Dodgers greats mourn Podres' passing
Lasorda, Newcombe, Bavasi reflect on former teammate
LOS ANGELES -- Friends, former teammates and other members of the Dodgers' extended family on Monday mourned the Sunday passing of former Brooklyn and Los Angeles pitcher Johnny Podres."I roomed with Johnny Podres and I can say, without a doubt, he was one of the greatest guys I ever had the pleasure of playing with," said Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda. "He represented the Dodgers to the highest degree of class, dignity and character. I've never, ever heard anybody say anything bad about Johnny Podres. He was a great roomie, a great teammate, and a great friend." Podres, 75, pitched 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, 13 seasons with the Dodgers. His career highlight was winning Game 7 of the 1955 World Series for the first title in franchise history. "When I heard of Johnny's passing, my mind went back to Yankee Stadium, 1955, the seventh game of the World Series," said former teammate Don Newcombe. "I thank God for Johnny Podres, as I do all the time. I remember how confident he was in the clubhouse before Game 7. Walter Alston called a meeting and Johnny said, 'Just give me one run.' Well, they gave him two and we were champs. He was a man of his word, he lived up to his word, and I appreciate it." Podres also was on the Dodgers' world championship teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965 and started the first game in Dodger Stadium history on April 10, 1962. He had a career record of 148-116 and an ERA of 3.68. His career World Series record was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in six starts. "He was one in a million," said former general manager Buzzie Bavasi. "I have said this many times: I've had many good pitchers on my teams during my career, including the best in the business in Sandy Koufax, and I am sure that all these pitchers will agree that if a club had to win one game, it would be Podres that would get the call. He did it many times for me during his career. I am going to miss him. I know the first thing he will do when he gets upstairs is to look for Walter Alston and Leo Durocher." After his playing days, Podres went on to become a pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies and was a past instructor during the Dodgers' Adult Baseball Camps in Vero Beach, Fla. "I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Johnny Podres during the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1955 World Series championship," said Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt. "The memories of Johnny's career and his significant accomplishments will forever be remembered by Dodger fans everywhere." Podres was being treated for heart and kidney problems and a leg infection at the time of his death in New York. Funeral services are pending.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.