continued The Witherbee native was named the 1955 World Series Most Valuable Player after winning two games, including the decisive seventh game, 2-0. He was also Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year that season
Podres ended a legendary sports drought. The Dodgers had lost the World Series to their cross-town rival Yankees five straight times. The day after the final game the New York Post published a full-page photo of the Dodger ace with the headline: PODRES! (Need We Say More?).
As the story goes, Podres told his teammates to get him just one run and the Dodgers would win Game 7. They got him two, and the franchise celebrated its first and only championship while playing in Brooklyn.
The celebration in Brooklyn following the World Series victory was said to be greater than at the end of World War II. Moriah celebrated, too. Shortly after winning the World Series, Podres returned home for a huge parade and celebration.
Salerno was born in 1959 and doesn’t remember Podres as a player, but got to know him as a pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.
When Salerno was living in southern California, he contacted Podres while the Phillies were in Los Angeles. Podres invited the fellow Moriah native to a game and a friendship was struck.
“Anytime the Phillies were in Los Angeles or San Diego Johnny would get me tickets,” Salerno recalled. “He introduced me to a lot of players. I got to know Curt Schilling pretty well. He was a wonderful man.”
Podres pitched 15 years in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Padres and Tigers, posting a 148-116 record with 3.67 earned run average. The southpaw appeared in three All-Star Games and was 4-1 in World Series play (1953, 1955, 1959 and 1963) with a 2.11 ERA.
Podres also served as a pitching coach when he was older, helping develop Frank Viola when he was with the Minnesota Twins and Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling when he was on the Philadelphia Phillies staff.