Saturday, August 21, 2010

PTWSW #62: The 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers

Manager: Walter Alston
Record: 97-65
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Owner: Walter O'Malley
GM: Buzzie Bavasi
Coaches: Carroll Beringer, Jim Gilliam, Preston Gomez, Danny Ozark, Lefty Phillips

Future Hall of Famers: Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax

All-Stars: Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills

Team Leaders, Batting

Maury Wills, .286
OBP: Jim Gilliam, .374
SLG: Lou Johnson, .391
OPS: Jim Gilliam, .758
2B: Ron Fairly, 28
3B: Wes Parker, Maury Wills, 7
HR: Lou Johnson, Jim Lefebvre, 12
RBI: Ron Fairly, 70
BB: Ron Fairly, 76
SB: Maury Wills, 94 (NL leader)

Team Leaders, Pitching

Sandy Koufax, 26 (NL leader)
SO: Sandy Koufax, 382 (NL leader)
ERA: Sandy Koufax, 2.04 (NL leader)
IP: Sandy Koufax, 335.2 (NL leader)
CG: Sandy Koufax, 27 (NL leader)
SHO: Sandy Koufax, 8
K/BB: Sandy Koufax, 5.38 (NL leader)
SV: Ron Perranoski, 17


Oldest Player: Jim Gilliam (b. October 17, 1928)

Youngest Player: Willie Crawford (b. September 7, 1946)

First to Leave Us: Jim Gilliam (d. October 8, 1978)

Last Survivor: Most are still living as of the date of this post.

First in Majors: Jim Gilliam (debut April 14, 1953)

Last in Majors: Willie Davis (final game September 30, 1979)

First to Play For the Franchise: Jim Gilliam (April 14, 1953)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Willie Crawford (September 27, 1975)

Pre-union Team: Several teams had two of these guys, none more.

Reunion Team: The 1968-69 Twins (Bob Miller, Ron Perranoski, Johnny Roseboro), 1969 Expos (Ron Fairly, Howie Reed, Maury Wills) and 1973 Angels (Ron Perranoski, Bill Singer, Jeff Torborg) had three each.


Sandy Koufax, Cy Young Award
Jim Lefebvre, NL Rookie of the Year
Sandy Koufax, NL Pitching Triple Crown
Sandy Koufax, perfect game on September 9
Sandy Koufax, 382 strikeouts, new Major League record

Season Summary

After a disappointing 1964, the Dodgers committed themselves to a run prevention philosophy. They traded their heaviest hitter, the poor-fielding Frank Howard, to the Senators as part of a package that brought them infielder John Kennedy and pitcher Claude Osteen. Dodger third basemen had combined for a .905 fielding percentage in 1964, and longtime franchise stalwart Jim Gilliam had retired to a coaching position. With Kennedy they added a more sure-handed fielder at the hot corner, and with Osteen they added depth to a rotation that was thin after their two aces, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Young defensive whiz Wes Parker took over first base full time, and the keystone was boosted by star rookie Jim Lefebvre. Only one of the moves didn't work out as planned: Kennedy's hitting was so poor that Gilliam rejoined the active roster at the end of May, making Kennedy his regular late-inning replacement. Overall, their defensive upgrade was successful: the Dodgers' TotalZone and Defensive Efficiency ratings both topped the NL.

Playing in a pitcher's park during a low-scoring era, the Dodgers' 78 home runs were last in the NL by far. The only slash stat in which they were above-average was OBP, and that only barely. The Dodger offense was built on smallball: they led the league in stolen bases, sacrifice bunts and hit-by-pitches. The pitching staff, led by Koufax and his record-setting 382 K's, had the second-best ERA+ thanks to strong strikeout and walk rates and (of course) the NL's best defense behind them.

The pennant race was close all year. The Dodgers led for most of the first half, but their lead was never more than five games. In early September the Dodgers held a slim lead over the Giants, then fell behind when San Francisco went on a tear. On September 16 the Giants' won their 14th in a row, and the Dodgers, 4.5 games behind, began a tear of their own. The Bums proceeded to win 13 in a row while the Giants cooled off, and in the end L.A. edged out San Fran by just two games.

Over in the American League the Twins had spent the entire second half in first place, most of it with a comfortable lead. Unlike the Dodgers, they were a strong offensive club, and they proved it by winning the first two World Series games by margins of six and four over the Dodger aces. When the Series moved to L.A. the Dodgers returned the favor; they won each game by no margin less than four. In Game 6 the trend continued, as the Twins tied things up with a 5-1 victory. If only one game in the Series could be tight from start to finish, it's good that it was Game 7. Koufax came back on two days' rest to pitch a three-hit shutout while striking out ten. It was Koufax's second 10-K shutout in four days, and those heroics earned him his second World Series MVP award.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
Google News Archives

1 comment:

  1. I was a youngster living in the San Francisco bay Area, but my Mom and Dad and I were true blue Dodger fans. The games were on KFI in those days which was a a clear-channel station and thus we could listen to them at night. Day games were another thing all together. Listening to them, through all the static helped me to develop great listening powers. I have since been labeled an auditory learner and listening to Vince Scully during those day games down the stretch is the most likely reason. We would jump into the car and drive all over town looking for the magic spot where the game would come in best. That magic spot keep moving around, as did we in search of it. I have wonderful memories of those days and best of all, it seemed like the Dodgers always won!