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Larry Sherry, 71, MVP of the '59 World Series

Larry Sherry, pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, at spring training in 1981. Larry Sherry, pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, at spring training in 1981. (Los Angeles Times/File)

LOS ANGELES -- Larry Sherry, MVP of the 1959 World Series as a reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.

Mr. Sherry died at his home in Mission Viejo, according to his brother, Norm, a former catcher who also played for the Dodgers.

Mr. Sherry was 2-0 with two saves and an 0.71 ERA to lead the Dodgers past the Chicago White Sox in six games to win the World Series in their second year in Los Angeles. He was the winning pitcher in the fourth and sixth games. "Larry Sherry was a local product who became a household name in Los Angeles with his World Series heroics in 1959," the Dodgers said in a statement. "He will always be associated with the Dodgers' first championship in Los Angeles."

Mr. Sherry had a 53-44 lifetime record with a 3.67 ERA in 400 relief appearances and 16 starts. He pitched for the Dodgers from 1958-1963 and later played for the Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and California Angels before retiring in 1968 after appearing in three games with the Angels. He had a career-high 20 saves for the Tigers in 1966.

Mr. Sherry, born in Los Angeles, was the youngest of four brothers. He lived in Mission Viejo for the past 36 years.

"He had a tough childhood," Norm Sherry recalled. "He was born clubfooted; doctors had to break his legs and reset them. He wore casts on both legs for the first year of his life. After that, he had to wear special shoes."

Following retirement, Mr. Sherry served as the pitching coach for the Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates and managed in the White Sox organization. Norm Sherry said his brother gave pitching lessons before becoming ill about 12 years ago.

"He was a tough competitor. He was all business when he put that uniform on," Norm Sherry said. "He had a way about him when he came in from the bullpen. He was a mean pitcher; he didn't give any ground to anybody.

Norm Sherry, four years older than Larry, said his biggest thrill in baseball occurred in 1960, when he hit his first Major League home run -- a game-winner for the Dodgers against Philadelphia in the bottom of the 11th inning. What helped make it so special was that Larry was the winning pitcher.

Mr. Sherry's wife, Sally, died three years ago. In addition to his brother, he leaves a son, a daughter, two other brothers, and five grandchildren.

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