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Remembering Jimmy Erskine

Jimmy, the son of star pitcher Carl Erskine, was a fixture at the team’s adult camps and other events.

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Mark Langill/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jimmy Erskine, the youngest son of former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine, died at age 63 on Saturday. Jimmy was born with Down syndrome in 1960, a time when many other children with special needs were placed in group homes due to lack of resources that could help them stay with their families. The Erskines, however, chose a different path that helped Jimmy become a part of Dodgers baseball.

“I don’t think it’s an overestimation of their legacy and how many thousands of kids and their families from Indiana — and certainly well beyond there — benefitted from their work and their unconditional love of the Erskines with their son Jimmy,” said filmmaker Ted Green, who profiled the family in his film “The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story.”

Carl, a star pitcher in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, appeared in five World Series and pitched two no-hitters during his 122-78 career with the Dodgers. He remained in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana after retiring in 1959 and, along with his wife Betty, dedicated himself to ensuring that Jimmy had a fulfilling and joyful childhood.

Jimmy participated in the Special Olympics and attended Dodger camps in Florida and autograph signings with his father, among other high-profile events, and befriended Dodger chairman Walter O’Malley. He had a tradition of ending each camp by taking a lap around the bases and sliding into home plate.

“I think Jimmy taught people how to love,” said Jim Denny, a family friend who who took Jimmy to Special Olympics competitions. “That was one of his biggest attributes — he loved everybody. He was always happy. He was never upset. He just had a huge heart and was a wonderful person.”

Mark Langill at Dodgers Insider tells more of Jimmy’s story.

Dodgers Links

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