Yankees' Fall Classics 1921-2003
by Michael Aubrecht, Copyright 2004
World Series (1903-present) on Baseball-Almanac


Each year, the primary focus in any professional sport is the race for a championship. Every sport has their pinnacle trophy, but none is as coveted as baseball's World Series; a best of seven contest that celebrates our national pastime. An event as important as any holiday on the calendar, it is as traditional as Thanksgiving, as patriotic as the Fourth of July and as anticipated as Christmas morning. Over the last century, the World Series has been woven into the fabric of America's culture evolving far beyond a mere baseball tournament. It has become the game of all games and has continued to provide us with an endless highlight reel of magical moments evoking childhood memories of agony and ecstasy. No team in the history of Major League Baseball has ever dominated the post season like the New York Yankees and this storied franchise currently leads all sports teams in Championships won with a 26-13 record (to date).

1921: New York Giants (5) vs. New York Yankees (3)

If the 1920 season had left Boston wondering if they had made a mistake, then the 1921 season surely removed any doubt. Babe Ruth was in New York and busy breaking his own records for the second consecutive season. As the Red Sox were struggling to stay competitive, the Yankees were still getting used to winning after coming off of a third place American League finish during the Babe's "rookie" season in a pinstriped uniform. Nothing changed in 1921 as their new acquisition raised his homerun record to a staggering fifty-nine, his RBI total to one-hundred seventy-one and his batting average to .378 on the way to their first American League pennant and World Series appearance. The Babe wasn't alone though as teammate Bob Meusel contributed twenty-four homers and one-hundred thirty-five RBIs and the rest of the Yankees batted .288 or higher. Two other "ex-Red Sox", Carl Mays (a twenty-seven game winner) and Waite Hoyt (with nineteen) added insult to injury while Bob Shawkey added eighteen more victories.

The National League's Giants were veterans to the Fall Classic and had plenty to smile about themselves. With a line-up of lumberjacks including Frankie Frisch, Ross Youngs, George Kelly and Irish Meusel and a solid pitching staff known as the "fearsome foursome" (Art Nehf, Fred Toney, Jesse Barnes and Phil Douglas), they promised to give Babe Ruth and his re-born Yankees a run for their money. In the first World Series to be played entirely in one ballpark (the Polo Grounds), the Big Apple's "rival roommates" squared off in the first official Subway Series. Despite rumors of Ruth on the mound, Miller Huggins gave the Game 1 start to Carl Mays while John McGraw selected Phil Douglas. The Yankee's pitchers quickly set the tone for the Series with an opening 3-0 victory that was repeated the following day with a two hit, 3-0 triumph by Waite Hoyt.

Down but not out, the Giants managed to come back in Game 3 after trailing four runs in the fourth. After tying it up in the bottom the inning, McGraw's team rallied for eight runs in the seventh thanks to Ross Youngs' bases-loaded triple. In the end, the Yankees had blinked and were taken for twenty hits and a 13-5 victory that turned the momentum back to the veterans. The Giants continued as Douglas returned the following day and vindicated himself with a 4-2 win that tied the Series at two games apiece. Game 5 was even more dramatic as an injured Babe Ruth shocked everyone with a key bunt in the fourth inning, setting up the winning run off a Bob Meusel double. The Yankees had regained their composure and walked away with a 3-1, Series leading victory, but at a terrible cost as their most valuable player would be unable to continue due to arm and knee ailments.

Despite the absence of the Babe, the Yankees still felt confident with their remaining line-up. That was until they lost Game 6, 8-5 and Game 7, 2-1. Great performances at the plate by Irish Meusel and Frank Snyder as well as a solid outing on the mound by Phil Douglas had put the Giants out in front. Game 8 evolved into a classic pitcher's duel between Waite Hoyt and Art Nehf, who led the standoff 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. In a last chance effort, the desperate Yankee skipper went to his bench and replaced the struggling Wally Pipp (who had batted a miserable .154) with the still injured Babe Ruth who grounded out to first. Two plays later, the Series was over with the Giants winning five games to three.

Although they had fallen short in their first World Series appearance, the Yankees had shown a glimpse of what would become a dynasty. Waite Hoyt had not allowed a single earned run in twenty-seven innings and Carl Mays had been just as effective with an ERA of 1.73 over twenty-six. Ruth batted an impressive .313 and added his first World Series home run and four RBIs. After four straight losses, the Giants had finally reclaimed the championship title for the first time since 1905.

1922: New York Giants (4) vs. New York Yankees (0)

The defending American League champion Yankees entered the 1922 season still recovering from a devastating loss to the Giants and without two of their star players. Both Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel had been suspended for an unauthorized barnstorming tour after the 1921 Series. To make matters worse, Commissioner Landis handed Ruth additional suspensions after several run-ins with umpires and other indiscretions off the field. In fact, the Babe did not play until May 20th and had only made one-hundred ten appearances out of one-hundred fifty-four games at the end of the pennant race. His stats plummeted as a result, dropping him to third in homers (with thirty-five) and out of the top five for RBI's (with ninety-nine). Still, the Yankees managed to hold onto their American League crown and prepared for a rematch against the defending World Champion New York Giants.

The Yankees had continued to pillage the Boston Red Sox acquiring Everett Scott and Joe Dugan as well as Whitey Witt from the Philadelphia Athletics. The Giants had made some great deals too in trading for third baseman Heinie Groh and pitcher Jack Scott. Once again, New York was host to its second consecutive Subway Series, which had finally reverted back to a best-of-seven format.

Game 1 found the Giants in familiar territory as they rebounded from a 2-0 deficit in the eighth on their way to a 3-2 victory. Newly acquired Heinie Groh performed exceptionally well going three-for-three despite the best efforts of Joe Bush who had shut out his hometown rivals through seven innings. Things started differently in Game 2 as the Giants quickly set the pace with a three run homer off of Yankee veteran Bob Shawkey in the top of the first. Not to be outdone, the Yankees managed to tie it up with runs in the first, fourth and eighth innings. Both sides dug in for what promised to be a dramatic finish, but umpire George Hildebrand insisted on calling the game due to "darkness" after the tenth inning. With at least a ½ hour of sunlight left, the fans were outraged and demanded the official's resignation. In an effort to make the best of a bad public relations situation, the league decided that the gate receipts would be donated to various New York charities.

