Jul 15, 2014

Former Mets Catcher Norm Sherry (1963) & His Big League Brother Larry Sherry

Norm Sherry was born on July 16th 1931 in New York City. The Sherry family soon moved out West to Los Angeles California where Norm attended high school.

The five foot eleven right handed hitting catcher, was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers just like his brother, as a free agent in 1950. He went off to serve two years in the Military during the Korean War returning to baseball in 1954.

He spent most of the decade of the fifties in the minor leagues, hitting 44 HRs with 200 RBIs batting .245. He only played in two games in the 1959 season, at the big league level. The first was in the second game of the season, where he got his first MLB hit. The next game would be the Dodgers 150th game where he appeared as a defensive replacement. He made it to the Dodgers as Johnny Roseboro’s backup catcher in 1960 & would even spend a few games catching his brother Larry while behind the plate.

Norm Sherry’s claim to fame was talking to a young wild pitcher named Sandy Koufax who couldn’t find his control. He told Koufax to take something off his fast ball & that advice helped Koufax gain his control. Koufax went on to dominate the game in the mid sixties & go on to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Arthritis ended his career early or he probably would have gone on to own many more baseball pitching records. In 1962 Sherry would see Koufax strike out 216 batters wile going 14-7 with a 2.54 ERA.

In October of 1962 Norm Sherry's contract was sold to the New York Mets. The ’63 Mets had five different guys behind the plate at one time or another playing as the team’s catcher. Choo Choo Cloeman (91 games), Jesse Gonder (31 games), Chris Cannizzaro (15 games), Sammy Taylor (17 games) & Norm Sherry.

Sherry saw action in 61 games behind the plate & threw out 51% of would be base stealers, posting a .980 fielding %. On April 20th he hit a HR off Warren Spahn in Milwaukee helping the Mets to a 3-1 win over the Braves. Two weeks later he hit his last career HR, it was a three run shot against the San Francisco Giants. On July 16th, Sherry singled off the Houston Colt 45's Harry Woodeshick, driving in the game winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning at the Polo Grounds.

In his five year career he hit .215 with 107 hits 18 HRs & 69 RBIs, throwing out 38% of would be base stealers. At the plate, he hit .136 with 2 HRs & 11 RBIs.

Retirement: After his playing days he managed in the minor leagues with the Dodgers & California Angels organizations in the late sixties.

He coached the Angels big league club in 1970-1971 returning in 1976 under manager Dick Williams. After Williams was fired, Sherry was named the team's manger in July 1976. But he was fired himself the following season also in the month of July.

Sherry then went on to have a successful career as a pitching coach under Dick Williams in San Diego with the Padres & in Montreal with the Expos. He later coached the San Francisco Giants under former Brooklyn Dodger Roger Craig in the late eighties.

Larry Sherry was born July 25th 1935 and was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. The five foot eleven, right hander debuted in 1958 for five games, but was a huge part of the 1950 Los Angeles Dodgers World Championship team. Sherry made nine starts & appeared in 23 games overall posting a 2.19 ERA (best on the Dodger staff) with a 7-2 record with a .778 winning % also best on the Dodger staff.

Post Season: In the 1959 World Series against the Chicago “Go Go” White Sox, Sherry had a part in all four Dodger wins, earning two victories with two saves posting a 0.71 ERA. In Game #2 he pitched three innings earning the save in relief of Johnny Podres.

1959 World Series: Game #3
In Game #3 he relieved Don Drysdale in the 8th inning earning his second save at Dodger Stadium. In Game #4 Sherry pitched two scorless innings in a 4-4 tie at Dodgers Stadium, earning the win when Gil Hodges hit an 8th inning HR.

In Game #6 the Dodgers broke the game open with an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning. Sherry relieved Johnny Podres and rolled along to the 8-4 win as the Dodgers won their first championship in Los Angeles. In 12 innings Sherry only allowed one earned run.

The next year Sherry went 14-10 with seven saves out of the Dodger pen. He went on to become one of the nest relievers of the sixties, finishing in the top ten in saves four times in the decade. In 1961 he saved his Dodger career high 15 games for Los Angeles (fifth in the league) & then saved 11 more the next season.

In April 1964 he was traded to Detroit for Lou Johnson. Sherry would save a career best 20 games (third in the AL) in 1966 for the third place Tigers.

In his 11 season career Larry Sherry was 53-44 with 82 saves & a 3.67 ERA in 416 games retiring in 1969. After his playing career Larry was a coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1977 -1978) & California Angels (1979 -1980).

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