Results tagged ‘ Don Drysdale ’

#VinTop20: No. 16, Don Drysdale’s streak stays alive

Vin 16

Between now and Vin Scully Appreciation Day on September 23, the Dodgers are revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time, one at each home game. Here’s No. 16: Don Drysdale’s consecutive scoreless inning streak seemed in jeopardy when a confusing and controversial call took place …

— Jon Weisman

The Dodgers and baseball’s unbreakable streaks

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Harry How/Getty Images

By Cary Osborne

Fifty-six. Fifty-nine. Eighty-four. Twenty-six thirty-two.

They might as well be the winning lottery numbers, because the chances of anyone in baseball surpassing any of those is just as probable.

Those numbers represent four of baseball’s most unbeatable streaks — Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak, Orel Hershiser’s scoreless-innings run, Eric Gagné’s consecutive saves record and Cal Ripken’s consecutive games-played streak.

What did it take to set them? Can they be broken? How can they be broken?

We can answer those questions.



Pitching history for Dodger All-Stars

My beautiful picture

By Jon Weisman

Six years have passed since a Dodger closer pitched in the All-Star Game. Kenley Jansen gets to end that streak tonight.

Jansen, overdue for his first All-Star Game, might not get to pitch the final inning, so it’s more likely than not that Jonathan Broxton’s save in 2010 remains the most recent in the Midsummer Classic by a Dodger. Nevertheless, Jansen should get a chance to etch his name among the team’s 76 previous All-Star appearances.

Of course, Jansen could also become the first Dodger pitcher credited with an All-Star victory since Jerry Reuss in front of the 1980 hometown crowd in Los Angeles. Since then, three Dodgers have been the losing All-Star pitcher: Chan Ho Park (2001), Eric Gagne (2003) and Clayton Kershaw (2015). Dodger pitchers have a 6-6 record in 12 All-Star decisions.

Certainly, it was nowhere to go but up for the franchise after its ignominious All-Star debut via Van Lingle Mungo, who allowed four runs plus two inherited runs in a six-run fifth inning by the American League in 1934. Not that Mungo had it easy: He entered the game with Babe Ruth on second base, Lou Gehrig on first and Jimmie Foxx at the plate. Two walks, three singles and a double later, the AL had gone from trailing 4-2 to leading 8-4.

The most famous Dodger All-Star pitching performance belongs to Fernando Valenzuela, who from the fourth through sixth innings in 1986 faced 10 batters, retired nine and struck out the first five — Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker and Teddy Higuera — all in a row. Kirby Puckett’s groundout was the first ball in play against Valenzuela, whose outing was marred only by a pop-fly Wade Boggs single in the sixth.


May and the force that is Clayton Kershaw

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.52.26 PM

Dodgers at Mets, 5:07 p.m.
Kershaw CCLIII: Kershawngle Book
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Cary Osborne

Clayton Kershaw closes the book on May with his final start of the month today. Make that a history book.

Kershaw goes into tonight’s game at New York with the lowest WHIP by a pitcher in May all time at 0.52. Bruce Sutter (1977) is second on the list at 0.54 and interestingly, the Mets’ Steven Matz is third, sporting a 0.59 mark this month.

The all-time record for WHIP in a month is shared by San Francisco’s Atlee Hammaker (April 1983) and St. Louis’ Woody Williams (September 2001) at 0.50.


Julio Urias and the milestones of teenage pitchers

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

By Cary Osborne

Julio Urias is 19 years and 289 days old today — the day he joins the list of 35 Dodgers who have made their Major League debuts as teenagers.

Ralph Branca, Gil Hodges, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Bill Buckner, Fernando Valenzuela and Adrian Beltre are all on that list.

On the occasion of Urias’ debut, here are some other teenage tidbits to have fun with …


Yikes, that’s a lot of strikes

The ultimate strike-thrower Sandy Koufax.

The ultimate strike-thrower, Sandy Koufax

By Cary Osborne

Twenty strikeouts in one game is incredible.

But what made Washington pitcher Max Scherzer’s 20K performance Wednesday even more incredible is that he threw 96 strikes out of 119 pitches — both the amount of strikes and the percentage (80.7 percent strikes) are rarities.

Still, when it comes to strike-throwers, the conversation starts with the Dodgers and one Sandy Koufax.


Don Drysdale memorabilia available at auction

1962 Cy Young

1956 Brooklyn Dodgers Home UniformBy Jon Weisman

More than 160 items from the personal memorabilia collection of Dodger legend Don Drysdale are available for auction through April 23 at SCP Auctions.

The collection dates back to Drysdale’s playing days at Van Nuys High. The Hall of Famer died on July 3, 1993 in Montreal while working for the Dodgers as a broadcaster.

The auction has come under some controversy, though it is sanctioned by Drysdale’s widow, Ann Meyers Drysdale.

