Dodgers: Revisiting the 1977-1978 Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are only one win away from reaching the World Series for the second consecutive season.  They are trying to join the 1977-1978 Dodgers who were the last Dodger teams to reach two consecutive World Series.

The 2018 Dodgers now sit just one win away from their second consecutive World Series berth.   The last time the LA Dodgers made two straight World Series appearances was during the 1977-1978 seasons.  Both seasons the Dodgers were defeated by the New York Yankees.  Should the Dodgers close out the Brewers this weekend, they will be looking to avoid a similar ending.

The 1977 Dodgers were managed by Tommy Lasorda, who certainly needs no introductions, and it was his first season as the manager of the Dodgers after he replaced Walter Alston.  In 1977, the Dodgers won 98 games and the division race was not even close as the Reds finished in second place, ten games back of the Dodgers in the NL West division.

The 1977 Dodgers were also the first Dodger club that had four teammates who hit thirty home runs or more.  The four Dodgers were Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Dusty Baker (30), and Ron Cey (30).  The Dodger rotation in 1977 featured Don Sutton, Burt Hooton, and the now well-known Tommy John.

The Dodgers lost the opener of the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies before winning three straight games to advance to the World Series.  The 1977 Dodgers lost the World Series in six games and the decisive game six victory for the Yankees was the game in which Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in one World Series game.  This was the moment where Reggie Jackson become known as “Mr. October” at the expense of the Dodgers.

In 1978, the Dodgers won 95 games and won the NL West division finishing ahead of the Cincinnati Reds for the second straight  season.  This time however, the Reds put up a much better fight as they won 92 games and finished just two and a half games back of first place.  Reggie Smith led the 1978 Dodgers with 29 home runs while Steve Garvey and Ron Cey also hit twenty plus homers for the Dodgers.

The 1978 season the Dodgers struggled to win the West and were six plus games back at one point late in the season.  They eventually got it together and made it back to the postseason.  It was nearly an identical postseason in 1978 as the Dodgers beat the Phillies in the NLCS, but once again lost to the New York Yankees in six games.

The Dodgers only gave up two home runs to Reggie Jackson this time around but the Dodgers were beat up by Bucky Dent who hit over .400 in the series with seven RBI’s.  The downfall in the World Series for the 1978 Dodgers was poor offensive production and awful defense.  The Dodgers committed seven errors in the 1978 World Series while their sluggers Steve Garvey, Dusty Baker, and Ron Cey, combined for just five RBI’s in the six game series.

The 2018 Dodgers still need to win one game in Milwaukee which will certainly not be easy, but if the Dodgers once again make it back to the World Series, they will look to avoid the fate that the 1977-1978 Dodger teams did which was two straight World Series losses.  There could even be another rematch in the World Series but it would take the Astros coming back from a 3-1 deficit to make that happen.