Babe Ruth's difficulties had continued to plague him well into the post-season and it wasn't looking any better for Game 3. At this point in the Series, the Sultan of Swat had gone two-for-eight with one measly RBI and his teammates weren't looking any better. Giant's pitcher Jack Scott, who had compiled an impressive 8-2 record in only seventeen games, blanked the Yankees with a four hit, 3-0 triumph and set a momentum that would last for the rest of the Series. Hugh McQuillan took the mound for the Nationals in Game 4 and notched a complete 4-3 win backed up by the slugging of Dave Bancroft. Art Nehf returned for Game 5 and the clincher (as he had in the previous year) in a 5-3 triumph that netted the Giants their second consecutive title. Not only had the Giants pitching staff dominated the last three games for a back-to-back championship, they had done so while holding baseball greatest slugger to a miserable zero-for-nine record. The Bambino wound up with two hits in seventeen at-bats for a .118 average and his teammates hit only .203 as a team.

1923: New York Giants (2) vs. New York Yankees (4)

The term home field advantage took on a whole new meaning in 1923 as baseball's grand cathedral, Yankees Stadium, opened much to the dismay of the Giants. Although the two-time defending champions would finally reclaim the Polo Grounds for themselves, The House That Ruth Built towered over their yard and featured an enormous seating capacity with an architectural beauty that was second to none. With the addition of a third ballpark, New York had established itself as THE premier city for professional sports entertainment. A sports columnist from Philadelphia had written that thousands of years in the future archeologists would uncover ruins in the lower Bronx that would resemble that of ancient Rome's coliseums. The Giants had generously shared their field with the Yankees (and Highlanders) since 1913 but now found themselves standing in the shadow of their cross-town rivals.

Although the Yankees had lost two consecutive World Series to the Giants, they were quickly becoming the more popular of the two. The soon to be penned Bronx Bombers boasted the game's top player, the largest arena, and the best record in baseball after winning their third American League pennant by a sixteen game margin. Once again, the Subway Series was on as the Yankees and the Giants met for the third consecutive year. In a strange twist, Giants' outfielder, Casey Stengel, who would later become one of the most successful and beloved Yankee managers, beat his future team in Game 1 with an inside-the-park home run off of Joe Bush to break a 4-4 tie in the ninth. The Yankees record was now 0-9 (eight losses and one tie) in Series games against the Giants, but New York had Babe Ruth and he would have something to say about that. After a disappointing season plagued with suspensions and poor play in 1922, the Babe was back in action, hitting .394 and sharing the home run title with the Phillies' Cy Williams (with forty-one). He was in top form for Game 2, hitting home runs in the fourth and fifth innings on the way to a 4-2 victory at the Polo Grounds.

Game 1 hero Casey Stengel once again stole the spotlight in Game 3. Through six innings, the Yankees' Sam Jones and the Giants' Art Nehf were locked in a scoreless battle. Then, with one out in the seventh, Stengel homered into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium for the win. Not to be outdone, the Yankees dominated the next two outings while totaling sixteen runs with twenty-seven hits resulting in 8-4 and 8-1 victories. New York coasted through Games 4 and 5 on the arm of Joe Bush and the bat of Joe Dugan. Finally, the Yankees had beaten the Giants for their first world championship in their brand new stadium (which featured crowds in excess of 62,000 and over $1million dollars in ticket sales). In addition, Babe Ruth had finally beaten his post-season demons, hitting three home runs, a triple, a double and two singles while batting .368.

1926: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. New York Yankees (3)

Once again, the New York Yankees had risen to the top of the American League with solid pitching and spectacular hitting by the soon to be penned "Murderer's". Babe Ruth was joined in the spotlight by two young up-and-coming sluggers named Lou Gehrig and Earle Combs who hit .348 and .357 during the regular season. Their opponents, the National League's St. Louis Cardinals, had similar success with Rogers Hornsby, a .317 hitter, and pitchers Flint Rhem and Bill Sherdel who had won twenty and sixteen games respectively.

Both teams looked to be strong on both sides of the plate, but the Yankees remained heavy favorites after dethroning the Giants' dynasty in the previous Series. Rookie Lou Gehrig had a fantastic debut in Game 1 driving in the winning run for a 6-3 opening victory. New York was not as fortunate in Game 2 as the Cardinals returned with a vengeance for a 6-2 payback. Grover Alexander went the distance against three Yankees pitchers including Urban Shocker, Bob Shawkey, who came on in the eighth, and Sam Jones who finished the ninth. Things didn't get any better for the favorites in Game 3 as once again, a Cardinal pitcher (Jesse Haines) lasted all nine against three of New York's finest (Dutch Ruether, Bob Shawkey and Myles Thomas). Haines also contributed the only home run in the 4-0 shutout. The underdog Cards' were now on top two games to one.

Down, but not out, "Murderer's Row" came back in Game 4 with a new resolve. This time it was St. Louis exhausting their bullpen as Yankee vet Waite Hoyt stood tall against five Cardinal pitchers including Flint Rhem, Art Reinhart, Hi Bell, Bill Hallahan and finally Vic Keen. The Bambino was back to his old self too, knocking out three homers to the Cardinals none. Although the National League champs were still ahead by a single game, serious damage had been done in the 10-5 debacle, as New York was clearly not giving up without a fight. Both teams dug in as Game 5 resulted in a ten inning pitcher's duel between the Yank's Herb Pennock and Card's Bill Sherdel. The Yankees managed to win it 3-2 and led the Series by one game with two to go. Game 6 offered a replay of Game 2 as Grover Alexander once again, went the distance in a crucial 10-2 triumph that left Bob Shawkey a loser and Urban Shocker and Myles Thomas unavailable for the final showdown.

Game 7 was a real nail-biter as Jesse Haines and Grover Alexander went head-to-head with Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock. Both teams managed eight hits apiece and Babe Ruth contributed the only homer in the contest. Down 3-2 in the ninth, the Yankees were still in good shape as baseball's greatest slugger stepped up to the plate. The Babe worked the count to three and two, then drew his eleventh walk of the Series. Clean-up man Bob Meusel prepared to put the winning run on base, but was denied when the anxious Bambino attempted to steal second. Although he had successfully stolen against the Cardinals in Game 6, he was slow off the start and catcher Bob O'Farrell's throw to Hornsby nailed the Yankees' slugger ending the Fall Classic. Many fans were furious with Ruth and believed that his mistake had clearly cost the Series.