“We thought this through as a family and decided it was time to share Don’s most prestigious awards and memorabilia with the fans and the collecting community,” she said. “Plus, it provides us with a great opportunity to give back to many of the causes that were near and dear to Don’s heart.”

Kershaw to start Dodgers’ Catcus and National League openers

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

It will be 2016 Yearbook cover boy Clayton Kershaw vs. Tyson Ross when the Dodgers open the 2016 National League season April 4 at San Diego.

Kershaw will be making his sixth consecutive Opening Day start, the most in a row since Don Sutton made seven (1972-78). Sutton and Don Drysdale hold the franchise record for Opening Day starts.

As a prelude, Kershaw will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their Cactus League season Thursday at Camelback Ranch agains the White Sox.

Los Angeles has won all five previous Opening Day starts by Kershaw, though he has a no-decision in two of those. For you trivia buffs, the winning pitchers on Opening Day in 2012 and 2015 were Josh Lindblom and Joel Peralta.

Bridges to history: Last links to retired numbers

Reese Fairly

By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers celebrating their 10 retired numbers in a pin series this year, I was curious who was the last active player to take the field with each of these legends. Here’s what I found:

1 Pee Wee Reese
Ron Fairly, who was 19 when making his debut with the 40-year-old Reese as a teammate on the 1958 “Welcome to Los Angeles” Dodgers, was 40 himself when he played his last big-league game in 1978. Years between Reese’s first game and Fairly’s last: 38


Coming to terms with baseball and change

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.33.45 PM

By Cary Osborne

Maybe this is part of my own healing writing this.

I grew up during the time of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken. One man has a statue outside of Petco Park that reads “Mr. Padre.” The other is arguably more significant to the city of Baltimore than Edgar Allen Poe.

They were the ideal Major Leaguers to me — players who were stars, who you never feared would be traded or leave as a free agent. Players who started and ended their baseball careers in the same place.

Sandy Koufax poses for a portrait circa 1962. Photo by Louis Requena/MLB Photos

Sandy Koufax poses for a portrait circa 1962. Photo by Louis Requena/MLB Photos

Before them, Ted Williams was only a Red Sock, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio were only Yankees, and Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were only Dodgers. And the thought of them in any other uniform is sacrilegious.

But I learned that they are the exception and not the rule. More often than not, our favorite players eventually end up leaving our favorite teams. And it’s not easy to stomach.

I hurt when Mike Piazza was traded. I was sad to see some recent players go. And I mentioned earlier that I grew up during the Gwynn-Ripken era. That was also the same period when I saw Orel Hershiser wear a Giants uniform and Fernando Valenzuela was an Angel and a Padre.

Now we’re in a more urgent era, where there is more equity in baseball, and competition off the field makes the game ever-evolving. Hence, the following:

There are only four players in the big leagues who have been on the same team since 2004 — Joe Mauer, David Wright, Ryan Howard and Yadier Molina. And there are no players from the 2011 Padres, Diamondbacks or Cubs who are on their current rosters.

From that 2011 season, only Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw, A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen remain on the Dodgers. Since 2006, Ethier’s first season, he has played the most games of any Major League outfielder for the same team. Every outfielder in the top 10 games played since 2006 has played on at least two teams. Only four National League starters have been with their team longer than Kershaw — Adam Wainwright (St. Louis, 2005), Matt Cain (San Francisco, 2005), Homer Bailey (Cincinnati, 2007) and free agent Tim Lincecum (San Francisco, 2007).

With that urgency brings a thinner line between risk and reward. Maybe the following shows that a free agent’s team knows him best — and therefore has a more difficult decision on what it wants to do when a player comes up for free agency.

Top-level free agents over the age of 30 typically don’t re-sign with their teams. In the 2013 and 2014 offseasons, 56 free agents who were age 30 or older and had been All-Stars at some point in their career signed Major League contracts. Of those 56, just 10 re-signed with the team they played with the year before. That’s less than 20 percent. The only player who signed a contract of more than three years was Victor Martinez, who inked a four-year deal with Detroit in 2014. Brian Wilson, who signed a two-year pact with the Dodgers, is one of the 10.

I’m not trying to destroy the idea of a player being with the same team his whole career or a major portion of it, as would have been the case if Zack Greinke had re-signed with the Dodgers. I’m just mindful that Mr. Padre and Cal Ripken longevity is uncommon.

Players who remain with the same team their whole career — like with Robinson, Campanella, Koufax, Drysdale and hopefully Kershaw — are special cases. As are players who re-sign with their team when they become a free agent.

I’ve grown to accept things about the game I love. And I’ve grown to expect things from the game I love. Change is part of the game. In fact, it always has been.

The most famous player in baseball history is known as a Yankee, but Babe Ruth was a Red Sock first, and we know how that transaction affected people.

Will we ever get over our favorite players leaving? Some will. Others might take 86 years.