Dodgers History: Los Angeles Dodgers Seasons To Remember and Forget
Tommy Lasorda
Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated

Every baseball franchise has had its high and low moments, but it seems to hit a bit differently for Los Angeles Dodger fans, specifically over the last decade. No team in recent history has been expected to win more than Los Angeles, yet except for the 2020 season, the perennial favorite has come up short time and time again.

At least Dodger fans have plenty of happy memories to hold onto. In many ways, fans are a victim of their team’s successes. When you have a history of success, even mild disappointment can be stinging. Winning seven World Series and 24 pennants can set the bar pretty high.

Here’s a quick look at some of the past good times and bad that the franchise has seen.

The 2005 Season

We think all Dodger fans would be happy to erase 2005 from the team’s history. It was a year in which nothing went right, and a whole lot went wrong. Ultimately, it was the second-worst year for the team in its history.

There were some mitigating circumstances (injuries to key players such as Cesar Izturis, J.D. Drew, and closer Eric Gagne)), but that couldn’t explain everything. The Dodgers finished with just 71 wins and when it was all said and done, both Manager Jim Tracy and General Manager Paul DePodesta were shown the door.

The 1990s a Decade to Forget

Most people look back at the 90s with nostalgia. Indeed, for many people, the sheer number of incredible movies, music, and all-out vibes makes the 90s the best decade in living memory. But if you were a Dodgers fan during that period, you’ll probably have a different view of the decade.

While the decade saw a parade of great rookies, including five-straight Rookie of the Year Awards (Eric Karros 1992, Mike Piazza 1993, Raul Mondesi 1994, Hideo Nomo 1995, and Todd Hollandsworth 1996), it never translated into any large success.

Three division titles, including one in 1994 when the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike resulted in a suspended season, the postseason, and the World Series, being canceled, and zero playoff games won. In the 1992 season where they finished 35 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves and, to make matters worse, lost a team-record 99 games.

It was not a good decade.

The Improbable 1988 Season

After winning just 73 games in 1986 and 1987, no one would have thought that the 1988 team would win the National League West, let alone the World Series. And yet that’s just what happened.

The 1988 team was not stacked with talent, but they did have a lot of heart; sometimes, that counts for more. They won 94 games in 1988 behind MVP Kirk Gibson and Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser.

Los Angeles matched up against the powerhouse New York Mets in the league Championship Series. New York had won 10 out of 11 regular season games against the Dodgers and were heavy favorites going into the series. But the Dodgers, led by series MVP Orel Hershiser (who pitched a complete game shutout in game 7), won in seven games to advance to the World Series.

Heavy underdogs in the World Series against a very strong Oakland Athletics team led by José Canseco, Mark McGwire, and closer Dennis Eckersley, the Dodgers powered to a five-game series win thanks to Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit game-winning homer in the first game off of Dennis Eckersley and the continued mastery of series by Orel Hershiser.

The Best: 1955

If Dodgers fans had a time machine, they’d go back to 1955. It was perfect in pretty much every way. The season record was fantastic, the team was fun and likable, and some of the greatest players in the team’s history gave their best-ever performances. And to top it all off, the Dodgers won their first-ever World Series against fierce rivals, the New York Yankees. There’s no better way to get off the mark! It seems unlikely that we’ll ever witness such an awesome season, but they do say that you should never say never.