The 1965 Pennant Race
The Off Season
General Manager Buzzie Bavasi would make bold moves to return the team to contention. On December 4, 1964, the Dodgers and the Washington Senators made a block-buster seven player trade. The Senators received outfielder Frank Howard, one of the top power hitters in baseball and four other players. In return, the Dodgers acquired left hand pitcher Claude Osteen and infielder John Kennedy. Howard was a definite long ball threat, but the Dodgers felt their needs were to improve the starting rotation. Ron Fairly, Willie Davis, Tommy Davis, Wes Parker and Al Ferrara remained to provide offensive support and depth at the outfield position allowing them to make the big trade.
The Dodgers needed Osteen as a quality starting pitcher if Koufax and Podres were not ready to open the season. Going into spring training in 1965, the two southpaws were both healthy and Osteen was a valuable supplement to the staff. Osteen’s greatest strength as a left hander was that he could get hitters to hit the ball on the ground, an effective quality in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. In addition, Osteen could handle the bat as a pitcher.
The 1965 Dodger team had a good mix of youth and experience. John Roseboro remained one of the game’s best catchers, smooth fielding Wes Parker was at first base, rookie Jim Lefebvre surprised everyone by having a great spring and would start at second base, Maury Wills continued to play well at shortstop and John Kennedy was expected to play third. The outfield was solid with Tommy Davis in left field, Willie Davis in center field, and Ron Fairly in right field. The starting rotation was formidable with Koufax and Drysdale, the addition of Osteen and a healthy Johnny Podres. The bullpen looked strong with Ron Perranoski as the closer and Jim Brewer and Bob Miller adding plenty of depth and experience.Back to top