1951 Brooklyn Dodgers
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1951 Brooklyn Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page
Managed by Chuck Dressen
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers are remembered for losing a three-game playoff to the New York Giants, but what is less remembered is that the Giants played well to catch them in September. The Dodgers had led the Giants by 13 games on August 11th. They spent 120 days of the season in first place.
In fact, they hadn't played terribly in September, going 14-13. The Giants, however, went 20-9 in August and 20-5 in September (and 2-1 in October).
The Dodgers were first in the National League in most offensive categories. Gil Hodges hit 40 homers and Roy Campanella hit 33. Campanella, who hit .325, was voted MVP even though his team did not go to the World Series.
The pitching staff had two 20-game winners in Don Newcombe and Preacher Roe (who went 22-3). Clyde King went 14-7 in a relief role with 6 saves. Carl Erskine was a reliever in half his appearances, going 16-12 with 4 saves.
Because the Dodgers finished tied with the Giants after 154 games, the two teams played a three-game playoff, as specified by National League rules of the time. The two teams split the first two games, and the Dodgers led going into the bottom of the 9th in the third game, played at the Polo Grounds, when the Giants rallied. Bobby Thomson ended the Dodgers' season by crushing a three-run walk-off homer off Ralph Branca, sending the Giants to meet the New York Yankees in the World Series. That homer immediately took on mythic proportions and would become known as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World".
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe, Pee Wee Reese
- NL MVP: Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Preacher Roe and Duke Snider
- Don DeLillo: '"Pafko at the Wall", Harper's Magazine, October 1992. 
- Roger Kahn: The Era, 1947-1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2002 (originally published in 1993). ISBN 0803278055
- John Kuenster: Heartbreakers: Baseball's Most Agonizing Defeats, Ivan R. Dee Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2001. ISBN 978-1566634120
- Rudy Marzano: The Last Years of the Brooklyn Dodgers: A History, 1950-1957, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7864-3006-2
- Joshua Prager: The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World, Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 2006.