Flashback Friday: Dodgers Defeat Yankees In 1981 World Series

By 1981, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers had met in the World Series a total of eleven times with the Dodgers becoming World Series champions in just four of these meetings. In 1981, the Dodgers clinched one of the four titles and managed to comeback after being down two games by winning four consecutive games to win the World Series.

The Yankees starting pitching was able to hold down the fort in Game 1 and Game 2, sending the Dodgers home for Game 3 with a 0-2 deficit in the series. Being in Los Angeles proved to be advantageous for the Dodgers as the momentum began to shift away from the Yankees move to the Dodgers’ clubhouse. 

In the the first game on Los Angeles soil, Fernando Valenzuela pitched the Dodgers to a 5-4 victory. The team battled for their second win of the series in a messy 8-7 win, and triumphed in Game 5 after Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager hit back-to-back solo home runs off of Ron Guidry to score the only runs of the game in a 2-1 victory.

Heading into Game 6 back in Yankee territory, the stakes were at its highest as New York faced elimination. With Yankee owner George Steinbrenner making the call to remove Tommy John in the fourth inning, the Dodgers prevailed against a shaky Yankees bullpen 9-2 and won their fifth World Series title. The 1981 World Series fostered intense competition between two teams who fought admirably to reach the final series, and the Dodgers eventually went on to win their sixth and most recent title in 1988.
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