On June 8, 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers optioned rookie left-handed pitcher Tommy Lasorda to Montreal to make room for another southpaw, one Sandy Koufax, be called up for the first time.
Lasorda spent parts of two seasons pitching for the Dodgers but only appeared in eight games (13 innings) in 1955 before being sent down. He would, of course, go on to have much more success as a manager in the organization, winning to World Series’ and four pennants.
Koufax originally signed with the Dodgers in Dec. 1954 and was coming off an injured ankle that had him on the 30-day disabled list. He would go on to become not only one of the best pitchers in Dodgers history, but Major League Baseball history.
He didn’t make his big league debut until a couple of weeks later on June 24 against the Milwaukee Braves, tossing two scoreless innings out of the bullpen in a loss. His first start came during a doubleheader on July 6 and he did not fare that well, walking eight although he was able to limit the damage to one run in 4.2 innings in a game the Dodgers lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Koufax wound up appearing in 12 games (five starts) in his debut season, going 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA, 3.64 FIP and 1.46 WHIP with 30 strikeouts and 28 walks in 41.2 innings.
Overall in 12 career seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers though, Koufax was named an All-Star seven times while winning give ERA titles, three Cy Youngs, an MVP and three World Series’. He also won the pitching triple crown on three separate occasions while winning World Series MVP twice.
Unfortunately, Koufax had to retired at the age of 30 after the 1966 season when he was at the top of his game due to an arthritic condition. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1972, becoming the youngest player to do so at age 36. The Dodgers also retired his No. 32 jersey that year.
Drysdale breaks scoreless innings streak record
Also on June 8 — in 1968 — Don Drysdale both broke the consecutive scoreless innings record and saw his streak snapped. Drysdale entered the start against the Philadelphia Phillies just two inning shy of overtaking Hall of Famer Walter Johnson.
Drysdale blanked the Phillies through four innings before allowing a sacrifice fly in the fifth. His scoreless streak thus was snapped at 58.2 consecutive innings.
Drysdale was a nine-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner and three-time World Series champion in his 14-year career with the Dodgers. He later was inducted into the Hall of Fame and had his No. 53 jersey retired by the organization.
Drysdale’s scoreless innings streak was broken by another Dodger in 1988 when Orel Hershiser tossed 59 innings without giving up a run.
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