Sixty years ago last week, the 1963 Dodgers continued an up-and-down start to their season, with a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium dropped the Dodgers to just 10-10.
Don Drysdale had a rough end to his April, allowing six runs in a loss to Milwaukee on Monday, followed by giving up five runs Friday in a no-decision, a game the Dodgers eventually lost.
Batter of the week
Frank Howard remained hot, hitting three home runs and a double. One of the home runs was a walk-off shot to beat Milwaukee on Tuesday, one of only two hits that day for the Dodgers. Remember last week’s talk about Howard starting to wear eyeglasses? That continued this week as well.
Milton Richman’s lede in his United Press International recap of the walk-off win was, “Frank Howard finally put on glasses and suddenly the Los Angeles Dodgers can see a much rosier future.”
The picture caption in that story includes Howard saying, “The specs are just what the doctor ordered — three years ago!”
Pitcher of the week
Sandy Koufax pitched another scoreless start, but had to leave in the seventh inning on Tuesday with a muscle spasm in his left shoulder. A few days later, this was diagnosed by Dr. Robert Kerlan as “an injury to the posterior capsule of the left shoulder joint,” per UPI.
Koufax, who has a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30 innings through four starts, is expected to miss at least 10 days.
Week 3 results
30 runs scored (4.29 per game)
32 runs allowed (4.57 per game)
.471 pythagorean win percentage
Year to date
73 runs scored (3.65 per game)
68 runs allowed (3.40 per game)
.532 pythagorean win percentage (11-9)
A speed bump: Maury Wills set a major league record with 104 stolen bases last season, but through his first 11 games in 1963 had yet to swipe a bag. Wills stole his first base of the season on Thursday against the Reds, in the Dodgers’ 17th game, and Wills’ 12th. He missed five games in the first week after an ankle injury.
“First, he’s had a bad ankle,” manager Walt Alston told the Oxnard Press Courier. “Second, he hasn’t been getting on base much. Third, the infield is still pretty soft.”
Wills entered the two-game series against the Reds with a .310 on-base percentage. He ended the week with a .308 on-base percentage, but made the most of his times on base in that mini-stretch. Wills stole two bases Thursday against Cincinnati, swiped another base Friday against St. Louis, and stole another one on Sunday.
Power play: The Dodgers finally found their home runs stroke last week, after only hitting one homer in the first 12 games of the season. On Wednesday, John Roseboro, Ron Fairly, and Howard all homered against reliever John Tsitouris, the first time the Dodgers hit three home runs in a game at Dodger Stadium. Then, Los Angeles did it again on Thursday, with Willie Davis joining Roseboro and Fairly on the long-ball train.
In 1962, the first year of Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers hit 47 home runs at home and 93 on the road. That included topping out at two home runs in a game in Los Angeles only five times. In 1963, through the first 14-game homestand, the Dodgers have 13 home runs, including three multi-homer efforts.
Rain, rain go away: In Thursday’s 7-1 win over the Reds, the skies opened up, but not enough to stop play. From the Oxnard Press Courier: “The Dodgers haven’t had a game postponed or interrupted by rain since they moved to Los Angeles in , but they just missed getting soaked Thursday night. It drizzled in the late innings and was raining hard a few minutes after the game.”
While a Los Angeles rainout hadn’t yet happened — and would not, until April 21, 1967 — it’s worth noting that relative torrential downpours in February 1962 did delay finishing off the construction of Dodger Stadium, which included the drastic measure of using a jet airplane engine to help dry the field to get ready for opening day.
- Monday, Apr. 22: Braves 10, Dodgers 2
- Tuesday, Apr. 23: Dodgers 2, Braves 1
- Wednesday, Apr. 24: Dodgers 7, Reds 0
- Thursday, Apr. 25: Dodgers 7, Reds 1
- Friday, Apr. 26: Cardinals 8, Dodgers 7
- Saturday, Apr. 27: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 0
- Sunday, Apr. 28: Cardinals 9, Dodgers 5
1963 Week 3 batting
1963 Week 3 pitching
The week ahead
After two weeks at home, the Dodgers hit the road for an 11-game road trip. That starts an odd week and the Bob Kuzava gauntlet*, playing three games in New York against the second-year Mets, then weirdly only one game in Philadelphia before heading to Pittsburgh for a wraparound weekend series.
*With the Mets only in their second season, none of their players from 1962 played previously with both the Phillies and Pirates. So this week’s gauntlet is limited to players who played for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.