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THE 40's: - 1941 - 1942 - 1943 - 1947 - 1949
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1941 World Series

"Sure, it was my fault (the error in the ninth inning of Game 4). The ball was a low curve that broke down. It hit the edge of my glove and glanced off, but I should have had him out anyway. But who ever said those Yanks were such great sluggers? They're the real bums in this Series, with that great reputation of theirs." - Mickey Owen

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

The American decision to impose sanctions on Japan, in response to the Japanese invasion of Indo-China, convinced Japanese leaders that war with the United States was inevitable. While the Japanese government continued to project peace under the disguise of negotiations in Washington, plans went ahead for a surprise military action that would catch the U.S. completely off-guard. One (major) vulnerability proposed for an attack was the U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii that was reachable by an aircraft carrier force. Taking advantage of this strategic "loop-hole" the Japanese Navy secretly sent a naval battle group across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. After sneaking almost undetected past the military's radar, its planes hit the heart of the shipyard just before 8 a.m. killing over two-thousand four-hundred Americans and destroying five of eight battleships and most of the Hawaii-based combat planes.

The governments of American and Great Britain declared the "Atlantic Charter" in anticipation of the end of World War II. The joint agreement expressed certain common principles in their national policies to be followed in the postwar period. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill signed the announcement aboard a warship in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland. It stated that neither country sought any territorial, or any other, sovereign enhancement from the war. It also proclaimed the right of all people to choose their own form of government and not to have boundary changes imposed on them. In addition, the charter expressed the hope that all countries would be able to feel secure from aggression and recognized the principle of freedom of the seas, expressed the conviction that humanity must renounce the use of force in international relations, and affirmed the need for military disarmament after the anticipated victory by Allied forces.

FALL CLASSIC: Brooklyn Dodgers (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After a short, one-year absence, the perennial champion New York Yankees returned to the familiar territory of post-season baseball in 1941. Despite losing the American League pennant to the Detroit Tigers the year before, the "Bronx Bombers" were still favored after winning thirteen of their last fourteen Series games and twenty-eight of their last thirty-one games in baseball's premier event. Joe McCarthy's franchise however, entered the post-season with heavy hearts after Yankee icon Lou Gehrig passed away on June 2nd in Riverdale, New York. The "Iron Horse" had finally succumbed to a relatively unknown affliction known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which has since been renamed Lou Gehrig's Disease. Despite their emotional scars, the power-laden Yanks had managed another one of their dominant pennant runs, winning the American League title by seventeen games. Their cross-town and "cross-league" rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers were determined to keep the World Championship title in National League hands and were dependent on solid pitching to keep the Yankees' sluggers in check. The Dodgers' rotation certainly had their work cut out for them as Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Keller and Tommy Henrich all hit at least thirty homers in 1941, and Joe Gordon slammed twenty-four.

Nothing changed in the Series opener as the "Bronx Bombers" continued to get the job done. Gordon remained a standout as he homered and knocked in two runs for a 3-2 victory that featured a Red Ruffing six-hitter. After losing to the Dodger's Whitlow Wyatt 3-2 in Game 2, the Yankees got a break and reclaimed the Series lead. Brooklyn's Freddie Fitzsimmons was locked in a 0-0 stalemate with Marius Russo in Game 3 when, with two out in the seventh inning, the Yankees pitcher fired a line drive that caught Fitzsimmons square on the knee. While shortstop Pee Wee Reese caught the deflected ball to end the inning, Fitzsimmons was obviously through for the day. Hugh Casey came in as relief but was nailed for four hits and two runs in the eighth. His teammates were only able to get four hits off Russo and eventually lost 2-1. Despite trailing two games to one, Brooklyn's pitching rotation was doing its share while holding the Yankees' sluggers to less than stellar stats. Through the first four games of the Fall Classic, the "Bombers" had managed a single home run off the Dodgers and in their thirty-four innings of Series at-bats preceding the fateful ninth of Game 4, the Yanks had scored only ten runs.

