2019-03-14 / Sports

BASEBALL’S BEST

Sherrys are the only Jewish brother duo
By LAMAR GARRARD
baseball historian

“As a player, to me the Dodgers were the Yankees of the National League. You either loved them or hated them.”

– Joe Torre former manager of the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A while back I wrote a column about Bobby Shantz, a major league pitcher, and his brother Wilmer Shantz, a catcher. Bobby and Wilmer were a brother battery combo and there have only been about 16 of those rare combinations in major league history.

Larry Sherry, a pitcher, and his brother Norm, a catcher, were the first and only Jewish battery mates in the history of the majors and Larry’s claim to stardom was his MVP award for the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers. The 6’2” right-handed hurler spent several years in the minors trying to make the big time and posted a losing 56-74 minor league record with the Dodgers, Tigers, Astros, and Angels. At the pace he pitched in the minors, his chance of getting a big league call up was very slim. His older brother Norm taught Larry how to throw a slider and the pitcher immediately began to win games.

In ’59, the Dodgers, in three games, hosted over 290,000 fans in LA at the old Memorial Coliseum, a football stadium with enormous capacity. Larry Sherry had a stellar series closing out four games with a pitching performance that made him famous. In just over 12 innings in four games, he allowed only one run and eight hits and had a 0.71 ERA. He was credited with two wins and two saves and got two hits to garner the series MVP award.

Johnny Podres and Don Drysdale each won one game apiece.The 1959 Dodgers/Sox World Series was the first World Series played on the West Coast.

The Dodgers had some star players in Hodges, Snider, Gilliam, Furillo, Roseboro Moon, Craig, Podres, Koufax, Drysdale, and Wills. Sherry’s lifetime record was 53-44 in 416 games but he is remembered for his “day in the sun” in 1959 and must have enjoyed his $11,000 winner share of the proceeds for the Dodgers.

The White Sox featured names like Fox, Aparicio, Georgia native Bubba Phillips, Landis, Lollar, Rivera, and Ted Kluszewski who slugged two homers in game one to lead Chicago to one of their two victories. Former Augusta Tiger pitcher Bob Shaw was the winning pitcher for the Sox in game five, defeating Koufax 1-0.

Older brother Norm Sherry was a catcher for the Dodgers and the Giants from ’59 through ’63.

His lifetime batting average was .215 in 194 big league games. He managed the Angels in ’76 and ’77 becoming one of only nine Jewish managers in the history of the majors. He also coached in the majors for several years. There were two other Sherry brothers who were high school baseball stars and one, George, pitched in 29 games for the ’51 Eugene Oregon Larks, a class D team.

What a wonderful baseball family and legacy. Norm and Larry appear together on a 1961 Topps baseball card in their beautiful blue Los Angeles Dodgers uniforms.

Return to top