Johnny Podres was grand marshall of the Moriah Labor Day parade in 2005 as the community celebrated the 50th anniversary of him being named World Series MVP.
Visitors to Port Henry will soon be greeted by a sign honoring the community’s most famous resident.
A 4 x 8 feet sign will be erected on Route (n/22 south of the village in memory of Johnny Podres, the 1955 World Series Most Valuable Player and native son.
“Everyone from the town of Moriah should be proud and honored to know that our goal has been reached for the placement of the Johnny Podres sign,” said Pat Salerno Jr., who has led the campaign to honor Podres. “Mr. Willie Grant has started on the Johnny Podres sign which will be installed on the south side of Port Henry in the spring of 2012.
“The Podres family — Joan, Joey, John Jr. and Johnny Sr.’s brother Tom would like to thank everybody,” Salerno said.
Podres, who died in 2008, grew up on Lamos Place in Witherbee. He graduated from Mineville High School in 1950 before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. After a long career as a pitcher and later as a pitching coach, Podres retired to Queensbury.
A community campaign raised $2,000 for the sign. Salerno got the project started by selling his own collection of baseball cards during last summer’s inaugural Johnny Podres Day. A dinner, gift basket party and raffle at Boni’s Bistro in Port Henry also raised money.
The sign will feature a large photo of Podres taken in 1955 wearing his Dodger uniform. It will be similar to a baseball card.
Joining Salerno in contributing to the sign project were Boni Salerno of Boni’s Bistro and Pub, her staff, Delores (Lootz) Burhart, Carol Genier, Helen Sprague, Lucielle Sprague, Joann Wood, George’s Restaurant, Joann Podres, Lisa Sprague, Francis Maloney, Celotti’s Wines & Spirits, Linda Fleming, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust, Gene’s Michigan Stand, Mr. Sarlin (Rich) Napier, Mr. James Brooks, Mr. John Sharkey, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Breed, Mr. Michael J. and Allison I. Sharrow, Salerno Brothers, Mrs. Joan Harland, Mr. John Sweet, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Harris, Claudia Young, Avis S. Kedmenec, Becky Gilbo, Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, Mr. Phil Tucker, Frances L. Driscoll, Daniel C. Lee and Christine Paquette-Lee, Frances L. Driscoll and Timothy J. Glebus.
Podres did the unthinkable — he led the Brooklyn Dodgers past the New York Yankees for their one and only World Series championship.
The Witherbee native was named the 1955 World Series Most Valuable Player after winning two games, including the decisive seventh game, 2-0. He was also Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year that season.
Podres ended a legendary sports drought. The Dodgers had lost the World Series to their cross-town rival Yankees five straight times. The day after the final game the New York Post published a full-page photo of the Dodger ace with the headline: PODRES! (Need We Say More?).
As the story goes, Podres told his teammates to get him just one run and the Dodgers would win Game 7. They got him two, and the franchise celebrated its first and only championship while playing in Brooklyn.
The celebration in Brooklyn following the World Series victory was said to be greater than at the end of World War II. Moriah celebrated, too. Shortly after winning the World Series, Podres returned home for a huge parade and celebration.
Podres pitched 15 years in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Padres and Tigers, posting a 148-116 record with 3.67 earned run average. The southpaw appeared in three All-Star Games and was 4-1 in World Series play (1953, 1955, 1959 and 1963) with a 2.11 ERA.
Podres also served as a pitching coach when he was older, helping develop Frank Viola when he was with the Minnesota Twins and Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling when he was on the Philadelphia Phillies staff.
In 2005 Podres was grand marshall of the Moriah Labor Day parade as the community celebrated the 50th anniversary of him being named World Series MVP.