Saturday, October 28, 2017

World Series Game #4

TRIVIA QUESTION: Mickey Mantle hit 18 home runs in the World Series. Twice he would belt three in a single series. Name both the World Series where he hit three homers?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: 1963 and 1964 the very next two years the Yankees made it to the Series but lost. It wasn't until 1976 when they appeared again. After that, starting in 1965 other teams began to dominate and the Yankees were continually rebuilding. The players who had built the dynasty became broadcasters and managers, retiring from the field of play (i.e. Berra and Kubek among them).

Since this is 2017 World Series Week, we'll be taking a look at the matching World Series games of the 1960's. Each of the next eight blogs will deal with a corresponding game where possible. This blog deals with the fourth game of the 1963 series while the next will deal with Game 5 of the 1964 series and so on. If the 2017 series is shorter than seven games we'll continue the series on here.

                                                   1963 (Game Four)
                                             New York at Los Angeles

The reason Game Four of the 1963 World Series was so important was it marked the first time the New York Yankees had ever been swept in a four game series in the history of the game. In 1922 they were swept  by the Giants, sort of. One of the games ended in a tie which meant they actually played five games.

If ever there was a sign the Yankees were aging and the dominance which started in the 1950's was over, it was this series.  New York had only scored three runs in the first three games against the pitching heavy Dodgers who themselves would only score a total of 12 runs in the four game set. 

Los Angeles was led by great starting pitching of Sandy Koufax who was 25-5 with an unheard of 1.88 ERA, and Don Drysdale who despite a record of 19-17 registered a 2.63 ERA. An old Johnny Podres won 14 more and between the big three they completed 47 games. Throw in Ron Perranoski with his 16 wins and 21 saves and you have a pitching staff which held New York to just four runs in four games. Unheard of. 

Koufax won the first game and Podres the second with Drysdale tossing a shutout in Game Three. New York drew the unenviable task of facing down Koufax again in Game Four.  He was up the task pitching on three games rest and one travel day. Remember this was the 1960's when that was the norm rather than the exception. Koufax squared off against Whitey Ford in a battle of lefties.

Ford fell to Koufax in Game One and was coming of his second 20 plus game winning season. He was 24-7 in 1963 and was definitely on his game this time. Ford had only allowed a single to slugger Frank Howard in the second inning when he came up against Howard again in the 5th. Howard took him deep to left and into the left field bleachers at Dodgers Stadium for a home run to put Los Angeles up 1-0. It was the only other hit Ford allowed and the only earned run.

Koufax was matching Ford pitch for pitch. Through six, he only allowed a single and a double and was well on his way to an eight strikeout game when Mickey Mantle came up with one out in the seventh. Batting right handed Mantle would hit the 15th home run in his World Series career. A solo shot to tie the game at 1-1.

The bottom of the seventh however was where this game came home to roost. Jim Gilliam led off the inning with a ground ball to the normally sure handed and gold glove third baseman, Clete Boyer. Boyer's throw to first was good but first baseman Joe Pepitone misplayed it and it went down the right field line. The speedy Gilliam raced all the way around to third. Willie Davis then hit a flyball to his counterpart in center field. Mantle made the catch but Gilliam scored the go ahead run. 

Koufax began to tire but still had enough left in the tank as manager Walter Alston chose to leave his lefty in. In the ninth New York mounted what was their last hope. A lead off single by second baseman Bobby Richardson got things started. Koufax would not be denied, catching both Tom Tresh and Mantle looking at third strikes before Elston Howard hit a ground ball to short which Maury Wills handled for the force out at second, but Dick Tracewski mishandled for an error. With runners on first and second and two out, Hector Lopez bounced a ball to Wills who went across the diamond to Bill Skowron at first for the final out and the Dodgers were World Champions.

 To say it was Dodger pitching which won this series is an understatement. While Los Angeles had only 25 hits, the Yanks were held to 22 and only four runs in four games. So dominant were the Dodger starters, the bullpen pitched only 2/3 of an inning in the entire series. Koufax completed two games, Drysdale one and Perranoski's lone appearance came in relief of Podres.

New York batted a dismal .171 while the Dodgers only hit .214. Elston Howard led NY with five hits, Tommy Davis had six for the Dodgers and Bill Skowron, now playing for LA also had five.  It was Moose's only season in Los Angeles for the Dodgers.

The fielding was awesome as well with only three errors made by the Dodgers and one by New York, but the one was most costly. It allowed the winning run to score in a 2-1 World Series clincher in front of 55,000 fans at Dodgers Stadium.

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon


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