No matter what happens on the playing field, it's been a sad season for the Dodgers.
The unexpected death of broadcaster Don Drysdale, one of the great Dodger pitchers of the 1950s and '60s, has stunned an organization still mourning Hall of Fame member Roy Campanella, who died last week at 71. Both were victims of heart attacks.
The death of Drysdale, 56, especially affected those fans who came to know Dodger lore in the 35 years since the team moved to Los Angeles. In those first seasons here Drysdale, a native of Van Nuys, was the closest thing the Dodgers had to a home-grown hero--a durable player who not only set many pitching records but wielded a pretty good bat, too.
Campanella was part of the great Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s, the catcher who three times was voted most valuable player on a team of stars that included Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and the great Jackie Robinson.
Following Robinson, Campanella helped open the door to other blacks in crossing professional baseball's color line. And Campanella too carried himself with dignity and courage beyond the playing field--qualities enhanced after he was left paralyzed by a 1958 auto accident.
He never played for the L.A. team, but Southern California fans knew "Campy" as the Dodgers' goodwill ambassador, often at community events and almost always at Dodger Stadium in his wheelchair, greeting all with a joy that belied his injuries.
Drysdale and Campanella were a special pair of Dodger battery mates and will be deeply missed.