St. Louis had managed to beat the mighty Babe Ruth and his defending world champion Yankees despite mediocre performances from their standout players. Hornsby hit a meager .250 against New York and both Rhem and Sherdel had failed to win a game.

1927: Pittsburgh Pirates (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

Fans in 1927 witnessed the play of what many baseball historians consider to be the greatest team in the history of baseball, The 1927 New York Yankees. With an all-star lineup known as "Murderer's Row", New York outscored its opponents by nearly four-hundred runs and hit .307 as a team. Babe Ruth, perhaps the greatest ever, set the original single season mark with sixty homeruns which was more than any other American League team had combined. The Sultan of Swat also had plenty of help from his fellow sluggers in pinstripes. Outfield counterparts, Earle Combs in center and Bob Meusel in left, hit .356 and .337 respectively. Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with forty-seven homers and a league leading one-hundred seventy-five RBIs. Second year man Tony Lazzeri ranked third in the loop with eighteen homers. The pitching staff boasted four men who won eighteen or more wins, led by Waite Hoyt at 22-7. Herb Pennock and Wilcy Moore gained nineteen victories apiece while Urban Shocker added eighteen. This lethal trio complemented the dominant offense by claiming the league's three best ERAs. Moore, who pitched primarily in relief, led the way with a 2.28 mark. With a 110-44 record, the Bronx Bombers ran away with the American League pennant, winning by a staggering nineteen games.

On the National League side, the Pittsburgh Pirates had managed a pennant, but were clearly not the caliber that New York represented. Game 1 opened at Forbes Field, but the "home field advantage" offered the Pirates little comfort in a 5-4 loss that was highlighted by several crucial fielding errors by the home team. Little changed in Game 2 as the Yankees netted another 6-2 victory off the arm of George Pipgras who beat Pittsburgh's Vic Aldridge, Mike Cvengros and Joe Dawson. Herb Pennock, who entered the game with a 4-0 Series record, went the distance for the third outing mowing down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The result was an 8-1 triumph that left the Yankees one win away from sweeping the Series and reclaiming their crown.

Game 4 was anyone's for nine innings as neither team blinked in a 3-3 stalemate. Pittsburgh manager, Donie Bush, had turned to Carmen Hill, who had peaked in 1927 as the ace of his pitching staff. Hill had never won more than three games, but in 1927, he chalked up twenty-two. New York's Miller Huggins went with Wilcy Moore, a promising rookie who had made only twelve starts in his fifty appearances. Both had planned to go the distance, but the mental fatigue was starting to take its toll. Pittsburgh's John Miljus came in as relief in the seventh and looked strong until the ninth. Earle Combs walked and Mark Koenig beat out a bunt to advance to second and third. In a daring move, Ruth was walked intentionally, filling the bases with no outs and Lou Gehrig coming up next. Miljus managed to strike out the next two batters, but threw a disastrous wild pitch to Tony Lazzeri, scoring Combs and ending the game. The Yankees had won their second championship title and the crowning achievement to a magnificent season. They also became the first team ever to sweep the National League in a World Series.

1928: St. Louis Cardinals (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After coming off of a magical season, the defending champion Yankees managed to hold off the Athletics to win their third consecutive pennant by 2½games, but at a serious cost as injuries depleted their line-up. Pitcher Herb Pennock (17-6) was on the sidelines for the Series with a sore arm. Centerfielder Earle Combs was available only as a pinch-hitter because of a broken finger. Second baseman Tony Lazzeri suffered a lame-throwing arm, and Babe Ruth was playing on a bad ankle. The St. Louis Cardinals, however, were all in good shape and ready for a repeat of the 1926 contest when they had dethroned New York four games to three.

For Game 1, Waite Hoyt went up against Bill Sherdel in a classic rematch of David vs. Goliath. The Babe managed to play, despite his inability to run and he and his young protégé both put on quite a show. Ruth had a single and two doubles, Gehrig went two-for-four with two RBIs and Bob Meusel knocked a two-run home run on the way to a 4-1 opening victory. Grover Alexander (who had embarrassed the Yankees and their pitching staff in the '26 Series) returned for Game 2, but lacked the dominating presence of two years ago. Lou Gehrig started things off with a three-run homer in the first inning and the Yankees continued to score without resistance on the way to a 9-3 victory.

As expected, Ruth and Gehrig continued to abuse the Cardinals' pitching staff with reckless abandon. The Iron Horse launched three blasts in Game 3 for a 7-3 win and The Babe knocked three into the seats in Game 4 (with Gehrig contributing one) for another 7-3 triumph and a second sweep for the World Championship. Both sluggers had combined to go sixteen-for-twenty-seven at the plate, with a .593 average, seven homers and thirteen RBIs. Ruth set one of many Series records hitting an unbelievable .625 with ten hits in four games. Gehrig hit .545 and set his own record with nine RBIs in four games. It truly was a two-man show as the rest of the Yankees batted .196, but were supported by solid pitching by Hoyt, George Pipgras and Tom Zachary. The perennial World Champions had managed to save-face after a difficult season and once again proved that they were the best-of-the-best.

1932: Chicago Cubs (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

Anger, emotion and controversy were the big stories of the 1932 Series and that was before the first pitch was ever even thrown. Babe Ruth, the most beloved (and hated) player in all of baseball, lived up to his reputation by ripping apart the Chicago Cubs organization in the press while sticking up for one of his former teammates. Remembering the contributions of shortstop Mark Koenig to the Yankees' great teams of 1926-1928, several New York players berated the National League champions for only offering him a half-share of the World Series payoff. Although he had been a late-season acquisition, the former Yankee had batted .353 in thirty-three games for his new team and many felt that he was being cheated. Chicago tempers were also flared by the return of Joe McCarthy, who had been fired by the Cubs after the 1930 season. Many around the league had felt that the Yank's new skipper had been unfairly treated after winning the pennant in '29 and taking his team to second place the following year. However, many of his supporters quickly turned on him after he accepted a position with the hated American League powerhouse. Two years later he walked back onto Wrigley Field in a New York uniform determined to get the "last laugh" over his former employer. He certainly had the advantage this time as the Yankees won the first two games back home in the Bronx and were now locked in a 4-4 stalemate. What would follow has become one of the most memorable and controversial moments in the history of baseball...

