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Series Wrapup

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Even though they boasted the American League’s best pitching staff, the Cleveland Indians came out second-best to New York for the fifth time in six years in 1956, finishing nine games behind the first-place Yankees, who captured their seventh pennant in eight seasons under manager Casey Stengel.  Featuring a starting rotation that included three 20-game winners, the Indians surrendered a league-low 581 runs to the opposition.  Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Herb Score each posted 20 victories, with sophomore sensation Score leading all A.L. hurlers with 263 strikeouts and five shutouts, while also placing second in the league with a 2.53 ERA.

Still, Cleveland’s outstanding pitching wasn’t enough to overcome a superior Yankee ball club that finished the year with a record of 97-57 and a league-leading 857 runs scored.  Seeking to return to the top of the baseball world after losing to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the previous year’s World Series, New York rode a virtuoso performance by A.L. MVP Mickey Mantle all the way to the league championship.  Mantle won the Triple Crown by topping the junior circuit with 52 home runs, 130 runs batted in, and a .353 batting average.  He also led the league with 132 runs scored and a .705 slugging percentage, while placing second with 112 walks and a .467 on-base percentage.  

Although Mantle was clearly the driving force behind New York’s first-place finish, he had a considerable amount of help from his Yankee teammates.  Yogi Berra earned a second-place finish in the league MVP voting by hitting 30 home runs, driving in 105 runs, scoring 93 others, and batting .298.  Bill Skowron hit 23 homers, knocked in 90 runs, and batted .308.  Hank Bauer hit 26 round-trippers, drove in 84 runs, and scored 96 others.  After taking over at shortstop from the retired Phil Rizzuto, Gil McDougald batted .311 and scored 79 runs.
 
Meanwhile, Yankee pitchers posted the second-lowest team ERA in the league – a mark of 3.63 that only Cleveland’s staff surpassed.  Whitey Ford had a sensational year, finishing 19-6, with 18 complete games and a league-leading 2.47 ERA.  Johnny Kucks placed second to Ford on the staff with 18 victories.  Tom Sturdivant added another 16 wins.  

The Yankees had an opportunity to redeem themselves when they faced the Dodgers again in the World Series.  After losing the first two games at Ebbets Field, New York stormed back to win the next three contests at Yankee Stadium.  Game Five proved to be a classic, with Don Larsen throwing the only perfect game in World Series history, en route to defeating Brooklyn’s Sal Maglie by a score of 2-0.  Mickey Mantle hit a solo home run off Maglie and also helped preserve Larsen’s perfect game with a fine running catch in deep left-center field on a ball hit by Gil Hodges.  Brooklyn tied the Series with a 1-0 victory in Game Six, before the Yankees captured their 17th world championship by shutting out the Dodgers 9-0 in Game Seven.  Yogi Berra was the hitting star of the Series, batting .360, hitting three homers, and driving in 10 runs.  Mantle also homered three times.  But Series MVP honors went to Larsen for his amazing Game Five performance.  

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

• May 30 – During a 4-3 New York victory over the Washington Senators, Mickey Mantle narrowly missed becoming the first player ever to hit a home run completely out of Yankee Stadium.  With Mantle batting left-handed against Washington starter Pedro Ramos in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader, he hit a towering drive above the level of the stadium roof.  However, a stiff wind cut down the flight of the ball, which struck the right-field facade, some 18 inches above the level of the roof.

• June 21 - Jack Harshman of the Chicago White Sox defeated Connie Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles 1-0 in a game in which both pitchers threw one-hitters.

• July 10 - At Griffith Stadium, home of the Washington Senators, the National League defeated the American League, 7-3, in the All-Star Game. Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle all hit home runs.

• July 14 - Boston Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell pitched a no-hitter in Boston’s 4-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

• September 30 - Chicago White Sox pitcher Jim Derrington became the youngest pitcher in modern history to start a game.  He lost to the Kansas City Athletics, 7-6, at the age of 16 years and 10 months.

