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The Brooklyn Dodgers were a Professional baseball team that was the predecessor franchise to today’s Los Angeles Dodgers. The team played in the major leagues between 1884 and 1957 and was based at the Ebbets Field for most of their life. The team’s moniker was derived from the intricate maze of trolley cars that weaved their way through the streets of the Brooklyn Borough at the time.
How did the Dodgers Start up?
The Dodgers began life as the Brooklyn Grays in 1883, with businessmen Charles Byrne, Joseph Doyle and Ferdinand Abell being behind the franchise. They moved to the NL in 1890, adopting the nickname Bridegrooms because several of its players had just gotten married. Although the name “Dodgers” was used commonly used to refer to the team in the media, it was only adopted by the team in 1911 and was again replaced with Brooklyn Robins in 1914 until 1932 when it was again readopted. The team’s first coach after it joined the national league was bill McGunnigle.
The Dodgers in Competition
The Bridegrooms won the Pennant in their first season in the national League having come from winning the American Association championship. Most of the 1890s were up and down for the team and they would wait until 1899 to win their second pennant with a 101-47 record. They won the first NL title of the 20th century with an 82-54 record but their play eventually went south as they consistently finished mid-table to bottom and ended the 00s with a dismal 55-98 record for sixth place in 1909. They carried their poor form into the 1910s finishing fifth or lower until 1914. They show signs of revival by finishing 3rd in 1915 before clinching another pennant in 1916. The returned to mediocrity finishing fifth twice and seventh once during the remainder of the decade.
They won the League pennant again in 1920 with a 93-61 record but were beaten by the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. They would play badly from 1921 to 1924 before narrowly missing out on the 1924 Pennant by a game and a half. Between 1925 and 1929, they finished in sixth place for five years in a row.
The 1930s decade was mediocre all the way. After posting winning records for the first three seasons of the decade, they would wait till 1939 for another winning season when they finished third with an 84-69 record.
They began the 1940s well, finishing in 2nd place in 1940 with an 88-65 record before lifting their first NL Pennant in 21 years during the 1941 season posting 100-54. They would however be beaten 4-1 by the Yankees in the World Series. They missed out on the Pennant narrowly in 1942 and fell to third in 1943. In 1944 a war-depleted Dodgers fell to seventh with a 63-91 record. In 1945, with many stars having returned from the war, they posted an impressive 87-67 record. They played the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1946 Pennant tie breaker which they lost in two straight games. They made amends however, winning the 1947 Pennant with a 94-62 record but would again succumb in seven games to the Yankees in the World Series. They won the pennant again in 1949 but further heartbreak to the Yankees awaited them in the World Series.
They continued their impressive form into the 50s narrowly missing out on the pennant in 1950 and 1951 before reclaiming it in 1952 and 1953. However in both of these seasons, they were unable to break their jinx against the Yanks as they lost in the World Series both times to their bitter crosstown rivals. They won the pennant again in 1955 and were matched up yet again with the Yanks, but this time they exerted revenge as they won the series in game 7. The two teams again met again in the 1956 World Series with the Yankees proving their superiority over the Dodgers once again. 1957 was their final season in Brooklyn and they finished in third place with an 84-70 record.
The Dodgers’ most Memorable Moments
The Dodgers had a long running rivalry with the New York Yankees which was the source of great anguish for Brooklyn fans. During their history they met the Yanks 7 times in the World Series managing to win only once. The famous taunt slogan “Wait ’til next year!” was coined to refer to the Dodger’s misfortunes at the hands of the Yankees.
On April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson featured in first base at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers became the first team in the Major Leagues to field a black player since 1886. Robinson, who had been signed from the Negro Leagues in 1945 played through abuse and death threats from intolerant fans but still managed to bat .297 and score 125 runs. He went on to have a stellar career with the Dodgers.
The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Most Notable players
Jackie Robinson played his entire MLB career (1949-1956) with the Dodgers. He was the first black player to play in the MLB in the modern era. Against great odds, he went on to post impressive numbers for the Dodgers as they recorded impressive results during the 1950s. He was inducted to the hall of Fame in 1962.
Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop for Brooklyn from 1940-1942 and 1946-1954. He led the Dodgers to Pennant wins in1949, 1952 and 1953. In 1952 he led the league with 82 RBI and 10 hits for a .345 batting average to help the Dodgers to the pennant. He entered the baseball hall of Fame in 1982. He made All-Star 10 times with the Dodgers including his entire second stint with the team.
Other notable players include Duke Snider, Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan.
What Happened to the Dodgers?
With Ebbets Field crumbling, Team President Walter O’Malley had been trying to strike a deal with the city of New York to have a new ballpark built for the club. His aspirations were however blocked by city planner Robert Moses. When it emerged that there was a rift with city officials, the City of Los Angeles began courting Walter to relocate the outfit there. Moses and then New York mayor Robert Wagner tried feebly to entice O’Malley to stay but he declined and moved the team to Hollywood and even convinced the NY Giants to move to San Francisco in order to keep the Giants-Dodgers rivalry going. Robert Moses became a much hated figure in Brooklyn when it emerged that his stubbornness had forced the Dodgers away.