The times have changed and the venues have changed, but the history, the pomp and the circumstance has not.
Mickey and the Duke. Babe Ruth and Babe Herman. Jackie Robinson. Joe DiMaggio. Sandy Koufax and Whitey Ford. Steve Garvey and Reggie Jackson.
The two teams have not met each other in the World Series since the Dodgers 4-2 series win in 1981, but at one time the Dodgers meeting the Yankees was practically a rite of fall, with the Yankees mostly dominating the series, while three of the Dodgers six series wins (1955, 1963 and 1981, ironically every other World Series they’ve won) have been against the Yankees.
And in more recent memory, what Dodger fan can forget Eric Gagne, in the midst of his save streak in 2004, striking out Bernie Williams to complete a 2-out-of-3 series win over the Yankees at Dodger Stadium?
And what Dodger fan doesn’t want to forget Jonathan Broxton’s 48 pitch blown save against the Yankees in 2010, after which he was never quite the same?
They’ll all be back at it tonight and tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium, with the teams facing similar issues while getting very different results.
The Dodgers have not had a healthy roster all year. Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Mark Ellis and Carl Crawford have all fallen victim to various hamstring ailments. Zack Greinke broke his collarbone. Josh Beckett appears lost for the season and may call it a career with a nerve issue in his arm.
The Yankees have had similar issues, experiencing injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter.
The clubs have gone in decidedly opposite directions, however. The New York Yankees sit at 38-31, three games back of the Boston Red Sox in third place and have teased and even held the top of the division most of the season. The Los Angeles Dodgers, on the other hand, sit at 29-39 and many consider the team to be lucky to be only seven games behind division-leading Arizona.
Still, regardless of record, the rivalry will renew tonight at Yankee Stadium, with one-time Yankee great Don Mattingly trying to get the Dodgers to catch a spark amongst the ghosts of Gehrig, The Babe, DiMaggio, Maris, Mantle, and whatever other ghoulish pinstripped hosts they might find wandering the halls and field.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will take on Phil Hughes in the opener, then Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill for the Yankees tomorrow night with the Dodgers’ starter yet to be named.
The two teams will meet again for a brief two game series at Dodger Stadium later this season.
- Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly Looking Forward To Return To Bronx (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- An Old Rivalry Renewed with a Legends Return (boogiedowner.net)
- Fifty years later, Downing recalls ’63 season fondly (mlb.mlb.com)
- Dodgers Can Learn From Yankees in First Bronx Series Since 1981 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)