The Dodgers have only beaten the Yankees three times in 11 attempts in the World Series so good times were not that common for them in the Bronx. But here are five games that remain among the most memorable games in this rivalry that took place at Yankee Stadium.
5. 1981 World Series Game 6, October 28, 1981
After Game 2 of this series, the Dodgers were in a familiar position of being behind 0-2 to the Yankees. But the Dodgers went on to win Games 3, 4 and 5 at Dodger Stadium so now they had a chance to win the World Series in Yankee Stadium. Burt Hooton was facing old friend Tommy John. The Yankees scored first on a Willie Randolph solo shot but then Steve Yeager singled in Rick Monday to tie the score.
The Dodgers scored three runs in the top of the 5th to take the lead, the big hit was a Pedro Guerrero triple that scored two runs. However, the fact that George Frazier gave up those runs is important because Tommy John was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the fourth inning and Frazier got his chance at a baseball record as he was about to lose his third game of the series.
The Dodgers would win 9-2 and for those who followed the Dodgers in the 70s, it was a satisfying end for that team. That game was the last time, the infield of Garvey, Lopes, Cey and Russell would start together. 1980 Rookie of the Year, Steve Howe is the last pitcher in a World Series to throw three-plus innings (3 2/3) to get a save. George Frazier is the only pitcher to lose 3 games in a 7-game World Series.
4. 1978 World Series Game 4, October 14, 1978
When Bobby Welch struck out Reggie Jackson to end Game 2, the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead in the series. After losing Game 3, the Dodgers with Tommy John on the mound took a 3-0 (on a Reggie Smith 3-run shot) lead into the bottom of the 6th. With one out and runners on first and second, Lou Piniella hit what appeared to be a double play ball, Bill Russell fielded the ball and touched second for one, and made his throw to first. Reggie Jackson's hip deflected the ball, allowing Piniella to reach base and their second run of the inning score. The Dodgers would go on to lose the game in extra innings 4-3.
This was a bitter loss for me, the difference between 3-1 lead to a tied series is huge and also the real sense that the Dodgers were wronged hung over the rest of the series, which really wasn't competitive as the Yankees would win the next two games and the series 4 games to 2.
3. 1956 World Series Game 5, October 7, 1956
The defending World Series winner, Brooklyn Dodgers, won the first two games at home, Game 2 featuring a comeback. The Dodgers were behind 6-0 in the bottom of the second inning in Game 2 but then the Yankees Game 2 starter, Don Larsen, suffered control problems, as he was lifted with two out in the bottom of the second inning. The Dodgers tied the game in the second and would go on to win Game 2, 13-8.
Game 5 featured a match up of Sal "The Barber" Maglie and Don Larsen. Maglie had pitched a complete game in Game 1, winning 6-3. That would be best game Maglie would pitch in a World Series but Maglie pitched in this game, going eight innings, giving up two runs on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
But it was Don Larsen, he who didn't get out of the second inning in Game 2, who would have the best post-season pitching performance in baseball history. In a game where Dodger Hall of Famers outnumbered Yankee Hall of Famers, 5-3 (Reese, Robinson, Snider, Campanella, Alston to Berra, Mantle and Stengel), Larsen threw a perfect game. I can't tell if there were any dramatic plays made in the field for Larsen but there is an indelible image of Berra's leap into Larsen's arms as he finished the game striking out pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell.
Larsen would go on to win the World Series MVP despite a final series line of two games started with 10 2/3 total innings pitched.
2. 1955 World Series Game 7, October 4, 1955
The Dodgers had lost to the Yankees in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. Then they lost the first two games so they went back to Ebbets Field seemingly on track to lose this series too. But then they won Games 3, 4 and 5 at home and came back to Yankee Stadium with a 3-2 lead. The Yankees won Game 6 to tie the series at three games apiece.
One of the more interesting things about that game, Mickey Mantle didn't start. The Yankees started in outfield of Hank Bauer in right, Bob Cerv in center and Elston Howard in left. To counter this, Jackie Robinson didn't start nor play in this game. A key move was made in the bottom of the 6th as Jim Gilliam moved from left field to second base and Sandy Amoros entered the game to play left field (George Shuba had pinch hit for Don Zimmer in the top of the sixth).
The Dodgers and Johnny Podres had a 2-0 lead but then the Yankees came back, Billy Martin walked and Gil McDougal had a bunt single to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Yogi Berra came up, hitting over .400 in this World Series. The left-handed Berra sliced a ball down the left field line for what appeared to be a game tying extra base hit. However, the left-handed Sandy Amaros made a great catch and then started a quick relay play that doubled off McDougal at first, ending the only real threat the Yankees had that day against Podres. The Dodgers would win their only championship that day and Podres was the World Series MVP.
A few other notes, this series was played over seven straight days; Dodgers had six pitchers who started a game in this series, Podres was the only one to start two games.
1. 1963 World Series Game 1, October 2, 1963
This was the first series against the Yankees after the team moved in 1958. Game 1 featured Yankee Hall of Famer, Whitey Ford on the mound against Sandy Koufax. Koufax had a great regular season, going 25-5 and he would be named both MVP and Cy Young Award winner for that performance. Though a member of three NL pennant winners and the 1955 World Series winning Dodgers, Koufax had not distinguished himself in post-season play.
That would change as Koufax set a World Series record by striking out 15 Yankees that day. Only Bob Gibson's 17 strikeout performance in Game 1 in the 1968 World Series tops that in World Series play.
"I can see how he won 25 games," Yankees catcher Yogi Berra said. "What I don't understand is how he lost five."
The Dodgers who had used 6 starting pitchers against the Yankees in the 1955 World Series, used only four pitchers in the entire 4 game sweep of the Yankees, and the three starting pitchers for the Dodgers, Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres would pitch 35 1/3 innings out of 36 (Ron Perranoski would pick up the only save in the series).
Koufax would add the Series MVP award to his regular season accolades as the Dodgers swept the Yankees 4-0.