May 21, 2024

Dodgers great Carl Erskine dies at age 97


Carl Erskine, who pitched two no-hitters as a mainstay on the Brooklyn Dodgers and was a 20-game winner in 1953 when he struck out a then-record 14 within the World Series, died Tuesday. He was 97.

Erksine died at Community Hospital Anderson in Anderson, Indiana, in response to Michele Hockwalt, the hospital’s advertising and marketing and communication supervisor.

Among the final survivors from the celebrated Brooklyn groups of the Nineteen Fifties, Erskine spent his complete main league profession with the Dodgers from 1948-59, serving to them win 5 National League pennants.

The right-hander had a profession report of 122-78 and an ERA of 4.00, with 981 strikeouts.

Erskine had his finest season in 1953, when he went 20-6 to steer the National League. He gained Game 3 of the World Series, beating the Yankees 3-2 at Ebbets Field. He struck out 14, retiring the facet within the ninth, for a World Series report that stood till Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax received 15 in 1963. The Dodgers went on to lose the 1953 sequence in six video games because the Yankees gained their fifth consecutive championship.

Erskine’s loss of life leaves Koufax because the lone surviving Dodgers participant from that World Series staff.

“I’ve often thought Carl deserved more credit than he received for his contributions to the success of the Brooklyn Dodgers,” stated Peter O’Malley, whose father, Walter, owned the Dodgers from 1950-1979. “He was a calming influence on a team with many superstars and personalities. But getting credit was not Carl and that is what made him beloved.”

Erskine obtained the Buck O’Neil lifetime achievement award in July 2023 by the Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of administrators to honor a person whose efforts improve baseball’s optimistic impression on society.

“For millions of fans, he was a baseball hero,” Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark stated in a press release. “For his family and thousands of Special Olympians, Carl was someone who always believed everything was possible. His legacy is one of deep compassion and encouragement of the human spirit.”

Erskine was an All-Star in 1954, when he gained 18 video games. He appeared in 5 World Series, with the Dodgers lastly beating the Yankees in 1955 for his or her solely championship in Brooklyn. He gave up a house run to Gil McDougald within the first inning of Game 4 and left after 3⅔ innings. The Dodgers went on to win 8-5.

Carl Daniel Erskine was born Dec. 13, 1926, in Anderson, Indiana. He started taking part in baseball at age 9 in an area parks program.

After graduating highschool in 1945, he was drafted into the Navy with World War II underway. A yr later, Erskine requested the Navy recreation officer the place he was stationed if he might play baseball. He was turned away, however just a few weeks later, he was scouted by the Dodgers and discharged from army service.

He spent the following 1½ years within the minors earlier than making his main league debut on July 25, 1948. Erskine started as a reliever, going 21-10 throughout his first two seasons.

In 1951, he transitioned to the beginning rotation and joined teammates Roy Campanella, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider as one of many revered “Boys of Summer.”

In 1952, Erskine had a career-best 2.70 ERA and gained 14 video games. The following yr, he led the NL with a .769 successful share, together with 187 strikeouts and 16 full video games, all profession highs.

When teammate Don Newcombe was pitching within the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1951 NL pennant with the New York Giants, Erskine and Ralph Branca had been warming up within the bullpen.

On the advice of pitching coach Clyde Sukeforth, Newcombe was relieved by Branca, who then gave up the game-winning house run to Bobby Thomson within the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

Whenever Erskine was requested what his finest pitch was, he replied, “The curveball I bounced in the Polo Grounds bullpen in 1951.”

Nicknamed “Oisk” by followers with their Brooklyn accents, Erskine pitched no-hitters in opposition to the Chicago Cubs in 1952 and the New York Giants in 1956.

Bobby Morgan preserved Erskine’s no-hitter in opposition to the Cubs with two sensible fielding performs at third base.

“I made two super plays on swinging bunts where they just dribbled down the line and I fielded them one-handed and threw to Gil Hodges at first,” Morgan instructed The Oklahoman newspaper in April 2020.

Morgan, who died final yr, stated Erskine nonetheless thanked him years later each time they spoke.

The Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles in 1957. Erskine did not get pleasure from being away from his household and he lasted simply 1½ extra years with them. He pitched his ultimate recreation in June 1959 and retired at 32.

Erskine returned to his hometown about 45 miles northeast of Indianapolis and opened an insurance coverage enterprise. He coached baseball at Anderson College for 12 years, and his 1965 staff went 20-5 and gained the NAIA World Series.

He additionally turned energetic locally and served as president and director at Star Financial Bank from 1982-93.

A 6-foot bronze statue of Erskine was erected in entrance of the Carl D. Erskine Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center to honor his accomplishments in baseball and as an Anderson resident. An elementary faculty constructed on land he donated is known as for him. He was inducted into the Indiana National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

In 2002, Erskine Street in Brooklyn was named for him.

His youngest son, Jimmy, was born with Down syndrome, which led Erskine to champion the reason for individuals with developmental disabilities. He wrote a ebook referred to as “The Parallel,” in regards to the similarities within the journeys of Jimmy and Erskine’s teammate Robinson in breaking down social perceptions. He was lengthy concerned with Special Olympics in Indiana and the Carl and Betty Erskine Society raises cash for the group.

Jimmy Erskine died final November at age 63, having outlived his prognosis by many years.

“Carl Erskine was an exemplary Dodger,” Stan Kasten, president & CEO of the Dodgers, stated in a press release. “He was as much a hero off the field as he was on the field — which given the brilliance of his pitching is saying quite a lot. His support of the Special Olympics and related causes, inspired by his son Jimmy — who led a life beyond all expectations when he was born with Down syndrome, cemented his legacy. We celebrate the life of ‘Oisk’ as we extend our sympathies to his wife, Betty, and their family.”

Erskine additionally authored the books “Tales from the Dodger Dugout” and “What I Learned From Jackie Robinson.”

He is survived by spouse Betty and sons Danny and Gary and daughter Susan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.