Things seemed to be headed in the Dodgers' favor with a 4-3 lead and two out in the ninth (with no Yankees on base) when an error of catastrophic proportions turned the momentum of the game and inevitably, the Series. As a probable third strike on Henrich crossed the plate, the Dodger's catcher Mickey Owen mishandled it. Instead of sealing the Series tying victory, the error kept the Yankees alive, resulting in a four run rally that snatched the sweet taste of victory from the mouths of Brooklyn and left them with the bitter taste of a 7-4 defeat. The frenzied Ebbets Field crowd (who was poised for celebration) suddenly stood in disbelief as they watched their team implode. First, Henrich stole first on the Owen error. Then DiMaggio followed with a single, and Charlie Keller shot the Yankees ahead with a two-run double. After a walk to Bill Dickey, Gordon further quieted the Dodgers' faithful with another two-run double. The Yankees' Johnny Murphy then turned in his second consecutive inning of 1-2-3 relief, and New York had handed Brooklyn a devastating defeat.

Owen said after the game, "Sure, it was my fault. The ball was a low curve that broke down. It hit the edge of my glove and glanced off, but I should have had him out anyway. But who ever said those Yanks were such great sluggers? They're the real bums in this Series, with that great reputation of theirs." It mattered little as the Yankees finished them off the following day when Ernie "Tiny" Bonham put the Dodgers out of their misery, tossing a four-hitter in Game 5. Henrich (who had dodged a bullet in his previous outing) homered in the Yankees' Series-clinching 3-1 triumph. Despite winning their ninth title, the "Bronx Bombers" had certainly failed to live up to their nickname at the plate. Surprisingly, the World Champions had managed only two home runs and averaged a mediocre .247 in the Series. Still, they managed to knock off their cross-town rivals (in what would eventually become known as the "Subway Series"), who got even less offensive production with one homer and a miserable .182 average.


This was the first Subway Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, who had already faced the cross-town New York Giants five times, and the Series was now 1-0 in favor of the Bronx Bombers.

The New York Yankees pitching staff only allowed nine earned runs and finished with a team earned run average of 1.80.

Joe Gordon tied the 5-Game World Series record for walks (seven) & batting average (.500) while simultaneously setting the record for slugging average (.929).


1942 World Series

"We'd thrown a scare (ninth inning of Game #1 after being no-hit for eight innings) into the Yankees and even though we'd lost, we couldn't wait to get back out on the field the next day." - Ernie White

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

Under Executive Order #9066, more than 120,000 Japanese and persons of Japanese ancestry living in western U.S. were moved to "relocation centers," (some for the duration of the war). After voluntary evacuation was prohibited, the Army forcibly moved approximately 110,000 evacuees, most of whom were American citizens, to ten relocation centers in the Western states. Smaller numbers of Germans, Italians, and other nationalities were also forcibly relocated. Although food and shelter was provided and wages were paid to those who wished to work, living conditions were poor and induced several uprisings.

The worst nightclub fire disaster in history occurred when the infamous Coconut Grove of Boston caught fire claiming the lives of four-hundred ninety-two patrons and injuring one-hundred sixty-six others. It is believed that the fire originally started in the Melody Lounge when a sixteen-year-old bar boy named Stanley Tomaszewski, lit a match to replace a light bulb that had been removed by a patron. What exactly happened next is still unclear, but artificial palm trees and drapery quickly caught fire and it took only fifteen minutes for flames to engulf the entire building.

FALL CLASSIC: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. New York Yankees (1)

In 1942, it was business as usual for the perennial champion New York Yankees. "Joe D" and the rest of the second generation "Bronx Bombers" lit up the American League on the way to their thirteenth pennant. On the National League side it was the up-and-coming St. Louis Cardinals who were making a name for themselves as a worthy opponent. Manager Billy Southworth's Redbirds had proven conclusively during the 1942 season that they had what it took to win championships. Trailing the National League-leading Dodgers by ten games on August 5, they rallied down the stretch (winning forty-three of their last fifty-one games) to finish with a two-game margin over New York.

