The 1965 World Series featured the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers against the American League champion Minnesota Twins, who had won their first pennant since 1933 when the team was known as the Washington Senators. The Twins would not reach the fall classic again until their championship season of 1987.
Both teams improved from sixth place finishes in 1964; the Twins won the A.L. pennant with relative ease while the Dodgers were locked in a season long five-way battle in the N.L. between themselves, the Giants, Pirates, Reds, and Braves. After the Giants won their 14th consecutive game to take a 4 1⁄2 game lead on September 16, the Dodgers went on a 13-game winning streak over the final two weeks of the season to clinch the pennant on the next to last day of the season over the second place rival Giants. The Dodgers prevailed in seven games to capture their second title in three years, and their third since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
During the 1965 Season, the Dodgers relied heavily on the arms of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and would rely on them even more in the World Series, as the Dodgers only used seven pitchers. The Dodgers’ strong core of pitchers, which also included Claude Osteen and Ron Perranoski, kept them in the pennant race and into the Series. Koufax, surviving on a steady diet of Cortisone and pain killers for his arthritic left elbow, pitched five times in 15 days down the stretch, winning four (three shutouts), including 13 strikeouts in the pennant winner against Milwaukee.
Dodger hitting however remained strictly popgun, especially after Tommy Davis went down in late April for the season with a broken ankle. Manager Walter Alston promptly called up 12-year minor league veteran Lou Johnson from Spokane. Johnson led the Dodgers, along with ROY Jim Lefebvre, in home runs with just 12.
The Twins, managed by Sam Mele, had a more balanced attack, equally strong in pitching and hitting, although their defense committed 173 errors including 39 by shortstop Zoilo Versalles. Offensively Mele again had balance with good hitting, power and speed up and down his lineup that included AL’s leading hitter Tony Oliva (.321), and 20-plus home runs from five different players. Pitching was spearheaded by 20-game winner Mudcat Grant, Jim “Kitty” Kaat, and Camilo Pascual.
This was only the second World Series where both teams were located west of the Mississippi River. The first occurred in 1944, when the St. Louis Browns faced their Sportsman’s Park tenants, the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was also the first series in which both teams had had losing records the previous year. This has since been repeated two other times, both times also involving the Twins�in 1987 and 1991.
This World Series was the first in which all games were played in cities that did not have National League or American League teams in 1903, the year of the first modern World Series.
Also, it is the earliest World Series whose telecasts are known to survive in their entirety; the CBC has complete kinescopes of all seven games in its archives.