Don Drysdale, 1959
Stats: 17-13, 3.46 ERA, 15 CG, 270 2⁄3 IP, 242 SO, 122 ERA+, 3.23 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 8.0 SO/9
Awards: All-Star (2x)
Baseball Reference WAR: 5.9
FanGraphs WAR: 5.8
Combined WAR: 5.85
To no surprise, this guy is going to find himself on this list a lot of times. One of the greatest pitchers in Dodgers history, today we’ll be taking a look back at Don Drysdale’s 1959 campaign in Los Angeles.
1959 was Drysdale’s fourth season with the Dodgers. It was his first making the All-Star Game. Back in 1959 the MLB had two All-Star games about a month apart, Drysdale made both. He won 17 games, which at the time tied his career-high. He also set career-highs in starts made (36) and innings pitched (270 2⁄3 ) that season.
Drysdale established himself as the best strikeout pitcher in baseball that year. He struck out an MLB-high 242 batters, and his strikeouts-per-nine of 8.0 was the highest in the National League. There were seven starts in which he struck out at least 11, including a start on July 31 versus the Phillies in which he struck out a season-high 14.
The best stretch of the season for Drysdale came from June 30 through August 8. He appeared in nine games, starting seven of them. During that stretch, he went 7-1 with a save. Out of his seven starts, all seven of them were complete games.
He owned a 1.81 ERA during this run, while holding opponents to a .189 average and .551 OPS. In 69 2⁄3 innings, Drysdale struck out 68 and walked only 21, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than three-to-one.
Drysdale pitched in Game 3 of the World Series that season. He got the win for the Dodgers, throwing seven innings of one-run ball against the Chicago White Sox. He struck out five.
Game of the year
May 22 vs. Giants: 13 IP, 1 ER, 11 SO, 2 BB // Gamescore: 100