Yankee veteran Red Ruffing stole the show in the Series opener, while not allowing a single hit until he had two down in the eighth inning. Centerfielder, Terry Moore managed a weak single, but it mattered little, as the Cardinals problems were just as bad on both sides of the ball. The Yankees were holding down a 7-0 lead with no errors while St. Louis was desperately trying to send a man home and had four. Then it happened. Just as they had to win the National League pennant late in the season, the Redbirds rallied again. First, Stan Musial, the Cardinals' left fielder, fouled out to open the ninth inning. Catcher Walker Cooper followed with a single, but first baseman Johnny Hopp flied out. The next batter, pinch-hitter Ray Sanders, walked. Then, the Cardinals lashed five consecutive hits that produced four runs. That brought Musial back to the plate with the bases loaded. Lucky for St. Louis, Spud Chandler was on the mound and the closer forced Musial into a game-ending grounder to first base. Despite falling one run short of another miraculous comeback, the Cardinals had clearly shaken their World Series jitters, and showed the Yankees that they were indeed, a worthy contender.

Game 2 featured Cardinal Newcomer Beazley, who posted a 2.13 ERA on his way to 21 victories during the regular season. Beazley held onto a 3-0 lead going into the eighth inning, but gave up a run-scoring single to Joe DiMaggio and a two-run homer to Charlie Keller. Now with the game tied, it was the Yankees' turn. Unfortunately for St. Louis, their rally would fall short, thanks to Enos Slaughter's double and Musial's single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Slaughter ended the game with a clutch throw from right field that nailed pinch runner Tuck Stainback at third base in the ninth inning. In the end, the Cards had evened the Series with a 4-3 triumph and they were just getting started. Things continued to go St. Louis' way as Ernie White dominated Game 3 by shutting out the Yankees on six-hits for the 2-0 victory. It was total team effort though, as the left hander was supported by the great fielding skills that had won one hundred six regular season games for the Cards: Moore made a great catch in the sixth inning and Musial and Slaughter both made clutch "homer-saving" catches in the seventh.

Mort Cooper, who won twenty-two games, threw ten shutouts and posted an ERA of 1.78, returned against Hank Borowy the next day. Unfortunately nothing had changed for the Game 1 loser. He lasted only 5 1/3 innings, as he was victimized by a St. Louis five-run sixth inning. His rival, Borowy only lasted into the fourth, an inning in which St. Louis got two-run singles from Whitey Kurowski and their struggling pitcher and tallied six runs in all. In the seventh inning, Walker Cooper (Mort's brother) knocked a timely RBI single and snapped the 6-6 tie. Marty Marion added a run-scoring fly and reliever Max Lanier not only proceeded to pitch shutout ball the rest of the way, but he also singled home an insurance run in the ninth inning. Once again the Cardinals had found their resolve and held on for the 9-6 victory.

Game 1 winner, Red Ruffing, returned for Game 5 against the youngster Beazley. Phil Rizzuto, (who had hit a total of seven home runs in his first two big-league seasons with the Yankees), launched a Beazley fastball into the left field stands in the first inning. St. Louis tied it in the fourth inning when Slaughter matched Rizzuto with his own homer to right, but St. Louis slipped back into the lead in the bottom of the inning on DiMaggio's run-scoring single. The resilient Redbirds forged another deadlock in the sixth inning when Walker Cooper's fly ball scored another and the teams went to the ninth tied 2-2. Then, like Rizzuto, Kurowski stepped up to the plate and delivered with a game (and-Series) winning homer into the left-field stands. He had gone three-for-fourteen at that point in the Series, after batting .254 with nine home runs during the regular season in his first extended big-league play. The surprise Cardinals had dethroned the mighty Yankees and won the World title back for the National League. The devastating loss was the first since 1926 for the Yankees, who had won in all eight of their appearances in the Fall Classic.


During Game 1, Red Ruffing took a no-hitter into the eighth inning until Terry Moore hit a two-out single. Ruffing lost the gem, but became the first pitcher to win seven (7) World Series games.

Every player - except for Harry Gumbert - on the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals roster was a "product" of the teams' farm system, which was put in place by Branch Rickey.

Despite having four (4) future Hall of Fame players on the field & eight (8) consecutive World Championships under their belt, the Bronx Bombers lost to the same team who defeated them sixteen (16) years earlier during the 1926 World Series.


