Lefty Johnny Podres, whose complete game, 2-0 victory over the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series gave the Dodgers their lone Series championship while based in Brooklyn, passed away last night the age of 75. From the New York York Daily News’ Bill Madden :
The son of an iron miner from Witherbee in the Adirondacks, Podres needed only two seasons of minor league apprenticeship before breaking into the majors with the Dodgers as a 21-year-old in 1953. The previous year, Dodgers GM Buzzie Bavasi turned down an offer of $250,000 from the Cleveland Indians for him after Podres had fashioned a stunning 21-3 record and 1.67 ERA in Class D ball. Podres went on to pitch 15 years in the majors, remaining with the Dodgers through 1965, and compiled a 148-116 record with a career 3.68 ERA. In 1957, he led the National League with a 2.66 ERA and six shutouts, and his best season was 1961 when he was 18-5. In four World Series with the Dodgers, Podres was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA.
But it was the 1955 World Series for which Podres always will be remembered, especially Game 7, when he shut the Yankees down on eight hits. The Yankees’ lone threat off him in the game was thwarted by reserve left fielder Sandy Amoros – who, just after being inserted into the game for defensive purposes for Junior Gilliam by Dodger manager Walt Alston, snared Yogi Berra’s slicing fly ball in the left-field corner of Yankee Stadium with two on and nobody out in the sixth inning to start a double play.
“When Yogi hit that ball, I thought it was out,” Podres said years later in an interview with Baseball Digest. “But then it started to slice a lot. I don’t know if Junior would have caught it, being that he was a righthanded thrower. Being lefthanded, Sandy was able to reach out at the last second and catch it.
“All I know is, we won the game, but the feeling … I don’t know. I can’t remember the feeling I had. There was too much hysteria going on.”