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Don Drysdale

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(Number retired 1 July 1984)
Don Drysdale
Position Pitcher
MLB Seasons 14
Teams Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Debut 17 April 1956 (BRO)
Final Game 5 August 1969 (LAD)
Total Games 518
World Series Teams 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966
Allstar Teams 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968
Awards 1962 Cy Young
Baseball Hall Of Fame (1984)
Player of the Month (3 times)
Nickname
"Big D"
Baseball Hof
Don Drysdale
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

Donald Scott Drysdale (July 23, 1936July 3, 1993) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was born in Van Nuys, California.

Playing careerEdit

Pitching for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, he teamed with Sandy Koufax during the late 1950s and 1960s to form one of the most dominating pitching duos in history. The ferocious hurler (nicknamed "Big D" by fans) used brushback pitches and a sidearm fastball to intimidate batters, and his 154 hit batsmen remain a modern National League record.

In 1962, Drysdale won 25 games and the Cy Young Award, and set a record with 58 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 1968 )some sources list as 58 innings because they use the full-inning method of bookkeeping rather than by outs.); the record was ultimately broken by fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser 20 years later. Drysdale still holds the all-time record (by himself) of 6 consecutive complete-game shutouts. In 1963, he struck out 251 batters and won a World Series Game (Game 3 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium). In 1965, the all-around athlete was the Dodgers' only .300 hitter and tied his own National League record for pitchers with seven home runs which he shares with Don Newcombe and Mike Hampton. That year he won 23 games and led the Dodgers to only their third World Championship in Los Angeles, he ended his career by winning 209 games, striking out 2,486 batters, pitched in 167 complete games and had 49 shutouts. He was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, and had his number 53 officially retired at Dodger Stadium on July 1, 1984. (He was the last player on the Dodgers who had played for Brooklyn.) Two other Brooklyn Dodgers completed their major league careers later for other teams: John Roseboro of the Washington Senators II (1970) and Bob Aspromonte (who played one game for the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers (for New York Mets) in 1970.

Broadcasting careerEdit

Don Drysdale retired after the 1969 season and became a broadcaster for not just the Dodgers (from 1988 up until his death in 1993), but also the Montréal Expos (1970-1971), Texas Rangers (1972), California Angels (1973-1979), Chicago White Sox (1982-1987), and ABC (1978-1986).

While at ABC Sports, Drysdale not only did baseball telecasts, but also Superstars and Wide World of Sports. In 1979, Drysdale covered the World Series Trophy presentation ceremonies for ABC. In 1984, Drysdale did play-by-play (alongside fellow Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Earl Weaver) for the thrilling National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs.

On October 6, 1984 at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium, Game 4 of the NLCS ended when Padres first baseman Steve Garvey hit a dramatic two run home run off of Lee Smith.

Deep right field, way back. Cotto going back to the wall...it's gone! Home run Garvey! And there will be tomorrow! - Drysdale on the call.

The Padres, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-five series against the Cubs won the decisive Game 5 the next day (thus, winning their first ever National League pennant).

1988Edit

On September 28, 1988, fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser surpassed Drysdale when Hershiser finished the season with a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. In his final start of the year, Hershiser needed to pitch 10 shutout innings to set the mark – meaning not only that he would have to prevent the San Diego Padres from scoring, but that his own team would also need to fail to score in order to ensure extra innings. The Dodgers' anemic offense was obliging, however, and Hershiser pitched the first 10 innings of a scoreless tie, with the Padres eventually prevailing 2-1 in 16 innings. Hershiser almost did not pitch in the 10th inning, in deference to Drysdale, but was convinced by the Hall of Famer to take the mound and try to break the record. When Hershiser broke Drysdale's record, Drysdale went to hug the man who just broke his record and told Hershiser "Oh, I'll tell ya, congratulations...And at least you kept it in the family."

Drysdale also called Kirk Gibson's memorable walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers Radio Network.

Well the crowd on its feet and if there was ever a preface, to Casey at the Bat, it would have to be the ninth inning. Two out. The tying run aboard, the winning run at the plate, and Kirk Gibson, standing at the plate. Eckersley working out of the stretch, here's the three-two pitch...and a drive hit to right field (losing voice) WAY BACK! IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! (After delay) This crowd will not stop! They can't believe the ending! And this time, Mighty Casey did NOT strike out!!!!

PersonalEdit

In 1986, he married Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player Ann Meyers, who took the name Ann Meyers-Drysdale. It was the first time that a married couple were members of their respective sports' Halls of Fame. Drysdale and Meyers had three children together: D.J., Drew, and Darren.

In 1990, Drysdale published his autobiography, Once a Bum, Always a Dodger.

DeathEdit

Don Drysdale died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Montreal, Quebec where he had been broadcasting a Dodgers game in 1993. Drysdale was found dead by radio station employees sent to look for him when he was late for his scheduled broadcast. After Drysdale missed the team bus, hadn't shown up about two hours before game time, and didn't answer his telephone, the hotel staff went in and found him face down, near his bed. The coroner estimated that he had been dead for 18 hours. Soon afterwords, Drysdale's broadcasting colleague Vin Scully, who was instructed not to say anything on the air until Drysdale's family was notified, announced the news of his death by saying

Never have I been asked to make an announcement that hurts me as much as this one. And I say it to you as best I can with a broken heart.
Fellow broadcaster Ross Porter told his radio audience,
I just don't believe it, folks.
Drysdale was replaced by Rick Monday in the broadcast booth. In a strange quirk of fate, Richie Ashburn, a Hall of Fame player turned broadcaster, also died in his hotel room in September, 1997 after announcing a game for the Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets at Shea Stadium.

Drysdale's body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

QuotationsEdit

  • "Batting against him (Don Drysdale) is the same as making a date with the dentist." - Dick Groat [1]
  • "The trick against Drysdale is to hit him before he hits you." - Orlando Cepeda

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Roy Face
Major League Player of the Month
July 1959
Succeeded by:
Vern Law & Willie McCovey
Preceded by:
Lindy McDaniel
Major League Player of the Month
July 1960
Succeeded by:
Warren Spahn
Preceded by:
Whitey Ford
Cy Young Award
1962
Succeeded by:
Sandy Koufax
Preceded by:
Orlando Cepeda
Major League Player of the Month
May 1968
Succeeded by:
Bob Gibson

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