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April 17, 2006

Don Drysdale Makes Major League Debut in Opening Day Loss to the Phillies

by @ 3:12 am. Filed under Don Drysdale Diary

The Brooklyn Dodgers were coming off of their first world series win in franchise history.  Over 24,000 people showed up at Ebbets Field to watch the team raise their championship flag.  Little did people know that this was the second to last opening day at the now historic ball park.

Dodgers’ ace Don Newcombe got the opening day start for the home team and he went head to head with Robin Roberts, who was coming off a 23 win season in 1955.  Newcombe had won 20 on a championship club that didn’t have another pitcher that won more then 13 games (and Clem Labine was used mostly as a reliever).

Don Newcombe got off to a rough start, and he was pulled in the third inning.  With the Dodgers coming to bat in the bottom of the third, they were already down 6-2.  They did scatter some runs against Roberts and managed to score six against him.  Roy Campanella and Junior Gilliam both took him deep, but the Phillies hit just enough to win the game 8-6.

In the top of the ninth inning, Don Drysdale came in to relieve Clem Labine and in doing so, made his major league debut.  He walked a batter but didn’t give up a hit in the shutout inning.

Oddly, in Don Drysdale’s autobiography, he mentions that he pitched two innings in his major league debut.  The two box scores I saw had him pitching only the ninth.  If anyone knows anything different, I’d appreciate it if you’d drop me a line.

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