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From the Archives: Dodgers win 1959 pennant playoffs

Sep. 29, 1959: The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate as they win the National League pennant in a game against the Milwaukee Braves.
Sep. 29, 1959: The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate as they win the National League pennant in a game against the Milwaukee Braves.
(Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)

Larry Sharkey’s photo appeared on the Sep. 30, 1959, Los Angeles Times Sports section front page. The accompanying caption reported:

Gil Hodges (upper right corner) crosses home plate with a pennant-winning grin after scoring from second on Carl Furillo’s hit in 12th inning. Downcast catcher Del Crandall of Braves at upper right. Maury Wills is behind Hodges while manager Walt Alston (24), coach Charlie Dressen (7), Norm Larker (5) and catcher John Roseboro, jacket, rush out to swarm over triumphant mates. Air is filled with pieces of paper as the elated fans throw torn-up programs into the air in jubilation.

With identical 86-68 records, the Dodgers and Milwaukee Braves tied for the 1959 National League pennant. A best-of-three playoff series followed the season.

The Dodgers won the first game 3-2 at Milwaukee County Stadium.

The Braves led game two at Memorial Coliseum 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth. After a rally, Furillo’s sacrifice fly allowed Hodges to score the tying run.

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Furillo and Hodges repeated their heroics in the twelfth inning.

Braven Dyer reports in the Sept. 30, 1959, Los Angeles Times:

The crazy, zany Cinderella story of the Dodgers was complete yesterday.

They beat last year’s National League champions Milwaukee, 6-5, in 12 thrill-packed innings before 36,528 Coliseum cardiac cases to get their World Series shot against the Chicago White Sox.

Walter O’Malley had it right Sunday night. After his club had tied the Braves for the pennant he said:“You can win ‘em the easy way or you can win ‘em the hard way. But that doesn’t satisfy the Dodgers. They’ve got to win ‘em the Dodger way.”

I understand Mr. O’Malley, before leaving for Chicago with the team last night, signed his script writer to a new long term contract.

Not even a panel of Hollywood’s brightest authors could turn out anything to match the Dodgers rise from seventh place a year ago to the World Series of 1959.

No other National League club ever did it, but the Dodgers have been defying tradition ever since the ’59 campaign began. …Carl Furillo, at 37 the elder statesman of the Dodgers, was the last player to come to bat and his bounder behind second base with two outs in the 12th started the play which sent Gil Hodges across with the winning run.

It was ruled a hit, but what actually cooked the Braves was Felix Mantilla’s wild throw to first. The ball bounded in front of Frank Torre and then skidded by the Milwaukee first sacker, hit Dodger coach Greg Mulleavy on the shoulder and wound up in the stands while Hodges crossed the plate and ran into the wildest reception party in Coliseum history as all the Dodgers poured from the dugout and pounded him purple. …

The Dodgers won the 1959 World Series against the Chicago White Sox in six games.

This post was originally published on Sep. 8, 2010.

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