1964 was a disappointing season for the defending World Champion Dodgers, who suffered their first losing season since 1958. Walter Alston's charges went 80-82 to finish thirteen games back of the Cardinals in sixth place. Their Pythagorean record (expected W-L based on runs scored and allowed) was 86-76, which suggests some bad luck. At least the poor performance didn't keep the crowds away; L.A. packed a league-best 2,228,751 fans into Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers offense could run, but that was about the extent of their production. They led the league in steals, with Maury Wills pacing the N.L. with 53 swipes and Willie Davis contributing 42. No one on the club topped a .300 average, with Davis' .294 being the top mark. Tommy Davis' 86 RBI paced the team, and Frank Howard (24 HR) outpaced everyone else by ten longballs. The Dodgers hit .250 as a club, sixth in the league, and their 614 runs were third-lowest in the loop.
As usual, the arms of the Dodgers were their calling card. The team's only two All-Stars were the right-left combo of Don Drysdale (18-16, 2.18 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 237 K) and Sandy Koufax (19-5, 1.74 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 223 K). Koufax and Drysdale finished 1-2 in the N.L. in ERA and WHIP, and Koufax was also the leader in winning percentage, strikeouts per nine innings, and shutouts (seven). There was a dropoff in the rotation after that pair, but the boys in blue still allowed the fewest runs in the National League (2.95 ERA) and topped the circuit in shutouts with eighteen. Ron Perranoski (3.09 ERA, 14 SV in 72 G) and Bob Miller (2.62 ERA, 9 SV in 74 G) held down the fort in relief and were the top two pitchers in the league in appearances.
The struggles of 1964 turned out to be an abberation for the Dodgers, as they would win the next two National League crowns as well as another World Championship in 1965.