1943 World Series

"Certainly (Spud) Chandler is a good pitcher, but there are good pitchers in the National League, too. We expect to see good pitching in the World Series. The Yankees wouldn't have won the pennant without good pitching, but the same is true of our club. We have good pitching too." - St. Louis Manager Billy Southworth

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

In Washington D.C., the Pentagon was completed making it the largest office building in the world. The revolutionary, five-sided building consisted of five concentric pentagons connected to each other by immense corridors covering an area of thirty-four acres and was intended to consolidate the various offices of the U.S. War Department and now the Department of Defense.

In January, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill held a WWII meeting known as the "Casablanca Conference" in French Morocco to form a joint declaration that pledged that the war would only end with the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers.

The withholding tax on wages was introduced in 1943 and was instrumental in increasing the number of taxpayers to sixty million and tax collections to $43 billion by 1945.

FALL CLASSIC: St. Louis Cardinals (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

In a classic-rematch of the previous year's contest, the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees once again found themselves competing for the World Championship title. The underdog Redbirds had dethroned the mighty Bombers in 1942 and the devastating loss was the first since 1926 for the Yankees, who had won in all eight of their appearances in the Fall Classic. Both teams had maintained their dominance throughout the 1943 season, despite losing several key players to military service. The Cardinals were without Howie Pollet (who left in August) and the Yankees lost Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Red Ruffing to tours of duty. On the home front, the Card's Stan Musial had a tremendous season, winning the National League batting title with an incredible .357 average. He was also backed up by the finest pitching in the National League as Pollet, Max Lanier and Mort Cooper ranked 1-2-3 in the league in ERA at 1.75, 1.90 and 2.30, respectively. The Yanks still boasted Charlie Keller and Joe Gordon, who provided power at the plate with thirty-one and seventeen home runs, respectively. First baseman Nick Etten, (acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies) proved to be a significant addition as well and drove in a team-high one hundred seven runs and Spud Chandler led the pitching staff with twenty wins. Even without "Joe D" and the gang, Joe McCarthy's team still won the American League pennant with a 13½-game difference over second place Washington.

In a repeat of the previous opener, the Cardinals fell behind, thanks to the pitching of Spud Chandler. Spud threw a seven-hit, 4-2 winner that featured a key 2-2 tie breaker in the sixth inning on singles by Frankie Crosetti and rookie third baseman Billy Johnson, a wild pitch by Lanier and another single by Bill Dickey. The big story in Game 2 was the bittersweet play of the Cardinals' Cooper brothers, who were mourning the death of their father who had passed away the day before. Mort pitched a one-run ballgame for eight innings and Walker singled in three at-bats and laid down a sacrifice bunt. Both brothers were backed up by Marty Marion, who belted a third-inning homer with the bases empty, and Ray Sanders, who powered a two-run shot in the fourth. Despite the Nationals best efforts, the Yankees rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and wound up the 4-3 winners.

Al Brazle, a twenty-nine year old rookie who won eight-of-ten decisions in the regular season and boasted a 1.53 ERA, kept the Cards' hopes alive for a repeat of '42 (in which St. Louis won four straight to take the title) by pitching masterfully through seven innings of Game 3. Unfortunately, the left-hander was unable to maintain his momentum in the eighth inning as the Yankees scored five times. Joe DiMaggio's replacement in center field, converted pitcher Johnny Lindell, started the rally with a double on the error of Harry Walker who misplayed the ball. Pinch-hitter George Stirnweiss bunted, and first baseman Sanders threw to third baseman Whitey Kurowski in an effort to cut down Lindell. The throw was in time, but Lindell crashed into Kurowski and knocked the ball loose. After a fly ball moved Stirnweiss to second, Crosetti was walked intentionally to load the bases. Johnson, a .280 hitter in his first season with the Yankees, proceeded to foil the strategy by clearing the bases with a triple. Gordon and Etten added run-scoring singles later in the inning, pushing the score to 6-2. Johnny Murphy finished the job by working a 1-2-3 ninth inning in relief of winning pitcher Hank Borowy.

