Who Are the Last Living Brooklyn Dodgers?

COOPERSTOWN, NY – JULY 26: Sandy Koufax attends the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26, 2015 in Cooperstown, New York. Craig Biggio,Pedro Martinez,Randy Johnson and John Smoltz were inducted in this year’s class. (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

When the great Carl Erskine died on April 16 at the age of 97, it had me thinking:

How many former Brooklyn Dodgers are still left?

Luckily, Baseball Reference exists — equivalent to the Google search engine of any statistic you can think of from any player who ever played the game.

As of this writing, only five players to have ever worn a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform remain.

Sandy Koufax

The most notable of the group, the 88-year-old Sandy Koufax is best known for his days in Los Angeles. He did however begin his histor-ic big-league career in Brooklyn, which just so happens to be the borough of his birth.

The Lafayette H.S., Bath Beach, product was only 19 in 1955 when the Dodgers finally won the World Series. He did not appear in any Fall Classic games that year, but with the passing of Erskine, he is now the only living member from that squad.

Koufax would go on to become one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen. With his “left arm of God,” the six-time All-Star won three Cy Young Awards after having won the National League’s pitcher’s triple crown in each season by leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA.

In addition to 1955, Koufax won three other World Series titles with the Dodgers and threw four career no-hitters. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Bob Aspromonte

The odds are slim that of the five remaining Brooklyn Dodgers, two of them would have played at the same high school, but such is the case here. Just like Koufax, Bob Aspromonte played at Lafayette H.S.

The younger brother of fellow big leaguer Ken Aspromonte, the third baseman played 12 years in the majors, most notably with the Houston Astros. Now 85, Aspromonte is one of only two remaining members of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 1956 National League pennant-winning team, along with Koufax.

In 1962, Aspromonte was credited with getting the first hit and scoring the first run in the history of the Houston Colt .45’s (now Astros). That same season, he recorded 57 errorless games at third base, which at the time was a National League record.

Aspromonte wound up in Queens with the New York Mets for 104 games in 1971 before hanging up the spikes. When he retired, he was the last Brooklyn Dodger to still be playing.

Tommy Brown

Surely, two from the same high school is unheard of, but having three of the last five Brooklyn Dodgers born in Brooklyn is right up there in uncanniness. Tommy Brown, known as “Buckshot,” was born in Brooklyn in 1927, making him the oldest living Brooklyn Dodger at 96.

He was only 16 years old when he debuted for Brooklyn in 1944. Used primarily as a utility player and pinch hitter, Brown spent parts of the next six seasons in Brooklyn — missing 1946 due to military service.

He appeared in two World Series games in his career. He also reportedly refused to sign the petition circulating among Dodgers players to block Jackie Robinson from joining the team.

Brown finished up his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and then the Chicago Cubs. Since he broke in so young, his professional career ended when he was only 25.

Jim Gentile

A product of a Catholic high school — Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco — Jim Gentile had a powerful left-handed bat. The now-90-year-old broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers for seven plate appearances in 1957 — the team’s final year in the borough of Kings.

With Gil Hodges still manning first base as the Dodgers moved out west, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for Gentile in Los Angeles. The Dodgers shipped him to the Baltimore Orioles after a few seasons in the minor leagues.

Gentile went on to play nine years in the big leagues. While Roger Maris took the baseball world by storm in 1961, Gentile had quite the impressive season himself, clubbing 46 home runs and driving in 141 runs for the Orioles.

He finished third in the MVP voting that year and held a share of the RBI title with Maris. A three-time All-Star, Gentile turned in five 20-plus home run seasons.

Fred Kipp

For 92-year-old Fred Kipp, 40 of his 47 career pitching appearances came for the Dodgers in 1958, the team’s first year in Los Angeles. The year prior, the lefty pitched four innings in one game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Kansas native was recruited to play both basketball — given his height of 6-feet, 4-inches — and baseball at Kansas State University. He threw a no-hitter his freshman year, which sealed his fate as a baseball player. He finished his career pitching for the New York Yankees in 1960, making him the last living player to have played for the Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers — such heated rivals of the 1950s.