Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Carl Erskine's Last-Out No-Hit Ball Available at Lelands

Since Dodger pitching and no-hitters is all the rage this year, it's only appropriate that Leland Auctions would have an item available that follows that theme.  One of the highlights of their current 2014 Spring Auction, that closes next week, is Carl Erskine's last-out baseball from his very first no-hitter.

June 19, 1952 started out as a cloudy and overcast afternoon.  The sun was nowhere to be seen, and rain was thought to be coming soon.

The enthusiastic redheaded broadcaster, Vin Scully, openly mused, "I wonder what the little pill has in store for me today?"  As he and the Dodger faithful would soon see, Carl Erskine was prepared to make the record books.

The game started well enough.  In front of 7,732 fans at Ebbets Field, Erskine began the 1st by coaxing a couple of fly balls and a groundout.  Then, the Dodgers immediately got on the board.  Roy Campanella blasted a 2-run homer, followed by another home run by Carl Furillo.  Later on, outfielder Andy Pafko would add another run with his own homer in the 2nd inning.

In the 3rd, Oisk, as he was often called, made his only mistake of the game.  With pitcher Willie Ramsdell at the plate, he walked him on 4 straight pitches.  He would not do that again the rest of the game.

Soon afterwards, the sky let out a cry.  The rain started to fall, so the game was delayed.  For 40 minutes the Dodgers sat patiently in the clubhouse.  All the while, Oisk and some of the boys pass the time by playing bridge.  When they finally got back out on the field, Erskine continued where he left off.  Every batter he would face from then on would get out. 

By the end of the evening, the Dodgers would score 5 runs and Cark Erskine had thrown his first no-hitter.  Overall, he walked only 1 (Willie Ramsdell) and struck out 1 (Dee Fondy in the 8th) on 103 pitches.

Featured in this post is the last-out Baseball from this game.  Written on a side panel, in Erskine's own hand, is:
6/19/52-Ebbets Field, Brooklyn vs. Cubs, Brooklyn 5-Cubs-0, No hit-no runs-time 1 hr 45 mins, 103 pitches
Also, Erskine personally had 11 of his teammates sign the ball for him; including Campanella, Robinson, Hodges, Furillo, Dressen, Snider, Reese, Pafko, Pitler, Cox, and Morgan.  This unique and historical game-used Baseball comes from Carl Erskine's own collection. 

Go here to check out the auction.  I wonder at what value it will end up at.  BTW, there's a great Erskine biography available at SABR by Bob Hurte.  Check that out here

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