Brooklyn, LA Dodgers - Greatest Sports Franchises

Brooklyn, LA Dodgers - Greatest Sports Franchises

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
The team that eventually became the LA Dodgers was actually founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. After the team name was finally solidified in the 1930s, Dodger dominance finally began. But it was in 1947 that the Dodgers made history by signing the MLB's first African American player, Jackie Robinson. Integration helped give the team the edge it needed, and the wins soon started piling up. In 1957, the Dodgers shipped West to Los Angeles, and continued succeeding through the years with help from players like Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. In this video, continues our series on the Greatest Sports Franchises of All Time with a look at the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers.

History of the Los Angeles Dodgers

This was the first MLB team to sign an African American player. Welcome to, and today we’ll be continuing our series of the most successful sports franchises with a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers.


The club that eventually became the Dodgers formed in Brooklyn, New York in 1883, and went through many nicknames before settling on a moniker. In the 1930s, the name Trolley Dodgers was shortened and officially approved as the team name.

“Uncle Robbie”

In 1884, the Brooklyn club joined the American Association, and moved to the National League five years later. By 1920, they proved competitive: they had appeared in and lost two World Series under Manager Wilbert Robinson – or “Uncle Robbie.”

Dodger Dominance

As the 1940s dawned, so did the era of Dodger dominance. They appeared in the 1941 World Series against the rival New York Yankees, but lost, and suffered from a reduced roster during World War II.


The Brooklyn Dodgers then made history in 1947: thanks to GM Branch Rickey, they began integrating African American players when most refused. This was a morally-based choice, but it gave the Dodgers the edge they needed.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15th, 1947, and he later became the first ever Rookie of the Year. The award was eventually named in his honor.

Other Instrumental Players

Other black players like Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella quickly joined Robinson and helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 1955. Duke Snider also proved instrumental.

Going West

But frustrations grew over the worn-down Ebbets Field and New York’s unwillingness to offer a new stadium. On October 8th, 1957, owner Walter O’Malley announced he was moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles.

LA Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants

Not only did O’Malley move the Dodgers out West, he also convinced the New York Giants’ owner to move his team to San Francisco to keep the Giants-Dodgers rivalry alive.

Another World Series

The move paid off: in their second season on the West Coast, the Dodgers won their second World Series by beating the Chicago White Sox in six games. The team’s success was aided by Hall of Fame pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

Dodger Stadium

After moving to the new Dodger Stadium in 1962, the club won it all again in ‘63 and ‘65. During the ‘70s, they added three more pennants, but lost the World Series each time.

Memorable Personalities

In 1976, Tommy Lasorda was promoted to Dodgers’ manager when Walter Alston retired. Also that year, broadcaster Vin Scully was voted the most memorable personality in the history of the franchise. In 1977, the Dodgers were part of history again when Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, Ron Cey and Dusty Baker all hit over thirty home runs.

A Thrilling World Series Game

The club began one of their most successful decades by winning it all in 1981, with help from rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. They took the World Series again in 1988 thanks to Orel Hershiser’s heroics. But star outfielder Kirk Gibson had the most exciting moment: in his only appearance of the series during game one, he made an epic off-the-bench, pinch-hit home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Looking to Asia

The team then struggled in the postseason. However, between 1992-1996, Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raúl Mondesí, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth were consecutively named Rookies of the Year. Nomo was the result of LA looking to Asia for players, and in 1998 they became the first MLB team to open an office there.

New Ownership

Despite their successful history, the Dodgers were not immune to financial troubles: in the twenty first century the club’s ownership woes made headlines. In 2012, a group led by former NBA star Magic Johnson took over in an effort to return the Dodgers to their earlier greatness.


Because of their storied history, loyal fanbase and tradition of success, the Dodgers remain one of the greatest franchises of all-time.