Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Legend, Last ‘Boy of Summer,’ Dies at 97

Carl Erskine, who helped pitch the Dodgers to their first World Series championship in franchise history, has died. His family confirmed the news to the Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. Erskine was 97.

Erskine was the last link to the Dodgers’ 1955 championship team, and the last of the living Brooklyn players chronicled in the seminal 1972 book “The Boys of Summer.” Erskine spent his entire major league career with the Dodgers from 1948 to 1959, making the move west with the franchise to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

A right-handed starter, Erskine went 122-78 with a 4.00 earned-run average in his career. His two no-hitters rank second in franchise history to Sandy Koufax. Erskine was a National League All-Star in 1954, when he went 18-15 with a 4.15 ERA. Only five pitchers in franchise history have more Opening Day starting assignments than Erskine’s four.

In 2023, Erskine received the Hall of Fame’s Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. Erskine’s son, Gary, accepted the award in his honor.

Erskine spent his retirement years mostly out of baseball’s spotlight, but was recognized in Cooperstown for his progressive attitude toward his teammates — including Jackie Robinson — and his own family.

As described by the New York Times:

(Erskine’s) original postcareer plan had been to move to New York and work as an athletic wear representative for Van Heusen, the apparel company. But the family stayed in Anderson when Jimmy, the fourth Erskine child, was born with Down syndrome in April 1960, a time when many families struggled with society’s attitudes toward children with intellectual disabilities.

“The assumption right in the beginning was, of course, you’re going to take him to some institution,” Erskine said. “And Betty says, ‘No, no, he goes home with us.’ And that was it from the beginning, Day 1. So we never considered anything but Jimmy going with us.”

Erskine sold insurance, worked as a bank president and coached baseball at Anderson College. Jimmy went everywhere with the family — to dinner, to church, to his siblings’ athletic events. He attended public school in Anderson, where an elementary school was named in the family’s honor in 2004.

via the New York Times

Erskine’s work with the Special Olympics in Indiana was the focal point of a documentary film about his life released last year:

Erskine is survived by his wife, Betty, and three children (Danny, Gary, and Susan). Jimmy Erskine passed away in 2023.

Photo Credit: Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at


  1. Wasn’t Koufax on the 1955 Dodgers. Is he not considered one of the “Boys of Summer”?

    1. No. Koufax was a rookie in 55 when the Boys of Sunmer era ended. Dandy Sandy was 19 years old and threw 41.1 innings going 2-2 in 55. He did not pitch in the Fall Classic.

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