Today’s Postseason Series From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is the 1955 World Series. The Dodgers of the 1940’s and 1950’s were perennial bridesmaids. In 1941 they made their first World Series since 1920, but lost in five to the Yankees. In 1942 they won 104 games and finished two games behind the Cardinals. In 1951 they famously blew a 13 game lead to the Giants and lost the three game playoff (“THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!”). They lost the World Series again in 1952 and 1953 to the Yankees. From 1939 through 1954 the Dodgers had a .591 winning percentage but could not get over the hump. The Yankees on the other hand were old hat. In 1923 they won their first World Series. They won 15 more from then through 1953, including runs of four in a row and five in a row. The line used to be that rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for U.S. Steel. They had previously beaten the Dodgers in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953.
Game 1 was in Yankee Stadium pitting Don Newcombe against Whitey Ford on the mound. The Dodgers got the scoring started in the second when Carl Furillo led off with a homer, followed by a one out triple by Jackie Robinson and RBI single by Don Zimmer. The Yankees quickly tied it in the bottom half on a two-run shot from Elston Howard. Duke Snider led off the third with a homerun and the Yankees scratched the tying run across in the bottom of the frame. The Yankees got their first lead in the fourth when first baseman Joe Collins homered. Collins would hit another homerun in the sixth, this with Yogi Berra on. The Dodgers got a couple back, but the Yankees took Game 1, 6-5. I probably shouldn’t just put it that way. The eighth inning Furillo singled and with one out Robinson reached on an error and went to second. After Zimmer hit a sacrifice fly, Robinson took third. Then, with pinch hitter Frank Kellert at the plate, Robinson made a dash for home. In my humble opinion he looked out, but home plate umpire Bill Summers called him safe. To say Yogi Berra didn’t like the call would be a mild understatement. Game 2 came down to one inning. In the bottom of the fourth, trailing 1-0, Berra started a two-out rally with a single, followed by a Collins walk, then back-to-back run scoring singles by Howard and Billy Martin. After a hit batsman, pitcher Tommy Byrne helped his own cause with another single. The Dodgers got one back in the fifth, but the Yankees had a 2-0 series lead as the Series shifted across town to Ebbetts Field. Game 3 was the Dodgers’ from the start. Roy Campanella hit a two-run homerun off of Bob Turley in the bottom of the first. The Yankees tied it in the second, only for Turley to lose control, hitting a batter and walking Jim Gilliam with the bases loaded before getting yanked. Reliever Tom Morgan promptly walked Pee Wee Reese for another run. The Dodgers tacked on two more in the fourth and seventh innings to take Game 3 8-3. Game 4 was a slug fest. Don Larsen lasted only four innings, Carl Erskine only three. Campanella, Snider, and Gil Hodges each homered for Brooklyn as the Dodgers evened the series with an 8-5 win. Game 5 featured more long balls (Ebbetts Field was always a good hitters park) as Snider added two more homers, becoming only player to hit four homeruns in two different World Series (1952 being the other time). Sandy Amoros added one for Brooklyn, and despite homers from Berra and Bob Cerv the Dodgers held on 5-3 to take a 3-2 series lead for their return to Yankee Stadium. Game 6 was over fast. Karl Spooner could only get one out as the Yankees scored five in the bottom of the first inning, capped off by a Bob Skowron three-run homerun. Ford threw a complete game four hitter and the Yankees evened the series with a 5-1 victory, setting up the dramatics in Game 7.
The final game featured Johnny Podres and Tommy Byrne on the hill. The game was scoreless through three when Campanella hit a one out double. With two out Hodges singled to left, scoring Campanella. Hodges added a sac fly in the sixth, making the score 2-0. In the bottom of the sixth the Yankees posted their first real threat. Billy Martin led off with a walk. After a bunt single by Gil McDougald, Yogi stepped up to the plate. Berra blasted a long fly ball to the left field corner. Sandy Amoros, who was brought in as a defensive replacement when Don Zimmer was pinch hit for, sprinted towards the corner after the ball. Just a few feet from the foul line, Amoros reached out and caught the ball in fair play. McDougald had rounded second and had to retreat to first. Amoros threw in to Reese, who relayed to Hodges at first to complete the double play. Hank Bauer grounded out to end the threat. Two innings later Berra would come up with two on and one out, only to pop out to shallow right. That was the last threat the Yankees would muster. Podres would send the Yanks down in order in the ninth and the Brooklyn Dodgers were World Series Champions for the first time.
It would ultimately be bittersweet. Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley had been looking for land in Brooklyn to build a new stadium, one more accessible and in better shape. In a back and forth battle with city officials, O’Malley tried to get the city to condemn a parcel of land and build a new park. The city’s construction coordinator was trying to move O’Malley to Flushing Meadows and have a city built, city owned ballpark, therefore controlling revenue. O’Malley had seen the benefits Braves, Athletics, and Browns had received by relocating, the Braves and A’s further west. The country’s population was spreading, and air travel was now more common. Los Angeles officials were looking to lure a major league team out west. Originally looking at possibly getting the Senators, they gave O’Malley what New York didn’t – a chance to buy land and build a ballpark and have complete revenue control. Two years after giving the borough its only championship, the Dodgers were gone. In 1962 the Mets became the second team in New York, but for many it wasn’t the same.