With one out in the fifth, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate and prepared to stare down Chicago's Charlie Root. "The Bambino" had launched a three-run rocket off of the Cub's veteran in the first, but took a called strike on the first pitch. Two balls and another strike followed as "The Babe" acknowledged it with a raised hand. Confident that a "K" was coming, the Cubs fans started taunting Ruth from the stands. As the noise level rose to a deafening roar, Ruth pointed to center field (although some contest that he was pointing back at Root) and prepared his wind-up. Whatever the gesture, it certainly silenced the fans as he delivered the next pitch over the centerfield wall for the go-ahead score. Even Lou Gehrig (who was on-deck at the time) maintained that Ruth had definitely "called his shot" although Root wasn't buying into the "Sultan of Swing" sensationalism. He was quoted as saying, "If he had, I would have knocked him down with the next pitch." Ruth never expounded upon the matter and was content with another contribution to baseball folklore. It still remains a mystery.

Gehrig and Ruth both traded two-homer days in a close Game 3 that ended 7-5 in the Yankees' favor. New York prepared the next day to close out the Cubs for their third consecutive sweep, but did not get off to a good start as they fell behind 4-1 when Chicago's Frank Demaree knocked a three-run homer in the first. Despite the Cubs' strong start, New York stormed back, thanks in part to the bat of Tony Lazzeri who had two, two-run homers during a late Yankees rally. In a game that was tied 5-5 for six innings, the Yanks wound up with a 13-6 win and another World Championship. Although Ruth's "called shot" was the most widely contested and celebrated moment of the 1932 Series, it was Lou Gehrig who was without a doubt, the biggest hitter. Gehrig went nine-for-seventeen with a .529 average, slugged three homers, scored nine runs and tallied eight RBIs. He was backed up by Bill Dickey, who batted .438, Earle Combs, who hit .375 and Joe Sewell and "the Babe" who both finished with a .333 average. Strangely, the "called shot" would be Ruth's last homerun in World Series play.

1936: New York Giants (2) vs. New York Yankees (4)

In 1936, the New York Yankees were not only without their best player, but also perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game. Prior to 1935, the Yankees had released the legendary Babe Ruth, who went on to play briefly for the Boston Braves, and shortly thereafter retired from baseball. Many felt that "The Babe" was directly responsible for the Yankees' dominance of the late 20's and 30's and the prospect of returning to post-season glory without him was grim. If New York would be able to prosper without Ruth in the line-up; it would be a tremendous boost for the future of the franchise. Ruth's "replacement" was an up-and-coming rookie outfielder named Joe DiMaggio who hit twenty-nine homers and one-hundred twenty-nine RBIs in his debut season. Third only to Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey, "Joe 'D" as he would later be called, was a perfect fit for the old "Bronx Bombers". Gehrig was coming off of a MVP season in which he hit forty-nine homeruns and drove in one-hundred fifty-two with a .354 batting average. Dickey hit twenty-two homers with one-hundred seven RBIs and led the team with a .362.

Pitching was also a major player in the Yankees 1936 season as six hurlers finished the regular season with double-digit wins. Their records include: Red Ruffing (20-12, 3.85 ERA); Monte Pearson (19-7, 3.71); Bump Hadley (14-4, 4.34); Lefty Gomez (13-7, 4.38); Pat Malone (12-4, 3.80); and Johnny Broaca (12-7, 4.24). Not only had New York proved themselves to be worthy without Ruth during the regular season, they were on the verge of a World Series streak that would last for the next four years. The Yankees return to the Series also coincided with the comeback of the National League champion New York Giants who were returning to the big show after a three year hiatus. Although the Giants did not share the dominant pennant run that the Yanks had (winning by only five games), they did have the most dangerous pitcher in all of baseball. Carl Hubbell, a thirty-three year-old lefty, had just won his last sixteen games and finished the season 26-6 with a 2.31 ERA.

Hubbell had more than earned the start for Game 1 and went up against twenty-game winner Red Ruffing. Mid-season acquisition, Jake Powell (who came over from Washington) was obviously not intimidated by the Giants' "giant" and managed three base hits in his first three attempts. It mattered little as Ruth's replacement in right field, George Selkirk, scored the Yankees' only run with a homer in the third inning. Hubbell struck out eight and only allowed seven hits (none of which flew past the infield) on his way to a 6-1 opening lead. Despite the miserable debut, the Yankees went on to win four of the next five games while paying back the Giants' pitching staff for Hubbell's performance. In Game 2, they took Hal Schumacher and four relievers for seventeen hits including the second grand slam in World Series history by Tony Lazzeri. The entire line-up (all nine) had at least one hit and scored one run in the 18-4 massacre (Bill Dickey and Lazzeri each had five runs batted in apiece). The following day, newly acquired Bump Hadley delivered a 2-1 victory with a tie-breaking run knocked in by Frankie Crosetti in the eighth and solid relief from Pat Malone in the ninth.

Hubbell returned to seek revenge for his counterparts in Game 4, but suffered their same fate, allowing four Yankee runs (two off Gehrig's second homer in as many days) in the first three innings. Despite his best efforts, the Giants' ace was bested 5-2 by Monte Pearson, a recent trade-acquisition from Cleveland. On the brink of elimination, the Giants managed to stay alive with a crucial 5-4; ten-inning victory in Game 5, but it only postponed the obvious. Once again, the Yankee sluggers stepped up to the plate and blasted their cross-town rival's pitching staff in an embarrassing 13-5, Game 6 romp. Powell, Lazzeri, DiMaggio and Rolfe each had three hits (with Powell adding a homer and four RBIs) as the Yankees wrapped up the Giants and another World Series title. In the end, the Yankees had finished the contest with an amazing sixty-five hits. Powell batted .455, Rolfe hit .400, DiMaggio batted .346 and Gehrig knocked in seven runs while boosting his RBI total in Series play to 31 in 25 games. The only highlight for their opponents came on opening day as Hubbell's Game 1 masterpiece ended the newly crowned champion's twelve-game winning streak. However, it would be of little consolation to the fallen Giants (and the rest of the National League) as the Yankees were about to start a new winning-streak of a different kind.

1937: New York Giants (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

Once again, Joe McCarthy's New York Yankees dominated the American League for the second consecutive season, winning the American League pennant by a thirteen-game margin with league-leading hitting by three of the games greatest. Second-year man Joe DiMaggio drove in one-hundred sixty-seven runs, veteran Lou Gehrig added one-hundred fifty-nine and Bill Dickey contributed one-hundred thirty-three for an amazing four-hundred fifty-nine runs batted in.

