How Often Did the 1960s Dodgers ‘Steal’ 1-0 Victories?

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At the starting of 1962, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been poised to change into the premier staff in baseball’s National League, simply as their forebears in Brooklyn had been in the years between the finish of World War II and the staff’s transfer to California (1946-57). Having shed of most of the stars from their glory days in Brooklyn, and ensconced themselves in Dodger Stadium, a brand-new ballpark that favored pitching over slugging, the Dodger squads of the early 1960s appeared ideally suited to their information surroundings.

Indeed, over the subsequent 5 years, led by the pitching duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale (who gained 4 Cy Young Awards between them from 1962-65) and speedster Maury Wills (who captured six straight stolen base titles from 1960-65), the Dodgers captured three National League pennants, missed a fourth title by a single sport, and introduced dwelling two World Series championships.

With our tendency to scale back recollections to easy, easily-remembered nuggets, these mid-1960s Dodgers squads are actually normally recalled as the “Koufax-Drysdale-Wills” Dodgers, nomenclature that displays the widespread picture of a weak-hitting staff which triumphed by scratching out runs with velocity and guile whereas their two predominant beginning pitchers shut down opposing hitters.

Certainly this picture is predicated on actuality. During the five-year interval from 1962-1965, Dodgers pitchers led the National League in ERA all 5 years, and Dodgers baserunners led the league in stolen bases for 4 straight years (after which completed second the fifth yr), however in complete runs scored the Dodgers offense ranked second, sixth, after which eighth 3 times (in a 10-team league).

Unfortunately, this bare-bones description obscures that these Dodger groups boasted some superb pitchers apart from Koufax and Drysdale (Johnny Podres, Claude Osteen, reliever Ron Perranoski, and future Hall of Famer Don Sutton), some bona fide heavy hitters sluggers (Frank Howard and Tommy Davis), and a few high quality fielders (catcher John Roseboro, first baseman Wes Parker, shortstop Maury Wills, and outfielders Wally Moon and Willie Davis all gained Gold Glove Awards throughout their tenures with the Dodgers).

But ask a Dodgers fan from that period to explain the Los Angeles groups of the 1960s, and also you’re prone to get a response just like the following:

Maury Wills would come up in the first inning, get on base with a stroll, steal second, then any person’d bunt him over to 3rd, and he’d rating on a sacrifice fly — a run with out a hit! Meanwhile, Sandy or Big D would shut out the different staff, and we’d win 1-0.

Indeed, Wills himself described a lot the identical state of affairs in his 1991, On the Run:

We had nobody to hit dwelling runs besides Frank Howard, [and] Tommy [Davis] … was our solely .300 hitter. But we’re profitable video games 1-0 as a result of I’m getting on by an error or a stroll or a fielder’s selection and I’m stealing the bases and scoring the runs.

But how usually did this state of affairs play out in actual life? How many occasions did the Dodgers win video games by counting on Maury Wills to by some means rating a first-inning run even when the staff couldn’t provide you with a success, after which relying on their pitching employees to make it rise up?

Don Drysdale

We examined this query by checking the outcomes of all regular-season Los Angeles Dodgers video games contested throughout the five-year span from 1962 to 1966 (the interval during which Koufax, Drysdale, and Wills all performed collectively in Dodger Stadium) and attempting to determine what number of video games met the following standards:

  • The Dodgers gained by a rating of 1-0.
  • The Dodgers’ lone run was scored in the first inning.
  • The Dodgers’ lone run was scored by Maury Wills.
  • The Dodgers’ lone run was scored with out the advantage of a success.
  • The Dodgers’ lone run concerned a number of stolen bases by Maury Wills.

What we discovered was that the details didn’t fairly match the legend. Not one Dodger victory between 1962 and 1966 met all 5 of the standards outlined above, and just one sport met even 4 of the 5. Never in these 5 years did the Dodgers win a 1-0 sport on a run scored by Maury Wills with out the advantage of a success. Only as soon as in that timespan did the Dodgers win a 1-0 sport during which their single run was produced with out the advantage of a success, and it didn’t contain Maury Wills. And solely as soon as in these 5 years did Maury Wills arrange the lone run in a 1-0 Dodgers victory by stealing a base.

