The Incredible Run of the 1955 to 1966 Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers

In one form or another, the Dodgers have existed for nearly a century and a half. There have been ups and downs, but no Dodgers era can compare with what they accomplished from 1955–1966 when the team won six National League pennants and four World Series.

In 1884, the Dodgers franchise began playing professional baseball as the Brooklyn Atlantics. The team underwent several name changes, including Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, and Robins, before finally settling on the Dodgers in 1932.

From 1884 to 1903, the team was reasonably successful, posting thirteen winning seasons and appearing in two “World Series” (the term “World Series” was not officially used until 1903). But then the team suffered through eleven losing seasons in a row (1904 to 1914) before playing in their first official World Series in 1916, losing to the Boston Red Sox. They were back in the World Series four years later, losing again, this time to the Cleveland Indians.

They would not make it back to the Fall Classic until 1941 (yet another loss) when they faced the New York Yankees. But 1941 was a landmark season for another reason: it was Brooklyn’s first National League pennant as the Dodgers.

The Dodgers would go on to win four more pennants between 1947 and 1953, but the losing streak continued, losing all four of those World Series to the New York Yankees.

Dodgers First World Series Championship

Then, in 1955, the Dodgers finally defeated the Yankees in a 4–3 Series. It took 71 years to do it, but Brooklyn finally captured the title of World Champions. Catcher Roy Campanella won the NL MVP award that year, his third in five years, while centerfielder Duke Snider led the league in runs batted in and finished second in MVP votes. Pitcher Don Newcome went 20–5, and Manager Walter Alston won the Manager of the year award.

Roy Campeanella and Duke Snider baseball cards
Photo Courtesy of Mark Morthier's personal baseball card collection
Don Newcombe Pacfic baseball card
Photo Courtesy of Mark Morthier's personal baseball card collection

After taking the first two games over the Yankees in the 1956 World Series, it looked like the Dodgers would win their second World Championship in a row, but the Yankees came back to win the Series in seven games. On the bright side, pitcher Don Newcome won both the Cy Young award and the MVP–the first pitcher ever to win both awards in the same season. On the downside, iconic Jackie Robinson, nearing his 38th birthday, decided to retire.

Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers holding a bat in his stance
The photo is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and is titled Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, posed and ready to swing Photo by Bob Sandberg, Look photographer Restoration by Adam Cuerden Special thanks to the resources of and for the information obtained.

Dodgers Move to Los Angeles

After finishing third in 1957 with an 84–70 record, the Dodgers did something dramatic at the season’s end: the team left Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles. Their first year in LA did not go well.  During the offseason, catcher Roy Campanella was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed.

The team went 71–83 for its first losing season since 1944, and fans didn’t have high hopes for 1959. 35-year-old first baseman Gil Hodges was beyond his prime, and All-Star shortstop Pee Wee Reese retired before the start of the season.

But to everyone’s surprise, the 1959 Dodgers were again back in the World Series. Manager Walter Alston won the Manager of the Year award, and the Dodgers won their second World Championship, this time v. the Chicago White Sox. After two sub-par seasons in 1960 and 1961, the Dodgers won 102 games in 1962, the third-most number of wins in franchise history.

Shortstop Maury Wills won the NL MVP award, and pitcher Don Drysdale won the Cy Young award. But the team didn’t make it to the Series, losing the pennant to the San Francisco Giants in a three-game playoff series.

1963 would see the third World Championship, sweeping the NY Yankees in the World Series–the first team to ever accomplish that feat. So dominant was the Dodgers’ pitching that the Yankees scored only four runs combined in the four-game series.

1971 Fleer World Series baseball card
Photo Courtesy of Mark Morthier's personal baseball card collection

Manager Walter Alston was again named Manager of the year, while pitcher Sandy Koufax won four major awards–the Cy Young Award, regular season MVP, the World Series MVP, and the AP Athlete of the Year.

After a down year in 1964, LA bounced back in 1965 with another World Series crown, this time over the Minnesota Twins. Sandy Koufax kept his streak alive by winning the Cy Young. He was also named World Series MVP and copped the AP Athlete of the Year.

The Dodgers won their sixth pennant in twelve years in 1966, but they were swept in the World Series by the Baltimore Orioles. But Sandy Koufax didn’t disappoint, winning his third Cy Young in four years.

LA Dodger Stadium
The photo is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons of Public Domain Photo of the LA Dodgers logo at Dodger Stadium The photo was taken by Ken Lund on June 26, 2014.

Continued Success Beyond the 60s

The Dodgers continued to succeed in the 1970s, winning three NL pennants. Their success continued into the 1980s as the team won two World Series. After a 28-year drought, the Dodgers finally made it back to the World Series in 2017 but then lost a hard-fought seven-game battle to the Houston Astros 4–3.

In 2018, they lost the Series to the Boston Red Sox. Two years later, they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays for their first World Championship since 1988.

But in the 139 years of being a professional baseball team, no era in Dodgers history can compare to 1955 to 1966, when the team won six pennants and four World Series.

Mark Morthier is the host of Yesterday’s Sports, a podcast dedicated to reliving memorable sports moments from his childhood days and beyond.  He grew up in New Jersey just across from New York City, so many of his episodes revolve around the great sport’s teams of the 70s for the New York area. 

He is also an author of No Nonsense, Old School Weight Training (Second Edition): A Guide for People with Limited Time and Running Wild: (Growing Up in the 1970s)

Mark Morthier headshot - host of Yesterday's Sports podcast on the Sports History Network
Photo Courtesy: Mark Morthier

Check out Mark's Books Below

Please Note – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Join the newsletter

Learn more about the Sports History Network

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.


    More From Yesterday's Sports

    Leave a Comment