Gehrig, known as the "Iron Horse" had enjoyed a magnificent season that would sadly be his last before amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (later named Lou Gehrig's disease) began to take its toll on his career and his life. He batted .351 and recorded thirty-seven homers, his protégé "Joe D"; hit .346 with forty-six homers and Dickey came in third with a .332 and twenty-nine. The three were without equals at the plate, although George Selkirk was on pace (eighteen homers in sixty-eight games) and may have made it four, if not missing half a season due to injuries. The Yankees also had the American League's only twenty-game winners with Lefty Gomez (21-11) and Red Ruffing (20-7) as well as standout relief in Johnny Murphy, who recorded twelve saves and thirteen overall.

However, the Yankees weren't the only repeaters in '37 as the National League's Giants returned for a classic rematch against their hated cross-town rivals. Unlike the Yankees, Bill Terry's club did not possess the dominant hitting (Mel Ott was closest with thirty-one home runs and ninety-five runs batted in), but they did boast two, twenty-game winners with Carl Hubbell (22-8) and rookie Clift Melton (20-9).

Game 1 echoed the previous Series opener with the Giants on top 1-0 going into the sixth, but before the inning concluded, the Yankees struck for seven runs on their way to a six-hit, 8-1 victory for Gomez. Game 2 started the same as the Giants led 1-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. This time the American Leaguers struck for two in the fifth, two more in the sixth and headed for their second consecutive 8-1 comeback that featured a seven-hitter from Red Ruffing. Things didn't get any better for the National Leaguers in Game 3 either as Monte Pearson, getting last-out relief help from Murphy in the ninth, won - despite the fact that the Giants had loaded the bases.

As the Yanks prepared to go for their fourth sweep in their last five World Series appearances, the Giants were still trying to get their first win in their last four Series games. Things seemed to finally turn in their favor for Game 4 as they managed six runs in the second inning. Center fielder Hank Leiber got things going with a base hit and then capped the rally with a two-run single. Hubbell went on to record a 7-3 victory while throwing a clutch six-hitter. In the ninth inning, the last he would pitch in a Series, he allowed a homerun to Lou Gehrig, the last he would hit in a Series. Once again, the Giants had comeback from the brink of elimination, and once again, the Yankees had an answer the following day. In Game 5, Myril Hoag whacked a second inning homer for the Yanks and DiMaggio connected in the top of the third. Ott returned fire with a two-run blast in the bottom of the inning, but Lazerri hit a leadoff triple in the fifth and scored on Gomez's single due to second baseman Burgess Whitehead's fielding error. Two outs later, Gehrig doubled home Gomez on the way to a 4-2 Series ending victory.

The back-to-back titleists had won their sixth World Series championship, (breaking the mark they had shared with the Philadelphia Athletics) and they were only getting started. Believe it or not, the four-games-to-one humiliation that the New York Giants were forced to endure was only the tip of the iceberg and the defending champion's next two opponents would not find themselves as fortunate.

1938: Chicago Cubs (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After a six-year hiatus, the Chicago Cubs managed to top the National League, despite making it there by the slimmest of margins. After a ninth-inning, 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (who had led the National League for 2½ months) on September 28th, the Cubs managed to hold onto first place while winning the pennant by a mere two games. Rip Collins led the team in homers with thirteen, and outfielder Augie Galan topped the Cubs in runs batted in with sixty-nine. Stan Hack batted .320 and led the National League with sixteen stolen bases, and Carl Reynolds hit .302. Bill Lee and Clay Bryant were the staff pitching aces with twenty-two and nineteen victories. Dizzy Dean, who tried to come back too soon after his All-Star Game toe injury of 1937 and hurt his arm, had been obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals in April and won 7-of-8 decisions.

Their opponents, the 2x-defending champion Yankees were still dominating things on the American League side. This time five New Yorkers compiled RBI totals over ninety, and those five; Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, rookie Joe Gordon and Tommy Henrich had home run totals ranging from thirty-two to twenty-two. Red Ruffing led the American League in victories with twenty-one, followed in the rotation by Lefty Gomez (eighteen wins), Monte Pearson (sixteen wins) and Spud Chandler (fourteen wins). The result was a 9½ game lead over the Boston Red Sox for the American League pennant.

Bill Lee got the call for the Cubs in the Series opener and while the big right-hander pitched well, he did not pitch well enough to win. Bill Dickey went four-for-four against him; scoring a run and driving home another as the Yankees pulled ahead with a "predictable" 3-1 triumph. Nothing changed for Game 2 although the Cubs' Dizzy Dean appeared in control almost till the end. He contained the Yankees for seven innings at Wrigley Field and had given up only three hits while leading the contest, 3-2. George Selkirk added the Yankees' fourth hit as the leadoff man in the eighth, but two force-outs left Dean in a position to escape with one more out. Frankie Crosetti (who was on the bottom of the Yank's home-run list with nine) stepped up with Myril Hoag leading off of first base. Swinging at the first pitch, the unlikely hero sent a shockwave through the stands with a bomb over the left-field wall. Dean and his teammates stood in disbelief and were unable to answer the call in the ninth as the Yankees held on for the 6-3 victory.

Ahead two-games-to-none with the Series shifting to Yankee Stadium, the New Yorkers seemed to be a lock. Game 3 and 4 were quick (and painful) as the home team's momentum carried them to 5-2 and 8-3 finales that featured solid hitting by Crosetti who added a double, triple and four runs batted in to his stats. On a somber note, the ailing Lou Gehrig, went four-for-fourteen (all singles) for his last Series appearance. The Yankees had completed their fourth Series sweep in their last six appearances and became the first team to win the World Series in three consecutive years. The American Leaguers appeared unstoppable and most felt that the Cubs never had a chance.

1939: Cincinnati Reds (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

The Cincinnati Reds returned to the big show for the first time since 1919 when they were the beneficiaries of the famous "Black Sox Scandal" in which their opponents, the Chicago White Sox, intentionally threw the Series. After a lengthy investigation in 1920, the members of Chicago's team were amazingly acquitted the following year despite their own confessions (which were recanted later). Many Reds fans later realized that their "championship title" had been tainted and were anxious to see their team win one on their own terms. Their sudden rise to the top of the National League was more than impressive (after finishing at the bottom of the National League in 1937) and their "Cinderella season" featured the two winningest pitchers in all of baseball. Bucky Walters led the major-leagues with twenty-seven wins and Paul Derringer backed him up with twenty-five of his own. For their opponents, the perennial championship Yankees, it was business as usual. New York finished the regular season with a 106-45 record and won their fourth consecutive pennant by seventeen games.

