Tuesday, May 03, 2011

#260 Don Drysdale

#260 Don Drysdale
Do you believe it? Another Hall of Famer! I hope you don't mind going back to the Gary Geigers and Ron Brands next week.

Fun facts about Don Drysdale:

-Don was born in Van Nuys, CA. A high school teammate of actor Robert Redford, Drysdale signed with the Dodgers as a 17-year-old in 1954.

-He held his own as a rookie with the 1956 Brooklyners, going 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA. He earned a complete game victory in his first start, a 6-1 win over the Phillies on April 23.

-The first of his eight All-Star seasons was 1959, when he went 17-13 with a 3.46 ERA and topped the National League with 4 shutouts and 242 strikeouts.

-Drysdale won the 1962 Cy Young Award with a 2.83 ERA and league-best numbers in wins (25-9) and strikeouts (232).

-He pitched in five total World Series in his career, going 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 7 games, striking out 36 and walking 12 in 39.2 innings. The standout performance of his postseason career came in 1962, as he held the Yankees to three hits and struck out nine in a 1-0 win in Game Three of the World Series.

-He was one of the better-hitting pitchers of his era, batting .186 with 29 home runs. In 1965, he hit .300 (39-for-130) and slugged .508 with 4 doubles, a triple, 7 home runs, and 19 RBI. His homer output that season tied Don Newcombe for the National League's single-season record for pitchers. Amazingly, none of his position player teammates batted above .286 that year!

-In 1968, Don set a record with six straight shutouts from May 14-June 4. His run of 58.2 straight scoreless innings was also a record until fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser blanked the opposition for the last 59 innings of the 1988 season. Despite the streak and an overall ERA of 2.15, "Big D" was only 14-12 in 1968.

-A shoulder injury caused Drysdale to retire in August 1969 just weeks after his 33rd birthday. In parts of 14 seasons he was 209-166 with a 2.95 ERA and 2,486 strikeouts.

-Don was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984, enduring a ten-year wait on the ballot most likely due to his relatively short career. That season, the Dodgers retired his #53. It's been said that the title character/car from Disney's "Herbie the Love Bug" was given #53 in honor of the great pitcher.

-He had a lengthy career in broadcasting, doing team broadcasts for the Expos, Rangers, Angels, White Sox, and Dodgers. He also spent nearly a decade doing national work for ABC and dabbled in Rams football games in the mid-1970s. Drysdale's love of the camera also led him to guest roles on a number of TV shows, including The Brady Bunch, The Greatest American Hero, The Donna Reed Show, Leave It To Beaver, The Rifleman, The Millionaire, and You Bet Your Life.

-In July 1993, he was found dead of a heart attack in his hotel room in Montreal, where the Dodgers were playing a road series. He was 56 when he died.

#260 Don Drysdale (back)


  1. The first time I knew anything about Don Drysdale is when I saw him on the Brady Bunch. A kid named Greg, obsessed with baseball, visited by a Dodger legend? I could relate.

  2. Kevin, did he win the Cy in '62 or '63, since the Giants played the Yanks in '62

  3. Greg - You even had an alter ego like Johnny Bravo, didn't you?

    Anon - D'oh! Good catch...I've fixed it now.

  4. I remember vividly his appearance on teh Brady Bunch. That show also had Joe Namath on one episode even though Joe's image wasn't exactly the clean-cut one you would expect on the Brady Bunch.

    One of the best lines I ever heard about if it's true, which I hope) came from Drysdale during the 1965 World Series. He started the first game in place of Sandy Koufax who was observing Yom Kippur. Drysdale got roughed up and when Walter Alston came to take him out, he supposedly said, "I bet you wish I was Jewish today too."

  5. You guys remember him on the Brady Bunch. I remember him on Leave It To Beaver, and it makes me feel pretty old.

  6. If it makes you feel any better, I remember Al Ferrara and Jim Lefebvre of the Dodgers playing bad guys on "Batman"...

  7. If anyone didn't catch Don Drysdale on the Brady Bunch, click here.