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Indiana native, MLB great Carl Erskine dies at 97

Carl Erskine, former MLB player, dies at age 97

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Carl Erskine, the Indiana native who starred as a pitcher for the Dodgers and became a champion for athletes with special needs, died Tuesday. He was 97.

Erskine, a native of Anderson who returned to the city after his playing career ended, was a pitcher with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1948-1959.

During that time, he finished his career with a record of 122-78. He also won two World Series championships and threw two no-hitters.

“You didn’t have to be a lifelong Dodger fan to be a huge fan of Carl Erskine and the remarkable character with which he led his life,” Mitch Daniels, former Purdue President and noted baseball fan, said in a statement. “When asked by his documentary filmmakers to sum him up, I blurted out ,’He’s the best we’ve got.’ I can’t improve on that, and like millions, I’ll miss him very much.”

The Erskine documentary, “The Best We’ve Got,” was shown last January at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

In 2023, Erskine became the sixth person to receive the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The award is “presented to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball’s positive impact on society,” according to a news release.

In 2010, he received the Sachem Award, the State of Indiana’s highest honor, in recognition of his lifetime of excellence and moral virtue.

  • 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)