On Aug. 11, 1969, former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. It marked the end of an era, as the then-33-year-old was the last remaining active player to appear in a game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
A 14-year Major League veteran, Drysdale played out the first two seasons of his career with Brooklyn before catching on with Los Angeles for the latter 12. During that span, he won 209 games while posting a 2.95 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 2,486 strikeouts.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Drysdale was responsible for 49 shutouts. He compiled eight of those in 1968, a season that included a stretch of six consecutive shutouts and 58.2 scoreless innings in a row.
Among the plethora of accolades that Drysdale earned include nine All-Star Game appearances, a National League Cy Young Award in 1962 and three World Series championships (1959, 1963, 1965).
Before hanging up his cleats for good, Drysdale factored prominently in the Dodgers starting rotation during the first half of the 1969 season. He went 5-4 record with a 4.45 ERA, 4.43 FIP and 1.34 WHIP over 62.2 innings pitched (12 starts).
Those numbers represented career lows in many statistical categories, as persistent shoulder pain played a part in Drysdale’s decline and early retirement.
The Van Nuys, Calif., native was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, his 10th year of eligibility. Later that July, the Dodgers retired his No. 53 jersey.
Drysdale ventured into the sports broadcasting industry following his playing days, to which he held positions with five teams over the span of 23 years. That includes a five-year stint with the Dodgers from 1988-93, where he served as a radio broadcaster before his untimely death in 1993.