Don Drysdale's widow selling awards over objections

LOS ANGELES -- Kelly Drysdale remembers seeing her dad's Cy Young Award in her house growing up. Now she's heartbroken that Don Drysdale's widow is selling memorabilia from his years as a star pitcher for the Dodgers.

Ann Meyers Drysdale, the Hall of Fame basketball player who was married to the Hall of Fame pitcher, is putting the items up for auction starting Wednesday. The collection is unusual in that it covers Drysdale's entire career -- from his days at Van Nuys High in suburban Los Angeles to his minor league stints with the Bakersfield Indians and Montreal Royals to his major league stardom with the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

Kelly Drysdale told The Associated Press that Meyers Drysdale didn't inform the rest of the Drysdale family about the auction or first offer them any keepsakes. The items came into her control through the will of Don Drysdale, who died of a heart attack in July 1993 while on the road broadcasting for the Dodgers.

"She has the legal right, but moral and decent right? Absolutely not," Kelly Drysdale said through tears by phone from her home in Hawaii. "It's not a very nice thing for someone to do. This is something that has caught me by surprise and is heartbreaking."

Meyers Drysdale said timing played no part in the sale and that many of the items were in storage. She said a portion of the proceeds would go to as yet-undecided charities and the rest "to help my kids down the road."

"It wasn't an easy decision," she said by phone from her home in Phoenix. "I do believe this is something Don would have thought of doing for his family."

Informed of her stepdaughter's comments, Meyers said, "It's a family matter and I'll leave it at that."

Kelly Drysdale is the only child from her father's first marriage. She said her mother, Ginger, and Drysdale's only sibling, Nancy, feel the same as she does. She said her relationship with Meyers Drysdale had been cordial up until now, and that she has spent time with her stepsiblings over the years.

"I might understand if it was a matter of money, but if it's just to get them out of storage, why not offer them to the family first?" Kelly Drysdale said. "If my dad wanted to get rid of these things, he probably would have."

The 166 lots include Don Drysdale's World Series championship rings from 1963 and 1965; both carry minimum bids of $15,000. Other items include his 1956 National League championship ring; the used ball from the final inning of his record 58 2/3 scoreless innings streak that ended on June 8, 1968; a 1988 World Series ring when he was a Dodgers broadcaster; spikes caked with dirt; gloves, bats, trophies; and even his bowling ball and shoes.

Now 56, the same age as her father when he died, Kelly Drysdale particularly wanted his 1962 Cy Young Award, which has a minimum bid of $15,000.

"That was the one thing that was proudly and prominently displayed in every house in which I ever lived," she said. "That was the first thing I asked if I could have and there was never a reply. These are things that have been in my family long before she ever met my father."

She said the only baseball item she has is his 1959 World Series championship ring, which she received from her late grandparents, along with a necklace her father had made using a diamond from the ring.

SCP Auctions estimates the entire collection to bring in around $1 million, according to vice president Dan Imler.

"There are a whole generation of fans alive today who followed him and saw him play," he said. "He's still relevant."

Imler said Drysdale's game-used gloves would be likely the most prized by collectors.

"They're very personalized and customized," he said. "Don's glove clearly shows use over many, many seasons."

Meyers Drysdale said sorting through boxes of memorabilia brought "a lot of laughs, memories and tears." She allowed the couple's three grown children to select some keepsakes.

"It's been tough on them," she said. "Some have struggled with it, but it's the right thing to do."

Don Jr., known as D.J., is 28 and works at an internet company in Arizona; Darren is a 26-year-old college student; and daughter Drew is a 23-year-old UCLA history major interested in a music career. They were 6 and under when their father died.

"Even now a lot of people will ask about Don," Meyers Drysdale said. "It's great to not only hear stories from fans but his old teammates. Certainly things I did not know."

Meyers Drysdale was influenced by conversations she had with fellow Hall of Famer Julius Erving and former Boston Celtics star Bob Cousy. Both men sold their memorabilia, telling her it was a way to help their families while they are still alive.

"He had a tremendous life," she said, "and it's a chance to share with people."

The online auction runs through April 23. The web site is SCPAuctions.com.