The 1983 Dodgers

Team History: 1951-1997
1983 Record:
91-71, finished first place in the N.L. Western Division
Lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-1 in the NLCS
Tommy Lasorda
Pedro Guerrero, 3B; Steve Sax, 2B; Fernando Valenzuela, P; Tommy Lasorda, Coach
Home Attendance:

Season Recap:

Two positions changes were inserted into the Dodger lineup for 1983 as first baseman Greg Brock took over for free agent Steve Garvey and Pedro Guerrero moved from the outfield to third base, replacing the traded Ron Cey. Garvey and Cey had been teammates on the same infield from 1973 through the 1982 season, part of the longest running infield in Major League Baseball history. The 1983 season was as much an up and down as the previous 1982 season, but this season has a happier ending for the Dodgers with a N.L. Western Division title. Again, pitching carried the day as the Dodgers had the best team ERA (3.11) in the National League. The team ERA was supported by the starting pitcher ERA (3.34) as 1st in the N.L. while the Dodger bullpen was second in the N.L. with an ERA of 2.50. The Dodgers pitched tough when they had to as they also had the best ERA in the N.L. from the seventh inning until the end of the game (2.59). Dodger pitching was led by four starters who won in double figures with Fernando Valenzuela and Bob Welch with 15 wins and Jerry Reuss and Alejandro Pena won 12 games.  The Dodger bullpen was supported by Steve Howe with 18 saves and on the right hand side, Tom Niedenfuer had 11 saves and Dave Stewart added eight additional saves. The Dodger offense was potent with power as they led the N.L. in home runs and were third in stolen bases, despite being only eighth highest in scoring runs. The Dodger offense was led by Guerrero with 32 home runs and 103 RBI and five Dodgers who hit home runs in double figures:  Greg Brock (20); Ken Landreaux (17) and Mike Marshall (17); and Steve Yeager (15) and Dusty Baker (15). The Dodgers came out of the chute in the 1983 season serving notice, winning 32 of their first 46 games and they were up by 2 ½ games on June 1. The season turned upside down when they played only .500 in the month of May, but July was the real topsy-turvy month.  The Dodgers were 11-17 for July, and the Atlanta Braves, waltzed by them and led by 5 ½ games on August 1.  The Dodgers trailed as much as 6 ½ games behind the Braves on August 13. Many experts concluded the Braves would hang on and win the Western Division title in the same way as they had done in 1982. This was a young, unique Dodger team that needed time to jell and when they did come together, they startled the baseball world. The biggest contributor was a non-playing, non-person, “Mr. Potato Head,” the famous toy. During a Dodger road trip in August, trainer Paul Padilla, as a way to motivate the team, presented a “Mr. Potato Head,” to the Dodger who made the biggest difference after a win. A report by the Los Angeles Times mentioned it started after a game on August 11 when they won in Cincinnati. The Dodgers responded to their motivational device and won 15 of their next 18 games and moved into first place on August 30 when they won a doubleheader from the New York Mets. That doubleheader win and movement into first place sparked a new, delicious Dodger tradition.  Pleased by the club’s taking first place, Dodger President Peter O’Malley provided ice cream and the necessary toppings for an in-office ice cream sundae. From then on, a Dodger office policy was that if the club gained first place, or gained ground while in first place, ice cream was the order of the day. The Dodgers got help from everybody on the club, including some very young players. First, they acquired pitcher Rick Honeycutt who pitched very well in his first two starts. In early August, Jack Fimple, a catcher acquired from the Cleveland Indians two years earlier, stepped into the starting role after Mike Scioscia was out for the season. Fimple became a regular and sparked what local broadcasters called “Fimple Fever,” to praise the rookie catcher’s contribution. Fimple hit 10 for 30 (.333) with two men on base and drove in 11 runs in August and September. Rookie pitcher Orel Hershiser would make his major league debut September 1. Rookie first baseman Sid Bream tied the game in the ninth inning with a pinch-hit single and the Dodgers won in extra innings. September 11 was a critical game in the 1983 pennant race. The Dodgers were playing the Atlanta Braves at home, the Dodger lead two games. The game was a two-game switch. If Atlanta won, they would be one game back. If the Dodgers won, they would take a three-game lead. The Braves led 6-3 in the ninth inning, but a series of hits and walks loaded the bases. A bases loaded walk scored one run and a Mike Marshall double tied the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Tommy Lasorda gambled on a young rookie outfielder, R.J. Reynolds, and signaled him to execute a squeeze bunt on a 1-0 count. Reynolds got the bunt down and the winning run scored for a 7-6 win and a three-game Dodger lead. The Braves never again got any closer than three games of the first place Dodgers. The Dodgers would clinch the N.L. Western Division title as the Braves were losing to the San Diego Padres on September 30.  Going into the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers looked to be favorites over the Philadelphia Phillies as they had defeated the Phillies in 11 of 12 games in 1983. Playoff baseball is definitely different. The Phillies won game 1, 1-0 at Dodger Stadium. Even though Fernando Valenzuela won Game 2, the Phillies took Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia where they would go on to lose the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles. The Dodger team of the 1970s was slowly turning over to the Dodgers of the 1980s and the young Dodger players would make their own special history in years to come.

Below are the Dodger Front Office department heads and personnel who worked for Peter O’Malley.

Board of Directors
Peter O’Malley, President; Harry M. Bardt; Roland Seidler, Jr., Vice President, Treasurer; Terry O’Malley Seidler, Secretary
Peter O’Malley
Executive Vice President:
Fred Claire
Vice President, Player Personnel:
Al Campanis
Vice President, Minor League Operations:
William P. Schweppe
Vice President, Marketing:
Merritt Willey
Vice President, Treasurer:
Roland Seidler, Jr.
Assistant to the President:
Ike Ikuhara
Special Consultant:
Walter Alston
Controller and Assistant Treasurer:
Ken Hasemann
Assistant Secretary:
Irene Tanji
Resident Counsel:
Sam Fernandez
Director, Advertising, Novelties and Souvenirs:
Danny Goodman
Director, Community Relations:
Don Newcombe
Community Relations:
Roy Campanella
Community Relations:
Lou Johnson
Director, Dodger Network:
Dave Van de Walker
Director, Dodgertown:
Charlie Blaney
Director, Publicity:
Steve Brener
Director, Publications:
Toby Zwikel
Director, Scouting:
Ben Wade
Director, Community Services – Special Events:
Bill Shumard
Director, Stadium Club and Transportation:
Bob Schenz
Director, Stadium Operations:
Bob Smith
Director, Ticket Department:
Walter Nash
Director, Ticket Marketing, Promotions:
Barry Stockhamer
Traveling Secretary:
Billy DeLury
Michael Strange
Team Doctors:
Dr. Frank W. Jobe; Dr. Robert M. Woods