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1956 Japan Tour
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Brooklyn Dodgers - 1956 Japan Tour  
The Dodgers defended their National League crown in 1956, but it wasn’t easy. It took a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on the final day of the regular season to clinch the title with a 93-61 record, one game ahead of the Milwaukee Braves. Duke Snider led the league with a career-high 43 home runs and pitcher Don Newcombe (27-7) became the first player in history to win both the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards in the same season.
The Dodgers and Yankees staged another seven-game classic, but with different results. While Brooklyn lost its first two road games in 1955 on its way to the championship, the Dodgers wasted a 2-0 Series lead in 1956 as the Yankees posted three consecutive victories, including Don Larsen’s perfect game at Yankee Stadium in Game 5. The Dodgers won Game 6 behind Clem Labine’s 10-inning shutout, but dropped the deciding Game 7 at Ebbets Field, 9-0.
The pre-tour exhibitions in Hawaii may have been planned as a chance to keep sharp had the Dodgers’ season ended in late September, but the Brooklyn players likely could have used the rest.
Hours after their World Series defeat, the Dodgers left New York on October 11 on United Airlines Dodger Special Flight 2709 (Douglas DC-7) from Idlewild Airport at 12:30 p.m. They arrived in Los Angeles International Airport at 5:05 p.m. and took limousines to the Statler Hotel. The party flew to Hawaii on October 12 to begin a five-day stay that included goodwill visits, sightseeing and exhibition games against the Maui All-Stars, the Hawaiian All-Stars and the Hawaiian champion Red Sox.
The Dodger roster included Manager Walter Alston; Coaches Billy Herman, Jake Pitler and Joe Becker; pitchers Carl Erskine, Don Newcombe, Clem Labine, Don Bessent, Roger Craig, Ed Roebuck, Don Drysdale, Ralph Branca and Fred Kipp; catchers Roy Campanella, Herb Olson and Dixie “Homer” Howell; infielders Pee Wee Reese, Don Zimmer, Jackie Robinson, Randy Jackson, Gil Hodges, Jim Gentile, Bob Lillis, Jim Gilliam and Bob Aspromonte; outfielders Duke Snider, Bert Hamric, Don Demeter and Gino Cimoli.
Those who didn’t make the trip included pitcher Sandy Koufax, outfielder Carl Furillo, outfielder Sandy Amoros and pitcher Johnny Podres, whose October 26 release from the United States Navy due to a back ailment didn’t give him enough time to get in proper playing condition.

Walter O’Malley greets Don Newcombe, the 1956 National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner.

Clem Labine (l-r), Don Zimmer and Gil Hodges take a break at Waikiki beach.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson received a flower lei during an exhibition game in Hawaii.

The Brooklyn Dodgers line up during pregame introductions in Japan.

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