Memories of Larry Sherry

Just as Chanukah gets into swing, we have lost the wonderful Larry Sherry and the memories of this special ballplayer warm the heart during this holiday season.

When a Jewish man dies, the burial is immediate but there is an extended number of days when 10 Jewish men (comprising a "minyon") remember the soul for days. Larry Sherry's "minyon" takes place simultaneously with the Chanukah observance and it is only fitting.

Sherry, who passed at 71, was a contemporary of Don Drysdale, the tall Californian with surfer looks. A closer look at Drysdale espied now a smile but a sinister sneer. With a lanky, whiplash delivery, Drysdale would slip a close one with all the artistry of Mafia assassin. No kid here. A killer.

Well, Larry Sherry was just as nasty when he was in his office on the pitching mound. One tough street kid.

The toughness resulted in a World Series or two for the Dodgers.

Along with his older catching brother Norm and their co-religionist Sanford Koufax, the Dodgers had a significant contingent of Hebrew players - winners all.

These days, when adversity strikes a Dodgers pitcher, there is as often as not to be seen sulking, fretting, pacing around the mound, maybe an eyebrow cocked at the umpire or a finger pointed to an errant fielder, a handy excuse or alibi or justification for the soon to follow further disaster.

Now under the likes of Drysdale the Driller, Koufax the machine and Sherry the tough guy, there were no alibi.

Something would happen all right, something to the other team, and it was not often good. The message was quick - don't even think about getting comfortable up there or you will assuredly get hurt. Do not plan to be up there too long. It would be better to practice your dancing or evasion techniques rather than digging in and taking a comfortable swing.

Could you imagine what the estimate Brad Penny could perform with a generous transplant of one Larry Sherry.

We haven't seen the will yet, but we hope he bequeathed generous portions of Sherry testosterone to the Dodgers staff. Lest you think we are singling out anyone, there are others on the staff who would do better with a guts transplant. A little attitude adjustment and the bullpen would be revitalized without having to be changed.

God is a funny guy who does funny things sometimes. Betcha' there had to be a zillion times that Larry Sherry prayed for the physical talent of say Jeff Weaver. Now put Larry Sherry's heart and guts into some of today's pitchers and we would have something.

We get the hands we are dealt. Today, a young Larry Sherry would be worth a $10 million a year contract easy. As it was, Sherry never made big money, nothing like today, but he was able to make a living in baseball for many years, which was better than having to lug a mail sack.

Now both the Sherry brothers were the types of Dodgers who made their contributions with their brains and guys and not necessarily with there brilliant repartee, but they were rock solid contributions deeply respected inside the clubhouse.

The Sherrys missed Brooklyn and that was a shame because even though they were California kids by birth, there were Brooklyn types by their souls - earthy, ethnic, inner city kids, giving no quarter.

Larry Sherry guaranteed would have thrown a high hard one very, very inside to that penny ante two bit Iranian dictator. What he would have done to the Venezuela comedian can not be contemplated in mixed company nor is appropriate for the holiday season.

Larry Sherry was a mensch, a wonder Yiddish word without real equivalent in English. Suffice it to say, it means the kind of guy you want to go into battle with.

So as we celebrate the good life of Larry Sherry, may we have a few mensch on the Dodgers.

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