Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#331 Dodgers Rookie Stars: Al Ferrara and John Purdin

#331 Dodgers Rookies: Al Ferrara and John Purdin
Whoa. Is that a creepy portrait of John Purdin or what? It's like one of those paintings where the eyes follow you. It seems like even Al Ferrara is getting the willies.

Fun facts about Al Ferrara:

-Al "The Bull" Ferrara was born in Brooklyn, and played high school ball with Joe Torre and Joe Pepitone. He signed with the Dodgers in 1959.

-He once played piano at Carnegie Hall.

-He hit .321 and slugging .548 at AAA Spokane in 1963, earning a late summer callup to the majors at age 23. He struggled, compiling a .159 average and driving in a single run in 44 at-bats.

-On May 15, 1965, Ferrara spoiled a Dick Ellsworth no-hit bid with an eighth-inning pinch three-run homer. The Dodgers would beat the Cubs 3-1.

-Al was a valuable pinch hitter and occasional outfielder for the Dodgers in 1966, hitting .270 with 5 home runs and 23 RBI in 115 at-bats. He delivered a pinch single off of Dave McNally in his only World Series at-bat, representing the tying run in the ninth inning of Game Four. He would be stranded at second base as the Orioles completed the sweep.

-He started 87 games for L.A. in 1967, batting .277 with a team-leading 16 home runs, a personal best. He was selected as the Dodgers' player of the year.

-After a broken ankle limited Ferrara to two games in 1968, he was claimed by the Padres in the expansion draft. As San Diego's first starting left fielder, he carried a .260 average with 14 home runs and a career-high 56 RBI and paced the club with 22 doubles and a .349 on-base percentage.

-1970 was another productive year for Al, as he compiled a .277 average, 13 home runs, and 51 RBI.

-He split the 1971 season between the Padres and Reds and retired after collecting only 8 hits in 50 at-bats (.160). In parts of 8 seasons he hit .259 with 51 home runs and 198 RBI.

-He appeared on several TV shows, including Gilligan's Island, Batman, and Match Game '74.

Fun facts about John Purdin:

-John was born in Lynx, OH. The Dodgers discovered him while he was serving in the military, and they signed him at age 21 in 1964.

-He had a rapid ascent, going 14-3 with a 1.91 ERA and pitching a no-hitter at Class A Salisbury to earn a promotion to AAA Spokane. After two strong games there, he was summoned to the majors.

-Purdin tossed two scoreless innings of relief in his debut, and made his first start on September 30, 1964. He blanked the Cubs that day, allowing just two singles and one walk.

-His second time around didn't go so smoothly. In 11 games in 1965, the righty put up a 6.75 ERA. He allowed 8 home runs in just 22 innings, accounting for 13 of the 17 earned runs he yielded!

-John did not return to the majors until 1968, when he had a 3.07 ERA as a reliever for the Dodgers with 2 wins, 3 losses, and 2 saves.

-He last pitched in the majors with Los Angeles in 1969, compiling a .606 ERA in 9 games. He spent the next three seasons at AAA Spokane and Hawaii before walking away from the game.

-In parts of 4 seasons, Purdin was 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA.

-He batted only 16 times in the majors, but collected 4 hits (.250).

-John died in Charleston, SC, in March 2010 at age 67.
#331 Dodgers Rookies: Al Ferrara and John Purdin (back)


  1. John Purdin has a final Topps card in the 1971 set, for the White Sox, though he never played for them.

  2. Al Ferrara is a man of many talents, so how to explain him coming to our house in 1979 selling foam insulation? He had several of his 1969 Topps card in his briefcase and gave me one. And my folks did buy the insulation.

  3. ecloy - I didn't know that! Pretty interesting.

    Jim - Wow! It's not every day that a former major leaguer sells you foam insulation.

  4. Actually, Al "the Bull" played summer ball with Torre and Pepitone, not high school ball. He did play high school ball with Bob Aspermonte