Carl Erskine

Carl Daniel Erskine (born December 13, 1926) is a former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1948 through 1959. He was a pitching mainstay on Dodger teams which won five National League pennants, peaking with a 1953 season in which he won 20 games and set a World Series record with 14 strikeouts in a single game. Erskine pitched two of the NL's seven no-hitters during the 1950s. Following his baseball career, he was active as a business executive and an author.

Carl Erskine
Carl Erskine
Erskine circa 1953.
Born: December 13, 1926 (age 92)
Anderson, Indiana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 25, 1948, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
June 14, 1959, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record122–78
Earned run average4.00
Career highlights and awards


He broke into the majors a year before Don Newcombe, and from 1948–50 was used primarily as a reliever, going 21-10. In 1951, he mixed 19 starts with 27 relief appearances, and went 16-12. Erskine was 14-6 in 1952 with a career-best 2.70 earned run average, then had his 20-win season in 1953, leading the league with a .769 winning percentage along with 187 strikeouts and 16 complete games, all career highs. This was followed by 18-15 in 1954, posting career highs in starts (37) and innings (260-1/3), then by 11-8 in 1955 and 13-11 in 1956.

When Newcombe was pitching in the ninth inning of the third game of the playoff with the New York Giants on October 3, 1951, Erskine and Ralph Branca were warming up in the bullpen. On the recommendation of pitching coach Clyde Sukeforth, who thought that Branca had better stuff, Newcombe was relieved by Branca, who then gave up the game-winning home run to Bobby Thomson. Whenever Erskine was asked what his best pitch was, he replied, "The curveball I bounced in the Polo Grounds bullpen in 1951."[1]

Erskine, author of two no-hitters (against the Chicago Cubs on June 19, 1952 and the New York Giants on May 12, 1956), was a member of the beloved Dodgers team which won the 1955 World Series for the franchise's first Series title. He appeared in eleven World Series games (19495253-55-56), and made the NL All-Star team in 1954. His 14 strikeouts as the winner of Game 3 of the 1953 Fall Classic – including striking out the side in the ninth inning – broke the Series record of 13 held by Howard Ehmke (1929, Game 1), and stood for 10 years until Sandy Koufax struck out 15 New York Yankees in the first game of the 1963 World Series; but he was ineffective in Games 1 and 6, although he was not charged with the losses. From 1951 through 1956, Erskine won 92 games while losing only 58, which helped the Dodgers to four pennants during the "Boys of Summer" era. During his years in Brooklyn, he was affectionately known as "Oisk" by the fans with their Brooklyn accents.[2]

In 1957, Erskine moved to Los Angeles with the team the following year, but lasted only a season and a half. He made his final appearance on June 14, 1959. In a twelve-season career, he posted a 122-78 (.610) record with 981 strikeouts and a 4.00 ERA in 1718.2 innings pitched.


Following his retirement as a player, Erskine returned to his native Indiana. He coached at Anderson College for 12 seasons, including four Hoosier Conference championships, and his 1965 squad went 20-5 and reached the NAIA World Series. He had 18 players named to All-Conference teams, and three named as All-American. In 1973, his final season, he coached John Bargfeldt, who later spent three seasons in the minors as a Chicago Cubs prospect.[3] He also became a leader in the community, participating in numerous organizations and businesses, including rising to the presidency of the Star Bank of Anderson, Indiana before easing back to the role of vice chairman of the board. He is devoted to his son Jimmy, who has Down syndrome[4] and lives at home and holds a job nearby at the Hopewell Center for people with developmental difficulties.

To commemorate Erskine's accomplishments both as a Dodger and as a citizen, a 6-foot (1.8 m) bronze statue was built in front of the Carl D. Erskine Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center. Erskine also donated part of his land to the Anderson Community School System to build a new school, which was named Erskine Elementary. Erskine serves as a member of the advisory board of the Baseball Assistance Team, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping former Major League, Minor League, and Negro League players through financial and medical difficulties. In 2002, Erskine Street in Brooklyn was created and named after him.[5][6]


  • Carl Erskine (2004). Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings. Sports Publishing. ISBN 1-58261-282-X.
  • Carl Erskine (2005). What I learned from Jackie Robinson. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-145085-8.
  • Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer (New York: Harper & Row, 1972)

See also


  1. ^ Bob, Hurte. "Carl Erskine". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tackett, Michael (May 28, 2016). "Carl Erskine Helps Honor a Childhood Friend". New York Times. p. SP5. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  5. ^ Benardo, Leonard; Weiss, Jennifer (2006). Brooklyn by Name. New York and London: New York University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-8147-9945-1. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-09-19. Retrieved 2008-08-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

Preceded by
Virgil Trucks
Sam Jones
No-hitter pitcher
June 19, 1952
May 12, 1956
Succeeded by
Virgil Trucks
Mel Parnell
Preceded by
Don Newcombe
Preacher Roe
Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Preacher Roe
Don Newcombe
1948 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.

