- September 30, 1932
- 5' 11"
- 170 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-17-1953 with BRO
- Allstar Selections:
- 1955 BR, 1955 WsMVP
Had Johnny Podres won just one game for the Dodgers, he would have been a Brooklyn hero. That one game was Game Seven of the 1955 World Series, when he blanked the Yankees and gave the Dodgers their first World Championship.The 22-year old became an instant sensation in Flatbush.
Growing up in upstate New York, Johnny Podres was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and his father, a miner, encouraged Johnny to play ball as much as possible. He was signed by Brooklyn scout Alex Isabelle for $6,000 and a new glove.
Podres made his debut in 1953, the 20 year old debuted the same year as Al Kaline, Ernie Banks, Don Larsen, Roy Face and Junior Gilliam. He went 9-4 with a 4.23 ERA but control for Podres was a problem as he allowed 126 hits and 64 walks in 115 innings pitched.
In 1954, he won more than he lost, going 11-7, but control remained a big problem for the 21 year old. Allowing 200 base runners in just 151 innings pitched.
In 1955, Only 9-10 during the regular season, again allowing over 200 base runners in 159 innings. He beat the Yankees 8-3 in Game Three of the World Series on September 30 which was his birthday.
He then shut them out 2-0 in Game Seven, giving Brooklyn its only title after five consecutive Series losses to their Bronx rivals. It was the triumph in Game Seven in '55 that earned Podres everlasting fame. His victory came two years to the day he had lost game to the Yankees in 1953.
Podres was given the first-ever World Series MVP Award by Sportmagazine and presented with a red two-seater Corvette. Later he was honored as the Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
After spending 1956 in the Navy, Podres was a consistent winner on strong Dodger staffs from 1957 to 1963. He won 100 games during this time span, with a 3.53 ERA.
In 1957 he led the NL in both ERA (2.66) and shutouts (6). In 1961 he won a career-high 18 games and led the NL in winning percentage (.783), with just 51 walks in more than 180 innings pitched.
On July 2, 1962, he pitched his finest game, retiring the first 20 Phillies before Ted Savage singled, and striking out eight batters in a row.
Podres pitched from 1964 - 1969 mostly in releif or spot duty going 19-20 for the Dodgers, Tigers and Padres.
He used a good fastball, Max Macon taught him the curveball; his changeup became one of his most effective pitches, and it gave the Yankees headaches in Game Seven.
After his playing career, Podres served as the pitching coach for the Padres, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies for 13 seasons between 1973 and1996. Among the pitchers he worked with were Frank Viola and Curt Schilling.
He later settled in Queensbury, New York and died at age 75 in Glens Falls, New York, after being hospitalized for heart and kidney ailments and a leg infection. Podres was survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Joni Taylor of Ice Follies fame, and his two sons, Joe and John Jr. He is interred at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Moriah, New York, which is in the Adirondack Park.
Podres was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in six World Series starts, all for the Dodgers. He won Game Two in both the 1959 and 1963 World Series, beating the Yanks again in the latter season. Podres played on four World Series teams and the Dodgers won in 55, 59 and 63.
He used a good fastball, Max Macon taught him the curveball; his changeup became one of his most effective pitches, and it gave the Yankees headaches in Game Seven..
Quotes From Johnny Podres
"I think dad was jumpier than I was. I remember when I got on the Dodgers roster, my father couldn't eat all day because he was so excited when he heard the news." — Johnny Podres on the excitement of Game Seven of the 1955 World Series
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