It’s been 38 years since the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers met in the World Series. I’m rooting for a rematch this October.
Growing up in Southern California, I was a huge California Angels fan. Nolan Ryan was, and still is, my favorite Angel and favorite player — in any sport — of all time. I despised the Dodgers. They were always winning and advancing to the postseason, while my Angels struggled to win 70 games most years.
But the thing I respected about the Dodgers was their commitment to excellence (save Al Davis). The Dodgers had a great farm system and great managers in Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda.
On the Eastern seaboard were the Yankees. I was a huge fan of the Bronx Bombers. Babe Ruth was a larger than life — almost mythical — figure. Other team stars like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford made it easy to appreciate the organization and its long history of success.
By far, the most classic World Series matchups have involved the Yankees and Dodgers. They met seven times (1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956) when they both played in New York. The Dodgers called Brooklyn home prior to moving to Hollywood in 1958.
The Yankees and Dodgers met again in 1963, with the Dodgers winning in a sweep. Then began a drought of 14 years before the two teams met again. They played each other in the Fall Classic in 1977, 1978 and 1981.
Those last three Series still hold a very special place in my heart. Stars were a-plenty for both teams. The Yankees had Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson and Colorado Springs’ own Goose Gossage (he pitched in the 1978 and 1981 Series).
The Dodgers were headlined by Steve Garvey, Don Sutton, Reggie Smith, Davey Lopes Ron Cey and Dusty Baker.
I have had been blessed to have interview more than 20 members of those teams. Two of them I interviewed here in Colorado Springs are Gossage and well-known flake Jay Johnstone.
Johnstone played in the ’78 Series for the Yankees and ’81 Series for the Dodgers. I caught up with Johnstone in the Colorado Springs Sky Sox press box in 2004 when he was here for an old-timers game. Thank goodness he did not hit me in the face with a pie.
I have also interviewed several Dodgers and Yankees from those great ’40s and ’50s teams — Johnny Mize, Ralph Branca, Spider Jorgenson, Billy Martin, Don Drysdale and Joe Black among them.
Should the Dodgers and Yankees meet in in this year’s Series, I guarantee it will be one of the most talked-about and covered sporting events of the last decade, which, as you know, has less than 90 days remaining in it before we move onto 2020. Crazy!
The Dodgers have been baseball’s most consistent team the last seven seasons, winning seven consecutive National League West titles. They lost the 2017 and 2018 World Series to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, respectively.
The Yankees have not played in a World Series since 2009 when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
The Yankees, by the way, have played in a World Series in every decade going back to the 1920s.
Some other interesting facts:
• Several members of this year’s Dodgers and Yankees played minor league games right here in Colorado Springs when the Sky Sox were a Triple-A affiliate. The list includes Joc Pederson, Cory Seager, Max Muncy, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit and James Paxton.
• The World Series is scheduled to begin Oct. 22 and run through Oct. 30.
The drama is killing me.
Danny Summers has been covering sports at all levels in the Pikes Peak region since 2001. Send your story ideas and feedback to email@example.com.