Reds manager, Bill McKechnie, went with Derringer for Game 1 and Joe McCarthy selected Series regular, Red Ruffing. The Yankee veteran played true to form with an opening four-hit, 2-1 victory that featured a last-inning, tie-breaker on a Bill Dickey single. Cincinnati was down, but not out as they had shown that they could stand tall against the 3x defending champions. Unfortunately for Reds fans, nothing changed the following day as Monte Pearson beat out Walters with a two-hit, 4-0 masterpiece that put his team up two games-to-none. Babe Dahlgren (who had replaced Lou Gehrig for the Yankees) doubled and homered in support. The first-baseman had taken over May 2 when failing health and an accompanying decline in skills had forced the "Iron Horse" out of the New York lineup after 2,130 consecutive games. Not since 1923 had the Yankees engaged in postseason play without Gehrig and fans and players alike dearly missed his presence.

For Game 3, the Reds came out swinging and finally generated some offense against the Yankees pitching staff while out-hitting the Bronx Bombers by more than a 2-to-1 margin. However, as in most sports, "quality" mattered more than "quantity" as all ten of Cincinnati's hits resulted in mere singles. New York, on the other hand, got two-run homers from rookie Charlie Keller in the first and fifth innings, a two-run blast from Joe DiMaggio (who batted a career-high .381 in the regular season) in the third and a bases-empty shot from Bill Dickey in the fifth. The final was a 7-3 romp that put the Yanks one game away from their fourth consecutive championship.

Game 4 was a tense 0-0 standoff until the seventh, when Charlie Keller and Bill Dickey both launched bases-empty homers off of the returning Derringer. The Reds quickly answered back in their half of the inning for three unearned runs off reliever Steve Sundra, who had replaced ailing starter Oral Hildebrand in the fifth. Johnny Murphy tacked on an "insurance" run in the eighth, but shortstop Billy Myers' error on Dickey's potential double-play ball in the ninth enabled the Yankees to move within one. Then, New York scored again when DiMaggio beat a throw to the plate on Joe Gordon's grounder for the 4-4 tie. With runners on the corners and one out in the tenth, "Joe D" came up big again and singled to right for the game winner. That would have been trouble enough for Cincinnati, but right fielder Ival Goodman misplayed the ball and another run headed home. That, too, would have been trouble enough for Cincinnati, but catcher Ernie Lombardi not only failed to hold Goodman's throw to the plate, but he also was knocked down by the onrushing Keller and the ball rolled away.

As a result, DiMaggio was able to circle the bases untouched, as the Reds' receiver lay stunned. "Schnozz's snooze" the play was called, and it won a special place in baseball folklore despite its minimal impact overall. In the bottom of the tenth, Cincinnati managed to send the tying run to the plate three times, but were unable to finish the job as Johnny Murphy protected the Yankees' 7-4 lead for their second consecutive sweep, and fourth consecutive World Series title. Keller, the Series star, led the contest in runs scored (eight), hits (seven), home runs (three), runs batted in (six) and batting average (.438). In the end, the Yankees had won thirteen of their last fourteen Series games and twenty-eight of their last thirty-one games in baseball's premier event.

1941: 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 2 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 dependant on solid pitching to keep the Yankees' sluggers in hold. The Dodger's 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, 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 only four hits off Russo and eventually lost 2-1. Despite trailing two games to one, Brooklyn's pitching rotation was doing their 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, it was mishandled by the Dodger's catcher Mickey Owen. 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.

1942: 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 their 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 proved 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. 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. 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. Slaughter ended the game with a clutch throw from right-field that nailed pinch-runner Tuck Stainback at third base in the ninth. 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 lefthander 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 6th 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 and he lasted only 5 1/3 innings as he was victimized by St. Louis's five-run sixth. 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, 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, he also singled home an insurance run in the ninth. Once again the Cardinals had found the 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 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 when Walker Cooper's fly ball scored another and the teams went to the ninth tied 2-2. Then, like Rizzuto, another unlikely hero, Kurowski (who 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) stepped up to the plate and delivered with a game (and-Series) winning homer into the left-field stands. The surprise Cardinals had dethroned the mighty Yankees and taken 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.

1943: 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 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, who threw a seven-hit, 4-2 winner that featured a key 2-2 tie breaker in the sixth 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 Cardinal's 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 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 lefthander was unable to maintain his momentum in the eighth as the Yankees scored five times. Joe DiMaggio's replacement in centerfield, 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 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, a two-run homer from Bill Dickey in the sixth that sealed their fate with a 2-0 triumph. The American's had their revenge and manager Joe McCarthy had his seventh (and final) World Series Championship.

1947: 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 its outfield. Pete Reiser totaled a .309 avg. 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 and 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 Dodger's 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 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 line-up, but Burt Shotton, (who had stepped in as 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, Joe DiMaggio made a valiant effort to tie the game with a rocket launched toward the leftfield 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. The rally was short lived though as the Yankees scored a run in the second, 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.

1949: Brooklyn Dodgers (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)

After nine unsuccessful seasons with both Boston and Brooklyn (in which he never finished higher than fifth), 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, who had fallen from first to third under Harris, responded to Stengel's appointment by winning their sixteenth American League pennant and doing so 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 on a grounder, pop up 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 singling 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. 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 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 a one-out shot by Luis Olmo, who hit one homer for Brooklyn in the regular season, and the second 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 (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 back with four runs in the sixth 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 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.

1950: Philadelphia Phillies (0) vs. New York Yankees (4)

The Philadelphia Phillies climbed to the top of the National League thanks to a clutch performance down the home stretch by twenty-game winner, Robin Roberts. Roberts pitched three times in the last five days of the regular season and although he managed to nail down the National League pennant, the marathon had left him unavailable for a Game 1 start. Manager Eddie Sawyer was left with a limited rotation due to the late-season loss of Curt Simmons (seventeen victories) to the Army and recurring injuries to rookie pitchers Bob Miller and Bubba Church. The Philly skipper shocked everyone after nominating a thirty-three-year-old right-hander named Jim Konstanty, who had not made a single start during the 1950 regular season. He did however appear in seventy-four games and the standout reliever was 16-7 with a 2.66 earned run average. Konstanty was confident and certainly up to the challenge (and what a challenge it would be).

