One of the best things about being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan is the long and colorful history the team has, both in Los Angeles and Brooklyn. Like all fans, I have a list of my favorite Dodgers pitchers. They weren't necessarily the winningest, but they are always fun to watch and even read about and that's why Dodger fans affectionally called those pitchers and teammates "Dem Bums."
While they may have lacked the winning records of Dodger legends like Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, they are still part of the rich history of players who have worn the Dodgers uniform. Here are my favorite Dodgers pitchers from the first half of the 20th Century:
Marquard won 201 games in his 18-year career from 1908 to 1926 with the Dodgers and other Major League teams with a 3.08 ERA. Rube may also be the only major league player who appeared in 1920s vaudeville dressed as a girl baseball pitcher. It was in a musical number featuring chorus girls wearing baseball uniforms. He toured with his wife, Blossom Seeley, and created a dance called the Marquard Glide. In his six years with the Brooklyn Dodgers he won 56 games with a 2.58 ERA.
This Hall of Famer didn't make it into the Major Leagues until he was 31, but then won 190 games in the next 13 seasons. Dazzy, nicknamed because his strange wind-up and kick, did everything possible to dazzle batters. Vance pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1922-1932, then returned briefly in 1935.
In his 12 years with the Dodgers, Vance won 190 games and lost 131, with a 3.17 ERA. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955. Vance wore a red undershirt with the uniform sleeves sliced into thin strips, so they'd flutter red and white as he threw the ball. Still pitching at age 41, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1933, where Dazzy Vance joined two other pitchers, Dizzy and Daffy Dean
He never admitted it until he had retired in 1954, when Preacher confessed that he owed his success to his spitball. He said it was actually a combination of perspiration from his forehead and spittle from well-chewed bubble gum.
Known for his hillbilly drawl, malaprops and backwoods stories, Roe was actually a college graduate. His career included 127 wins over 12 Major League seasons. He led the league in winning percentage in 1949 and 1951 with .714 and .880, respectively. He was on three Dodger teams to win the pennant and was also an All-Star every year between 1949 and 1952.
In an interview reprinted in Roe's obituary in the New York Times, Roe was quoted as saying: "I try to keep the hitters off balance, never giving them a decent pitch, I'm always aiming for the corners, never throwing the same pitch twice or what the hitter is expecting."
After World War II Navy service, Erskine pitched for the Dodgers in the decade before they moved to Los Angeles. A favorite of the Brooklynese-speaking fans, he was called "Cahl Oiskin". In his 12-year Major League career, all with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, Erskine won 122 games with a .610 winning percentage and 4.00 ERA. Erskine was the winning pitcher in the Dodgers' first game after the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.
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