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Photo by Marc Serota.

During his thirteen-year career, Clayton Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in the major leagues. He might just be one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but for a while it was touch and go as to whether he would get more than just a Hall of Fame ring. Not any more! He is now a Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Champion hurler.

Kershaw has won over fifty awards in his illustrious career, including the 2014 MVP and three Cy Young awards. In 2017, he helped L.A. reach the World Series for the first time in nearly three decades, only to lose to the Astros in seven games. Houston was later fined $5 million dollars after an investigation found they had been stealing signs during the 2017 season. 

Kershaw is known for a unique wind up, in which he pauses at the top and then makes a sweep-the-kickstand move as he throws. It was questioned by some baseball experts early in his career as possibly having a balk move. 

But that wasn’t the only thing that Kershaw was criticized for. Kershaw made two starts for the Dodgers during the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. In Game 1, he pitched four innings and gave up five runs in an 8–4 lossand in Game 5 he pitched seven innings and allowed four runs, including three home runs as the Red Sox won the Series 4–1. It was the Dodgers’ second straight World Series loss.

During this year’s COVID-19 Dodgers season and World Championship run, Kershaw also experienced some controversy. Kershaw was scheduled to start on opening day in the season shortened by the virus, but he hurt his back in the weight room and was placed on the injured list to start the season

But, Kershaw was one of the key reasons why the LA Dodgers had the best record in the major leagues and breezed through the playoffs. In the National League championship Series, he once again was battling history in game five and had to prove he could get the job done.

In game one of the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, he was given the ball with the expectation of finally getting the monkey off of his back. The 6-foot 4 flame thrower from Oklahoma did not disappoint this time as he helped his team to a 7-1 victory, giving the Dodgers an early lead in the race to four games and a World Series championship. He allowed only one run in six innings in the game while striking out eight batters. In the process, he passed John Smoltz for second place all-time in postseason strikeouts with 201. 

Kershaw also started Game 5, pitching 5​23 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out six batters to pass Justin Verlander for the most strikeouts in postseason history, 207, helping his team to a 5-1 victory. The Dodgers went on to win the series in six games.

As the Dodgers closed out the Rays in game six and took their first World Series in 32 years, Kershaw could be seen in the dugout with a look that could only be described as relief, then jubilation. Kershaw was always going to be in high consideration for the major-league baseball Hall of Fame, but now that he’s won his first championship and helped the Dodgers end their World Series drought, it’s likely he’ll be a first ballot inductee!

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About The Author:

Marc Serota

Marc Serota

As a Portrait photographer Marc Serota has lensed iconic athletes and celebrities for CORBIS and GETTY as well as major brands such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the NBA, NHL and the NFL. Serota is a renowned award winning photographer having logged 25+ years with news agencies such as REUTERS, Getty Images, The Associated Press and UPI shooting the biggest entertainment, news and sports stories from the early 1990’s to the present. Marc has covered numerous Super Bowls, Olympic games, NHL Stanley Cup’s, NASCAR races, ATP and PGA events. Visit Marc's website: marcserota.com

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