His opponent was none other than the defending World Champion New York Yankees who had swept six previous World Series (Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs, Reds) in twenty-four years and captured twelve World Series titles to date. Many felt that another sweep was a foregone conclusion, but Philadelphia was determined to prove their critics wrong. Konstanty rose to the occasion and pitched a superb outing against the American League champions while allowing only one run and four hits in eight-innings. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Philadelphia's Vic Raschi spun a two-hit, 1-0 shutout for the opening lead.

By now, Roberts was well rested and more-than-ready for Game 2. The Philadelphia ace went up against New York right-hander, Allie Reynolds and neither blinked through a 1-1, nine-inning standoff. So far, through two regulation games, there had been a total of three runs scored as the pitchers clearly dominated the contest (much to the dismay of the crowds). Joe DiMaggio added a fourth to the total after launching a leadoff homer in the tenth for a 2-1 triumph. Now down two games to none, the Phillies were desperate for an advantage on the mound and called upon an unlikely hero named Ken Heintzelman (a seventeen-game winner for the Phillies in 1949 but a lowly, 3-9 pitcher in 1950). Despite his regular season stats, the lefthander started beautifully in Game 3 against Eddie Lopat and carried a 2-1 lead going into the eighth. After retiring the first two Yankees, Heintzelman stuttered and walked three consecutive batters in the inning. Sawyer saw that it was time to make a change and called for Konstanty who induced Bobby Brown to ground to Granny Hamner. Unable to get a break, the Phillies' winced as their shortstop fumbled the ball, and the tying run scored. The Yankees continued their momentum in the ninth as Jerry Coleman stepped up to the plate and sealed the 3-2 victory.

Despite being on the verge of another Yankees sweep, the Phillies had kept pace with the perennial champs and only lost by three consecutive one-run decisions (the closest of any contender in any previous New York rally). Their efforts however, would be in vain, as Casey Stengel introduced a young up-and-coming talent in Game 4. His name was Ed "Whitey" Ford and the rookie went 9-1 during the regular season after being called up from Kansas City of the American Association. After teammate Yogi Berra led-off the Yankees' attack with a run-scoring single and a bases-empty homerun, Ford breezed into the ninth inning with a 5-0 lead. A shutout seemed inevitable for Ford as he forced Andy Seminick to hit a textbook fly to leftfield. However, Gene Woodling dropped the ball and both Phillies runners scored. Reynolds came in to get the last out, making the Philadelphia Yankees 5-2 winners and repeat champions.

Woodling, who tied Granny Hamner for the World Series batting lead with a .429 average, was distraught over his failure to protect the shutout. Ford was less concerned and happy with the win (which would be the first of many in the Fall Classic). In fact, the Yankees newest ace would go on to set several World Series records. "The Chairman of the Board" as he would later be called still holds the World Series records for most wins (ten) and most strikeouts (ninety-four).

1951: New York Giants (2) vs. New York Yankees (4)

The '51 season has been referred to by some as "The Season of Change" as it witnessed the departure of several of the games veteran superstars and the introduction of a new generation of talent. Many of the games biggest names from the previous two decades were nearing the end of their careers and the empty spaces on the line-up cards would need to be filled by players of the same caliber. Luckily for the managers (and the fans), there was no shortage of up-and-coming talent in the various farm systems around the league. Several new rookies on the scene included a young switch-hitter named Mickey Mantle and a phenomenal fielder named Willie Mays. The nineteen year-old Mantle was called up to the big leagues from the Yankees Kansas City franchise and hit thirteen home runs in ninety-six games. Mays had been called up in late May by the Giants from their Minneapolis team (where he was batting .477) and the twenty-year old responded with twenty homers of his own. It seems fitting that in their first year of professional play, both future Hall of Famers found themselves competing against one another in the biggest game of the year; the 1951 World Series.

The Giants had steamrolled their way to the Fall Classic and were determined to dethrone their world champion, cross-town rivals. Manager Leo Durocher's team had rallied to win the National League pennant after trailing the Brooklyn Dodgers by 13½ games. Beginning August 12, the Giants won sixteen consecutive outings and thirty-seven of their last forty-four to forge a tie for the top of the National League with Brooklyn. They went on to beat the Dodgers in a best-of-three playoff, ending with the infamous Thomson three-run homer off Ralph Branca that gave the Giants a 5-4 victory in the third game at the Polo Grounds. With Brooklyn out of the way, the Bronx was next and the Giants wanted to prove that the last team standing was truly "New York's baseball team".

Things continued to go the Giants way as they went on to shock the Yankees in a 5-1 Series opening triumph. Dave Koslo held the Yankees to just seven-hits and Alvin Dark came up big with a three-run homer. Monte Irvin was the game's "MVP" though with three singles, a triple and the first Series steal of home plate since the Yankees' Bob Meusel snatched the bag in 1928. Eddie Lopat got his team back in the running in Game 2 while pitching a five-hitter and adding a run-scoring single in the 3-1 victory. However, the biggest play of Game 2 involved a devastating injury that would haunt the New York Yankees for years to come. Willie Mays had led off the top of the fifth with a high shot to right-center in what was to be an easy fly-out. Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio prepared to make the catch while Mickey Mantle followed from right field in pursuit. According to several sources, Yankees manager Casey Stengel had instructed Mantle earlier to "take everything he could get" as "Joe D" was in the twilight of his career. The nineteen-year old speedster pulled up at the last second as DiMaggio made the play and caught his foot on the wooden cover of a drainage outlet. His knee buckled forcing him out of the Series and instigating the start of several leg problems that would haunt Mantle for the rest of his eighteen-season career.

Game 3 remained anyone's for 4½ innings as the Giants held on to a slim 1-0 lead. All that would change though as the National League champs would capitalize on a crucial error by their American League rivals. With one out in the fifth, Eddie Starky managed to coax a walk off of Series veteran Vic Raschi. The Yankees, thinking the Giants were about to play a "hit-and-run", "run-and-hit" or "straight steal", called for a "pitchout" and catcher Yogi Berra responded with a perfect throw to shortstop Phil Rizzuto in plenty of time to catch Stanky. However, the determined veteran kicked the ball out of Rizzuto's hand on the slide and scrambled up and onto third. Instead of two out and nobody on, Stanky was standing firm on third with only one out. Dark scored him in on his next single and Whitey Lockman delivered the final blow, a three-run homer for the 6-2 victory at the Polo Grounds.

