1974 Los Angeles Dodgers
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers / Franchise: Los Angeles Dodgers / BR Team Page
Won NL Pennant
Managed by Walter Alston
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers won 102 games, making them the last Dodgers team to win 100 or more games until 2017. By winning the NL West division title, they ended a two-year streak by the Cincinnati Reds, but one of the two teams would win the title every year from 1972 to 1979. The Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS but lost the 1974 World Series to the Oakland Athletics in five games. It was the first World series played entirely on the West Coast, and the A's won their third consecutive world championship.
The season is most remembered for the remarkable performance by pitcher Mike Marshall who won the Cy Young Award by going 15-12, 2.42 with 21 saves. Most remarkable were two records he set that year: most games pitched in a season - 106 - and most innings pitched by a relief pitcher - 208 1/3. 1B Steve Garvey, in his first full season at the position, won the MVP Award by hitting .312 with 21 homers and 112 RBIs, but it can be argued that he was not even the most valuable player on the team, as Jimmy Wynn hit .271 with 32 homers and 108 RBIs, with a much higher OBP and slugging percentage than Garvey and also scoring more runs. However, Garvey became a superstar that year, which contributed to the narrative that he was the one who put the Dodgers over the hump. It was also the first season when the Dodgers' famous infield of 1B Garvey, 2B Davey Lopes, SS Bill Russell and 3B Ron Cey played together; it would turn out to be the longest-lasting infield in major league history, as the four would play together almost every day until the 1981 World Series - eight full seasons. C Steve Yeager and OFs Bill Buckner and Willie Crawford rounded out the starting line-up, with Joe Ferguson filling out between C and the OF and no one else getting much playing time as manager Walter Alston largely stuck to his regulars.
While the Dodgers would soon become known as the pioneers of the five-man starting rotation, it was not yet the case in 1974. Two starters were dominant, with Don Sutton going 19-9 in 40 starts and Andy Messersmith 20-6 in 39 starts. Tommy John would have been the third member of that dominant staff, but he went down with a torn ligament in his elbow in his 22nd start of the year on July 17th, having posted an outstanding record of 13-3, 2.59 until then. Also on the staff were Doug Rau, who was 13-11, 3.72 in 36 games (35 starts), and Al Downing (5-6, 3.66). Whatever relief innings were not pitched by Marshall fell into Charlie Hough's lap, as he went 9-4, 3.75 in 49 games and 96 innings. Veteran Jim Brewer pitched less than 40 innings, and rookie Geoff Zahn rounded out the staff as a swingman.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Mike Marshall, Andy Messersmith and Jimmy Wynn
- NL MVP: Steve Garvey
- NL Cy Young Award: Mike Marshall
- NL Reliever of the Year Award: Mike Marshall
- NL Comeback Player of the Year: Jimmy Wynn
- NL Gold Glove: Steve Garvey (1B) and Andy Messersmith (P)