There are longer World Series droughts, there are more painful championship waits, too. But none have been as high-profile or well-documented as the Los Angeles Dodgers.’
The often snake-bitten franchise is one of the more recognizable brands Major League Baseball has to offer, but their success on baseball’s largest stage has been few and plenty far between.
In the 73 years they spent in Brooklyn from 1884-1957, the Dodgers won just a single world championship (1955), which was just two years before they moved to Los Angeles.
It came on the heels of seven empty World Series appearances, including five from 1941-1953, and they added another Fall Classic loss a year after their triumph.
The move to Los Angeles was much more fruitful initially with championships in 1959, 1963 and 1965, but they lost their next four World Series appearances (1966, ’74, ’77, ’78) before nabbing two in the 1980s.
They haven’t won another since.
It’s been 32 years since the Dodgers last lifted the Commissioner’s Trophy in 1988 with a five-game victory over the Oakland Athletics. That’s included 13 previous playoff appearances prior to 2020, 11 division titles, and Fall Classic berths in 2017 and 2018 — both of which they lost to the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
But in a year of uncertainty, unpredictability and anarchy, the Dodgers are on the cusp of finally meeting the lofty expectations that have seemingly been put on them annually over the last decade.
A bounce-back effort in Game 5 saw Los Angeles take a 3-2 World Series lead, bringing them to within one win of taking their first World Series crown in 32 years.
It featured the further exorcism of Clayton Kershaw’s postseason demons, the re-emergence of young fireballer Dustin May, and the confirmation that not everything manager Dave Roberts touches immediately spoils.
Now the hope in Hollywood is that the Dodgers can close things out on Tuesday night for Game 6 when Rays ace Blake Snell toes the rubber against Tony Gonsolin (8:08 p.m. ET, FOX).
“Sitting around, one win away from a World Series, is going to be hard,” Kershaw said of the off-day Monday. “Especially when you have been in the same hotel for four weeks now. But I think we can wait one more day and we’ll all be ready to go Game 6.”
This is the 68th time that the World Series has stood at 3-2, with a majority of the parity that comes within the Fall Classic coming more recently.
It’s the third time in four years, the sixth time in eight years, and the seventh time in 10 years that the World Series will go at least six games.
Of the previous 67 instances, the team with the one-game advantage has gone on to win it all 44 times (65.7%). Twenty-five of those closeout games came in Game 6 (37.3%).
Of the 42 times that the team up 3-2 lost Game 6, they went on to win the World Series just 19 times (45.2%). Eleven of the last 14 teams to lose Game 6 with a 3-2 lead have gone on to lose the series. The three that bucked the trend were the 2017 Houston Astros (against the Dodgers), 2014 San Francisco Giants, and 1997 Florida Marlins.
Such a situation, however, bodes well for the Dodgers despite their difficulties at the Fall Classic over their 137-year history spanning back to Brooklyn.
This is the sixth time since 1900 that the Dodgers have led a best-of-seven World Series, 3-2 (1981, 1965, 1959, 1955, 1952). They’ve won all but one of them (1952 vs. Yankees).