“Branch Rickey was my mentor in Baseball and a strong influence in my life.”
Carl Erskine pitched in the Major Leagues for 12 years, all of them with the Dodgers (1948-1959). Carl’s lifetime record was 122-78 with a 4.00 ERA while pitching mostly at hitter friendly Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Carl Erskine threw two of the seven no-hitters in the National League in the 1950’s. Erskine won 20 games for the Pennant winning Dodgers in 1953, and in 1954, Carl was a National League All-Star. Carl Erskine was the pitching mainstay on five Pennant Winners and one World Championship team.
It is an honor to write about Carl Erskine because he is a close friend, a great man, and he was a very good pitcher. Carl’s mentor, Branch Rickey, was a very knowledgeable baseball man, and someone who was deeply religious. Branch Rickey broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball by bringing Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers. Carl Erskine broke into the Major Leagues in 1948, the year after Jackie’s arrival. Carl and Jackie became friends in an era when there was a great deal of racism. Carl Erskine is a man of great dignity and class and someone who always displays warmth to his fellow human beings.
Carl Erskine was a terrific competitor and as his Hall of Fame teammate, Pee Wee Reese, said, “Carl Erskine is a nice guy who wins.” Carl often was at his best in big games. He struck out 14 New York Yankees setting a World Series strikeout record in 1953.
I was privileged to broadcast Indianapolis Indians games with Carl for a number of years. On those broadcasts, and in our many conversations, I have learned a great deal from him. Carl Erskine turns 92 this week, and anyone who is able to spend time with him, cherishes the moment! He is that good a man!