Don Drysdale 1958 #025
by William Szczepanek
This 1958 card of Don Drysdale followed his 17-9 record in his 1957 season, the first season he would spend in a Los Angeles uniform. Don Drysdale pitched his entire career for the Dodgers both in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 14 years from 1956 to 1969. He was the last player to play for the Dodgers who had also played in Brooklyn.
The sidearmer won 209 game s while losing 166. He led the league in strikeouts 3 times. When this 6' 5" hurler delivered with his sidearm fastball, the ball must have looked like it was coming from third base to right handed hitters. Drysdale owned the plate, backing batters off regularly. He led the league in hit batsmen 5 times, hitting 20 batters in 1961. He and Bob Gibson were the most feared pitchers of the 1960s and maybe ever.
"I hate all hitters. I start a game mad and I stay that way until it's over." ─ Don Drysdale
"The trick against Drysdale is to hit him before he hits you."─ Orlando Cepeda
"Don Drysdale would consider an intentional walk a waste of three pitches. If he wants to put you on base, he can hit you with one pitch." ─ Mike Shannon
"I hated to bat against Drysdale. After he hit you he'd come around, look at the bruise on your arm and say, ‘Do you want me to sign it?’" ─ Mickey Mantle
An 8-time All Star Drysdale won 25 games and the Cy Young Award in 1962. He set Major League records with six consecutive shutouts and 58 consecutive scoreless innings in 1968; Orel Hershiser broke the record in 1982. In 1963, Drysdale won Game 3 of the World Series in Dodger Stadium over the Yankees, 1–0.
Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale took part in a famous salary holdout in 1966 which set the stage for collective bargaining in the future.
Drysdale was a very good hitter with 29 career home runs. In 1965, he was the Dodgers' only .300 hitter and hit seven home runs for the second time in his career. I remember seeing Don Drysdale pitch against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field on April 11, 1959. For my birthday my dad took me to an opening day game in chilly Chicago. It was Don Drysdale vs. Bob Anderson. The part I remember the best was with the score tied 0-0 in the top of the third Drysdale hit a line drive home run into the center field bleachers and my dad groaned when the ball left the bat. But, the Cubs took out Drysdale in the fifth when they scored 4 runs to take a 6-1 lead. Bob Anderson won the game and the Cubs were in first place ─ for a day.
Drysdale was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. He retired in 1969 after suffering from a sore shoulder and became a broadcaster, which he would do until his death in a hotel room before a braodcast in 1993.
You can check out Drysdale's statistics at Baseball Reference.com.