Baseball Great Dies at 97

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Carl Erskine, an emblematic figure of the Brooklyn Dodgers and fondly known as “Risk” to his fans, passed away on Tuesday, April 16., 2024 at 97 in Anderson, Indiana. Erskine’s illustrious Major League Baseball career spanned 12 seasons (1948-1959), all with the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn, New York, and then in Los Angeles, California.

Erskine was a standout pitcher renowned for his curveball and competitive spirit, helping lead the Dodgers to five National League pennants and their first World Series victory in 1955. His record-setting performance in the 1953 World Series, where he struck out 14 New York Yankees, remains a testament to his skill and poise under pressure.

Beyond his achievements on the mound, Erskine was a cherished member and the last survivor of the “Boys of Summer,” the legendary Dodgers teams of the 1950s. His no-hitters in 1952 against the Chicago Cubs and in 1956 against the New York Giants are celebrated moments in baseball history. Erskine’s contributions to the Dodgers’ lore made him a fan favorite, immortalized by his nickname, a nod to the Brooklyn accent that affectionately distorted his last name.

After retiring, he returned to his hometown of Anderson, where he was deeply involved in community activities and charitable efforts. He notably supported people with developmental disabilities, inspired by his son Jimmy, who had Down syndrome. His advocacy and fundraising efforts, especially for the Special Olympics, highlighted his commitment to improving the lives of others.

Erskine’s dedication to community service and his role as a sports icon were recognized in various honors, including his induction into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame and the establishment of several memorials in his name. A street in Brooklyn and a sports medicine center in Anderson bear his name, celebrating his contributions on and off the field.

Stan Kasten, Dodgers president and CEO, praised Erskine not only for his athletic prowess but for his humanitarian efforts, stating, “Off the field, he was as heroic as he was in his remarkable pitching career, which speaks volumes about his character.”

Erskine’s life’s work, particularly his advocacy for those with intellectual disabilities, leaves a lasting imprint on the communities he touched.

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