Nothing changed in Game 4 as Marius Russo put on a one-man show. A 5-10 pitcher for the Yankees in '43, Russo held St. Louis to seven hits, doubled and scored the winning run in the eighth as New York won 2-1. As the Series headed to Game 5, the Yankees were thinking revenge and were one win away from having it. The Cardinals on the other hand, were only thinking about survival and selected Mort Cooper to go against Chandler the next day. The Redbirds put up a great offensive effort, knocking the Yankee pitcher for ten hits, but were unable to score on any of them. The Bombers only needed one hit; a two-run homer from Bill Dickey in the sixth that sealed their fate with a 2-0 triumph. The American Leaguers had their revenge and manager Joe McCarthy had his seventh (and final) World Series Championship.


The only St. Louis Cardinals victory took place during Game 2, an event that went without celebration due to the death of Mort & Walker Cooper's father (Robert) on the same date.

Murry Dickson, who helped close the door on the Cardinals in Game 5 by allowing no hits while on the mound, was on a ten (10) day pass from the United States Army.


1947 World Series

"Belted (by Joe DiMaggio)! It's a long one, deep into left center. Back goes (Al) Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back... He makes a one-handed catch in front of the bullpen! Oooooh, doctor!" - Announcer Red Barber in Game 5 of the 1947 World Series

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

Captain Chuck Yaeger, an American test pilot, became the first to break the sound barrier after he accelerated his X-1 test plane to six-hundred seventy miles per hour, at an altitude of 42,000 feet. The specially designed aircraft was dropped from a modified B-29 bomber leftover from World War II.

Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced the goals of his Economic Recovery Plan, otherwise known as "The Marshall Plan" which stated that "the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world". The idea of providing aid in the reconstruction of war torn nations provided markets for American goods, created reliable trading partners, and supported the development of stable democratic governments in Western Europe. Congress's approval of the Marshall Plan signaled an extension of the bipartisanship of World War II into the postwar years.

FALL CLASSIC: Brooklyn Dodgers (3) vs. New York Yankees (4)

The 1947 season is remembered not for the performance of any particular team, but that of an individual named Jackie Robinson. The Brooklyn Dodger's newest prospect became the first black player to break baseball's color barrier and the rookie infielder brought the Negro leagues' electrifying style of play to the majors. Although he was still subject to resistance among the ignorant, Robinson quickly became baseball's top drawing card and a symbol of hope to millions of Americans. Jackie made quite a first impression with a .297 batting average, twelve home runs and a league-leading twenty-nine stolen bases in his first season.

The defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals gave the Dodgers the best challenge in the National League pennant race, but ended up five games behind Brooklyn. Number 42 wasn't the only standout in Dodger blue as the "Bums from Brooklyn" also got solid production from their outfield. Pete Reiser totaled a .309 average in one hundred ten games, Carl Furillo hit .295 with eighty-eight runs batted in and Dixie Walker tallied .306 and added ninety-four runs batted in. On the mound, Ralph Branca finished with a 21-12 record, Joe Hatten went 17-8 and Hugh Casey nailed down ten victories in relief.

The '47 Yankees, rallied down the stretch with a nineteen-game winning streak that began in late June and went on to win the American League pennant by a twelve-game margin. Despite lacking the usual "Bronx Bombers" mystique (with no player attaining one hundred runs batted in) and only one, Joe DiMaggio, reaching the twenty-homer level, the Yanks managed to counter the missing offense with great pitching. Allie Reynolds won nineteen games in his first season with the club (after being obtained from Cleveland). Spud Chandler led the league with a 2.46 ERA. Rookie Spec Shea and ace reliever Joe Page both had fourteen wins. And two new acquisitions, Bobo Newsom and Vic Raschi each won seven games.

Shea drew the start for Game 1 and got the Yankees off to a strong start with a 5-3 opening victory, despite a great four-inning effort by the Dodgers' Ralph Branca that imploded in the fifth. Reynolds maintained the Yanks momentum in Game 2 with a 10-3 triumph that featured a fifteen-hit rally by the Bronx Bombers. Leftfielder Johnny Lindell led the charge with two RBIs in each of the first two games. Back at Ebbet's Field, the Dodgers struck back with a crucial 9-8 win, thanks to a six-run second inning in which Brooklyn got two-run doubles from Eddie Stanky and pinch-hitter Carl Furillo. The Yankees almost came back after "Joe D" hit a two-run blast in the fifth, Tommy Henrich doubled home a Yankee run in the sixth and Yogi Berra added his own homer in the seventh. Unfortunately, it was too little - too late and the Dodgers held on for the victory.

