Carl Erskine Dead at 97

( – Baseball pitching legend Carl Erskine has died at the age of 97 in hospital in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana, according to a statement released by a Community Hospital Anderson spokesperson.

Erskine was born on December 23, 1926, and began playing baseball in a local parks program at the age of 9. In 1945 he was drafted into the U.S. Navy and sent to serve during the final year of World War II. While serving his country, he was scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers for his impressive baseball talent and was released from military service.

Erskine was a dedicated member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, spending the entirety of his major league career with them between the years of 1948 and 1959 and winning five National League pennants with them. He was a highly celebrated right-handed pitcher, known for pitching two no-hitters and beating the record number of winning games in 1953. He achieved a new World Series record by winning 20 games in 1953, smashing the previous record of 14 by some margin, and went on to win 18 games as an All-Star in 1954.

Erskine’s impact on the world of baseball was officially honored when, in July 2023, he was awarded the Buck O’Neill lifetime achievement award. He was chosen for the award by the Baseball Hall of Fame, whose chair, Jane Forbes Clark, referred to him as a “baseball hero” who was known for his compassion and spirit.

Erskine leaves behind his wife Betty, their two sons Gary and Danny, and daughter Susan. He had another son, Jimmy, who died in November 2023 at the age of 63. Jimmy had been born with Down’s Syndrome, which motivated his father to spend much of his life working to further the rights and wellbeing of those with developmental disabilities. He was heavily involved with the Special Olympics in Indiana and founded the Carl and Betty Erskine Foundation, which fundraises for the Special Olympics. Dodgers president and CEO, Stan Kasten, described Erskine as a hero both on the baseball pitch and off, and called him “an exemplary Dodger”.

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