When Norm Sherry Topped Warren Spahn

Debuted at age 27

Although Norm Sherry owns just 18 career home runs, he nicked a future Hall of Famer for two of the dingers.

“Hitting homers off [Warren] Spahn was something for ME. [His upper-case emphasis!] The first one came late into a game at home in L.A. and tied the game up. We went on and played 11 innings before we won. Second came in New York as a Met. Both came off fastballs over the middle of the plate.”

Sherry’s comeback as a major leaguer came in 1976, when he became manager of the California Angels. Although his stint as skipper didn’t last two years, he found a lengthy assignment as a San Francisco Giants coach. His assessment of three big league bosses intrigued me.

“Gene Autry was a real baseball fan and was ever present. Always in the clubhouse before the game and after. A real super man.

The owners that I played for? Walter O’Malley was a very nice man. They just didn’t pay well in those days.

At S.F., Bob Lurie was the best. Very serious.”

Tomorrow: a letter from the heart and soul of the 1960s California Angels, Jim Fregosi

Dodgers Norm, Larry Sherry Shared A Dream

Courtesy Mark Langill,
Los Angeles Dodgers

Catcher Norm Sherry dared to dream.

Making the majors? Playing (and winning) a World Series?

It’s enough to wish big for yourself. To be a kid who dreams that same dream for someone else — then sees it come true, times two? There’s no baseball statistic able to measure such a victory.

When I wrote to Norm Sherry, the ultimate prize I envisioned for him was sharing those dreams with a special teammate: brother Larry Sherry (Most Valuable Player of the 1959 World Series.)

Sherry confirmed that, writing:

“Being on the same team with my brother was a very big thrill. As kids, we played baseball all the time and always hoped we could some day play in the Big Leagues and be on the same team.”

The ultimate expression of that joy might have occurred on May 7, 1960. Sherry smacked a two-out walk-off homer to give his Dodgers an extra-inning win in front of a grateful home crowd at the Memorial Coliseum. This was Sherry’s first career four-bagger. If that wasn’t enough, the home run gave the victory to his batterymate: brother Larry! (Thanks for the memory, http://www.retrosheet.org/.)

Tomorrow: Sherry shares two good days against one Hall of Famer, then remembers three team owner bosses.

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