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50 years ago: the Dodgers' first World Series championship in L.A.

October 9, 2009 |  2:24 pm

Sandy_240 It's the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers first World Series championship in Los Angeles, and Robert Schweppe, a longtime member of the Dodgers' front office staff, has written an extensive account of that season.

The account is posted on walteromalley.com, and goes into detail about a season that gave Los Angeles its first World Series title only a season after the team had left the East Coast.

The Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in six games in the Series, but one game that Schweppe points to during the season was also special. An excerpt:

August 31, 1959 should be considered a modern classic. It was an unusual type of game, the last game of a three-game series with the Giants, ending on a Monday instead of the weekend. The announced attendance in the Coliseum was listed at 60,194, but that total did not take into account more than 22,000 complimentary passes issued by the Dodgers to three service organizations and the total attendance was a breathtaking 82,794. No one asked for a refund.

Bob Hunter described it as "One of the Dodgers’ most magnificent and significant victories.” The Los Angeles Times’ Frank Finch was less modest. “One of the most momentous victories in their glorious history last night before a roaring mob of 82,794 coronary cases at the Coliseum.” 

...

Crowds_240 Koufax needed only 10 pitches to strike out the side in the ninth inning and his 147th and last pitch of the night tied the major league record of 18 strikeouts in nine innings.

As the cheering of the crowd subsided, Vin Scully admitted on the air, “Boy, I never thought I’d see it. I never thought I’d see a man strike out 18 major league players in a game. And Sandy Koufax did it. After 8½ innings, it’s a 2-2 tie.”

The game was still only tied, not won, and yet, with one out, Alston let Koufax hit and he singled to left. After Gilliam singled to left to put Koufax in scoring position, the left hand-hitting Moon homered a “Moon shot” over the screen in left field and the Dodgers had an ecstatic, wondrous, 5-2 win and moved the team to within one game of first place. As Scully said at the end of the broadcast as the team celebrated, “What a night!”

...

An interesting sidelight to Koufax's tying the major league record was later revealed. Koufax admitted “That was the best game I ever pitched” and that he had been nursing a cold all week. What did Sandy do after his 18-strikeout win? “I shaved and showered and went home to bed. I just wanted to go to sleep to see if it was a dream.”

--Mike James 

Top Photo: Sandy Koufax. Photo credit: Ben Olender / Los Angeles Times. Bottom Photo: Series attendance records were shattered in 1959 when the Dodgers and White Sox played before three crowds of more than 92,000 at the Coliseum. Photo credit: Associated Press.

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