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Of 1968, Martin, Bobby and Don

June 1, 2013

2013 has the same calendar as 1968 after the Leap Year day of February 29th. This manifests in some memorable and tragic events having exact 45th year anniversaries this year.

Those events include the assassinations of Martin Luther King on Thursday April 4th and Robert F. Kennedy on Tuesday June 4th, the latter three days away.

Senator Kennedy was killed in Los Angeles and surely spent time there campaigning in the California Primary in his presidential bid.

During that time Dodgers’ pitcher Don Drysdale pitched in three games, all in Los Angeles, as he broke Walter Johnson’s consecutive innings scoreless streak.

Forty five years ago today, I listened to Win Elliott on Sports Central USA give an account of Drysdale, with help from a call by umpire Harry Wendelstedt, get out of a bases loaded, none out jam in the top of the ninth inning to get a record tying fifth straight shutout. The game was played on Friday night May 31, exactly 45 years ago yesterday.

Robert F. Kennedy included congratulations to Drysdale, for his record breaking sixth consecutive shutout  in his “victory” speech after he “won” the California primary on June 4th. Soon after Senator Kennedy was shot and eventually died. With his death, so much hope also died. This was an event that haunts for all of time.

On Saturday June 8th, funeral services were held for Robert Kennedy. His lone living  brother Edward “Ted” Kennedy eulogized him and in the course of doing so, quoted George Bernard Shaw. “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream of things that never were and say why not.”

That night in Los Angeles, Drysdale set the record for consecutive scoreless innings before a sacrifice fly by an obscure outfielder named Howie Bedell ended the streak.

On Sunday June 8, 1986, “Big D” as Drysdale was known, wrote “remembering Howie Bedell” on a piece of paper for me.

Soon it will be 20 years since I heard the news that Drysdale had died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Montreal.

I truly  wish we could go back and rectify the mistakes, get another chance.  Thus I dream of things that not only do not happen but from all indications can not happen.


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  1. L Wilson permalink

    Nice read, but he died in Montreal, not Philly. 20 years ago today.

  2. Andy B. permalink

    I just saw your comment now,a month and 17 days since you correctly stated “Big D” died in Montreal. So sorry for my factual error in regard to where Don Drysdale died.

    Subsequent to my post, with years and events to catch up on a friend, who knew Don well and worked with him at ABC, began our 4 hour conversation with memories of Don. He certainly knew how to talk. So many are so glad for his words.

    Thank you again for your comment.

  3. Now nearly five years later and nearly fifty years after the tragic shooting, I corrected the site of Don Drysdale’s death. That was almost twenty five years ago.

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