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1959 All-Star Game: Don Drysdale Starts In L.A.

Don Drysdale, as seen on his 1964 Topps baseball card.
Don Drysdale, as seen on his 1964 Topps baseball card.

Today's Dodgers All-Star memory brings us back to 1959. It was the Dodgers' second year in Los Angeles, and they were hosting the All-Star Game. Well, the second one anyway. As you may remember from the Maury Wills post from earlier this week, MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 to 1962 as a way to raise money for the players pension fund. The first game was on July 7 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, but the baseball world descended upon the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 3.

At the time of the second All-Star Game in 1959, the Dodgers were 60-47, a fine turnaround from their seventh place finish the season before. They were a half-game behind the Giants for first place, and would battle down to the wire with the Braves, who were just a game out at the time. Don Drysdale in 1959 was a few months younger than Clayton Kershaw is this year, and was 14-6 with a 2.89 ERA at the time of the All-Star Game in LA. Drysdale, who started the first All-Star Game in Pittsburgh a month earlier, also started in his home park.

Wally Moon of the Dodgers started as well, batting seventh and playing left field. He went 0-for-2 with two walks. Jim Gilliam was also named to the team, for the second time in his career, and he hit a home run in the seventh inning off Billy O'Dell. The other Dodgers home All-Star was Charlie Neal, who went 0-for-1, saving his heroics for the World Series later that year, when he hit .370 with two doubles and two home runs in the Dodgers' six-game win over the White Sox.

As for Drysdale, he didn't allow a hit in his three scoreless innings in the Pittsburgh All-Star game in July, but he didn't fare as well in the Coliseum. Drysdale had five strikeouts in his three innings, one more than he had in Pittsburgh, but he also allowed three runs. Frank Malzone hit a solo home run in the second inning, and Yogi Berra knocked in Nellie Fox with a two-run shot in the third inning. The American League went on to win 5-3, and Drysdale got hung with the loss.

Drysdale would go on to pitch in nine All-Star games in his career, including five starts, tied with Lefty Grove and Robin Roberts for the most ever. Drysdale's 19 strikeouts and 19 1/3 innings pitched are the most in All-Star history by anyone.