We reminisce on Lasorda’s incredible 71 years in the Dodgers organization, share our own personal memories of him, share reaction from some around the team, and recount in the glee that we got to introduce someone recently to the classic, profanity-laced Lasorda tirades for the first time.
This week we look back at Clem Labine, who is tangentially related to two of our podcast topics this week. In Tommy Lasorda’s only start on the mound for the Dodgers, on May 5, 1955, he was removed after one inning that saw him walk two and tie a National League record with three wild pitches. Labine relieved him, and allowed two runs in six strong innings.
Strong relief work was Labine’s calling card for the bulk of his 11 seasons with the Dodgers. Though saves weren’t yet an official major league statistic, he led the majors with 19 saves in 1956 and led the NL with 17 saves in 1957. Labine won double-digit games three times and averaged over 100 innings from 1951-59. His 388 games in relief are fourth-most in Dodgers history, with the newly-departed Báez close behind in seventh with 355 games.
Labine had a 1.64 ERA in four World Series with the Dodgers, including keeping the Dodgers alive in Game 6 of the 1956 World Series, one day after Don Larsen’s perfect game, by throwing one of only three 10-inning shutouts in Fall Classic history.
As Ralph Branca said of Labine, per Alfonso L Tusa C’s SABR bio of Labine, “He really welcomed the challenge of being a reliever. He was a tough bird who loved to be in a crucial spot.”
Episode link (time: 53:09)