Throwback Thursday: Remembering the 1980’s Los Angeles Dodgers

Aww the 80’s. Even if you didn’t live through it, you can still recognize the glory days from a mile away. The 1980’s gave us Madonna, the Rubik’s cube and MTV. This decade was no doubt one of the weirdest times in recorded history, but the best thing the 80’s gave us was the most impressive Los Angeles Dodgers’ record to date.

In ten years, the Dodgers won two world series, took home four NL West titles and won 825 games. The Dodgers utilized the culture of the 80’s to create a more science based game, which shot the pace of play higher than ever before. They tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for most victories by a national league team during the decade. It’s safe to say, the Dodgers entered the 80’s with a winners mindset and did just that.

Let’s breakdown the memorable seasons and get a full view of our boys in blue!

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1980: The start of the century

  • Don Sutton set a Dodger record for his 52nd career shutout. His record has not been surpassed, to this day.
  • Dodger stadium was the host for the 1980 All Star Game, their first time to host such a game.
  • Awards:
    • NL Comeback Player of the Year- Jerry Reuss
    • NL Silver Slugger- Dusty Baker
    • NL Rookie of the Year- Steve Howe

1981: The year “Fernando-Mania” began

  • Fernando Valenzuela made his debut on opening day. He got this lucky break because of a last minute injury to Jerry Reuss. He ended up taking the win against the Houston Astros 2-0.
  • Dodgers held the NL West first place title.
  • They won their First World Series win of the decade against the New York Yankees. It was the Dodgers’ first victory over the Yankees since 1963.
  • Awards:
    • NL Rookie of the Year- Fernando Valenzuela
    • NL Cy Young- Fernando Valenzuela

In case you missed it, here is a pitchy cover of Queen by the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew”. They made this video just a few days after beating the Yankees. If you can get past the fluffy hair and the monstrous glasses, its actually not too bad!

1982: The year we said goodbye to Steve “Mr. Clean” Garvey

  • Steve Garvey, the beloved first baseman, played his last game September 30,1982. He holds the National League record for consecutive games played, 1,207. With the Dodgers, Garvey played in 1,727 games over 14 seasons; hit .301 with 211 homers and 992 RBI.
  • Awards:
    • NL Rookie of the Year- Steve Sax
    • NL Silver Slugger- Pedro Guerrero

1983: The year of the Sax brothers

  • Dodgers came back after being deleted from the playoffs on the final day of the previous season to win their second NLWest Division title in three years.
  • Steve and Dave Sax made history as the only brothers to start a game for the Dodgers.
  • Awards:
    • NL Silver Slugger- Fernando Valenzuela
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1984: The year of respect

  • No. 53: Don Drysdale the powerhouse right-hander pitched 14 seasons for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. He put himself on the map by ranking second on the franchise career list with 209 wins. He set a Major League Baseball record by pitching 58 2/3consecutive scoreless innings in 1968. After Drysdale made his last appearance, the organization retired his number. He was unanimously loved and given the ultimate respect in baseball.
  • No. 1: Harold “Pee Wee” Reese played 16 seasons at shortstop for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Reese appeared in 2,014 games at shortstop, more than any player in franchise history and is also the Dodgers all-time leader in runs scored (1,338) and walks (1,210). His remarkable contributions to the team never went unnoticed, so the club decided to retire his number and his name lived on forever.

1985: The year we won by six games

  • Fernando Valenzuela set a Major League record for most consecutive innings, 41, at the start of a season without allowing an earned run.
  • Dodgers got another NL West first place title by six games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds.

1986: The year of the “Boogie”

  • The Dodgers picked up Dave Hansen, which turned out to be a very good move on their part. He played in the Majors from 1990–2007, and was one of the more accomplished pinch hitters in league history.
  • Awards:
    • NL Silver Slugger- Steve Sax
    • NL Gold Glove- Fernando Valenzuela

You’re probably wondering why this year is titled the year of the boogie. In true 80’s fashion, our Dodgers felt in necessary to use new technology to make complete fools of themselves. I would explain how, but I’ll let this video speak for itself:

1987: The year for the Catholics 

  • Pope Francis II held mass at the Dodger Stadium. It was packed from the dugout to the nose bleeds with almost 6,000 people more than the record-setting Dodgers v Yankees World Series game.
  • Awards:
    • NL Comeback Player of the Year- Pedro Guerrero

1988: The year of the “greatest moment in Los Angeles history”

  •   We all know where we were when we saw Kirk Gibson hit the pinch-hit, which got a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Oakland relief Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium. Orel Hershiser absolutely killed on the mound, throwing a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings. This World Series win was the sweetest considering they were not expected to win the division, none the less the World Series.
  • Awards:
    • NL MVP- Kirk Gibson
    • NL Cy Young- Orel Hershiser

From the classic jerseys to the incredible plays, the 1980’s Dodger teams were nothing short of incredible. Even during the off years, fans remained engaged and ready to support their boys in blue. To this day, nostalgia enters any baseball lovers mind when reminded of the best decade in Los Angeles sports history.

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