The Los Angeles Dodgers of the 1970s were a team of winners. Three National League pennants and three appearances in the World Series (1974, 1977 and 1978) along with 910 victories (second-best decade in Dodger history) are certainly enough credentials for a successful decade.
Peter O'Malley was named club president on March 17, 1970 and his father, Walter O'Malley, assumed the position of Chairman of the Board.
In the 1970s, no Dodger team ever finished lower than third. In 1971, the Dodgers finished just one game behind division winner San Francisco. But in 1974, the Dodgers reached the top, winning the division and posting 102 victories, the most by a Dodger team since 1962. The Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the League Championship Series, three games to one, to earn a trip to the Fall Classic for the first time in eight years.
After 23 years, Hall of Fame Manager Walter Alston retired and handed over the reins to Tommy Lasorda, who became only the second National League manager to win pennants in his first two seasons (1977 and 1978). The results were carbon copies as his teams in 1977 and 1978 defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the League Championship Series in four games, only to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in six games.
During this era, the Dodgers had an infield featuring first baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, shortstop Bill Russell and third baseman Ron Cey. The foursome began playing as a unit in 1973 and would spend a record 8 1/2 seasons together.
In 1977, the Dodgers made history when four members of the team hit 30 or more home runs: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30). Behind the plate, catcher Steve Yeager was the picture of durability. One of the best Dodger catchers in history, Yeager played 14 seasons with the ballclub and was a tri-World Series MVP in 1981.
On the mound, the Dodgers had many stars. Don Sutton won 166 games during this decade, including a career-high 21 victories in 1976. In his final four seasons with the Dodgers from 1970-73, Claude Osteen won 66 games while Andy Messersmith won 55 games during his Dodger career (1974-76, 1979). Burt Hooton won 112 games in 10 years with the Dodgers, including 71 in the 1970s while left-hander Tommy John notched 87 wins and a 2.97 ERA in six years.
Out of the bullpen, the Dodgers looked to Jim Brewer in the early 1970s. In 1974, Mike Marshall became the first reliever in baseball history to win the Cy Young Award. The right-hander appeared in a record 106 games, had 21 saves and posted a 2.42 ERA. In the late 1970s, Charlie Hough and Terry Forster were the aces of the bullpen.