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The Dodgers haven’t made a World Series since 1988, and a lot has changed

That’s 29 years ago, if you don’t like doing math.

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs - Game Five Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Dodgers haven’t made the World Series since 1988. If you’ve been watching baseball this postseason (or, actually, this season at all) you know that already. Even if you somehow weren’t aware of Los Angeles’ near-three decade drought before this.

At this point, you’ve been reminded and reminded and just in case you missed it the last time someone said it HEY YOU, YEAH YOU, THE DODGERS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE REAGAN WAS PRESIDENT.

A lot has changed since then though, and while people who clearly remember 1988 might not be as in need of a refresher as the younger people reading this, it’s still helpful to take a look back and see just how much things differ now and recall a few of the highlights of that year. For one, this commercial was on the air.

Watch some original episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to get in the right headspace for this post, since that premiered in November of that year. Yes, so many years have passed since the Dodgers were in the World Series that a signature show that year has been brought back for nostalgia purposes.


The top movie in 1988 was Rain Man, which grossed $354,825,435 worldwide. Other popular films released that year include Heathers, Beetlejuice, Die Hard, Young Guns, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Big, and Coming to America.

Also, some low-key classics like Cocktail, Beaches, Bloodsport, and The Land Before Time.

Hm, turns out 1988 was a really good year for movies. Once baseball is over, movies released in ‘88 could double as a great movie night list to choose from. Just grab some popcorn and remember what it was like when Tom Cruise starred opposite love interests that were actually his age.

As far as current celebrities go: Emma Stone, Haley Joel Osment, Rumer Willis, Allison Williams, Michael Cera, and Rupert Grint were all born that year.


Number one songs during 1988 include “Faith,” “One More Try,” and “Father Figure” by George Michael, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Dirty Diana,” and “Man In the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean, “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses, “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys, “Bad Medicine” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.

Oh, and “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley also topped the charts that year.

Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway, which means that yes, there was a time once where those songs were not every 16-year old hopeful actress’ favorite audition music.

Rihanna, Adele, Skrillex, Hayley Williamst, Vanessa Hudgens, James Blake, and Kevin Jonas were all born. 1988 also gave the world Celine Dion, as that is the year when she won Eurovision for Switzerland (despite her being Canadian, because: loopholes).


A stamp in 1988 was only a quarter (as opposed to 49 cents now, people that don’t go to post offices), a gallon of gas only a buck and eight cents (the national average is now $2.45), and a movie ticket only $4.11. Which seems downright quaint by this point.

You could buy a brand new house for the average price of $91,600, off of an average salary of $24,450.

Major Events

The Iran-Iraq war ended after eight years of conflict, the Lockerbie plane bombing killed 270 people over Scotland, Australia turned 200 years old, crack begins to appear in the United States, the original Globe Theatre is found in London and unearthed. George H. W. Bush is elected president.

Stephen Hawking published A Brief History of Time that year, the first computer virus occurred, and Prozac went to market. Those three events hold varying degrees of excitement depending on your general interests and lifestyle.

A NASA scientist testified to the US Senate that man-made global warming had begun. And that’s the last we ever heard of global warming. Enzo Ferrari died, presumably after finding out that his cars were contributing to man-made global warming. Roy Orbison also died at the far too young age of 52.


The Summer Olympics were in Seoul, and the Winter Olympics were in Calgary. It was the second-to-last time both of the Olympics were held in the same year instead of alternating every two yes. Michigan State beat USC in the Rose Bowl.

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Ashton Eaton, Russell Westbrook, Juan Martin Del Potro, Carly Patterson, Conor McGregor, Claude Giroux, Derrick Rose, Mesut Özil, Angelique Kerber, and Antonio Brown were all born.

Wayne Gretzky infamously got traded from the Oilers to the Kings that August, and the Showtime Lakers won their fourth championship in since 1982.

What’s happened in baseball?

In 1988, the Yankees and the Dodgers had the highest payrolls in the league, but they are numbers that pale in comparison to what those top payrolls would be today. They paid their entire rosters $21,524,152 and $16,412,515, respectively. In fact, the Dodgers’ average salary that year was $573,441, less than $40,000 more the 2017 season’s rookie minimum.

The Tokyo Dome opened, and remains the current home of the Yomiuri Giants. It is the second-largest baseball stadium in the world, tied with the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana Cuba, and only second to...Dodger Stadium.

Many top current baseball players were born, including current Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Others include Dellin Betances, Pedro Baez, Jacob deGrom, Dee Gordon, Dallas Keuchel, Mike Moustakas, Tommy Pham, Stephen Strasburg, and Masahiro Tanaka. Ten Dodgers players weren’t even born yet.

On September 16th, Reds’ pitcher Tom Browning threw a perfect game ... against the Dodgers. Randy Johnson began his storied 21-year career that would end eight years before the Dodgers made it back to the Series. Tony La Russa and Tommy Lasorda won the Manager of the Year Award in their respective leagues, Orel Hershiser won his only Cy Young Award, and Jose Canseco and Kirk Gisbon won MVP.

And of course, the Dodgers won the World Series. Can they do it again?