It has been sixty years since a LAD starter did what Caleb Ferguson is going to do tonight.
Only two Los Angeles Dodger pitchers have ever made their debut as a starter against the Pittsburgh Pirates and you have to go all the way to the inaugural season of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958 when these two starters did it.
Gcar Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H ER BB SO GSc 1 Bob Giallombardo 1958-06-21 LAD PIT L 7-11 4.0 7 5 3 2 27 1 Ralph Mauriello 1958-09-13 LAD PIT L 4-9 0.1 3 3 1 1 33
Yeah, I have never heard of Bob Giallombardo or Ralph Mauriello but with good reason.
Bob Giallombardo only made five starts in his career and they all came in 1958 at the age of 21. Even though his debut did not go well, Bob actually pitched well in 1958 and I don’t know why his career ended so quickly which led me to try to find out why but was was unsuccessful. I did find this cool tidbit.
The Brooklyn-born lefthander joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in their new home on the West Coast in 1958 after his showing in Reno the season before. Giallombardo was the star pitcher at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn the year after Sandy Koufax graduated from the same school. Bob was 1-1 in five starts with his victory coming by a 3-2 score over the Cincinnati Redlegs.
Ralph Mauriello also never pitched for the Dodgers after 1958, making only two career starts. Investigating why Ralph had such a short career I stumbled across this story and it struck me as I was reading it, that this is why I’m still blogging. The column in the LA Times was written in 1989 by Jeff Myers and the first sentence is what caught my eye.
Like Bob Uecker, who has raised self-deprecation to an art, former Dodger right-hander Ralph Mauriello of West Hills enjoys poking fun at his major league career, which spanned 12 innings at the tail end of the 1958 season.
West Hills!!! Ralph had been living right under my nose and while the story was written when he was 54 he is now 83 and still alive. I wonder if he still resides in West Hills.
“I went into Buzzie’s office and he showed me a list with the names of 11 pitchers,” Mauriello says. “They were going to keep 10. At the bottom of the list it said ‘Erskine or Mauriello.’ They kept Erskine.”
We can only hope that young Caleb Ferguson not only has a better debut than Bob or Ralph, but that he has a much longer Dodger career. No one was expecting Caleb to be making any starts for the Dodgers in 2018 but here we are and as we all know, debut games are must watch games.
He only has to follow a team shutout. In case you missed my earlier write-up on Caleb when he got promoted to AAA here it is.
In his AAA debut last week Caleb kind of announced himself to those who had never heard of him. He went five innings, gave up 3 hits, zero earned runs, zero walks, and struck out ten. The kind of game that if Walker Buehler or Dennis Santana had thrown would have gotten all sorts of oohs and aahs.