An Interview with Carl ErskineStats from www.baseball-reference.com
Carl Erskine was a mainstay in the Brooklyn Dodgers rotation. He took the time recently to answer a few questions for The Diamond Angle
1) How did you get interested in playing baseball and where did you play before you turned pro?
I started about age 9 in a park program - before Little League.
2) Describe your signing.
I was in the U.S. Navy - age 19, stationed in Boston. I worked out with the Braves and Billy Southworth, the manager, wanted to sign me - offered me a $2500 bonus, then unheard of. But the Dodgers had scouted me in high school. So I called Mr. Rickey. He brought my folks to Boston - the All-Star Game in 1946. He signed me in the Kenmore Hotel and gave me $3500.
Then I went to the minors after discharge a few days later. The Braves filed a protest with the Commissioner Happy Chandler because he had issued a directive that clubs could not sign service men until after discharge - Chandler declared me a free agent. I re-signed with the Dodgers for an additional $5000. Actually passed up $10,000 from the Braves, Red Sox and Phillies.
The reason my folks were brought to Boston is because at that time you had to be 21 years old to sign a contract - so my Dad had to sign for me.
3) What was the best thing about playing pro ball?
Knowing I made it past hundreds of talented players and lasted 14 years.
4) What was the worst thing?
Travel, family time lost.
5) What was the highlight of your career?
Pitching in eleven World Series games. Won two, lost two. The two wins were unusual and exciting. Fifth game 1952, Yankee Stadium, pitched all eleven innings to win. Third game 1953, won 3-2 and set a World Series strike out record of 14 - Mantle four times.
6) Who were the best players you played with or faced?
Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays.
7) What were your favorite and least favorite parks to play in?
Ebbets Field was home, but tough to pitch in. I had some of my best days there - No-hit the Cubs 6/19/52, No-hit the Giants 5/12/56.
8) Do you follow big league ball now? If so, how do you think it compares with your day?
Only as a fan - I don't see many games. Superstars can play in any era. Rosters today are thin but teams are becoming international.
9) Briefly describe your life since your pro career ended?
I had a career in insurance then banking - became President of First National Bank in Anderson Indiana for eleven year. I was a board member for thirty-five years.
10) Any other memories or comments?
I'm thankful to the many fans who watched us win six pennants in my twelve big league years and who still write me - also young people who write and ask me about the Brooklyn years.
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