1981

With this being the 25th anniversary of the 1981 World Champion team that would knock off the Yankees in the World Series in 6 games, I’ve decided to start a timetable from this year leading up to this years team.  From time to time, I will be posting about that particular years Dodgers team as we relive some of our favorite memories of our beloved Boys in Blue and would like to hear your memories as well.  1981.  Ronald Reagan becomes the 40 president of the United States, MTV and PacMan mania.  It  would be the first year I would get into the sport of baseball.  At the age of 7, my uncles got me hooked on the Dodgers during that season and the Dodgers would be my first team I would ever cheer for.  That 1981 season would also be remembered for FernandoMania, as Fernando Valenzuela would be the 3rd of 4 consecutive Dodgers to win the rookie of the year award.  It was also the year that basball would suffer it’s first mid-season strike, setting up intra-division playoffs against the division leaders of the 1st half of the season ( Which LA won, by 1/2 game over the Reds), against the division leaders of the 2nd half ( Won by the Astros).  Ironically that season, the Cincinatti Reds, a major power in the 70’s, had the best record in Major League baseball that season but missed out on post season play due to this bizarre alignment.  Not that anyone here in L.A. would care.   Because of the intra-division playoffs, 3 rounds of playoffs were played that season.  ( Remeber, this is before the wild-card folks ).  And the Dodgers would open against the Astros, who just the previous season, won the NL West over the Blue in a 1 game playoff.  Though the Astros would take the first  two games in this best of 5 series, the Dodgers would rebound and sweep the final 3 games at the Ravine to set up an NLCS matchup with the Montreal Expos.  In what would be the Expos only post-season appearance in their history, this series would also go the full 5 games, and in what would be the biggest home run in Dodgers history at the time, Rick Monday crushed a Steve Rogers fastball over the right field fence at Olympic Stadium as the Dodgers knocked off the Expos 2-1 to take the series 3 games to 2, coming back from a 2 games to 1 deficit here sending the Dodgers to the WS against the Yankees, whom would defeat the Dodgers in 1977and 78.  In this WS as well, the Dodgers quickly found themselves down 0-2 in the series, dropping the first 2 games at Yankee Stadium.  Games 3-5 would see the Dodgers rally in each game as they would return back to Yankee Stadium for game 6 up 3 games to 2.  It would be in the Bronx, October 29, the latest WS date at the time, where the Dodgers, in an offensive explosion in the middle 3 innings, knocked off the demons of ’77 and ’78, bringing the Dodgers their 5th title and 4th in L.A.  It would also be the last season of the longest running infield of Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, and Bill Russell.  Lopes would be traded that winter to the Oakland A’s.  And the only time the WS would name co-MVP’s, Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, and Pedro Guerrero.

1981 Lineup

1B STEVE GARVEY

2B DAVEY LOPES

3B RON CEY

SS BILL RUSSELL

LF PEDRO GUERRERO

CF KEN LANDREAUX

RF DUSTY BAKER

PITCHERS

FERNANDO VALENZUELA

JERRY REUSS

BOB WELCH

BURT HOOTON

OK  who else am I missing in this lineup.  Oh yeah, did I forget Steve Howe?  How could I forget him….                                                                                  

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