Written by Nick Sulpizio
There are many great rivalries in sports: Lakers/Celtics, Eagles/Cowboys, USC/UCLA, UNC/Duke, and of course, Dodgers/Yankees.
The teams’ heated past started at the 1941 World Series when Dodger catcher Mickey Owen dropped a third strike, beginning a Yankees rally that could not be beaten. The Yankees took the first Series 4-1.
In 1947 Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens came within one out of a no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series. Cookie Lavagetto crumbled Bevens history-making game with one swing of the bat — a two-run double that helped the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Yankees in Game 4. Still, the Yankees took this World Series in seven games.
The Yankees then clinched a five-game World Series against the Dodgers in 1949, marking the first of five straight titles for the Yankees and the first of 10 World Series appearances in 12 years under manager Casey Stengel. Coincidentally, Stengel had broken in as a manager with the Brooklyn Dodgers 13 years earlier.
It took 14 years and five straight World Series losses, but the Dodgers finally took revenge on the Yankees in 1955. Johnny Podres pitched a complete game shutout to help the Dodgers overcome the Yankees.
In 1956 Don Larsen made history. Larsen arrived at the stadium prepared to sit on the bench. To his surprise, the future Dodger legend was informed that he would actually be the starting pitcher that day. No problem. He threw a perfect game, the first ever no-hitter in a World Series game.
October 6, 1963: Sandy Koufax pitched his second complete game, allowing only a solo home run to Mickey Mantle as the Dodgers beat the Yankees 2-1. The Dodgers ended up sweeping the Yankees in four games.
1977 marked the World Series where Reggie Jackson hit three homeruns in Game 6. Those blasts to left centerfield left an indelible mark on the souls of countless Dodger fans.
After taking the first two games, the Dodgers looked like a lock to win the 1978 World Series. But Jacksons’ power and the Yankees’ defense kept the team alive. When it was all said and done, the Yankees were once again World Series champions.
In the 1981 World Series the Yankees took the first two games, but this time could not keep the Dodgers at bay. Pedro Guerrero was essential for the Dodgers as he knocked in five runs and completed the cycle in Game 6.
Strangely enough, it took 23 years for the Dodgers to face the Yankees again. In 2004, when interleague play was in full swing, Eric Gagne completed his 80th consecutive save opportunity against the Yankees, en route to his record-setting 84 straight saves.
Just last week the Yankees took the series in interleague play 2-1. The history behind this series starts with Joe Torre. The former Yankees managers took his new job with the Dodgers in 2008.
Although the Yankees are doing just fine without him (they won the World Series last year), Torre has fared well with the Dodgers, coaching them to the National League Championship Series in 2008 and 2009.