Dodgers celebrate 1955 champions

Dodgers celebrate 1955 championship team

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first world championship team in franchise history will culminate with pregame ceremonies honoring the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers at Dodger Stadium prior to Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT game with the Houston Astros.

All 13 living members of the 1955 Dodgers have been invited to participate in the weekend festivities, along with family members and special guests associated with The Boys of Summer. The former players invited include Bob Borkowski, Roger Craig, Carl Erskine, Sandy Koufax, Clem Labine, Tommy Lasorda, Billy Loes, Don Newcombe, Johnny Podres, Ed Roebuck, George Shuba, Duke Snider and Don Zimmer. All but Loes are expected to attend.

"The Dodgers are a club steeped with a rich history," said Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt. "The 1955 team had a brilliant season and began the Dodgers' incredible world championship legacy. We are honored to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this great team's achievement, as these players left an indelible mark on our history."

The on-field ceremony begins at 12:15 p.m. and will include Erskine, a pitcher on the 1955 club, playing the National Anthem on his harmonica. Podres, who threw two complete games and pitched the Game 7-clinching shutout, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"The Dodgers have paid tribute to this special chapter of club history throughout the year with various events and activities," said McCourt. "But the celebration on Aug. 28 will be the largest gathering of the 1955 team in years, providing a special occasion for the players as well as a remarkable experience for today's Dodger fans.

"We are excited about all the events we have planned throughout the weekend, providing our fans with a glimpse of some great baseball legends."

The Dodgers' 50th anniversary salute began in February when Craig, Erskine, Labine, Snider and Zimmer served as instructors at the Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at the team's Spring Training facility in Vero Beach, Fla. On April 12, Snider threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Dodgers' home opener against the San Francisco Giants.

On April 15, the Dodgers wore "Brooklyn" script home jerseys and "B" caps, in honor of Jackie Robinson Night, which marked the 58th anniversary of the Hall of Fame infielder breaking baseball's color barrier. Robinson was also a member of the 1955 Dodgers, which featured other future Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, and Snider among the everyday position players.

The Dodgers' 2005 promotional calendar was also marked by several 1955-related souvenirs, including action statues honoring Robinson and Koufax. There will be a special roundtable broadcast on KFWB 980 AM with members of the '55 Dodgers on Saturday.

The Dodgers will wear the "Brooklyn" throwback jerseys again Sunday. During pregame ceremonies, the 1955 team will reunite to relive memories of a season that began with records of 10-0 and 22-2 and ended with its dramatic World Series victory over the New York Yankees, capped by Podres' shutout at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 4.

A special 1955 world championship team celebration promotional sweepstakes giveaway will also be unveiled Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a scratch card for the opportunity to win prizes in the sweepstakes, including a free copy of the DVD Dodger Blue: The Championship Years; a Brooklyn Dodgers throwback jersey similar to the ones the Dodgers will wear in the game; a replica Brooklyn Dodgers New Era Cap or a brand new retro-style 1950s-era baseball glove. No purchase is necessary to enter or win the sweepstakes.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.