A Tale of Two Friends: Old Scout Expired as Protégé Larry Sherry Won in 1959 Playoff

This article was written by Thomas McMahon

This article was published in the 1984 Baseball Research Journal


Baseball has had many unusually exciting seasons. Everyone has his favorite. Mine was 1959. The Giants, Dodgers, and Braves entered the final week of the National League season in a virtual first-place deadlock. San Francisco faded to third as Milwaukee and Los Angeles tied for first on the final day of the race. The two clubs would now meet in a best-of-three playoff for the pennant.

Rainy County Stadium in Milwaukee was the scene of the opening game. With tired, depleted pitching staffs the teams were forced to start second-liners. Danny McDevitt, 10-8, opened for the Dodgers, and the Braves’ starter was Carlton Wiley, 5-8. In the bullpen, the Dodgers had a secret weapon – Larry Sherry.

Sherry, a rookie, was the Los Angeles relief ace. He had been called upon July 2 on the strong recommendation of John Corriden, who had recently retired from the Dodger scouting staff. They had become friends as Sherry ascended through the Dodger farm system. And on this opening playoff date, September 28, they would bring their relationship to a dramatic climax in different cities.

At Milwaukee, the teams waited through a 48-minute rain delay before starting the game. Back home in Indianapolis Red Corriden prepared to watch the game. A long-time Dodger employee, he had briefly managed the Chicago White Sox in 1950. Now 72 years old, he was semi-retired, taking an occasional trip up to Wrigley Field in Chicago to scout and enjoy the games. Sherry was his pupil and friend. And if he was needed today, Corriden hoped to see him pitch today.

Corriden settled down to the business of the day. His wife admonished him not to get overly excited and went about her Monday chores. The game finally began, and it wasn’t long before Sherry was summoned to the mound. Relieving McDevitt in the second inning, he went on to pitch seven and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking two. He was the winning pitcher in a 3-2 Dodger victory.

Mrs. Corriden, busy in her work, noticed that John was strangely quiet. She entered the living room; John was slumped in his chair. Alarmed, Mrs. Corriden shook him, but there was no response. John Corriden had died while his pupil was mastering the Braves miles away.

On the happy Dodger plane to Los Angeles that night for the second game, they informed Sherry of the passing of Corriden. Larry, who had been joyously celebrating his wonderful day, was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his friend.

The Dodgers won game two, and Sherry would now dedicate his World Series to John Corriden. For the Dodgers and particularly for Larry Sherry, it was a great Series. In four appearances covering 12 2/3 innings of relief, he was credited with two victories and two saves. Somewhere Red Corriden was happy.

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