Manager Bucky Harris chose Bill Bevens (winner of only seven-of-twenty decisions in '47) for Game 4 and the unlikely hero pitched one of the most amazing 9 2/3 innings in World Series history. Although he permitted a fifth inning run (on two walks, a sacrifice and a ground ball), he entered the ninth with a no-hitter and a 2-1 lead. Bruce Edwards started the Dodgers' half of the inning by flying out, and Furillo drew a walk. Then Spider Jorgensen fouled out, bringing Bevens within one out of the first no-hitter in World Series history. Reserve outfielder Al Gionfriddo was sent in to run for Furillo and Pete Reiser came in as a pinch hitter for reliever Hugh Casey. Gionfriddo proceeded to steal second and Reiser was walked intentionally, despite the fact that he represented the potential winning run. To add yet another change, Eddie Miksis was sent in to run for Reiser, who was bothered by a recurring leg injury. Eddie Stanky was the next in the lineup, but Burt Shotton, (who had stepped in as the Dodgers' manager after Leo Durocher was suspended) replaced him with veteran Cookie Lavagetto. The "Chess like" strategy of Shotton's multiple player moves proved brilliant as Lavagetto walloped Bevens' second pitch and Gionfriddo and Miksis sped home ending the potential no-hitter and evening the Series at two games apiece.

Down, but far from out, the perennial American League Champions responded in true Yankees fashion by "shaking it off " and answering the call with a 2-1 tie-breaker on a Spec Shea four-hitter. Surprisingly, Brooklyn jumped to a 4-0 lead in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, but fell behind 5-4, and then regained the lead with a four-run, sixth capped off by Pee Wee Reese's two-run single. Then, with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Joe DiMaggio made a valiant effort to tie the game with a rocket launched toward the left field bullpen. Just as it appeared the ball might drop over the fence, Gionfriddo (inserted into the game as the Yankees came to bat) made a phenomenal glove-hand catch near the 415-foot mark sealing the victory.

Once again, Brooklyn had come from behind to tie the Series forcing a Game 7. Things appeared to go their way at the start of the Series finale when Brooklyn seized a 2-0 lead and drove Shea from the mound in the second inning. The rally was short lived though, as the Yankees scored a run in the second inning, two in the fourth and had tremendous relief pitching from Joe Page. The Yankees ace went on to throw five scoreless innings while allowing only one hit in the 5-2, Series ending triumph. For several standouts including Lavagetto, Gionfriddo and Bevens, it would be not only their last World Series, but also their last Major League games.


On October 3, 1947 (Game 4), Bill Bevens pitched a complete game one-hitter. The only hit of the game came with two outs in the ninth inning off the bat of Cookie Lavagetto.

During Game 3, Yogi Berra pinch-hit for Sherm Lollar in the seventh inning and hit the first ever World Series pinch-hit home run (it was off Ralph Branca).

The 1947 World Series also accounted for three other Series "firsts" as it was the first to ever be televised, the first with a black player on a roster, and the first to produce total receipts over the $2,000,000 plateau. A breakdown of those receipts: Gate Receipts = $1,781,348.92, Radio Rights = $175,000.00 and Television Rights = $65,000.


1949 World Series

"If we're going to win the pennant, we've got to start thinking we're not as good as we think we are." - Casey Stengel

PINSTRIPE PERSPECTIVES: Events off the field

On April 4th, foreign ministers from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United States formally signed the North Atlantic Treaty to create a worldwide coalition known as NATO. The alliance became necessary between nations of Western Europe and the United States to help deter the Soviet Union from further aggressive posturing. Article 5 of the treaty stated that an attack against one member of the coalition would be considered an attack against them all.

