Sixty years ago, the Dodgers were the toast of New York. Brooklyn was changed forever because of what happened in The Bronx on Oct. 4, 1955, when the Dodgers finally won the World Series against the Yankees.
The Dodgers first baseman in that Game 7 triumph, Gil Hodges, went on to become a Mets icon as manager, after having played for the Mets. Two others in that winning starting lineup, centerfielder Duke Snider and second baseman Don Zimmer, also would become Mets. Among the Dodgers who didn't participate in that series, but who was on the regular-season roster, was 19-year-old pitcher Sandy Koufax, a Brooklyn high school teammate and friend of Fred Wilpon, the Mets chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Koufax also is considered a close friend by Mets manager Terry Collins, who worked in the Dodgers system.
Fact is, connections -- close and loose -- are many as the Dodgers and Mets meet for the third time in the postseason (the Dodgers won in 1988, the Mets won in 2006). The blue in the Mets' color scheme is homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers (as the orange is a nod to the New York Giants). All these years later, there still is a lot of New York in the Dodgers, and vice versa:
Citi Field: The Mets' park was built, under Wilpon's direction, to look like Ebbets Field. It features a rotunda, like the one that once welcomed fans in Flatbush and it is named for Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson. The Dodgers theme is so strong, in fact, that when Citi Field opened in 2009, many Mets fans argued that there wasn't enough Mets history represented.
Terry Collins: Began his managing career in the Dodgers system, winning the 1981 Class A California League title with the Lodi Dodgers and the 1987 Pacific Coast League championship with the Albuquerque Dukes. Was the Dodgers field coordinator from 2002 to 2004, then was their director of player development in 2005-06.
Justin Turner: A Dodgers utility infielder and solid righthanded pinch-hitter, the southern California native spent four seasons with the Mets, 2010-2013, before he signed with the Dodgers as a free agent. Before the Mets made moves before this year's trading deadline, it seemed that Turner was just the type of bat and presence that they lacked. In two seasons with the Dodgers, his batting averages have been .340 and .294 and his OPS has been .897 and .861.
Don Mattingly: The Dodgers manager was the quintessential Yankee during a distinguished playing career in New York from 1982 through 1995. He was the bridge between the last remnants of the Bronx Zoo era (Willie Randolph, Lou Piniella, Goose Gossage and Graig Nettles were on the 1982 team) and the Core Four years (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte all debuted in Mattingly's final season).
He won the American League Most Valuable Player Award, a batting title and nine Gold Gloves. And finally, in his last games, he played in the postseason. Donnie Baseball was the most popular Yankee of his time and was a finalist to succeed Joe Torre as manager. When Joe Girardi got that job, Mattingly accompanied Torre to Los Angeles as hitting coach and succeeded him as Dodgers manager in 2011.
There's still a lot of Yankee in his blood: He wears No. 8 in honor of Yogi Berra.
Vin Scully: Born in The Bronx, raised in Manhattan, educated at Fordham, Scully began calling Dodgers games in Brooklyn in 1950 and has remained with the franchise ever since. He is generally considered in a class by himself for his lyrical manner and insightful play-by-play commentary. He will miss this postseason due to a medical procedure, but he plans to return next season, which he expects to be his last in the booth.
Charley Steiner: Long Islander from Malverne, he has been the radio voice of the Jets and Yankees. With
the latter, he called Aaron Boone's home run, ending Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. He finished it by joining in unison with John Sterling to say, "The Yankees win!''
Orel Hershiser: Having started three games against the Mets in the 1988 NLCS, winning Game 7 with a shutout, Hershiser was a key member of the 1999 Mets staff, helping the club to its first postseason appearance in 11 years. In that NLCS, he pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the Mets' 15-inning Game 5 victory over the Braves.