A look at the past bicoastal moments:
DODGERS VS. YANKEES, 1963 World Series
Sandy Koufax pitched two complete games and the
Footnote: Mickey Mantle homered off Koufax in Game 4, but it did little to stop the Dodgers.
LAKERS vs. KNICKS, 1970
Conspiracy theorists, ones in Los Angeles anyway, would like to believe Willis Reed was never injured. It was all a motivational ploy, an elaborate hoax by the New York Times.
Alas, an injured Reed really did hobble onto the court for warmups before Game 7. He really did sink his first two shots to show that beating the
Footnote: Jerry West sank a 63-foot at the buzzer to send Game 3 into overtime. Today, it would have been a three-pointer that won the game and, thus, allowed the Lakers to take the title in six games. Back then, the Knicks shrugged and won in overtime.
LAKERS vs. KNICKS, 1972 NBA Finals
This wasn't so much a season as a coronation.
The Lakers won 33 consecutive games at one point and finished with a then-NBA record 69 victories. They swept Chicago in the first round and beat
Footnote: Los Angeles Times writer Mal Florence was sent to cover the Lakers during their record winning streak. When the streak finally was ended by Milwaukee, Florence was called home. On seeing him in the hotel, Lakers Coach Bill Sharman asked, "Mal, where are you going?" Florence replied, "I don't cover losers."
LAKERS vs. KNICKS, 1973 NBA Finals
The Lakers won Game 1, then were whisked out of the series in five games. This series featured 13 future Hall of Famers — nine as players, four as coaches. That included a power forward (the Knicks' Phil Jackson) and a guard who was once drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (the Lakers' Pat Riley). The Knicks have not won a title since. The Lakers have won 10, nine with either Riley or Jackson as their coach.
Footnote: Wilt Chamberlain's career ended with a Game 5 loss. His last basket was an uncontested fast-break dunk with one second left.
DODGERS vs. YANKEES, 1977 World Series
Fortunately, no one asked Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda what he thought of Reggie Jackson's performance. The stream of obscenities would have caused Lasorda to spontaneously combust.
Jackson homered on his last four swings in the six-game series, three coming in the Game 6 clincher. Even more amazing was that Yankees weak-armed center fielder Mickey Rivers threw a guy out at the plate. Steve Garvey was cut down trying to score from first in the sixth inning of Game 1. Replays showed he was safe. Important? The Yankees won in 12 innings.
Footnote: New York needed this one after enduring Son of Sam and a blackout that summer.
DODGERS vs. YANKEES, 1978 World Series
That Jackson guy again. The Dodgers won the first two games in Los Angeles and had a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning of Game 4. Then …
With Thurman Munson on second and Jackson on first, Lou Piniella hit a soft liner to shortstop Bill Russell, who dropped the ball. Russell stepped on second but Jackson, caught between first and second, stuck his hip out and deflected the ensuing throw to first into foul territory. While Garvey yelled at the umpire, Munson scored. The Yankees won in 10 innings and then won the next three games.
Footnote: In Game 1, rookie Bob Welch struck out Jackson on a 3-2 pitch with two on and two out in the ninth. Jackson claimed afterward that he was distracted by Bucky Dent, who was running from second on the pitch. Years later, Jackson admitted Welch just bested him.
DODGERS vs. YANKEES, 1981 World Series
The Dodgers rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to win in six games. Three Dodgers shared the MVP award — Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. But this series is also remembered for George Steinbrenner's antics.
The Yankees' owner called a news conference in his hotel room after New York lost Game 3 in Los Angeles and claimed he and two Dodgers fans had fought in the elevator. He had as proof a cast on his left hand. The story was never confirmed. Steinbrenner issued a public apology to the city of New York after the Yankees lost.