The American monopoly on the development of nuclear weapons ended on September 23rd after President Truman announced that the Soviet Union had successfully detonated their first atomic bomb. The "Us" vs. "Them" mentally that followed touched off an arms race that would last into the 1990's.

FALL CLASSIC: Brooklyn Dodgers (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After nine unsuccessful seasons with Boston and Brooklyn (where he never finished higher than fifth place), manager Casey Stengel finally had success in the minors, while coaching Oakland to the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1948. Shortly after, he was called up to replace Bucky Harris as the Yankees skipper in what would become the start of a long-standing... and winning relationship. New York had fallen from first place to third under Harris and responded to Stengel's appointment by winning their sixteenth American League pennant in dramatic fashion. Stengel's team trailed Boston by one game, as manager Joe McCarthy's Red Sox arrived at Yankee Stadium for a season-closing two-game set. But the Yankees swept them in classic "Curse of the Bambino" fashion. Across town the Brooklyn Dodgers were "cutting it close" as well while managing to beat the St. Louis Cardinals (by one game) in the National League pennant race.

Don Newcombe, who had a 17-8 record as a Dodgers rookie in 1949, drew the start and did all he could to spoil Stengel's debut. Through eight innings of Game 1, Newcombe struck out eleven Yankees, walked no one, surrendered only four hits and had not permitted a run. Pitching rival Allie Reynolds wasn't far behind with nine strikeouts, four walks, two hits and no runs. Reynolds managed to retire the order in the ninth inning on a grounder, popup and fly ball, but Newcombe was not as lucky, as the Yankees' Tommy Henrich put one over the right field stands for the win. The Dodgers answered the close Yankees' triumph the next day with a Game 2 nail biter of their own. Preacher Roe out pitched Vic Raschi for the 1-0 win and Gil Hodges' single drove home Jackie Robinson, who had doubled in the second inning.

The tensions continued in the third game as both teams remained locked in a 1-1 stalemate through the eighth inning. Former National League slugger Johnny Mite, (purchased in August from the New York Giants), knocked a bases-loaded single off Dodger starter Ralph Branca in the top of the ninth inning for the 3-1 Yankee lead and Jerry Coleman followed with a run-scoring single off reliever Jack Banta. New York's Joe Page, having pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief since taking over for Tommy Byrne in the fourth, shouldered that lead into the Dodgers' half of the inning. Page was rocked for two home runs; the first was a one-out shot by Luis Olmo, who hit one homer for Brooklyn in the regular season, and the second was a two-out smash by Roy Campanella. But no one was on base either time, and Page and the Yankees hung on for a 4-3 victory.

In Game 4, the Yankees drove Newcombe from the mound with a three-run fourth inning (Cliff Mapes supplied the key hit with a two-run double) and then got three more in the fifth when Bobby Brown drilled a bases-loaded triple off Joe Hatten. Brooklyn answered with four runs in the sixth inning off Eddie Lopat. Reynolds came to the rescue by retiring Brooklyn's final ten batters and New York, a 6-4 winner, was one victory from their twelfth World Series title.

Determined to finish the job, the Bronx Bombers ended all the trends and came out swinging in Game 5. The Yankee sluggers scored in five of the first six innings and promptly built a 10-2 lead. Gil Hodges' three-run homer in the Dodgers' four-run seventh inning cut into the deficit, but Page's relief work in place of Vic Raschi shut down Brooklyn's batters. In the end, the Yankees prevailed 10-6 with Coleman driving in three runs and Brown and DiMaggio both collecting two RBIs each. "Joe D", (who missed half of the season because of an injury, but still batted .346 with sixty-seven RBIs in seventy-six regular-season games), struggled overall in the Series, but added a bases-empty homer in the fourth. Although it was the Yankees twelfth World Series title, it was Casey Stengel's first and there were many more to come.


Joe Page of the New York Yankees won Major League Baseball's first ever Most Valuable Player Award during the 1949 World Series.

On October 5, 1949 (Game 1), Don Newcombe threw a complete game five (5) hitter and allowed only one (1) run. He also struck out eleven (11) New York Yankees during that single game to tie the record for most strikeouts during a World Series game by a losing pitcher.

END 40's


Copyright 2006 by Michael Aubrecht
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