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Don Drysdale pitches shutout in first World Series game at Dodger Stadium

Dodgers lead 3-0

1963 World Series - Game 3: New York Yankees v Los Angeles Dodgers

In the second year of their shiny new Dodger Stadium, the 1963 Dodgers came home to Los Angeles with a 2-0 lead in the World Series over the hated Yankees. In Game 3 of the Fall Classic, the team turned to Don Drysdale, who was skipped over in favor of left-handers in New York.

All Drysdale did was pitch a shutout, and the Dodgers needed it in a 1-0 win to secure a commanding 3-0 series lead.

“I’d have to put this right up there with the best games I’ve ever pitched,” Drysdale told Charles Maher of the Associated Press.

Drysdale was on six days rest before pitching Game 3, after a five-inning tuneup start in Philadelphia, in which he didn’t allow a run. After that game, per Braven Dyer in the Los Angeles Times, Phillis manager Gene Mauch said, “They’ll never score on him is he’s this way to the Series. I never saw Don so sharp.”

Mauch was proved right, as Drysdale struck out nine, and allowed only three singles, an intentional walk, and a hit batter. One of the hits was a bunt by Mickey Mantle to star the second inning, one that went over the head of Jim Gilliam at third base.

Dodgers World Series shutouts

Pitcher Year & game Score
Pitcher Year & game Score
Bruleigh Grimes 1920 Game 2 3-0
Preacher Roe 1949 Game 2 1-0
Johnny Podres 1955 Game 7 2-0
Clem Labine 1956 Game 6 1-0
Don Drysdale 1963 Game 3 1-0
Through 1963 Source: Baseball Reference

“It was a tape-measure bunt, probably the longest in Series history, but the Mick died on third as one of two Yankees to reach that station in two hours of huffing and puffing,” wrote Dyer in the Los Angeles Times.

After the second inning, the only other Yankee to reach scoring position was Tony Kubek, who singled in the sixth and was bunted to second. But he, like every other Yankee in Game 3.

“I wasn’t nervous and I wasn’t tired. It was a tight game and a World Series game, and that’s no time to get edgy or think about getting tired,” Drysdale said, per Charley Grieve of the San Francisco Examiner. “You have only one thought on your mind and that’s to bear down.”

To this day, Don Drysdale’s Game Score of 89 is the highest ever in a Dodgers postseason start.

The Dodgers didn’t do much better against Jim Bouton, who only allowed one run in seven innings.

Jim Gilliam walked with one out in the first, then advanced to second on a wild pitch with two outs. Tommy Davis singled him home with his sixth hit of the series.

Maybe the best threat against Drysdale came with two outs in the ninth, when Joe Pepitone came within a few feet of a game-tying home run to right field. “Pepitone crashed a high towering drive to right field — a soaring shot that drew moans from the shirt-sleeved crowd,” said the UPI game recap. “But Ron Fairly pulled it in with his back up against the bullpen fence.”

Drysdale pitched the fifth World Series shutout in Dodgers history, and the first since Clem Labine’s magnificent 10 innings in Game 6 in 1956 to keep Brooklyn’s season alive.

Los Angeles was such a hotbed of activity that a new term was needed for the area roads. From the Long Beach Independent:

Traffic was on the five freeways feeding access roads to the stadium that police were forced to issue a “sig alert,” a warning to motorists to use alternate routes because of the congestion.

“I suppose it was to be expected, but it’s still a major jam,” said Lt. W.C. Brown of the police traffice patrol prior to the start of the third game between the Dodgers and Yankees”

Previous 1963 reviews: Snider to Mets | Nate Oliver | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | All-Star Game | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Ed Roebuck | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23 | Week 24 | Week 25 | World Series Game 1 | World Series Game 2

Game 3 particulars

Home runs: none

WP — Don Drysdale: 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 intentional walk, 9 strikeouts

LP — Jim Bouton: 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers are one game away from a championship, and they have the best pitcher in the world on the mound in Game 4, with Sandy Koufax starting Sunday against Whitey Ford in a rematch of Game 1.