06/25/10 5:20 PM ET
Yankees-Dodgers a rivalry for the ages
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
It has been perfect, it has been one-sided at times -- but only at the game's highest peak, the World Series -- and for several different eras now, it has been a must-see meeting.
It is Yankees-Dodgers, and it is on.
For just the second time, it's on during the regular season, as the Dodgers and their sun-splashed Brooklyn-born manager host the grey-clad Yankees at Dodger Stadium this weekend. They teams met once before there, in June 2004, with the Dodgers taking two out of three.
While it's a rare treat of the Interleague schedule that they meet in the regular season, this rivalry was spawned in Octobers past. The Yankees and Dodgers have met 66 times in postseason play -- the most meetings in history -- including six of 10 World Series from 1947-56. They have met four times in the Fall Classic since the Dodgers' move that broke Brooklyn's heart and fueled Major League Baseball's coast-to-coast existence, and the Yankees hold a 37-29 overall advantage, having won eight of the 11 meetings in the World Series.
Along the way, memories have fueled a rivalry that manages to still resonate from coast to coast. A sampling:
Oct. 5, 1941: The 1941 World Series marked the first meetings between the clubs, and a play that wasn't made became pivotal -- and infamous. Mickey Owen's dropped third strike with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 4 opened the door to a rally, and what would have been an even series became a 3-1 advantage for the Yankees, who took the Fall Classic in five.
Oct. 3, 1947: Nine years before Don Larsen, Bill Bevens came within one out of a no-hitter for the Yankees in Game 4 -- but it sure didn't turn out as well. Bevens lost history and the game on one swing, as Cookie Lavagetto, pinch-hitting for Eddie Stanky, hit a two-run double to push across the winning run in a 3-2 Brooklyn victory. The Yankees wound up winning the World Series in seven games.
Oct. 4, 1955: After five losses in the World Series to the Yankees, it was Brooklyn's turn to celebrate. With Johnny Podres pitching a Game 7 shutout and Sandy Amoros sprinting to the left-field line to rob Yogi Berra and doubling off Gil McDougald to end a sixth-inning rally, the Dodgers earned their first World Series title.
Oct. 8, 1956: He didn't even know he'd be pitching until he came to the park, but Don Larsen made history with a perfect game, the only no-hitter ever in the World Series. The Game 5 perfecto sent the Yankees to the title in the last meeting between the clubs while both were in New York.
Oct. 6, 1963: Sandy Koufax pitched his second complete game of the World Series, giving up only a Mickey Mantle solo homer as the Dodgers win, 2-1, to sweep the first Yankees-Dodgers meetings in the World Series on the West Coast -- one of just two sweeps the Yankees have suffered in the Fall Classic, the other vs. the Reds in 1976.
Oct. 18, 1977: Reggie Jackson went deep three times in Game 6 of the World Series to establish his Mr. October legend, joining Babe Ruth as the only players to hit three home runs in a Fall Classic game. The image of Jackson crushing the ball to dead center field off the Dodgers' Charlie Hough is one of the signature highlights in postseason history.
Oct. 11, 1978: It was hot prospect vs. Mr. October, and the kid delivered the strikeout. In one of the more thrilling at-bats in World Series history, 21-year-old Bob Welch struck out Jackson with the tying run in scoring position to end the game, and the Dodgers took a 2-0 Series lead. The Yankees roared back to win the Series behind Graig Nettles' spectacular defense and Jackson's power -- including a homer off Welch in the deciding Game 6.
Oct. 28, 1981: In a Series that reversed course from their most recent meetings, the Yankees took the early 2-0 lead but the Dodgers roared back, as Pedro Guerrero notched five RBIs and was only a double shy of the cycle in the Game 6 clincher.
June 18, 2004: Eric Gagne converts his 80th consecutive save opportunity -- en route to an all-time record 84 -- to close out the first Yankees-Dodgers game in 23 years.
June 25, 2010: Joe Torre shares the stage with the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. ...
And the rest will be history.
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.