Throughout the 1980s, the Dodgers enjoyed one of their most successful decades in club history. The Dodgers captured two World Championships (1981 and 1988), four National League Western Division titles (1981, 1983, 1985 and 1988) and won 825 games, tying them with the St. Louis Cardinals for most victories by a National League team during the decade.
In 1980, Don Sutton set a Dodger record with his 52nd career shutout. The Dodgers also reached 3 million in home attendance for the second time in three years and hosted their first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Before a capacity crowd of 56,088, the National League beat the American League, 4-2. The All-Star Game also marked the debut of the Dodgers' new Dodger DiamondVision Board.
On Opening Day in 1981, rookie Fernando Valenzuela -- forced to start because of an injury to Jerry Reuss -- blanked the Astros, 2-0, at Dodger Stadium, which was the beginning of "Fernandomania." Valenzuela took the baseball world by storm in 1981. The 20-year-old from Mexico became the first rookie to win Cy Young Award honors and he helped the Dodgers win the World Series over the New York Yankees.
On September 30, 1982, Steve Garvey, cornerstone for the Dodgers at first base, played his final game for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Garvey had three hits in the game and moved into third place on the all-time list with 1,104 consecutive games played. Also in 1982, second baseman Steve Sax won Rookie of the Year honors.
In 1983, without longtime Dodgers Steve Garvey and Ron Cey, a young Los Angeles team won the division with 91 victories. Steve and Dave Sax made history as the only brothers to start a game for the Dodgers.
On April 25, 1985, Fernando Valenzuela set a Major League record for most consecutive innings at the start of a season without allowing an earned run (41) before the Padres ended the streak.
Two years later on September 16, 1987, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Dodger Stadium.
The 1988 season was the most memorable of the decade. Picked by some experts to finish fourth in their division, the Dodgers captured the Western Division and defeated the heavily favored New York Mets in the League Championship Series and Oakland Athletics in the World Series.
The 1988 World Series gave fans what was later voted as "The Greatest Sports Moment in Los Angeles History" when Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers a 5-4 victory in Game 1 at Dodger Stadium. Gibson was later named league MVP.
During the decade, many other great names came to the forefront. Pitcher Orel Hershiser posted double-digits in wins in his six years as a starter, including his phenomenal 1988 Cy Young Award season when he hurled a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings, surpassing the previous mark of 58 2/3 innings by Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale in 1968.
Other significant Dodgers of the 1980s included second baseman Steve Sax, who played seven solid years for the Dodgers; catcher Mike Scioscia, who along with Valenzuela were the only Dodgers to play every year of this decade; infielder-outfielder Pedro Guerrero, who hit 169 home runs and drove in 575 runs; pitcher Bob Welch, who won 103 games and fanned over 1,100 batters; outfielder Kenny Landreaux, who enjoyed seven seasons with the ballclub; and outfielder Mike Marshall, who averaged 17 home runs in the last eight seasons.