The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming the Dodgers definitively by 1932.The team moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. They played their first four seasons in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to their current home of Dodger Stadium, the third-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
In the modern (post-1903) era, the team, then known as the Robins, won league pennants in 1916 and 1920, losing the World Series both times, first to Boston and then Cleveland. In 1941, as the Dodgers, they captured their third National League pennant, only to lose again to the New York Yankees. This marked the onset of the Yankees–Dodgers rivalry, as the Dodgers would face them in their next six World Series appearances. Led by Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player of the modern era, and three-time National League Most Valuable Player Roy Campanella, also signed out of the Negro Leagues, the Dodgers captured their first World Series title in 1955 by defeating the Yankees for the first time.
Following the 1957 season, the team left Brooklyn. In just their second season in Los Angeles, the Dodgers won their second World Series title, beating the Chicago White Sox in six games in 1959. Spearheaded by the dominant pitching style of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, the Dodgers captured three pennants in the 1960s and won two more World Series titles in 1963, sweeping the Yankees in four games, and 1965, edging the Minnesota Twins in seven. The 1963 sweep represented their second victory against the Yankees and first against them as a Los Angeles team. The Dodgers won three more pennants in 1974, 1977 and 1978, but lost in each World Series appearance. They went on to win the World Series again in 1981, thanks to pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela. The early 1980s were affectionately dubbed "Fernandomania." In 1988, another pitching hero, Orel Hershiser, again led them to a World Series victory, aided by one of the most memorable home runs of all time, by their injured star outfielder Kirk Gibson coming off the bench to pinch hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of game 1, in his only appearance of the series.
The Dodgers share a fierce rivalry with the San Francisco Giants, it being the oldest rivalry in baseball dating back to when the two franchises played in New York City. Both teams moved west for the 1958 season. The Dodgers and Giants are tied for the most National League pennants (21), the second most World Series appearances (18), and the number of World Series titles won (6). Although the two franchises have enjoyed near equal success, the city rivalries are rather lopsided and in both cases, a teams championships have predated to the other's only one in that particular location. When the two teams were based in New York, the Giants won five World Series championships, and the Dodgers 1. After the move to California, it has been the reverse—the Dodgers have won five in Los Angeles, the Giants won one in San Francisco.
By 1890 New Yorkers (Brooklyn was a separate city until it became a borough in 1898) routinely called anyone from Brooklyn a "trolley dodger," due to the vast network of street car lines criss-crossing the borough as people dodged trains to play on the streets. When the second Washington Park burned down early in the 1891 season, the team moved to nearby Eastern Park, which was bordered on two sides by street car tracks. That's when the team was first called the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. That was soon shortened to Dodgers.Possibly because of the "street character" nature of Jack Dawkins, the "Artful Dodger" in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, sportswriters in the early 20th Century began referring to the Dodgers as the "Bums."
Other team names used by the franchise which would finally be called the Dodgers were the Atlantics, Grays, Grooms, the Bridegrooms, the Superbas and the Robins. All of these nicknames were used by fans and sportswriters to describe the team, but not in any official capacity. The team's legal name was the Brooklyn Base Ball Club.However, the Trolley Dodger nickname was used throughout this period, simultaneously with these other nicknames, by fans and sportswriters of the day. The team did not use the name in any formal sense until 1932, when the word "Dodgers" appeared on jerseys for the team. The "conclusive shift" came in 1933, when both home and road jerseys for the team bore the name "Dodgers".
Examples of how the many popularized names of the team were used are available from newspaper articles from the period before 1932. A New York Times article describing a game the Dodgers played in 1916 starts out by referring to how "Jimmy Callahan, pilot of the Pirates, did his best to wreck the hopes the Dodgers have of gaining the National League pennant", but then goes on to comment "the only thing that saved the Superbas from being toppled from first place was that the Phillies lost one of the two games played". What is interesting about the use of these two nicknames is that most baseball statistics sites and baseball historians generally now refer to the pennant-winning 1916 Brooklyn team as the Robins. A 1918 New York Times article does use the nickname Robins in its title "Buccaneers Take Last From Robins", but the subtitle of the article reads "Subdue The Superbas By 11 To 4, Making Series An Even Break".
Another example of the fluidity of use of the different nicknames is found on the program issued at Ebbetts Field for the 1920 World Series, which identifies the matchup in the series as "Dodgers vs. Indians", despite the fact that the Robins nickname had been in consistent usage at this point for around six years.