The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees played three times in the World Series from 1977-81, which is the subject of a new production from ESPN Films.
“Yankees-Dodgers: An Uncivil War” airs Tuesday night on ESPN at 6 p.m. PT. The documentary is produced by Mark Shapiro and Dodgers part-owner Peter Guber in association with FILM45, directed by Fritz Mitchell and narrated by longtime fan Rob Lowe.
“I love baseball and I love heavyweight boxing. I have done movies in all areas, but the chance to do a heavyweight fight in baseball was irresistible,” Guber said in a statement. “There was no “crying in baseball”, unless you were the loser in the ‘70s of the Dodgers vs. Yankees uncivil war.”
Mitchell added: “It was a fun challenge to tell the story of baseball’s most traditional rivalry and to document the Dodgers and Yankees on their inevitable collision course through a two-year period.”
“I’m old enough to remember the summer of 1977, the blackout, the Son of Sam and Reggie Jackson’s three home runs, but I had forgotten about the turmoil of the Yankees and was unfamiliar with the Dodgers clubhouse angst. Both New York and Los Angeles were going through periods of profound change and despair. I found that the troubles of baseball’s free agency era mirrored those of society and the ‘me generation,’ a time that seems eerily similar to today.”
The documentary features interviews with the likes of Reggie Jackson, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Willie Randolph, Ron Cey, Graig Nettles, Steve Yeager, Mickey Rivers, Bucky Dent and Dusty Baker, among others.
“Yankees-Dodgers: An Uncivil War” opens with a focus on Jackson and Garvey, who are painted as counterparts, both because of playing for separate teams but also differences in their respective demeanors.
Back-to-back World Series matchups in 1977 and 1978 went in favor of the Yankees, who had previously defeated the Dodgers in the Fall Classic in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953 and 1956 as well.
The Dodgers at last broke through against the Yankees in the 1981 World Series, led by Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Davey Lopes, Cey, Pedro Guerrero and more.
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The Dodgers and Yankees are considered among the top teams in baseball, but that has also held true in recent seasons and October still did not produce another World Series matchup.
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