Clem Labine: Always a Dodger (ISBN: 9781681396149)

Clem Labine: Always a Dodger (ISBN: 9781681396149)

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Clem Labine: Always a Dodger"" (Elliott Richard)(Paperback) (9781681396149)

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Clem Labine: Always a Dodger

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Clem Labine was the "King of the Bullpen" so described by Robert Creamer of Sports Illustrated. He was baseball's premier 'closer' two decades before the term 'closer' was ever used. He led the League in 'saves' for years, a decade before 'saves' were even tallied. He was twice an All Star and three times a World Series Champion. As a Brooklyn Dodger, Clem ended with a Lifetime World Series ERA of a remarkable 1.65, and is a member of the Brooklyn Dodger Baseball Hall of Fame. As a rookie, he shut out the Giants in the second game of the iconic best-of-three 1951 playoffs. In the Dodgers' 1955 World Series Championship, he saved one game and won another. The following year, he pitched the day after Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series and outdueled Yankee ace Bob Turley for a 10 inning 1-0 victory, going the distance. And yet, though acknowledged by his peers as one of baseball's all-time greats, he is nearly forgotten by all except the most ardent of fans. He played with Jackie Robinson and Carl Erskine and Pee Wee Reese and Campy and Hodges and the Duke. He was one of them and they knew it, and all of baseball knew it. But the public recognition was never there. One time in New York, Chicago Cubs manager Bob Scheffing was asked by a reporter "If you had your choice of any one pitcher in the entire league, who would you pick?' 'Labine' Scheffing said, without hesitation. " (Robert Creamer, Sports Illustrated June 3, 1957) So why, we all ask. Why history's failure to acknowledge Clem's talents and contributions? I like Tommy Lasorda's explanation best of all; "He played the game the way it was supposed to be played. He gave it everything he had, he got along with everyone and everyone loved him... He was one of the finest pitchers to ever play the game... but he was surrounded by too many stars. " Therefore, maybe it is time to talk about my friend Clem Labine... to celebrate this Brooklyn Dodger Boy of Summer; this man of principle Not just the athlete, but the husband, father, friend, and proud citizen of his little home town of Woonsocket, R. I.
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