Danny McDevitt, who left his imprint on baseball history by pitching the last game for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in 1957, died Saturday, two days after his 78th birthday.
McDevitt, who lived in Social Circle, Ga., died at Newton Medical Center in nearby Covington, a hospital spokeswoman confirmed. The cause was not given.
McDevitt was a rookie left-handed pitcher who had spent six seasons in the minor leagues for the New York Yankee and Dodger organizations before he was called up to the majors in June 1957. Known as a hard thrower with control problems, McDevitt threw a five-hit shutout for the Dodgers in a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 24, 1957.
It was not only the last game of the season for the third-place Dodgers, it was also the last game they would play at Ebbets Field. Only 6,702 fans showed up. Two weeks later, owner Walter O’Malley announced he was moving the franchise to Los Angeles, where the Dodgers opened the next spring at the Coliseum.
“It was just another game, as far as I knew,” McDevitt told Times columnist Jerry Crowe in 2007. “All the older guys – Pee Wee [Reese] and Duke [Snider] and those guys – seemed to know the facts, but I didn’t know.
“I couldn’t believe that after working my butt off to get to Brooklyn that I would be going back to another minor league town, which is what L.A. was then.”
McDevitt finished his rookie season with a 7-4 record and a 3.25 earned-run average. His next-best season was 1959, when he went 10-8 with four saves and a 3.97 ERA and the Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
He was sold to the Yankees after the 1960 season and played for the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City A’s before retiring in 1962 with a 21-27 record and 4.40 ERA.
Daniel Eugene McDevitt was born Nov. 18, 1932, in New York and grew up in Hallstead, Pa., where his father played catch with him at night after coming home from work. McDevitt served in the military in the early 1950s, between minor league assignments. After baseball he worked as a minor league umpire, held government jobs in Mississippi and Alabama, then sold real estate in Georgia.
On display at Dodger Stadium is the original home plate used in the final game at Ebbets Field, along with a plaque describing McDevitt’s role in the contest.