Carl Erskine, Dodgers Pitching Legend and Advocate, Dies at 97

Carl Erskine, legendary Dodgers pitcher and pioneering advocate for people with disabilities, passes away at 97. His legacy extends beyond baseball, inspiring equality and inclusion.

Salman Khan
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Carl Erskine, Dodgers Pitching Legend and Advocate, Dies at 97

Carl Erskine, Dodgers Pitching Legend and Advocate, Dies at 97

Carl Erskine, a legendary pitcher for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers who became a pioneering advocate for people with disabilities, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 97 in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana.

Over his 12-year career with the Dodgers from 1948 to 1959, Erskine compiled an impressive record of 122-78 with a 4.00 ERA and 981 strikeouts. He was a key member of the Dodgers' pitching rotation in the 1950s, helping the team reach five World Series and win the championship in 1955.

Erskine's most memorable performances include throwing two no-hitters, one against the Chicago Cubs in 1952 and another against the New York Giants in 1956. In Game 3 of the 1953 World Series, he set a then-record with 14 strikeouts against the New York Yankees.

Why this matters: Erskine's legacy extends beyond his accomplishments on the baseball field. He was a strong supporter of his teammate Jackie Robinson and the fight for racial equality. Inspired by his son Jimmy, who was born with Down syndrome, Erskine also became a pioneering advocate for people with disabilities and was actively involved with the Special Olympics.

Off the field, Erskine was known for his calm demeanor and his close friendship with Jackie Robinson. He was a beloved figure among Brooklyn fans, who affectionately called him "Oisk." After retiring from baseball in 1959, Erskine returned to his hometown of Anderson, where he opened an insurance business, coached baseball at Anderson College, and remained active in the community.

In recognition of his extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball's positive impact on society, Erskine was honored with the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023. Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten remembered Erskine as "a true gentleman" and "class personified," adding, "He was a man of great humility and compassion, who served as a champion for others and an inspiration to so many."

Carl Erskine's passing marks the end of an era, as he was the last surviving member of the Dodgers' famous "Boys of Summer" team. His legacy as an exceptional pitcher and a dedicated advocate for equality and inclusion will continue to inspire future generations both on and off the baseball field.

Key Takeaways

  • Carl Erskine, legendary Dodgers pitcher, dies at 97 in Indiana.
  • Erskine had impressive career stats: 122-78 record, 4.00 ERA, 981 Ks.
  • Threw 2 no-hitters, set strikeout record in 1953 World Series.
  • Advocated for racial equality, people with disabilities, including son Jimmy.
  • Last surviving member of Dodgers' famous "Boys of Summer" team.