On This Date in Sports: October 4, 1955: This is Next Year
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
There is no more waiting ‘til next year, as the Brooklyn Dodgers finally win the World Series, beating the New York Yankees 2-0 behind a shutout by Johnny Podres in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. The Dodgers had lost in the Fall Classic seven times, including five against the Yankees. Gil Hodges knocks in the game’s only two runs, as Sandy Amaros makes a game-saving catch in the sixth inning.
Wait ‘til next year, was the cry of fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They had played in the World Series seven times (1915, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953) and lost each time. The last five of those World Series losses came at the hands of the New York Yankees. Twice, the series went seven games, with the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the ultimate game of the season in 1947 and 1952.
It was an era in which every year was the Yankees year. The Bronx Bombers had won the World Series six times in seven years and sought to make it seven in nine years, after a one-year hiatus from the Fall Classic. New York was the capital of baseball as the New York Giants won the World Series in 1954, leaving the Dodgers the only team that did wear the crown in New York’s golden era.
The Brooklyn Dodgers cruised to their third pennant in four years, posting a record of 98-55 for manager Walter Alston, as Roy Campanella and Duke Snider finished 1-2 in MVP voting. It was the third MVP for the Dodgers’ catcher. The New York Yankees, meanwhile, reclaimed the American League Pennant with a record of 96-58, beating out the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox in a close race, as Yogi Berra won his third MVP award.
The World Series started in the Bronx, with Don Newcombe opposing Whitey Ford. Each team scored a pair of runs in the second inning. The Dodgers got a home run from Carl Furillo and an RBI single by Don Zimmer, while Elston Howard hit a two-run homer for the Yankees. Duke Snider homered in the third, while the Yankees answered again with a White Ford scoring after a leadoff walk. The Yankees grabbed the lead for the first time on a home run by Joe Collins in the fourth inning. Collins homered again in the sixth to make the score 6-3. The Dodgers scored two runs in the eighth, with Jackie Robinson stealing home but could not get closer as Bob Grim slammed the door in the ninth for a 6-5 Yankees win.
Tommy Byrne started for the Yankees in Game 2, while Billy Loes started for Brooklyn. The Dodgers scratched out a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Duke Snider. The Yankees quickly answered with four runs, as Elston Howard and Billy Martin each had run-scoring singles. Tommy Byrne came up with the bases loaded and knocked in a pair to help his own cause. Jim Gilliam knocked in a run for Brooklyn in the fifth, but Byrne would shutdown the Dodgers the rest of the way, earning a complete game 4-2 win.
Down 2-0, as the series shifted to Ebbets Field, the Dodgers turned to Johnny Podres to start Game 3. The Dodgers took an early lead as Roy Campanella hit a two-run homer off Bob Turley in the first inning. The Yankees again answered back right away as Mickey Mantle had a leadoff homer in the second, while Phil Rizzuto tied the game with an RBI single. Bob Turley lost the plate in the bottom of the second, walking in a run before Tom Morgan took over on the mound. Morgan walked in a second run as the Dodgers held a 4-2 lead. The Dodgers added two runs in the fourth to stretch the lead to 6-2. The Yankees got a run in the sixth, but Podres gave Brooklyn what the needed, going the distance in an 8-3 win.
In Game 4, the Yankees had Don Larsen on the mound against Carl Erskine as they looked to get the taste of Game 3 out of their mouths. The Yankees took control of the game early as Gil McDougald hit a home run in the first inning, while Phil Rizzuto had an RBI single in the second. The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning as Sandy Amaros scored on a double by Jim Gilliam. The Yankees answered as Billy Martin drove in a run in the fourth. Brooklyn brought the lumber in the bottom of the inning as Campanella and Gil Hodges homered to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. The Dodgers extended the lead to 7-3 with a three-run blast by Duke Snider in the fifth. The Yankees scratched out two runs in the sixth, but Hodges singled in Furillo in the seventh to make the final 8-5 to even the series at two games apiece.
In Game 5, Casey Stengel had Bob Grim get the start. Roger Craig, meanwhile, started for Brooklyn. The Dodgers got the lead in the second inning on a two-run homer by Sandy Amaros. Duke Snider made it 3-0 with a home run in the third. Billy Martin put the Yankees on the board in the fourth with an RBI single. After Snider added a second home run in the fifth, the Yankees got back in the game with home runs by Bob Cerv and Yogi Berra. However, Jackie Robinson drove in a run in the eighth as Clem Labine earned the save in a 5-3 win as the Dodgers took a 3-2 series lead.
Whitey Ford got the start in Game 6, as the Yankees face elimination back in the Bronx. The Dodgers had Karl Spooner on the mound, looking to win the World Series. Spooner got forked in the first, as the Yankees scored five runs, highlighted by a three-run homer by Moose Skowron. The Yankees would not score again, but it was more than enough for Ford, as the Yankees won 5-1 to force a seventh game.
Johnny Podres, who won the vital third game in Brooklyn, was Walt Alston’s choice to start Game 7, while Tommy Byrne made the start for the Yankees. The Dodgers got the first run of the game in the fourth inning as Gil Hodges singled home Roy Campanella. Hodges drove in a second run in the sixth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, the Yankees had their best threat of the game, first and second with no outs when Yogi Berra slapped the ball to left field, Sandy Amaros made a running catch by the foul line and quickly threw the ball in to double Gil McDougald off first. Hank Bauer would ground out to end the inning as the rally died. Johnny Podres pitched around eight hits and earned the first World Series MVP. The moment Brooklyn fans waited for finally came true as Elston Howard grounded out to Pee Wee Reese to end the game.
The Dodgers were the first team to win a best-of-seven World Series after losing the first two games. Brooklyn was finally World Champions, but heartbreak lies on the horizon. After the Yankees returned the favor and won the 1956 World Series in seven games at Ebbets Field, the Dodgers stunned their fans by announcing they would move to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.