Dodgers & Astros: a World Series history lesson

dodgers celebrating

We’re just hours away from the first pitch of the 2017 World Series, a matchup between two of the best teams in baseball: the league-leading LA Dodgers and the Houston Astros, who were just three games back from LA in the overall standings.

So far the MLB postseason has been a wild ride. The New York Yankees left fans in the Bronx wanting more after a thrilling 7-game series against the Astros. Even better, their postseason run came during a year that was supposed to be a “rebuilding season” for the boys in pinstripes and has left fans counting down the days until Spring. Meanwhile it looked like the Dodgers would sweep their way to the World Series, that is until the reigning champion Chicago Cubs attempted to rally from a 3-0 deficit, but managed to win only a single game before a Game 5, 11-1 win for the Dodgers sealed the deal.

At the end of the day, we’ve arrived at a World Series some had predicted along the way, between arguably the two best teams in baseball and featuring at least one serious MVP candidate in Jose Altuve. According to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas, the Dodgers are the favorites to win, but not by much. And let’s be honest, after the year we’ve had in baseball, the records broken and historic streaks, we’re pretty sure that anything can happen during this World Series, and we wouldn’t count on Westgate just yet.

We’re not going to attempt to make any predictions at the moment, but as we gear up for first pitch, we decided to take a look back at how the two franchises fared during the World Series in the past. Maybe we can learn something from a bit of history.


LA Dodgers

Titles: 6

Appearances: 19


The LA Dodgers are heading to their first World Series since 1988, when Kirk Gibson hobbled to glory in Game 1.

gibson home run

Overall, the team has a much richer history in the World Series than their opponents from Houston (and 26 other teams in the league). Counting back to the days in Brooklyn, the Dodgers are making their 19th overall World Series appearance since 1916. There are only two franchises with more World Series appearances than the Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants, who made 40 and 20 appearances respectively. The St. Louis Cardinals are tied with the Dodgers for appearances made, but have won more titles than LA.

The Dodgers may have made it to the World Series 19 times, but they lost more than they’ve won, and have only six titles. Nine of those appearances, but only one title, were as the Brooklyn Dodgers, between 1916 and the move to the West Coast in 1957.


Year Team Faced Final score
1916 Boston Red Sox Red Sox 4, Dodgers (then Robins) 1
1920 Cleveland Indians Cleveland 5, Dodgers (then Robins) 2
1941 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 1
1947 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 3
1949 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 1
1952 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 3
1953 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 2
1955 New York Yankees Dodgers 4, Yankees 3
1956 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 3
1959 Chicago White Sox (Now LA) Dodgers 4, White Sox 2
1963 New York Yankees Dodgers 4, Yankees 0
1965 Minnesota Twins Dodgers 4, Twins 3
1966 Baltimore Orioles Orioles 4, Dodgers 0
1974 Oakland A’s A’s 4, Dodgers 1
1977 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 2
1978 New York Yankees Yankees 4, Dodgers 2
1981 New York Yankees Dodgers 4, Yankees 2
1988 Oakland A’s Dodgers 4, A’s 1
2017 Houston Astros TBD


Note that the Dodgers met the Yankees in the World Series 11 times, beating them only three times. A Yankees-Dodgers World Series this year would have been the first since 1981, when LA won 4-2.


Key dates:

First World Series appearance: 1916, Boston Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-1

First World Series title: 1955, the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 4-3

First World Series title in LA: 1959, LA beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1

Last World Series title won: 1988, LA beat the Oakland A’s 4-1


Houston Astros

Titles: 0

Appearances: 2

Houston’s history in the World Series is much simpler and much, much shorter.

houston astros celebrate

Since the team’s establishment in 1962 the Astros made only one WS appearance prior to 2017, and it was fairly recently. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that they lost 111 games in a season – it was only five seasons ago to be exact, during their first season in the American League. But before making the switch to the AL, the Astros appeared in their only World Series. In 2005 they were swept by the Chicago White Sox, losing 5-3, 7-6, 7-5 and 1-0. They are still looking for their first W during the WS and are among eight MLB teams that have never claimed a World Series title (the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals have never even made it to the WS).

Houston has only made 11 postseason appearances in its 56 year history, including a 1981 NLDS loss to the Dodgers.

Key Dates:

First World Series appearance: 2005, Chicago White Sox sweep Houston 4-0