Former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine was named the 2023 recipient of the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors.
The award is presented to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball’s positive impact on society. It was established in 2007 to honor individuals whose efforts broadened the game’s appeal and whose character, integrity and dignity is comparable to the late O’Neil.
Erskine, 96, will be honored at the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 22, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2023.
“I’m a little overwhelmed and this is very special to me,” Erskine said in a statement. “What an honor this is and it is really unexpected. At this point in my life, this is as big a boost as you can possibly give me.”
Erskine becomes the sixth person to win the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. O’Neil was honored as the first recipient in 2008. Roland Hemond (2011), Joe Garagiola (2014), Rachel Robinson (2017) and David Montgomery (2020) are the other previous winners.
As a standout pitcher for the Dodgers from 1948-1959, Erskine racked up 122 wins, two World Series championships and two no-hitters. Erskine also worked as an activist for special needs athletes.
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame is honored to present Carl Erskine with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award,” chairman of the board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Jane Forbes Clark said.
“For millions of fans, he was a Brooklyn Dodgers hero. But for his family and thousands of Special Olympians, Carl Erskine was someone who always believed everything was possible. His legacy is one of deep compassion and encouragement of the human spirit.”
The Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at its discretion, though not more frequently than every three years.
A permanent, life-size bronze statue of O’Neil is located at the Hall of Fame on the Museum’s first floor and serves as the home for the Award. Nationally renowned sculptor Williams Behrends created the statue.
The Buck O’Neil Award is open to nominations from the public to the Hall of Fame at any time through written submissions.
The next O’Neil Award is eligible to be presented in 2026. Nominations must be received by June 30, 2025, and should detail how the proposed candidate carries O’Neil’s extraordinary traits.
Letters of nomination should be submitted to: Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Only submissions received by mail will be considered.
Carl Erskine career with Dodgers
Erskine posted a career record of 122-78 with a 4.00 ERA over 12 seasons with the Dodgers, throwing 14 career shutouts and appearing in 11 games during five World Series. He also pitched two no-hitters, one on June 19, 1952, against the Chicago Cubs and the other versus the New York Giants on May 12, 1956.
In Game 3 of the 1953 World Series against the Yankees, Erskine set a single-game record with 14 strikeouts, which has since been broken.
After his playing career ended, Erskine returned to his hometown of Anderson, Indiana, and was the baseball coach at Anderson College for 12 years (1961-1971, 1973), winning four conference championships.
With more than four decades as a volunteer, he was awarded the Special Olympics’ highest honor, the Spirit of the Special Olympics.
Erskine was also a charter member of both the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Baseball Assistance Team. In 2010, Erskine received the State of Indiana’s highest honor, the Sachem Award, in recognition of his lifetime of excellence and moral virtue.
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