Dodgers Mourn Passing Of Brooklyn ‘Boys Of Summer’ Legend Carl Erskine

The Los Angeles Dodgers shared their condolences to the family of Carl Erskine, who passed away Tuesday morning in his hometown of Anderson, Ind. Nicknamed “Oisk,” Erskine was a Brooklyn Dodgers legend and part of the famed “Boys of Summer” team, died at the age of 97.

“Carl Erskine was an exemplary Dodger,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement.

“He was as much a hero off the field as he was on the field – which given the brilliance of his pitching is saying quite a lot. His support of the Special Olympics and related causes, inspired by his son Jimmy – who led a life beyond all expectations when he was born with Down syndrome, cemented his legacy.

“We celebrate the life of ‘Oisk’ as we extend our sympathies to his wife, Betty, and their family.”

Erskine spent his entire Major League career with the Dodgers, starring in Brooklyn and briefly playing for them in Los Angeles as well. He was part of five Dodgers teams that won the National League pennant, and their World Series championship in 1955.

Erskine finished a lifetime 122-78 with a 4.00 and 981 strikeouts. Among other career highlights are going 20-6 in 1953 to lead the NL in winning percentage, All-Star Game selection in 1954 and two no-hitters (1952 and 1956).

Erskine also had the honor of starting the Dodgers’ first home game in Los Angeles on April 18, 1958, when he defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6–5, in front of more than 78,000 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Because Erskine missed his family, he didn’t complete two years with the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He retired in 1959 at the age of 32.

The MLB record for most strikeouts in the World Series once belonged to Erskine, when he collected 14 in 1953. That fell exactly 11 years later when Sandy Koufax set a new record behind 15 strikeouts against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.

Koufax now is the lone surviving Dodgers player from their 1955 World Series team.

Carl Erskine biography

Carl Daniel Erskine was born Dec. 13, 1926, in Anderson, Indian. He began playing baseball at 9 years old in a local parks program.

While Erskine was renowned for his talent on the mound, being an ally to Jackie Robinson and working to raise civil rights awareness were equally, if not more, impressive. Erskine also advocated for people with special needs – a cause that became his ultimate legacy.

On July 22, 2023, Erskine received the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from 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 is survived by Betty, his wife of 76 years, plus sons Danny and Gary, and daughter Susan.

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