• October 8 - New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game Five of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, in a 2-0 victory.  Larsen’s perfecto was just the fourth in the major leagues since 1900, and only the sixth in the history of major league baseball.  It remains the only perfect game in postseason history, and also the only no-hitter in the World Series.

• White Sox shortstop Luis Aparicio led the American League with 21 steals, en route to winning A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Hank Greenberg and Joe Cronin.

• After resigning as skipper of the Cleveland Indians, Al Lopez assumed the managerial post of the Chicago White Sox.

• Connie Mack died at age 93.

• Detroit’s Harvey Kuenn led the American League with 196 hits.

• Detroit’s Frank Lary led the American League with 21 wins and 294 innings pitched.  A noted “Yankee killer,” Lary posted a record of 5-1 against the pennant-winners.

• Cleveland’s Vic Wertz hit 32 home runs and knocked in 106 runs.

• Detroit's Al Kaline followed up his superb 1955 campaign by hitting 27 home runs, scoring 96 runs, batting .314, and finishing second in the league with 128 runs batted in.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2017 5090 571 1242 515 .185 198 34 91 39 42 1781 .328 .243 .605 133 31 84
BOS 1923 5349 780 1473 752 .247 261 45 139 28 19 2241 .390 .333 .734 153 46 68
CHA 1951 5286 776 1412 726 .209 218 43 128 70 33 2100 .382 .301 .729 130 56 86
CLE 1935 5148 712 1256 677 .206 199 23 153 40 32 1960 .340 .295 .645 110 38 81
DET 1884 5364 789 1494 745 .209 209 50 150 43 26 2253 .350 .283 .660 133 50 58
KC1 2065 5256 619 1325 584 .173 204 41 112 40 30 1947 .295 .231 .565 127 37 67
NYA 1936 5312 857 1433 788 .210 193 55 190 51 37 2306 .338 .296 .660 102 36 82
WS1 1999 5202 652 1302 612 .190 198 62 112 37 34 1960 .321 .266 .605 142 35 75

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 385 69 85 1362 715 547 5875 1362 99 115.520 635 705 38 8 24 35 4
BOS 333 84 70 1397 712 667 6150 1354 130 55.210 647 751 50 8 20 31 2
CHA 350 85 69 1389 722 524 5948 1351 118 129.560 575 634 65 11 13 33 5
CLE 337 88 66 1384 845 564 5888 1233 116 47.180 511 581 67 16 24 31 3
DET 342 82 72 1379 788 655 6087 1389 140 107.730 622 699 62 9 15 29 5
KC1 405 52 102 1369 636 679 6083 1424 187 139.560 740 831 30 3 18 38 3
NYA 335 97 57 1381 732 652 5940 1285 114 174.070 557 631 50 9 35 22 2
WS1 399 59 95 1370 663 730 6263 1539 171 77.340 811 924 36 1 18 39 6

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2520 6992 5148 1683 161 .967 16331 59 36 0 5
BOS 2297 7245 5251 1799 195 .949 16775 38 31 1.00 10
CHA 2331 7053 5252 1658 143 .970 16666 28 24 1.00 9
CLE 2302 6882 5185 1549 148 .973 16609 52 25 0 10
DET 2192 6971 5212 1589 170 .930 16546 33 36 3.00 11
KC1 2362 7075 5056 1830 189 .970 16445 49 47 2.00 19
NYA 2336 7043 5142 1745 156 .955 16576 33 33 1.00 9
WS1 2275 7126 5129 1801 196 .959 16424 54 45 1.00 11

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1956 World Series, Al Kaline, Al Lopez, American League, Bill Skowron, Bob Lemon, Brooklyn Dodgers, Casey Stengel, Connie Johnson, Connie Mack, Don Larsen, Early Wynn, Frank Lary, Gil Hodges, Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Hank Greenberg, Harvey Kuenn, Herb Score, Jack Harshman, Jim Derrington, Joe Cronin, Johnny Kucks, Luis Aparicio, Mel Parnell, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Pedro Ramos, Sal Maglie, Ted Williams, Tom Sturdivant, Vic Wertz, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra

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