LOS ANGELES -- On Oct. 6, 1963, in the second year of a stunning ballpark built into a ravine with mountain views, Sandy Koufax dominated the Yankees for a second time at the 60th World Series. His last pitch to Hector Lopez resulted in a bouncer to shortstop Maury Wills, who threw to first to complete a shocking four-game sweep.
"All bedlam breaks loose on the field as the jubilant Dodgers try to reach Koufax, who started the season opener and then also was there to finish it," said Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, whose name is now part of the ballpark's address. "Never before in all their wonderful years had the Yankees lost four in a row in a World Series. For the Dodgers, theremore, it was a glorious and dramatic triumph, unsurpassed in World Series history."
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More than a half-century later, that shining moment here retains a special significance that is relevant to the 113th World Series. The Dodgers have played in 18 Fall Classics before this one -- nine representing Los Angeles and nine with Brooklyn -- and only once in those 18 did they clinch at home. That was 1963, and it happened so fast, many Dodgers fans were unable to appreciate World Series life there because no Game 5 was needed.
So we may be on unique footing now that the Astros and Dodgers will play in Los Angeles to complete this fantastic Fall Classic. In only the second World Series Game 6 at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers won, 3-1, to knot the Series at 3-3 and force Game 7; there has never been a World Series Game 7 there. The Dodgers clinched the 1988 National League Championship Series at home against the Mets in a Game 7 before downing the A's in five games in the Fall Classic.
"We feed off the crowd, for sure, especially at home," Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor said after Game 6. "We feel we have a huge home-field advantage, so we love it when the crowd gets loud."
This is the ninth year that Dodger Stadium has hosted a World Series (1963, 1965-66, 1974, 1977-78, 1981, 1988 and now 2017). But it is the 10th year that Los Angeles has hosted the event, because the Dodgers moved West after the 1957 season and played from 1958-61 at the massive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. That was their home when they won their first West Coast title, beating the White Sox in 1959, but it was clinched in Chicago.
Will these Dodgers do something never seen before and win both games to clinch a Game 7 in Los Angeles? They join the 1965 club as the only one in L.A. history to even play a Game 7 in a World Series. Will the private Koufax be a visible presence on the final night?
Here is a year-by-year look at how the Dodgers have ended their previous 18 experiences in Major League Baseball's great event:
1988: LAD clinch G5 @ OAK
1981: LAD clinch G6 @ NYY
1978: NYY clinch G6 @ LAD
1977: NYY clinch G6 @ NYY
1974: OAK clinch G5 @ OAK
1966: BAL clinch G4 @ BAL
1965: LAD clinch G7 @ MIN
1963: LAD clinch G4 @ LAD
1959: LAD clinch G6 @ CWS
1956: NYY clinch G7 @ BKN
1955: BKN clinch G7 @ NYY
1953: NYY clinch G6 @ NYY
1952: NYY clinch G7 @ BKN
1949: NYY clinch G5 @ BKN
1947: NYY clinch G7 @ NYY
1941: NYY clinch G5 @ BKN
1920: CLE clinch G7 @ CLE
1916: BOS clinch G5 @ BOS
An asterisk might be added to Dem Bums' famous 1955 breakthrough against the Yankees; that was obviously a subway series, so that Game 7 win was seen by a lot of Dodgers fans. Thus, one could quibble that many Dodgers fans got to watch their team win it all at home in a Game 7, yet it was an away game for Brooklyn nonetheless.
Tonight, the blue-clad crowd will be sky-high with enthusiasm, with a sprinkling of orange and navy from Houston among them. The stars will be out in force, maybe more celebrities than ever seen at a Dodgers game.
After all, they have had some time now to plan on being there. It is a true rarity in Dodgers baseball -- the chance to be at a World Series that comes back a second time to Los Angeles, a Halloween spectacular and a historic finish to the 2017 season.
Who knows? Maybe Clayton Kershaw will even come back and seal the deal in Game 7 relief. He has been compared so often to Koufax in recent years, so perhaps it would be a fitting end. The iconic image of Koufax celebrating with catcher Johnny Roseboro could be a scene for Dodgers fans to look forward to -- only this time, not in Game 4.