Following is a breakdown of all 1-0 Dodger victories from 1962 to 1966, with notations indicating what number of of the 5 standards each met (since they have been all 1-0 video games, they clearly all met at the very least the first criterion):


18 June 1962: Sandy Koufax bested St. Louis Cardinals pitching ace Bob Gibson in a thriller, as Los Angeles gained in the backside of the ninth on a one-out, walk-off dwelling run by Tommy Davis.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

12 September 1962: Ed Roebuck picked up a victory over the growth Colt .45s in Houston with 5-1/3 innings of shutout reduction, as Frank Howard bombed a fifth-inning homer for the Dodgers’ solely run.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

17 April 1963: Bob Miller blanked Chicago for 9 innings at Dodger Stadium however left the area with out a victory, as Cub southpaw Dick Ellsworth did the identical to the Dodgers. Ellsworth ended up the loser, although, as the Dodgers pushed throughout a run with two out in the tenth inning on consecutive singles by Lee Walls, Frank Howard, and Moose Skowron for a walk-off victory.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

16 May 1963: More last-minute heroics: Johnny Podres shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for 9 innings however didn’t emerge as the winner till the Dodgers scratched out a walk-off run with two out in the backside of the ninth on a single by Jim Gilliam, a sacrifice bunt by Ron Fairly, a groundout by Tommy Davis, and a run-scoring single by Johnny Roseboro.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

19 May 1963: The Dodgers tallied their second 1-0 victory in 4 days as Sandy Koufax two-hit the hapless New York Mets in the first sport of a Dodger Stadium double-header. The Dodgers scored their solely run with one out in the first inning as Jim Gilliam walked, took third on Ron Fairly’s single, and scored on Tommy Davis’ sacrifice fly.

Criteria met: 2   (1-0 victory, first-inning run)

2 July 1963: Los Angeles topped St. Louis at Dodger Stadium for the first time in over a yr as Don Drysdale outpitched lefty Curt Simmons. The Dodger run got here in the seventh inning as slugger Frank Howard blooped a single in entrance of the backed-up Cardinal outfield, took second on a groundout by Moose Skowron, and lumbered dwelling as Ron Fairly dribbled a single up the center.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

5 July 1963: For the second time in 1963, the Dodgers gained two 1-0 squeakers in a four-day span as Johnny Podres pitched a two-hit gem in opposition to the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium. Frank Howard supplied the margin of victory with a seventh-inning homer.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

10 July 1963:

Johnny Podres triumphed in his second straight 1-0 victory, scattering 4 hits in opposition to the Mets at the Polo Grounds. Once once more the margin of victory was a solo dwelling run, this one a sixth-inning shot by Johnny Roseboro.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

25 September 1963: With Los Angeles having clinched the National League pennant with six video games to go in the common season, supervisor Walter Alston rested a few of his regulars for the upcoming World Series in opposition to the Yankees, pulling Sandy Koufax after the Dodger ace pitched 5 innings of shutout ball in opposition to the Mets at Dodger Stadium in his ultimate begin of the common season. Bob Miller and Ron Perranoski blanked New York over the ultimate 4 innings, sending hard-luck Met hurler (and former Dodger) Roger Craig to his fifth 1-0 defeat of the season. The lone Dodger run got here in the first inning when Wally Moon and Tommy Davis singled with two out, after which Moon scooted round to attain from second as a wild pickoff throw by Craig sailed previous first base.

Criteria met: 2   (1-0 victory, first-inning run)

26 April 1964: One of the closest matches we discovered to our goal state of affairs was this early-season 1964 sport during which Phil Ortega blanked the Braves in Milwaukee on 4 hits for his first complete-game victory in the majors. The Dodgers scored a single first-inning run in what the Los Angeles Times described as “typical Dodger fashion”: Maury Wills led off the sport with a single, Jim Gilliam walked, Wally Moon moved each runners up with a sacrifice bunt, and Wills got here dwelling on a sacrifice fly by Frank Howard.

Criteria met: 3   (1-0 victory, first-inning run, run scored by Wills)

22 July 1964: The day after Don Drysdale misplaced a 1-0 heartbreaker to Houston on an eighth inning solo homer, Sandy Koufax gained his eleventh straight sport as he checked the Colt .45s on 4 hits at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers’ lone run got here in the third inning on doubles by Derrell Griffith and Ron Fairly.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

23 August 1964: Phil Ortega claimed his second 1-0 victory of the 1964 season when he hurled a three-hit shutout in opposition to the Cincinnati Reds in Los Angeles. The Dodgers scored on a second-inning double by Nate Oliver and a single by Dick Tracewski.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

11 August 1965: The Dodgers went practically a yr between 1-0 wins from August 1964 to August 1965, lastly racking up one other one as Don Drysdale blanked the Mets at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers scored the sport’s solely run in the seventh inning on singles by Maury Wills and Jim Gilliam, adopted by a handed ball charged to New York catcher Chris Cannizzaro.

Criteria met: 2   (1-0 victory, run scored by Wills)

14 August 1965: After a virtually year-long drought, the Dodgers squeezed out two 1-0 victories in the house of 4 days as Sandy Koufax and Pittsburgh Pirate hurler Don Cardwell each threw goose eggs at their opponents for 9 innings. Unfortunately for Cardwell, Koufax retired the Bucs with out incident in the prime of the tenth, however after the Pirate pitcher bought two fast outs in the backside of the inning, he walked Sandy Koufax and Wes Parker, and proper fielder Roberto Clemente then dropped Jim Gilliam’s line drive for an error as Koufax got here round to attain the profitable run.