With a two-games-to-one lead in the Series and Games 4 and 5 also at home, the Giants were in a favorable position. Their momentum was slightly stalled though as Game 4 was postponed for a single day due to rain. The inclement weather had allowed the Yankees to rest Game 1 loser Allie Reynolds and the "Bomber's" ace responded the following day with a clutch, 6-2 win over the Giants' Sal Maglie. "Joe D" added his eighth (and final) World Series homer and the Yanks were back in business. The victory by Reynolds inspired his fellow pinstripes and they went on to crush the Giants 13-1 in a Game 5 massacre. Yankees utility infielder Gil McDougald, who alternated between second and third for Stengel's club, nailed a bases-loaded homerun in the third off Larry Jansen. The rocket, which broke a 1-1 tie, was only the third World Series grand-slam (Cleveland's Elmer Smith in 1920 and the Yankees' Tony Lazzeri in 1936).

Game 6 was a real nail-biter as both teams went head-to-head for over five innings. With the bases loaded and two out in the sixth, Yankees outfielder Hank Bauer stepped up to the plate against Dave Koslo attempting to break through the 1-1 tie. For Bauer, it was the perfect opportunity to shake off his World Series despair. In thirty-eight previous at-bats in the Fall Classic, Bauer had collected only five hits (all singles), a .132 Series batting average and only one RBI in postseason play. This time the former United States Marine came through with "flying colors" with a bases-clearing triple. Then in the ninth, after the Giants closed within one and had the potential tying run in scoring position, a racing Bauer made a sensational 4-3 game-winning catch on a hit by pinch-hitter Sal Yvars.

Once again, the Yankees had ended the Giants "Cinderella" season and although the Series was nothing compared to the National League playoff in terms of memorable moments ("The Giants Win The Pennant!"), it was a sweet ending for some and a new beginning for others; Game 6 marked the final Major League game for the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, who was headed for retirement at age thirty-six, Mantle would appear in eleven more World Series, and Mays would compete in the Fall Classic three more times. The Yankees were now 14-4 in World Series appearances and 1951 marked the start of what would become their second dynasty.

1952: Brooklyn Dodgers (3) vs. New York Yankees (4)

In what was now becoming expected, the New York Yankees returned for their eighteenth World Series appearance against their cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Bronx Bombers had finished off the Giants "Cinderella" season the year before and were determined to retain their title as the kings of the "Big Apple" baseball teams. Charlie Dressen's Dodgers were angered by the heavy favoritism that the Yankees received in the press and many fans had already crowned them as champions before the first pitch was even thrown. Their frustration was merited and inspired them to a 4-2 victory that featured a six-hit effort by Joe Black who was coming off a 15-4 season in which he made fifty-six appearances (the first fifty-four coming in relief). Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese all supported the rookie's debut effort with home runs of their own.

Perhaps now the press would give the National Leaguers some respect as Game 1 represented more than just an opening win. The Dodgers had made a statement and the Yankees were taking notice. Billy Martin was the standout in Game 2 and put the Dodgers back in their place with a three-run blast and a RBI single that backed up Vic Raschi's 7-1 performance. Not to be outdone, the Dodgers came back swinging and answered the Yankees challenge with a strong outing by Preacher Roe, who held the "Pinstripes" to a 5-3 loss. Once again, it was anybody's Series and pitching seemed to be the only deciding factor.

Allie Reynolds continued to tip the scales back and forth with a dominant 2-0 triumph in Game 4 that balanced the Series at two games apiece, but Carl Erskine answered back with a 6-5 win in the eleven-inning, Game 5. The Dodger ace allowed only four-hits and all five runs in the fifth inning, but permitted only one other hit, which was a bunt-single by Mickey Mantle in the fourth. Duke Snider, who wound up with four homers and eight runs batted in during the Series, hit a two-run homer in the fifth to counter a three-run blast from Johnny Mize in the Yankees' half of the inning.

The stalemate continued the following day when New York's Vic Raschi and Brooklyn's Billy Loes held each other scoreless for 5½ innings. Loes got the upper hand however, when Snider knocked a Raschi pitch into the right field bleachers to lead off their sixth. Unfortunately for the Dodger faithful, the 1-0 lead vanished immediately in the top of the seventh when Yogi Berra led off with a one-run blast igniting a Yanks rally. Raschi knocked in the second run by singling off his adversary's knee and Mickey Mantle kept the momentum alive in the eighth with a homer of his own (the first of many). Raschi, working on a 3-1 lead, retired the first Dodger in the bottom of the inning, but the irrepressible Snider followed with yet another home run. After George Shuba doubled with two out, Allie Reynolds came in as relief. Reynolds, the Yankees' big winner in 1952 with twenty victories, struck out Roy Campanella to end the inning and, outside of allowing a walk to Carl Furillo, held the Dodgers to no runs in the ninth.

With the Game 6, Series-tying 3-2 triumph, the Yankees were once again ready to finish the job and add yet another World Championship to their mantle. In an unusual, but indisputable move Casey Stengel started Eddie Lopat against Game 1 winner and Game 4 loser, Joe Black. The veteran, bothered by shoulder problems, had won only ten games for the Yanks in '52 (after going 21-9 in '51), but it mattered little as the Yankees dominated the seventh inning thanks to Mantle and Gene Woodling who both added homers for the 4-2 lead. Brooklyn almost took the lead after loading the bases when Furillo reached first on balls, Billy Cox singled and Pee Wee Reese walked as well. Anticipating a disaster, Bob Kuzava was summoned from the bullpen. The lefthander came up huge and got Snider to fly out to third bringing up Jackie Robinson. With the count at 3-2, Robinson snapped a textbook pop-up towards the mound. Kuzava seemed confused on the location and Joe Collins, the man in position to make the play, lost sight of the ball. All the while, Dodger runners were tearing up the baselines with two crossing the plate and another rounding third. Billy Martin, who was caught in the middle at second quickly sized up the situation and made a miracle catch inches from the ground.

The phenomenal grab not only ended the chances of a Dodger comeback, but also inevitably sealed the Series victory for the defending champions. Despite their best efforts, "the Bums from Brooklyn" lived up to their nickname, as Kuzava remained in control the rest of the way. The loss was especially devastating after winning Games 1, 3 and 5 and the 4-2 triumph enabled Stengel to match Joe McCarthy's mark of managing a club to four consecutive World Series titles.





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