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The Dodgers’ Jewish Battery

Lawrence Bush
December 17, 2017

Larry Sherry, relief pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers, died at 71 on this date in 2006. Sherry and his brother, catcher Norm Sherry, were the first Jewish battery (pitcher-catcher team) in major league baseball history, and the two of them helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series victory in six games over the Chicago White Sox in 1959. In that series, Sherry won completed all four Dodger victories and was the winner of record for two of them, while compiling had a 0.71 ERA in ​12 23 innings. He was named most valuable player for the series. Sherry also spent some time with the Houston Astros and California Angels. Lifetime, he had a 53–44 record, with 606 strikeouts, 82 saves and a 3.67 ERA in 416 games.

"That Sherry was pitching in the majors, let alone starring, seemed a long shot. He was born with club feet, requiring surgery as an infant, and he wore special shoes after that. . . . Sherry was signed out of high school by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ organization in 1953 and had mixed success in the minor leagues. But while pitching in Venezuelan winter ball after the 1958 season, he developed a slider, with help from his brother Norm, a catcher and later his Dodgers teammate. The slider complemented his fastball and curve. 'By the time the winter season was over, I knew I could depend on the slider, even in a jam, and it proved to be the turning point of my career,' Sherry told The Los Angeles Times." —Richard Goldstein, New York Times

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.