April 22, 2024

Indiana native Dodger, Carl Erskine, laid to rest at 97

Carl Erskine (right), pictured with his wife, Betty, pitched in five World Series.  - Peter Boyd on Flickr

Carl Erskine (right), pictured with his wife, Betty, pitched in five World Series.

Peter Boyd on Flickr

By Thomas Ouellette, IPR News 

Anderson native and Dodgers baseball player Carl Erskine was remembered at a hometown funeral Monday.

Erskine played for the Dodgers baseball team in both Brooklyn and LA from 1948 to 1959.

You would think the Baseball Hall of Famer would best be remembered as an amazing ball player. In reality, family and friends say it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of everything Carl Erskine was. If you ask his friends and family, his accomplishments off the field were just as impressive, if not more than his accolades on it.

Not only did Erskine serve as a civil rights activist but he also played an instrumental role in the creation of the Special Olympics. His son, who passed away in 2023, was his inspiration for helping grow the competition.

Jimmy Denny was a close friend for more than a decade. He believes that Erskine will be remembered for so much more than just baseball.

“His legacy is a little bit about baseball,” Denny said. “Yes, he’s a wonderful baseball player, World Series champion, but he was an amazing father, husband, grandfather, uncle, friend, just an ambassador of life, pretty much, is Carl Erskine, yes.”

The funeral saw over 100 people join to celebrate Carl Erskine’s life and legacy.

“Carl Erskine exudes class, And I think anybody who meets him knows that,” said National Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch.

Erskine’s name graces the Erskine Green Training Center, which trains people with disabilities for “meaningful employment.”

The funeral saw more than 100 people join to celebrate his life and legacy. That includes longtime friend Jeff Hardin, who opened the service by playing a song for Erskine on the very banjo that Erskine bought him decades ago.

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