Next to Bob Gibson, there is only one other major-league pitcher from the 1960s who could intimidate batters just by standing on the mound.
Don Drysdale stood 6-foot-5 and surprisingly weighed only 190 pounds — but he looked much bigger. He won 209 games during his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, struck out 2,486 batters, and led the National League in hit batters five times. Like Gibson, Drysdale was the master of the purpose pitch. Batters did not dig in against Big D.
Drysdale’s personal memorabilia collection will headline SCP Auctions’ 2016 Spring Premier Auction, which will be held from April 6 to April 23. SCP will be offering more than 200 lots, including Drysdale’s 1962 Cy Young Award, his 1956 National League championship ring, his 1963 and ’65 World Series championship rings, and several game-used uniforms.
One item up for bid is an interesting piece of major-league history — a game-used baseball from the final inning of his then-record 58 2/3 consecutive shutout innings streak. That took place on June 8, 1968 at Dodger Stadium. Drysdale was cruising with a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning when he allowed back-to-back singles to Tony Taylor and Clay Dalrymple to put runners at first and third. After striking out Roberto Pena, Drysdale saw his streak end when pinch-hitter Howie Bedell hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Taylor. It was the only run Bedell would drive in during 1968, and only the third career RBI for the journeyman outfielder.
SCP public relations manager Terry Melia said the Drysdale balls were distinctly marked — one with a “56” when he tied Walter Johnson’s record of 56 consecutive shutout innings that was set in 1913, “56 1/3” when he broke it, and “58 2/3” when he established the new standard. There is a photo of Drysdale holding all three balls; the photo is not part of the auction, but the baseballs sure are.
Some of the game-used uniforms include jerseys from his 1956 rookie season in Brooklyn, and 1965, ’66 and ’69 when the franchise moved to Los Angeles.
“We feel honored to have been chosen by the Drysdale family to bring this extraordinary collection to auction,” SCP Auctions president David Kohler said in a news release. “Don was among the most accomplished and revered pitchers in major-league history and his impressive assemblage of awards and accolades speaks volumes as to his winning ways out on the mound.”
Drysdale’s career was cut short by a torn rotator cuff in 1969; he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984, joining his longtime pitching partner from the 1960s, left-hander Sandy Koufax. Drysdale had a long career as a baseball broadcaster and died on July 3, 1993, during a Dodgers road trip to Montreal. He was 56.
Bidding is open to registered bidders only at the auction website. For more information, call (949) 831-3700.