Santa Paula Times

Al Downing recalls memories to students

November 16, 2001
Santa Paula News
Al Downing, a left handed pitcher between 1961-77, ended his career as a Dodger, gave Isbell Middle School students a special treat when he spoke to the student body to wind up “Red Ribbon Week” recently. Downing gave up Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th homer, in April 1974. Pitching for the Dodgers in 1971, Downing reached the top, winning 20 games, including a league-leading five shutouts. Downing was named to the All-Star team in 1967. He was the first black starting pitcher in club history, allowed a scant 5.84 hits per nine innings, and finished the season with a 13-5 record. In 1964, he led the league with 217 strikeouts. Pictured with Downing are a few Isbell students. Photo by Pat Untiedt, Santa Paula Elementary School District