This was the Series where Dusty Rhodes was so hot as a pinch hitter. You have to give Durocher credit for that. While he was the gambling type of manager who would take chances, he also had things figured out two or three innings ahead. He knew Dusty Rhodes was a high-ball hitter, and he had him ready for the right pitchers. He was a tough manager, but he never carried a grudge. Whatever he said to someone in the clubhouse was forgotten. But could he talk. You always knew Leo was around.
The next year was my last with the Giants, who thought I was through, even though I had the best record on the team. I went to Cleveland in July on waivers. Before I left, Leo thanked me for all the help I'd given to the Giants over the years, but no one else from the ball club ever said a word to me.
I could have used some more kind words, because almost everything went wrong in Cleveland. I was working out of the bullpen, which is trouble enough, but I also didn't know the hitters in the league, and the American League umpires, unlike those in the National League who knew how I worked and would give me the corners when I had to come in there on the plate, gave me nothing. I finished with an 0-2 record.
The following spring I reported in good shape, expecting to prove I wasn't washed up. The trouble was the Indians—with Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, Don Mossi and Ray Narleski—had all the pitching they needed. It came down to me and Bob Feller, who for years was the Indians. I was the one to go. In mid-May I wound up with Brooklyn, of all teams, and for almost nothing. The Dodgers had had some deal with the Indians before, and Buzzie Bavasi, the general manager, took me instead of the $1,000 change. I don't care how cheaply they got me. That was the biggest and nicest break of my big-league career. I wouldn't have believed it—me the old Dodger hater—but I was made for Brooklyn and Brooklyn for me.
To begin with, there was Walter Alston. He was a very different manager from Durocher—quiet, unassuming, pretty conservative. But, like Leo, he knew his players and he could be powerfully tough when he had to be, like the time when he locked himself in the clubhouse with Don Newcombe and asked, 'Are you still refusing to pitch batting practice?" Newcombe said he'd be happy to pitch batting practice.
I pitched batting practice my first day, and a funny thing happened. With my first pitch I knocked Reese down. He got up and drew his hands across the letters. "Hey," he said, "we're on the same team, Dodgers." I told him it slipped. It had, but I could see that the other Dodgers were telling each other what a tough son-of-a-gun Maglie was, he even knocked his own teammates down.
Those were great days with the Dodgers. In fact, I got more of a kick out of them than I ever did in all my years with the Giants. All of a sudden I was the hero of the fans, who used to boo me mercilessly. Giant fans were marvelous, but Dodger fans were better, possibly because I had come over from the other side. I get along fine with all the players, too—Robinson, Snider, Campy, Hodges, Pee Wee. Furillo, who was supposed to hate me, turned out to be my best friend. I used to talk pitching a lot with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, who were both youngsters then. I remember one game against the Giants when Mays hit a homer off Drysdale. He came in after the inning and threw his glove down. "What's the matter, Don?" I asked. "He hit my curveball." I said, "Don, don't throw him the curveball. Let him see it now and then. Next time give him one high and inside." Don did it the next two times, and Willie backed away. Don gave me a lot of credit. He won 17 games that year. I talked pitching to him all the time.
The year was 1956, the year the Dodgers nosed out the Braves for the pennant. I helped with 13 wins and, at the end of that season, enjoyed one of the highlights of my career. It came on the night of September 25 against the Phillies. There were five games left in the season, and we were a game behind the Braves. In the first inning Marv Blaylock hit a line drive to left that Sandy Amoros caught. In the second inning Reese went way behind second to throw out Willie Jones. Those were the closest the Phillies came to getting any hits, as we won 5-0. It was my only no-hitter, and we were just half a game behind the Braves. With two games left, I beat the Pirates 6-2. We won the pennant by beating Pittsburgh on the final day 8-6.
The 1956 Series against the Yankees was a thriller. Alston had me start the opener at Ebbets Field. In the fifth inning my arm became a little tight, and Alston offered to take me out. "I'll be all right," I said, figuring I could get Yogi Berra out. Then almost came disaster. I hung a curveball. Yogi went after it but he popped it up for the out. It should have gone out of the park. Bill Skowron also popped up to finish the inning. My arm was all right the rest of the way, and we won 6-3 as I struck out 10.
In the second game we murdered the Yankees 13-8 after going behind 6-0. Then, in the third game, the Series turned around when Ford beat us in the Stadium. I started the fourth game against Don Larsen. For four innings I had a no-hitter. The only trouble was that Larsen pitched a perfect game for nine, and we lost 2-0. Mantle got a home run off me. I don't want to take anything away from the Yankees or Larsen, but if that game had been at Ebbets Field we would have won. We hit a lot of shots to left center that were caught, and Mantle's homer wouldn't have gone out at Brooklyn. We lost the Series in seven games.