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Pitcher Podres powered Brooklyn Dodgers to only World Series title

PORT HENRY, N.Y. -- Johnny Podres, who pitched the Brooklyn
Dodgers to their only World Series championship in 1955, was
remembered Thursday as a consummately confident player, supportive
coach and a man with a limitless love for baseball.
Podres died Sunday at age 75 after years of heart and kidney
problems. He was eulogized in a little church of the chilly shores
of Lake Champlain, near where he grew up as the son of an iron
miner and where he later retired.
"John no longer is going to suffer," Hall of Famer Tom
Lasorda, Podres' former Dodgers roommate, told a packed church
audience that included Red Sox star Curt Schilling and Don Zimmer.
"He's up there right now with Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jackie
Robinson, Carl Furillo, (Don) Drysdale. He's up there right now
wanting to know when he's going to pitch."
Lasorda said eulogizing his old friend was tough. But he got the
crowd of more than 100 laughing when he told them how he went to
Coney Island one opening day with Podres and Zimmer and won a car
full of stuffed animals at a pitching game. They sold the animals.
Podres was a lefty on a Brooklyn Dodgers team loaded with big
stars such as Robinson, Reese and Hodges. His moment came days
after his 23rd birthday, during Game 7 of the 1955 World Series
against the Yankees.
Teammates recall Podres telling them to "just give me one run"
before taking the mound in a 2-0 win in the series-clinching game.
The win ended the Dodgers' run as a team of also-rans reduced to
saying "wait till next year" every fall. The picture of an
exuberant Podres lifted off the grass by catcher Roy Campanella
became an iconic image of the '50s squad, later glorified by author
Roger Kahn in "The Boys of Summer."
Podres remained with the Dodgers when they moved to Los Angeles
after the 1957 season and later pitched for the Detroit Tigers and
San Diego Padres. He retired in 1969 at 36 with a lifetime record
of 148-116, an ERA of 3.68, and a 3-1 mark with a 2.11 ERA in six
World Series starts.
Podres also worked as a pitching coach in Minnesota and
Philadelphia, where he helped develop Schilling.
Philadelphia Phillies co-owner Bill Giles said Podres' strength
was pumping up pitchers, even when they were getting hit hard. He
said Podres once walked to the mound when the Phillies were losing
8-0 to tell Mark Davis: "Mark, Mark, I cannot believe this. You
have great stuff! Now hang in there, baby!"
Outside the church after the service, Schilling said he met Podres
not long after he lost his father and said he "helped me grow
up."
"He taught me a whole lot more than baseball," Schilling said.