The 1948 Dodgers were very much a work in progress, beginning to coalesce into the classic "Boys of Summer" teams of the 1950s. Gil Hodges was in the opening day lineup, but as a catcher. He would only be shifted to first base after the emergence of Roy Campanella. Jackie Robinson started the season at second base—Eddie Stanky had been traded just before the start of the season to make room for Robinson at his natural position; he had played first base during his 1947 rookie season. Pee Wee Reese was the only "Boys of summer" regular to already be ensconced at his position, shortstop. Billy Cox had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason, but as one of nine players who would see time at third for the team that year, he only played 70 games at the position. Carl Furillo was already a regular, but in center field. Duke Snider was brought up to the team in mid-season, and it was not until 1949 that Furillo moved to right field and Snider became the regular center fielder.

Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca were in the starting rotation, but Carl Erskine only appeared in a handful of games, and Don Newcombe would not join the staff until the following year.

1951 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

1951 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1951 Philadelphia Phillies finished in fifth place. The team had won the 1950 National League pennant but in the United Press' annual preseason poll of sportswriters, only 18 out of 168 writers picked the team to repeat as pennant winners; the Giants received 81 votes and the Dodgers 55. Those two teams wound up tied, with the Phillies 23 games behind.

1952 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers rebounded from the heartbreaking ending of 1951 to win the National League pennant by four games over the New York Giants. However, they dropped the World Series in seven games to the New York Yankees. Led by Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider, the high-powered Brooklyn offense scored the most runs in the majors.

1952 World Series

The 1952 World Series featured the 3-time defending champions New York Yankees beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. The Yankees won their 4th consecutive title, tying the mark they set in 1936–1939 under manager Joe McCarthy, and Casey Stengel became the second manager in Major League history with 4 consecutive World Series championships. This was the Yankees' 15th World Series championship win, and the 3rd time they defeated the Dodgers in 6 years.

In Game 7, the Yankees' second baseman Billy Martin made a great catch, preserving the Yankees' two-run lead. Also, the home run hit by Mickey Mantle during the 8th inning of Game 6 was significant because it was the first of his record 18 career World Series home runs.

The NBC telecasts of Games 6 and 7 are believed to be the oldest surviving television broadcasts of the World Series, as they were preserved via kinescope by sponsor Gillette.

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as National League champions by posting a 105–49 record, as of 2017, it is the best winning percentage in team history. However, the Dodgers again failed to win the World Series, losing in six games to the New York Yankees.

1953 World Series

The 1953 World Series matched the 4-time defending champions New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a rematch of the 1952 Series, and the 4th such matchup between the two teams in the past seven seasons. The Yankees won in 6 games for their 5th consecutive title—a mark which has not been equalled—and their 16th overall. Billy Martin recorded his 12th hit of the Series scoring Hank Bauer in Game 6.

1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season for new manager Walter Alston, who replaced Chuck Dressen, who had been fired during a contract dispute. Alston led the team to a 92–62 record, finishing five games behind the league champion New York Giants.

In addition to Alston, the 1954 Dodgers had two other future Hall of Fame managers on their roster in pitcher Tommy Lasorda and outfielder Dick Williams. First baseman Gil Hodges and reserve infielder Don Zimmer would also go on to successful managerial careers.

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers season

In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers finally fulfilled the promise of many previous Dodger teams. Although the club had won several pennants in the past, and had won as many as 105 games in 1953, it had never won a World Series. This team finished 13.5 games ahead in the National League pennant race, leading the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed. In the 1955 World Series, they finally beat their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. It was the Dodgers first and only World Series championship won while located in Brooklyn.

1958 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the field before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on April 18, 1958, to usher in the beginning of the team's new life in Los Angeles. It was a rough season, as the Dodgers finished 21 games in back of the pennant-winning Milwaukee Braves in the National League standings, but it was the beginning of the second phase for the team. Vin Scully and company moved to KTTV (television) and KMPC (radio) from that year onward, and the Dodgers became one of the first teams that commenced Spanish language radio broadcasts for Latinos, with KWKW as the first station to offer a Spanish-language service.

Chris Van Cuyk

Christian Gerald Van Cuyk (January 3, 1927 – November 3, 1992) was a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. His older brother, Johnny Van Cuyk, also pitched in the majors.

Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1946, Van Cuyk made his Major League Baseball debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 16, 1950, and appeared in his final game on August 15, 1952.

The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. Van Cuyk is featured in a number of these stories.

Prior to his entrance into professional baseball, Van Cuyk served in the US Navy during World War II.

Dick Cole (baseball)

Richard Roy Cole (May 6, 1926 – October 18, 2018) was an American Major League Baseball infielder.Before the 1943 season, Cole was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals. Over eight years later he made his debut with the Cardinals, but was traded after only 15 games of service to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he would spend the majority of his career.Cole was used at three different positions during his career, playing 169 games at shortstop, 118 games at second base, and 107 games at third.In Cole's only full season, 1954, he grounded into 20 double plays, which was enough to tie for the second highest total in the National League with Stan Musial, only being topped by Del Ennis with 23. However, Cole hit .270, along with 22 doubles, 5 triples, and 40 RBI in 138 games. The only home run of the year he hit was off the Brooklyn Dodgers' All-Star Carl Erskine.Cole died on October 18, 2018 at the age of 92.

Don Brandon

Don Brandon is a retired college baseball coach. He served as the head coach of the Anderson Ravens baseball team from 1972 to 2010. He recorded 1,110 wins and 588 loses; he led the Ravens to 13 conference titles, 12 NAIA District titles, 5 NAIA World Series appearances (1984, ’87, ’93, ’98 and 2003) and the 1991 National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship.He succeeded longtime Brooklyn Dodger great, Carl Erskine.

Elmer Sexauer

Elmer George Sexauer (May 21, 1926 – June 27, 2011) was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He was an alumnus of Wake Forest University.

Sexauer made his Major League Baseball debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 6, 1948, and appeared in his final game on September 12, 1948.

The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. Sexauer is prominent in one of these stories, entitled "Elmer and Jocko". The story chronicles a memorable interaction between Sexauer and Hall of Fame umpire Jocko Conlan. An unknown Dodger had thrown a towel on the field towards Conlan, however, Conlan did not spot the culprit. The umpire approached Dodger manager Burt Shotton, informing him that someone was going to be ejected for the incident. Although Shotton was also unaware of who threw the towel, he offered up Sexauer to Conlan, since Sexauer was a rookie who had just been brought up from the minors. Before having thrown a single pitch in the majors, Sexauer had been ejected. Although he had not thrown the towel, Sexauer left the field to a chorus of boos from the opposing crowd.

List of Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day starting pitchers

From their inception in 1884 through their last year in Brooklyn, 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers (also known as the Trolley Dodgers, Grooms, Bridegrooms, Superbas, and Robins at various times in their history) used 41 different starting pitchers on Opening Day. Brickyard Kennedy made the most Opening Day starts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, with 6 such starts between 1894 and 1900. Nap Rucker made 5 such starts between 1907 and 1913. Carl Erskine made 4 Opening Day starts between 1951 and 1955 and Van Mungo also made 4 Opening Day starts between 1934 and 1938. Five Brooklyn pitchers made 3 Opening Day starts: Leon Cadore, Watty Clark, Don Newcombe, Jesse Petty, Dutch Ruether. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.The Dodgers played in the modern World Series nine times before moving to Los Angeles, winning once in 1955, when Carl Esrkine was the Opening Day pitcher. Erskine was also the Opening Day pitcher in 1953 when they played in the World Series but lost to the New York Yankees. Joe Hatten also had two Opening Day starts in World Series years, 1947 and 1949. Other Opening Day starting pitchers in World Series years were Larry Cheney in 1916, Leon Cadore in 1920, Whit Wyatt in 1941, Preacher Roe in 1952, and Don Newcombe in 1956.

Prior to the existence of the modern World Series, the Dodgers won National League championships in 1890, 1899 and 1900. They also won an American Association championship in 1889, when the American Association was considered a Major League. They played in the 19th century version of the World Series in 1889 and 1890. Mickey Hughes was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1889, Bob Caruthers was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1890, and Kennedy was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1899 and 1900.

Don Newcombe was the starting pitcher in 1956, the last Opening Day that the Dodgers played in their longtime home field, Ebbets Field. Newcombe was also the Opening Day starter on Opening Day of the 1957 season, the Dodgers last Opening Day before moving to Los Angeles. Nap Rucker was the Opening Day starting pitcher in the last Opening Day the team (then called the Trolley Dodgers) played at their previous home park, Washington Park, in 1912. Rucker was also the Opening Day pitcher in the first game at Ebbets Field in 1913.

