Tag Archives: Los Angeles Dodgers

Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason

It Still Happens – Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason (And Making A Difference)

sandy-koufax-singles-world-series-october-12-1965This photograph of pitcher Sandy Koufax shows a rarity.

In 20 times at bat, Dodger great, Sandy Koufax got only one hit in postseason play.

Koufax is leaving the batters box after stroking a single in game six of the 1965 World Series driving in Ron Fairly. Koufax’s single gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh in an eventual 7-0 shutout over the Minnesota Twins. It wasn’t Koufax’s hitting that won the game, it was the complete game, four hitter with 10 strikeouts that he hurled. Still to everyone watching, sans Twin fans, Koufax’s hit was a pleasant surprise.

The Dodgers went on to win the seventh game and Koufax was named the series MVP.

Koufax was one of the worst hitters ever, compiling a miniscule .097 career batting average over 12 seasons. But no one ever came to see Koufax hit, they came to see him pitch. As bad as a hitter as Koufax was there was always the slim chance that he might get a base hit. And when he did guess what? It was exciting.

The use of the designated hitter in the American League and the DH’s use in World Series games only in American League ballparks has effectively eliminated the thrill out of watching the pitcher impacting the game with his bat.

So in this day and age when it is considered a shock when a pitcher comes to the plate and gets a hit, it is refreshing to see pitchers in the 2016 postseason hitting and making a difference in many games.

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner was actually used as a pinch-hitter in game two of the NLDS playoff game against the Cubs.  In that same game, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks singled in two runs and reliever Travis Wood blasted a home run against the Giants pitcher George Kontos.

Then in the next game of the series Cubs starter Jake Arrieta hit a three run homer against the Giants. In the fourth inning of game 4 Giants pitcher Matt Moore singled home the go ahead run in a losing effort.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw helped his own cause in game four against the Washington Nationals by doubling and scoring the go-ahead run in what ended up being a 6-5 L.A. victory.

If you polled baseball fans most would say they want more offense and never have pitchers bat. Continue reading

Wes Parker Battles Fans For A Foul Ball In The 1965 World Series

Hey Dodgers Fans Get Out Of The Way!

Wes Parker catch attempt WS game 4 Oct 10 1965 photo UPI

Wes Parker goes after a ball in game 4 of the World Series Oct 10 1965 photo: UPI

The Los Angeles Dodgers played the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series with the Dodgers prevailing in seven games.

At Dodger Stadium on October 10, 1965, in game four with two outs in the top of the ninth, Twins slugger Don Mincher hit a pop fly that was drifting into the stands in foul territory. With the Dodgers leading 7-2, Dodgers first baseman Wes Parker made a desperate leap into the stands to try and catch Mincher’s foul ball and end the game.

Parker’s jump fell short and he missed the ball.

Mincher ended up striking out and Don Drysdale got the complete game win for the Dodgers. Time of the game two hours and fifteen minutes.

Dodgers In Spring Training – 1963

Podres, Koufax And Perranoski Get Ready For A Great Season – March 1963

Podres Koufax Perranoski 1963 March

Three of the anchors of the Dodger pitching staff, Johnny Podres, Sandy Koufax, and Ron Perranoski reach for the same ball at spring training in March 1963.

This trio of Los Angeles Dodgers hurlers would play a big part in helping propel the Dodgers to a World Championship in 1963. The 99-63 Dodgers would humble the 104-57 Yankees in a four game World Series sweep holding the Yankees to a measly four runs.

Johnny Podres hero of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 World Series Championship would go 14-12 in 1963 and win game two of the World Series against the Yankees pitching eight and a third innings and allowing just one run in a 4-1 Dodger victory at Yankee Stadium.

Sandy Koufax had his breakout year in 1963 going a magnificent 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and chalked up 301 strikeouts in 311 innings pitched. He won the Cy Young Award and National League Most Valuable Player Award. In the World Series he won game one and game four allowing just three runs while striking out 23 batters!

Dodgers relief ace Ron Perranoski had his best season ever in the majors with a 16-3 record and 21 saves to go along with a miniscule 1.67 ERA. He received the save in Podres’ victory.

Don Drysdale pitched the third game in the World Series and shut out the Yankees 1-0.

Maury Wills And A New Stolen Base Record October 3, 1962

The Dodgers All-Star Shortstop Maury Wills Gets His 104th Stolen Base

Baseball Maury Wills Steals 104th base 1962 10 3

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 – WILLS STEALS AGAIN – Maury Wills of the Dodgers slides safely into third for his 104th stolen base of the season, as the throw from catcher Ed Bailey of the Giants bounces past third baseman Jim Davenport and into left field. Wills kept going and scored on the action to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2. (AP Wirephoto)

Maury Wills lead the National League six straight times in stolen bases from 1960 -1965. When he shattered Ty Cobb’s 47-year-old single season record of 96 stolen bases in 1962, with 104 steals, Wills revolutionized the game. Teams looked at Wills style of play and realized they could change the outcome of the game by having their own speedsters.

Eventually Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson would each succeed in establishing new stolen base records of 118 and 130 bases respectively. But it was Maury Wills who brought back the art of the steal from the deadball era of baseball. In addition to an all-star selection and gold glove award Wills was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1962.
One interesting side note: Wills got caught stealing only 13 times in 1962. In his 96 steals, Ty Cobb was caught 38 times in 1915.

Walter Alston Managing

Dodgers Manager Goes Through Various Emotions – 1955

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Dodgers playing at Dodgers Stadium. For the first fifteen of those years at Chavez Ravine, the manager was Walter Alston who was most notably retained by the Dodgers management on a series of one year contracts throughout his career.

Alston started managing the Dodgers in 1954 when they were still in Brooklyn and retired after the 1976 season at the age of  64. During that time Alston won seven NL pennants and four world championships. 

This news composite photograph shows Alston managing on June 16, 1955 in Brooklyn against the Cincinnati Reds. Alston shouldn’t have worried so much. After the Reds tied the game 4-4 in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers won the game 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th on a Duke Snider solo homerun, his second homer of the game. Clem Labine picked up his 9th win and the attendance was 6,655.

The Brooklyn Dodgers won only one World Series while in Brooklyn.  1955 would see Alston and the Dodgers defeat the hated New York Yankees in seven thrilling World Series games, sending all of Brooklyn into a delirious state of happiness.

Walter Alston was inducted to the Baseball Hall-of Fame in 1983 and died in 1984 at the age of 72.