In the 1950s, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team made its historic move to the West Coast in 1958. Despite the change in location, the Dodgers dominated the National League, winning five National League pennants (1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959) and World Championships in 1955 and 1959.
In eight of the 10 years, the Dodgers never finished lower than second place while winning 913 games, the most wins in a decade in Dodger history.
As the decade started, the Dodgers had a new president, Walter O'Malley, who was originally appointed as the club's attorney in 1941. In October of 1950, O'Malley became president and chief stockholder of the Dodgers, a position he would hold for 20 years.
O'Malley saw his team take back-to-back pennants in 1952 and 1953 under Manager Charlie Dressen. In 1953, the Dodgers won a club record 105 games with the well-known "Boys of Summer," including Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Jim Gilliam, Duke Snider, Preacher Roe and Clem Labine.
Walter Alston became manager in 1954 and guided the Dodgers for 23 seasons, putting together a great list of achievements: 2,042 wins, four World Championships, seven N.L. pennants, nine All-Star appearances and a Hall of Fame induction in 1983.
In 1955, the Dodgers defeated the Yankees and won their first-ever World Championship in a seven-game World Series. The Dodgers took Game 7 at Yankee Stadium as Series MVP Johnny Podres shut out the Yankees, 2-0.
The Dodgers repeated as National League champions in 1956 and once again faced the Yankees. In another heart-stopping World Series, the Yankees prevailed in seven games.
Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe made baseball history in 1956 when he became the first player to win Cy Young and MVP awards in the same season.
As the 1957 season rolled around, the team on the field was overshadowed by the publicity of the team's possible move to the West Coast. Since the early part of the decade, O'Malley had wanted to build a more modern stadium for his ballclub in Brooklyn. New York officials were unable to come up with a suitable site.
On October 8, 1957, O'Malley announced that after 68 seasons in Brooklyn, the Dodgers would be moving to Los Angeles. In a move to bring baseball to all parts of the country, the Giants also decided to relocate from New York to San Francisco. On April 18, 1958, the Dodgers played their first game in Los Angeles, defeating the Giants, 6-5, before 78,672 fans at the Coliseum.
In their final season of the decade, the Dodgers, a team in transition, finished in a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Braves. Two days later, the Dodgers had the N.L. pennant as they swept the Braves in a best-of-three playoff.
The Dodgers then faced the Chicago White Sox in their fifth World Series of the 1950s. Using timely hitting and outstanding pitching, the Dodgers brought their first championship to Los Angeles and beat the Sox in six games. Larry Sherry was impressive, winning two games and saving two, earning MVP honors. Charlie Neal and Chuck Essegian had two home runs apiece.