Joe Hatten was the Opening Day starting pitcher in one of the most momentous games in baseball history. That was in 1947, the years of Jackie Robinson's first game in the Major Leagues, ending the racial segregation that had prevailed in Major League Baseball since before 1900. The Joe Hatten started and the Dodgers won Jackie Robinson's first major league game, beating the Boston Braves 5-3 at Ebbets Field.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers no-hitters

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball franchise currently based in Los Angeles. They play in the National League West division. The franchise joined the American Association in 1884 as the "Brooklyn Atlantics". They have been known in their early years as the "Brooklyn Grays" (1885–87), "Brooklyn Bridegrooms" (1888–90, 1896–98), "Brooklyn Grooms" (1891–95), "Brooklyn Superbas" (1899–1910, 1913), "Brooklyn Robins" (1914–31), and "Brooklyn Dodgers" (1911–12, 1932–57). There have been 20 pitchers for the Dodgers that have thrown 25 no-hitters in franchise history. A no-hitter is officially recognized by Major League Baseball only "...when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a no-hit game, a batter may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference". No-hitters of less than nine complete innings were previously recognized by the league as official; however, several rule alterations in 1991 changed the rule to its current form. A no-hitter is common enough that only one team in Major League Baseball has never had a pitcher accomplish the feat.

There has been one perfect game thrown by a Dodgers pitcher. A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as occurring "when a pitcher (or pitchers) retires each batter on the opposing team during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings. In a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game." This feat was achieved by Sandy Koufax on September 9, 1965. It was Koufax's fourth career no-hitter, and is the franchise record for no-hitters by one pitcher. At the time, Koufax's four no-hitters was the major league record for any pitcher, but it was later surpassed in 1981 by Nolan Ryan.

Sam Kimber threw the first no-hitter in Dodgers history on October 4, 1884, which ended as a scoreless tie after ten innings. The most recent no-hitter thrown by a Dodgers pitcher was on May 4, 2018 by four pitchers. Walker Buehler 3rd career start 6 IP, Tony Cingrani 1 IP, Adam Liberatore 1 IP, and Yimi Garcia 1 IP. It was the first no hitter outside of United States or Canada as it was pitched in Monterrey, Mexico. It was also the first combined no hitter in franchise history. Five of the 20 pitchers were left-handed pitchers, 14 were right-handed, and one, Tom Lovett, is still unknown. In addition to Koufax, two other Dodgers pitchers have thrown multiple no-hitters, Adonis Terry and Carl Erskine. 18 of the no-hitters were thrown at home and eight on the road. The longest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Hideo Nomo and Josh Beckett, encompassing 17 years and 250 days from September 17, 1996 until May 25, 2014. Conversely, the shortest interval between no-hitters was between the games pitched by Beckett and Clayton Kershaw, encompassing merely 24 days from May 25, 2014 until June 18, 2014. The San Francisco Giants (formerly "New York Giants") have been no-hit six times, the most by any Dodgers opponent. Dazzy Vance is the only Dodgers no-hit pitcher to have allowed at least one run. The most baserunners allowed in any of these game were by Terry (in 1886) and Koufax (in 1962), who each allowed five. Of the 26 no-hitters, five have been won by a score of 5–0 and four by the score of 3–0, more common than any other results. The largest margin of victory in a no-hitter was a 9–0 win by Hideo Nomo in 1996 and a 10–1 win by Vance in 1925. The smallest margins of victory were 1–0 wins by Terry in 1888 and Koufax in 1965.

The umpire is an integral part of any no-hitter. The task of the umpire in a baseball game is to make any decision "which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out… [the umpire's judgment on such matters] is final." Part of the duties of the umpire making calls at home plate includes defining the strike zone, which "is defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap." These calls define every baseball game and are therefore integral to the completion of any no-hitter. There have been 24 different home plate umpires who have called Dodgers no-hitters; Babe Pinelli is the only umpire to have called two.

Preacher Roe

Elwin Charles Roe (February 26, 1916 – November 9, 2008), known as Preacher Roe, was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals (1938), Pittsburgh Pirates (1944–47), and Brooklyn Dodgers (1948–54).

The Boys of Summer (book)

The Boys of Summer is a 1972 non-fiction baseball book by Roger Kahn. After recounting his childhood in Brooklyn and his life as a young reporter on the New York Herald Tribune, the author relates some history of the Brooklyn Dodgers up to their victory in the 1955 World Series. He then tracks the lives of the players (Clem Labine, George Shuba, Carl Erskine, Andy Pafko, Joe Black, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Billy Cox) over the subsequent years as they aged. The title of the book is taken from a Dylan Thomas poem that describes "the boys of summer in their ruin".

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