a classic story that pokes a hole in the traditional picture of the Yankees superstar.
4. Reggie Jackson Earns His Nickname.
They don’t call him ” Mr October” for nothing. Reggie Jackson actually makes this list twice, but let’s just stick to the homers for this one.
In the 1977 World Series, Reggie homered off Burt Hooton, Elias Sosa, and Charlie Hough on three consecutive pitches. He actually hit five home runs in that series overall, and he’s had that nickname ever since.
5. Reggie Jackson Sticks His Hip Out.
Mr October got a little frisky the very next year against the Dodgers. He interrupted a double-play relay throw during the sixth inning of Game 4 by jutting his hip into the path of the ball. The Dodgers led 2-1 in the series.
We shouldn’t state this definitively since there is some controversy about whether or not this move was unintentional. You can judge for yourself on YouTube. But the Yankees didn’t lose in this series from this moment on, and Dodgers Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda still blames Jackson for the momentum shift.
6. The First Walk-Off Home in World Series History.
Game 1 of the 1949 World Series was a pitchers’ duel. Brooklyn’s Don Newcombe was National League Rookie of the Year. He and the Yankees’ Allie Reynolds combined to strike out 20 batters.
It’s not the pitching that’s the story to us. We’re more charmed by Yankee Tommy Henrich leading off the bottom of the ninth inning with the first walk-off home run in the history of the Fall
Classic. The Yankees won that series 4-1.
7. The Dodgers Win Their First!
For all of their matchups against the Yankees, the Dodgers had never won a World Series against any opponent. The trend-which included losses to the Yankees in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953 changed in the 1955 contest against the Yankees.
It was a hard fought championship. It went to seven games, with plenty of lead changes throughout. Thanks in no small part to 22-year-old left-hander Johnny Podres and his two complete games, including a shutout, the Dodgers held on to win the series 4-3.
8. Jackie Robinson Steals Home.
That 1955 World Series also gave us one of the most famous plays in baseball history.
Jackie Robinson became famous for stealing home throughout his career. His Game 1 steal of home that year is one of his most famous. That’s partially because moving pictures were new at the time, so people watching from home could see the play.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to put Brooklyn over the hump that game, as they lost 6-5. As you already know, they came back to win the first World Series in franchise history.
9. A Move and a Shutout.
The Dodgers 1963 World Series victory was much more decisive than the 1955 series. The team had moved to their current home in Los Angeles after the 1957 season, and they actually won the World Series in 1959 four games to two against the Chicago White Sox.
1959 was the only year from 1955 to 1964 in which the Yankees didn’t play in the World Series, but these teams got their rematch in ’63. Podres was on hand to help again, and Sandy Koufax and
Don Drysdale joined him to shut out the Yankees in a 4-0 series win.
10. and 11. Steinbrenner’s 1981.
Late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was enough of a character to snag both of our last two entries, and in one World Series no less!
The Battle Scars.
According to lore and his own reports, Steinbrenner got into a fight with two drunken Dodger fans in a hotel elevator during the 1981 World Series. He showed up in front of the press with the bandages and cast to prove it.
A Public Apology.
After the Yankees lost the series in humiliating fashion, Steinbrenner prostrated himself before New Yorkers and Yankee fans everywhere. He said he wanted to “sincerely apologize” for the team’s performance and that they would get right back to preparing for the 1982 season. Unfortunately, the Yankees didn’t return to the Fall Classic until 1996.
A Rivalry for the Ages.
Reviewing these tales of Yankees-Dodgers’ World Series gone by, we’re craving another championship matchup between these two teams. C’mon boys, let’s bring the total to an even dozen in 2019.
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