Greatest sports figures in L.A. history No. 14: Don Drysdale
Continuing our countdown of the 20 greatest figures in L.A. sports history with No. 14, Don Drysdale.
No. 14 Don Drysdale (no first-place votes, 1,168 points)
Big D was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his time with the Dodgers. A larger-than-life character, not only was Drysdale notorious for knocking hitters down with pitches (his 154 hit batsmen remains the modern NL record), he later became an actor and an excellent baseball broadcaster.
Career highlights: In 1962, Drysdale won 25 games and the Cy Young Award. In 1965, he was the Dodgers' only .300 hitter and tied the National League record for home runs by a pitcher with seven. (The person whose record he tied? Don Drysdale.) In 1968, he set major league records with six consecutive shutouts and 58 consecutive scoreless innings (a record later broken by fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser in 1988).
Drysdale was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, and had his number 53 retired by the Dodgers the same year.
Don Drysdale retired in midseason in 1969 because of a shoulder injury. He segued into acting and broadcasting, including a memorable appearance on "The Brady Bunch." He became a broadcaster for not just the Dodgers (from 1988-1993), but also the Angels from 1973-79 and 1981.
On July 3, 1993, while working as a Dodgers broadcaster in Montreal, the 56-year-old Drysdale suffered a heart attack and died.
Photo: Don Drysdale in 1959. Credit: Associated Press.