Don Drysdale

Position: Pitcher
Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers, 1956-1957; Los Angeles Dodgers, 1958-1969

Don Drysdale
In 1968, Don Drysdale hurled six straight
shutout wins and 58 consecutive
scoreless innings.

Don Drysdale combined a wicked fastball with a fierce demeanor to be one of the most intimidating hurlers of the period. He teamed with Sandy Koufax to form one of the most dominating strikeout duos in National League history, and one of the top lefty-righty duos of all time.

Donald Scott Drysdale (1936-1993) grew up in Van Nuys, California. He did not become a pitcher until he was a senior in high school because his father (who coached him in American Legion baseball) wanted to save his arm. He signed with the Dodgers in 1954 and pitched two years in the minors, going 8-5 in the California League in 1954 and 11-11 in the International League in 1955.

Drysdale joined the Dodgers in 1956, where he was tutored in the fine art of pitching inside by Sal "The Barber" Maglie. Drysdale felt that "You've got to keep the ball away from the sweet part of the bat. To do that the pitcher has to move the hitter off the plate."

The lesson took, and in 1957, he was 17-9 with a 2.69 ERA. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season, and Don fell to a 12-13 record with a 4.17 ERA. The next two seasons, he led the NL in strikeouts, notching 242 in 1959 and 246 in 1960.

There was an immediate impact on Don when in 1962 the Dodgers moved from the Los Angeles Coliseum to Dodger Stadium. He had been a good pitcher for three years, but in Chavez Ravine, he was a great pitcher. He went 25-9, leading the league in wins and strikeouts and earning the Cy Young Award.

From 1962 to '65, he averaged over 21 wins per year as the Dodgers won two world championships. "Big D" pitched some outstanding Series games, including a three-hit shutout in 1963, with nine Ks and just one walk. In 1965, Don not only went 23-12, but he also hit .300 with seven home runs, tying the NL record for pitchers.

During those four years, Koufax won three consecutive Cy Young Awards, and he teamed with Drysdale in an unprecedented joint salary battle after the 1965 season. The two aces reportedly asked for over $1 million for a three-year contract that was to be split evenly between them, which would have made them the highest paid players in baseball. They eventually settled for less money.

After 1965, Drysdale became less effective, and he retired after the 1969 season. In 1968, he hurled a record 582/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Don was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Here are Don Drysdale's major league totals:


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