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Series Wrapup

Story

After having their championship run halted by the Cleveland Indians the previous year, the Yankees returned to the top of the American League standings in 1955, finishing the campaign with a record of 96-58, three games ahead of the second-place Indians.  The Chicago White Sox finished a close third, just five games off the pace.  An eight-game winning streak that began in the season’s last two weeks finally enabled the Yankees to separate themselves from their two closest competitors.

The American League’s most well-balanced ball club, New York finished second in the junior circuit in both runs scored (762) and fewest runs allowed (569).  Whitey Ford headed their deep pitching staff, which posted a league-leading 3.23 team ERA.  Ford finished 18-7, to tie for the A.L. lead in victories.  He also topped the circuit with 18 complete games and placed second in the league with a 2.63 ERA and 254 innings pitched.  Bob Turley finished second on the team with 17 victories, while Tommy Byrne added another 16 wins.  

Meanwhile, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle spearheaded the Yankee offense.  Berra captured A.L. MVP honors for the third time by hitting 27 home runs and driving in 108 runs.  Mantle, though, finished with better overall numbers, leading the league with 37 homers, 11 triples, 113 bases on balls, a .431 on-base percentage, and a .611 slugging percentage.  He also knocked in 99 runs, scored 121 others, and batted .306.

The Yankees entered the World Series against the Dodgers hoping to defeat Brooklyn in the Fall Classic for the fifth time in nine years.  However, the Dodgers turned the tables on their old tormentors, handing the Yankees their first World Series defeat since 1942 by edging them out in seven games.  The Fall Classic’s pivotal moment occurred late in Game Seven, when Brooklyn left-fielder Sandy Amoros squelched a Yankee rally by starting a double play after he made a spectacular running catch on a long fly ball hit by Yogi Berra into the left field corner.  The play helped preserve Johnny Podres’ 2-0 victory, earning the Dodger pitcher Series MVP honors.

Although the Cleveland Indians failed to repeat as American League champions, they continued to feature arguably the circuit’s best pitching staff.  Bob Lemon tied Whitey Ford for the league lead with 18 victories, while Early Wynn posted 17 wins and a 2.82 ERA.  Herb Score gave the Indians a third outstanding starter.  The American League’s Rookie of the Year won 16 games and led all A.L. hurlers with 245 strikeouts.  However, with both Al Rosen and Larry Doby suffering through subpar seasons, the Indians lacked the offensive firepower to keep up with the Yankees.
    
Two teams that matched up well with New York on offense were the fourth-place Boston Red Sox and the fifth-place Detroit Tigers.  Jackie Jensen and Ted Williams led Boston’s attack, which scored only seven fewer runs than the Yankees.  Jensen hit 26 home runs, led the league with 116 runs batted in, and scored 95 runs.  Although injuries limited Williams to only 98 games and 320 official at-bats, he finished the campaign with 28 homers, 83 runs batted in, 77 runs scored, and a .356 batting average.

Meanwhile, the Tigers had arguably the junior circuit’s finest all-around player in Al Kaline.  The 20-year-old outfielder led the league with a .340 batting average, 200 hits, and 321 total bases in just his second full season.  Kaline also hit 27 home runs, knocked in 102 runs, scored 121 others, compiled a .421 on-base percentage, and posted a .546 slugging percentage, en route to earning a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• April 14 - Elston Howard became the first African-American to wear the New York Yankees uniform.  Howard singled in his first at-bat against the Boston Red Sox during an 8-4 Yankee win.

• May 13 - Mickey Mantle hit home runs from both sides of the plate for the first time in his major league career during a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium.  Mantle finished the game with three home runs – two left-handed and one right-handed, while driving in all five of New York’s runs.

• Cleveland Indians outfielder Al Smith earned a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by hitting 22 home runs, driving in 77 runs, batting .306, and scoring a league-leading 123 runs.

• Chicago White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox batted .311, scored 100 runs, and collected 198 hits.

• Even though the Yankees lost the World Series in seven games, Yogi Berra led all players from both teams with 10 hits and a .417 batting average.

• Calvin Griffith, adopted son of Clark, took over as Senators president upon his father's death.

• Washington's Harmon Killebrew hit his first major league home run on June 24 at age 18.

• For the first time in history, no American League pitcher won 20 games.

• Boston’s Frank Sullivan led the American League with just 260 innings pitched.

• Chicago’s Billy Pierce led all A.L. hurlers with a 1.97 ERA.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Joe DiMaggio, Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance, Gabby Hartnett, Home Run Baker, and Ray Schalk.

• The A's moved to Kansas City, marking the first franchise shift that failed to result in an immediate financial success.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2089 5257 540 1263 503 .196 177 39 54 34 46 1680 .332 .241 .611 127 27 70
BOS 1827 5273 755 1392 709 .245 241 39 137 43 17 2122 .348 .337 .706 125 53 69
CHA 1963 5220 725 1401 677 .216 204 36 116 69 45 2025 .364 .307 .703 117 43 111
CLE 2053 5146 698 1325 657 .228 195 31 148 28 24 2026 .415 .310 .742 112 59 87
DET 1854 5283 775 1407 724 .219 211 38 130 41 22 2084 .356 .293 .694 130 57 71
KC1 2024 5335 638 1395 592 .197 189 46 121 22 36 2039 .302 .241 .585 146 34 58
NYA 1962 5161 761 1342 717 .209 179 55 175 55 25 2156 .344 .296 .675 99 49 79
WS1 2019 5142 598 1277 566 .195 178 54 80 25 32 1803 .298 .267 .588 127 38 79

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 391 57 97 1388 594 625 6088 1403 103 130.260 650 754 35 9 20 42 1
BOS 341 84 70 1386 674 582 5991 1333 128 58.770 572 652 44 9 34 28 4
CHA 357 91 63 1378 720 497 5817 1301 111 64.510 516 557 55 17 23 19 3
CLE 369 93 61 1387 877 558 5903 1285 111 61.970 522 601 45 13 36 35 0
DET 339 79 75 1380 629 517 5941 1381 126 86.280 582 658 66 15 12 27 2
KC1 410 63 91 1384 573 707 6243 1486 175 253.030 822 911 29 7 22 36 3
NYA 344 96 58 1373 732 688 5834 1163 108 70.410 493 569 52 18 33 26 3
WS1 383 53 101 1353 607 634 6053 1450 99 126.010 696 789 37 9 16 28 3

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2597 7185 5265 1733 187 .953 16662 54 37 1.00 22
BOS 2217 7097 5199 1743 155 .971 16614 44 36 0 5
CHA 2395 7086 5184 1767 135 .974 16536 33 23 1.00 6
CLE 2389 6833 5128 1584 121 .974 16632 33 36 2.00 13
DET 2193 7059 5263 1638 158 .959 16569 39 35 1.00 8
KC1 2360 7187 5256 1760 171 .972 16585 37 33 2.00 14
NYA 2314 6991 5169 1679 143 .956 16465 27 34 3.00 5
WS1 2269 7019 5120 1719 180 .949 16256 48 44 3.00 17

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1955 World Series, Al Kaline, Al Rosen, Al Smith, American League, Billy Pierce, Bob Lemon, Bob Turley, Brooklyn Dodgers, Calvin Griffith, Early Wynn, Elston Howard, Frank Sullivan, Harmon Killebrew, Herb Score, Jackie Jensen, Johnny Podres, Larry Doby, Mickey Mantle, Nellie Fox, New York Yankees, Sandy Amoros, Ted Williams, Tommy Byrne, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra

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