Remembering a Brooklyn legend 

January, 14, 2008
We lost another historical light yesterday, as Johnny Podres passed. He was 75. As one of the best-known Brooklyn Dodgers, Podres has many admirers among the older set. If you're a member of the younger set and don't understand what all the fuss is about, you might want to start with a couple of obituaries: Here are Dodgers historian Richard Goldstein and Daily News columnist Bill Madden (that one comes with a couple of classic images).

Podres remains beloved in Brooklyn because in 1955 he beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series. It was Brooklyn's first World Series title -- it was their eighth try and their sixth against the Bronxians -- and their last, as three seasons later they were gone.

In retrospect, it doesn't seem so strange, Podres beating the Bombers, since he would finish his career with 148 wins. At the time, though? Podres did have a fair amount of experience, and was already 29-21 in three seasons with the Dodgers. But his best years were ahead of him, and due to a couple of injuries, he'd gone just 9-10 during the '55 season. According to Podres, there was some question about whether he'd even make the Dodgers' World Series roster. But on the last day of the season, he started against the Pirates and pitched two good innings to hold his spot. Brooklyn's staff wasn't all that deep in the first place and became positively shallow in Game 1, as Dodgers ace Don Newcombe got knocked out in the sixth inning and, complaining of a sore arm, wouldn't pitch again in the Series.