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‘UnPHILtered’: Filmmaker talks about the legacy of Carl Erskine

Filmmaker talks about the legacy of Carl Erskine

(WISH) — Carl Erskine’s death has hit home for many in Indiana and within the baseball community.

Erskine was a standout pitcher on the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers team of the 1940s and ’50s, when basketball broke the racial barrier with Jackie Robinson.

Erskine died Tuesday at age 97.

Erskine, an Anderson, Indiana native, had a career 4.00 ERA with a 122-78 record and 981 strikeouts. His best year came in 1953, when he won 20 games to lead the National League. 

Filmmaker Ted Green joined Tuesday’s “UnPHILtered,” to talk about his time with Erskine. Green made the documentary “The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story.”

“I was able to visit with Carl in the hospital with his family. It was very moving. He was barely lucid, but I was able to kiss him on the head, tell him I loved him, tell him he’s the best guy I’ve known, because it’s true. He squeezed my hand a little. So, I thought I was going to be prepared when I got the call from Carl’s daughter Suzie this morning. It really hit me, and I got a call shortly after that from a special Olympics athlete who was encouraging me, told me I had to be strong for Carl’s wife, Betty, that’s when the emotions really kicked in.”


“Carl Erskine was a great baseball player, but he was a better person. His commitment to racial equality, human rights and raising awareness for those with intellectual disabilities go far beyond his contributions to the Dodgers’ success in the1940s and ‘50s. Carl and I connected over our ties to Anderson College/University, and his positive impact in Anderson and the state of Indiana spreads far and wide. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Erskine family, including his wife, Betty, his sons, Danny and Gary, and daughter, Susan. We will miss him dearly.”

Randy Lewandowski, the president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Indians baseball team,

  • Carl Erskine (C) of the Brooklyn Dodgers is lifted up on the shoulders of catcher Roy Campanella (L) and manager Chuck Dressen (R) after Erskine setting a new all-time world's series strikeout record of 14 during Game Three of the 1953 World Series on October 2, 1953 at Ebbets Field in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)
  • Jackie Robinson, first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, receives pinch on the cheek congratulations from winning pitcher Clem Labine, left, and starting pitcher Carl Erskine, after knocking in all three runs in an August 1, 1948 game vs. Milwaukee Braves at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
  • Pitcher Carl Erskine #17 of the Brooklyn Dodgers kicks at the rubber before facing Gene Woodling #14 of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during Game 6 of the 1953 World Series on October 5, 1953 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images)