Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dodgers' Big Three (#412)

The Rangel, Ralph Houses of Manhattan's Coogan's Bluff are visible through the Polo Grounds' ironwork as a special trio of pitchers pose for this 1963 Topps card. Johnny Podres, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax were indeed the Dodgers' Big Three that season as they led the club to a World Series sweep of the Yankees. The three pitched all but 2/3 of an inning of the Series as the staff held the Yanks to a .207 average.

The three players represent 522 wins, 6317 strike outs, 17 All Star selections, and 4 Cy Young Awards between them. Koufax and Drysdale of course are Hall of Famers. Many of the Dodger clubs they pitched for after the franchise's move to Los Angeles were light hitting teams that relied on pitching and defense. They were so much dependent on pitching that Don Drysdale, away from the club on family business, is said to have asked "Who won?" when he was told that Koufax had pitched a no-hitter in his absence.

Podres had his last double digit win total (14) in '63. In fact he never again won more than 7. Drysdale won 19 as he came off his Cy Young season of 1962. His 251 whiffs were actually 19 more than his league leading total of the previous season. They were both very good, but Koufax was so dominant in 1963 that he was chosen as the NL's MVP.
"I can see how he won twenty-five games. What I don't understand is how he lost five." - Yogi Berra talking about Sandy Koufax.
This card has been on my radar for ages. I picked up this less than sterling copy recently. It's creased within an inch of it's life but I'm glad to have it.

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