The Dodgers have had many memorable moments throughout baseball history. Their legacy stands strong from Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter to Kirk Gibson’s walk-off homer in Game Five of the National League Championship Series against Montreal.
Jackie Robinson established an indelible legacy upon debuting at Ebbets Field before an audience of 26,623.
Sandy Koufax vs. Jim Kaat
Game 5 of the 1965 World Series had moved back to Los Angeles, and Sandy Koufax was pitted against Jim Kaat of the Minnesota Twins, an experienced three-year player and two-time Gold Glove recipient who excelled at fielding. On the other hand, Koufax was one of baseball’s premier pitchers – he won three NL championships and four World Series appearances during his era, yet had to secure an MLB ring of his own.
Both teams fought through five innings scorelessly at Metropolitan Stadium in rainy conditions before Lou Johnson hit a homer to put his Dodgers ahead. A double from Ron Fairly and a single by Wes Parker allowed Parker to reach base, but Johnson’s home run past the foul pole put the scoreboard back into their favor 2-0.
Koufax began to tire as the game progressed, yet still managed to hold off the Twins until an error by shortstop Jim Gilliam allowed pinch-hitter Jim Lefebvre to score from second base, sealing the victory for both his team and series winner Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although they lost Game 5, the Twins still had a chance at forcing a decisive seventh game when they returned home against Don Drysdale. After being shut out by Claude Osteen in Game 3, Drysdale received plenty of run support in Game 4 to even up the series at two wins each.
Game 5 should have started smoothly for the Dodgers when Walt Alston chose Koufax over Drysdale on regular rest; however, Alston surprised many by making an unexpected move: not informing his players who were starting. Alston told Vin Scully that Koufax could also be used as relief pitching if Drysdale needed replacement too much, thus alleviating concerns over possible adverse effects on their pitching staff.
Koufax’s decision did not perturb Kaat. Instead, he felt proud of himself and understood it wasn’t easy making such an essential choice as Yom Kippur’s observance.
Lou Johnson vs. Harmon Killebrew
The Dodgers and Twins meet for the first time since their unforgettable World Series showdown in 1965. It will bring back memories for current and former fans alike of these powerhouse teams with great speed players and power hitters – making this series extremely engaging!
The Twins won Game Three, but the Dodgers returned strong in Games Four and Five to capture the series victory. Koufax again set an astounding standard in Game Five by allowing just one run while striking out ten batters while getting help from Willie Davis, Maury Wills, Lou Johnson (both homerun), and Claude Osteen, who took Game Six loss with little support from his team-mates.
Casey Stengel welcomed fans at Dodger Stadium with a cane, yet was in good spirits and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Camilo Pascual of the Twins started and was in control through most of the first inning until RF Harmon Killebrew hit an out to left field on Pascual’s first pitch; Tony Oliva ran hard towards it and caught it leaning forward, thus saving one run and keeping play going.
After that, the Dodgers scored two runs in the fourth. LF Davey Lopes reached base on an error by Dick Tracewski and advanced to third on Grant’s wild throw; a two-run homer by Johnson against Dave Boswell increased their advantage to five runs.
Koufax made another mistake during the fifth inning when, with two runners on base and Lopes still out at second base, he attempted to pick off Lopes at second base with two outs remaining. Lopes managed to avoid being tagged out, but Battey crashed into a railing that covered subfield level “dugout seats” near their dugout and suffered a broken leg that sidelined him for much of the season.
In the seventh, Los Angeles scored one more run when Johnson hit a long drive off of Dave Boswell that nearly hit fans but was caught before going out of bounds. This victory gave them a 2-1 edge in the Series and prevented Minnesota from claiming its inaugural pennant win.
Jackie Robinson vs. Harmon Killebrew
Jackie Robinson’s legacy lives on at the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City. This Museum honors his athletic and social accomplishments while encouraging dialogue about our nation’s social issues. You can support it by making an online donation today!
When the Twins and Dodgers meet again, many fans recall the 1965 World Series, where Harmon Killebrew hit 49 homers for Minnesota before succumbing to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in seven games. It marked the first time these teams met since 1959 in this tournament; today, Killebrew remains one of the most beloved members of the Twins family; his number has even been retired throughout baseball.
At 22 years old, slugger Joe DiMaggio debuted professionally with the Washington Senators in 1954. Although he could have made his debut even sooner had integration of major league baseball begun earlier. Unfortunately, low-spending Senators were unwilling to spend large sums of money for promising minor leaguers; therefore, to secure top prospects, they had to offer significant bonus payments as incentives for signing with the club.
Killebrew got his start in major league baseball thanks to a gamble taken by the Senators, which paid off spectacularly as he led the American League in homers six times and earned 13 All-Star selections – winning his pennant as part of their inaugural championship team in 1961 and going all the way through to play in 1965’s World Series until he fell victim to Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale’s pitching attack.
Killebrew hit 573 home runs during his 22-year career and was honored with induction into the Hall of Fame upon his fourth try in 1984, second only to Babe Ruth as one of baseball’s premier power hitters of that era.
Killebrew began his post-playing career as a television broadcaster for the Twins from 1976 to 1988. From 1990 to 1993, he was a scout for the Dodgers and Oakland A’s. Furthermore, he served as both franchises’ assistant general manager/executive from 1997-2004.
Mookie Betts vs. Harmon Killebrew
Mookie Betts is one of the premier defensive outfielders in baseball. His strong arm, excellent catching ability, and effective route running make him a standout fielder. Multiple times recognized with Gold Glove awards already, this year could mark another success story.
He also boasts some of the most potent power in baseball, hitting nine home runs this year and 14 in total over three seasons. His slugging percentage (SLG) ranks second only to Nelson Cruz, although he hasn’t had as many at-bats.
Betts is best compared to Harmon Killebrew, an inspiring player at his peak. Both came from small towns in the Midwest before going on to hit over 570 homers without losing an ounce of humility or warmth; both players will be sorely missed by fans everywhere.
Betts has quickly emerged as one of the Red Sox’s premier offensive players and an invaluable leader. His on-base percentage is impressive, and his eye at the plate allows him to convert singles into doubles easily while hitting home runs.
Betts had an outstanding rookie year in 2014, hitting 30 homers and driving in 103 runs while winning AL Rookie of the Year honors and being named American League batting champion. His incredible rookie performance earned him both awards; furthermore, Betts is set on becoming a Hall-of-Famer within his brief career.
His speed and aggressive base running make him an invaluable asset, while he is an exceptional base thief and never had difficulty making it quickly to second base.
Betts can potentially become one of the premier center fielders, but he is still developing his power. Although his slugging percentage has improved this season, he may take time before reaching a Cruz-level slugging rate. Meanwhile, young Byron Buxton may go 15 home runs or more this year, depending on staying healthy for an entire campaign.