Criteria: 1   (1-0 victory)

9 September 1965: In what is likely to be the quintessential Dodgers sport of the 1960s, Chicago Cub pitcher Bob Hendley threw a whole sport one-hitter in opposition to Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium … and misplaced, as a result of he had the misfortune to pitch his gem on the identical night that Sandy Koufax famously hurled an ideal sport (his record-setting fourth no-hitter).

To add insult to damage, the lone Dodger hit had nothing to do with the scoring — outfielder “Sweet” Lou Johnson drew the solely stroll off of Hendley in the fifth inning, was sacrificed to second base by Ron Fairly, stole third, and scooted dwelling as Cub catcher Chris Krug’s throw sailed into left area. The solely hit by both staff was a bloop double by Johnson in the seventh inning.

Criteria met: 2   (1-0 victory, run scored with out hit)

18 September 1965: Sandy Koufax racked up his third straight 1-0 victory of 1965 by blanking the Cardinals in St. Louis on 4 hits. The Dodgers managed solely three hits themselves, however they pushed throughout a run in the sixth inning when Don LeJohn walked and gave solution to pinch-runner John Kennedy, who took second on Koufax’s bunt and third on Maury Wills’ ground-out, then scored as Wes Parker lined a single to middle.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

26 September 1965: The Dodgers pulled right into a first-place tie with the San Francisco Giants with seven video games to go in the 1965 season as Don Drysdale pitched Los Angeles to their ninth straight victory, a 1-0 blanking of the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. This was the sport that got here closest to matching our unique state of affairs, with Big D making a first-inning run following a Maury Wills stolen base rise up.

The sport’s solely rating was a barely farcical one: Wills reached safely on a bunt single and was then picked off first base by St. Louis pitcher Ray Sadecki, however sadly for Sadecki, first baseman Bill White’s throw sailed over second base and into the outfield, permitting Wills to make all of it the method round to 3rd, whence he scored as Jim Gilliam lined a single to proper area. Wills was credited with a steal of second base on White’s errant throw, nonetheless, so solely the lack of a hitless run stored this one from being a five-criteria entry.

Criteria met: 4   (1-0 victory, first-inning run, run scored by Wills, run arrange by a Wills stolen base)

1 June 1966: The Dodgers’ first 1-0 win of 1966 got here at the starting of June, as Sandy Koufax blanked the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Dodgers scored their run in the seventh inning when Willie Davis tripled and raced dwelling as Cardinal outfielder Bobby Tolan threw the ball again to the infield badly and was charged with a run-scoring error.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

5 July 1966: Sandy Koufax gave up ten hits, however he nonetheless managed to finest Cincinnati flamethrower Jim Maloney by shutting out the Reds at Dodger Stadium for his fifteenth win of the season. The Dodger run got here in the second inning on a stroll to Jim Lefebvre, a single by Johnny Roseboro, and one other single by John Kennedy.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

6 July 1966: Claude Osteen not solely pitched the Dodgers to a second straight 1-0 victory over Cincinnati; he drove in the sport’s solely run himself. After John Kennedy led off the backside of the eighth inning with a double, Osteen failed in two makes an attempt to bunt Kennedy over to 3rd after which swung away and singled to proper area to drive in the profitable run.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

10 September 1966: The Dodgers pulled inside a half-game of the San Francisco Giants in a good pennant race as they broke via for a run with two out in the backside of the tenth inning to defeat the Houston Astros, 1-0. Los Angeles put collectively the solely run of the sport on Maury Wills’ single, Jim Gilliam’s sacrifice bunt, Willie Davis’ ground-out, and Al Ferrara’s walk-off pinch single.

Criteria met: 2   (1-0 victory, run scored by Wills)

11 September 1966: The Dodgers pulled into first place for good in the 1966 pennant race by sweeping a double-header from Houston, finishing a string of 4 straight shutout wins over the Astros. After Sandy Koufax blanked Houston in the opener by a 4-0 rating, Joe Moeller, Bob Miller, and Phil Regan mixed to close out the Astros by a 1-0 rating in the second sport. John Roseboro’s pinch-hit single drove in Ron Fairly with the profitable run in the backside of the seventh inning.

Criteria met: 1   (1-0 victory)

Regardless of the outcomes of this little train, our fondness for the nice Los Angeles Dodgers groups of the 1960s stays undiminished. In the finish, all that issues is that these Dodgers squads did win, and never whether or not they did so in exactly the style that widespread picture now ascribes to them.

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