The Los Angeles Dodgers’ improbable season came to a seemingly impossible end Thursday night with a 5-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics to win the World Series in just five games.
The Dodgers were not picked to win the Western Division of the National League nor were they picked to defeat the New York Mets in the NL Championship. And few gave them a chance against Oakland, winner of 104 regular-season games and a 4-0 sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
But still, this collection of almost-stars seemed to play with excitement and take advantage of the intangibles that allowed them to silence a country of doubters.
Parade Downtown Monday
A spokesman for Mayor Tom Bradley said a parade and rally to honor the Dodgers will be held downtown on Monday morning.
The parade, beginning at 11 a.m. at 9th Street and Broadway, will proceed north on Broadway to 1st Street and then head east to City Hall, where a noon rally will be held on the lawn in front of the 1st Street steps.
It was the sixth World Series championship for the Dodgers. They became the only team to win two championships in the 1980s, their previous win coming in 1981.
Orel Hershiser, fittingly, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Series after shutting out the A’s in Game 2 and allowing only two runs and four hits on Thursday. He walked four batters and struck out nine, including Tony Phillips for the game’s final out.
Catcher Rick Dempsey then thrust his glove into the air while Hershiser paused at the mound as if to reflect in the enormity of their achievement. The bench emptied and the infield filled with Dodgers and the celebration began.
Among those were Mickey Hatcher, a career journeyman who became a sentimental hero in the postseason. Hatcher’s 2-run home run in the first inning gave the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish.
Mike Davis, who spent most of the season on the bench, was another improbable hero for the Dodgers with a 2-run home run in the fourth inning.
Davis’ presence in the lineup was made possible by the injury to Kirk Gibson. However, Gibson will long be remembered for his game-winning 2-run home run in the bottom of the ninth in Game 1. It was his only appearance in the Series.
Besides Gibson, the Dodgers lost pitcher John Tudor and catcher Mike Scioscia to injuries. Mike Marshall also missed some Series games with a bad back.
The Dodgers had finished in fourth and fifth places the previous two seasons and few gave them any chance this season. But, Tom Lasorda, the Dodger manager prone to great fits of hyperbole, predicted the Dodgers would be back on top again.
“For two years, we suffered a great deal, and now the Dodgers are back on top,” Lasorda said after Thursday’s game. “They have to be an influence for everyone in the world. They showed you what you can do if you want something bad enough.”
Jeff Hamilton, the Dodger third baseman, summed it up this way: "(It’s like) somebody wrote a script. You can’t explain it. I can’t believe it’s happened but it has. So many things happened that weren’t supposed to happen. We never quit. That was the big key.”
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