Why Are the Dodgers Called the Dodgers? The MLB Franchise Has Quite the History

Allison DeGrushe - Author
By

May 16 2022, Published 5:34 p.m. ET

With the 2022 MLB season in full swing, we have to admit — the Los Angeles Dodgers are already having quite the year. As of now, the legendary baseball franchise is leading the National League West with 21 wins and 12 losses ... that's pretty impressive.

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Now, we could go on and on about the team's incredible season, but there's other business we must attend to (particularly the origin of the club's name). So, why are the Dodgers called the Dodgers? Here's everything we know.

An LA display at Dodgers Stadium.
Source: Getty Images
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Why are the Dodgers called the Dodgers?

We're here to answer one of the MLB community's most burning questions: "Why are the Dodgers called the Dodgers?"

The franchise's history goes way back, with the team established as the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1883. The team was known by several other monikers, including the Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Robins, and, eventually, the Trolley Dodgers.

According to the MLB, the name Trolley Dodgers became official in 1896; back then, "heavy construction of electric trolley tracks in front of Eastern Park caused fans to dodge the trolleys to reach the park." As a result, "those fans became known as Trolley Dodgers, and the team took on the name, which was shortened to Dodgers."

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Although the Trolley Dodgers nickname stuck and was used heavily throughout this period, it didn't appear on the team's uniform until 1933. Per the MLB, once the franchise relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, the Dodgers name moved with them.

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The electric trolley terrified many Brooklyn pedestrians.

In May 2007, Joseph P. Sullivan published a piece titled "The terror of the trolley" in the Journal of Urban Technology.

The author claimed that the electric trolley is "an object of nostalgic affection" in the present day. While some are thrilled to see the vehicles roll down the street now, it wasn't always sunshines and rainbows.

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"In the 1890s, the electric trolley terrified many New Yorkers. The electric streetcar was much faster than a horse streetcar and caused many accidents," Joseph stated. "In Brooklyn especially, the trolley frequently killed or maimed young children. As a result, the electric trolley became a symbol of the chaotic nature of modern, urban life."

Additionally, he revealed that by 1895, "the trolley had killed 107 people and injured about 450." He added it "became an exemplar of random death," noting that "the explorer R.E. Peary said he thought the Brooklyn trolley as dangerous as an Arctic expedition."

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"A restaurant keeper in Yellowstone Park told his guests that he had left Brooklyn and fled to the West only after the trolley had killed his family," Joseph continued. "The team, like the Yellowstone restaurant keeper, eventually deserted Brooklyn but kept its history in its new name — the Los Angeles Dodgers."

We don't know about you, but we just learned a lot. Though these trolleys were incredibly detrimental to New York's previous preferred transportation, we hope the team and the MLB community continues to honor those who lost their lives to them.

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