Even though the New York Yankees began to show signs of vulnerability in 1958, they had little difficulty capturing their fourth consecutive American League pennant, and their ninth in 10 seasons under manager Casey Stengel. New York finished the regular season with a record of 92-62, 10 full games ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox. Yet, the Yankees’ 92 victories represented their lowest win-total under Stengel. Furthermore, no one on the club knocked in more than 100 runs, and only one player on the squad scored more than 80 times.
Still, New York remained the American League’s most well-balanced ball club, finishing first in the junior circuit with 164 home runs, 759 runs scored, a .268 team batting average, and a 3.22 team ERA. Whitey Ford continued to anchor New York’s pitching staff, compiling a record of 14-7, along with a league-leading 2.01 ERA and seven shutouts. Bob Turley earned Cy Young honors and a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by topping the circuit with 21 victories and 19 complete games, while posting a 2.97 ERA. Ryne Duren excelled out of the bullpen, leading the league with 20 saves, compiling a 2.02 ERA, and allowing only 40 hits in 76 innings of work, while striking out 87 batters.
Yogi Berra contributed to the New York offense by hitting 22 home runs and driving in 90 runs. Norm Siebern batted .300 and scored 79 runs. Elston Howard led the team with a .314 batting average. Mickey Mantle had another outstanding year, batting .304, placing among the league leaders with 97 runs batted in, a .443 on-base percentage, and a .592 slugging percentage, and topping the circuit with 42 home runs, 127 runs scored, 129 bases on balls, and 307 total bases. He finished fifth in the league MVP voting.
The Yankees entered the World Series against the Milwaukee Braves seeking to exact a measure of revenge for the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Braves in the previous year’s Fall Classic. However, New York’s situation appeared bleak after the first four contests, when Milwaukee jumped out to a three-games-to-one lead. After losing the first two contests by scores of 4-3 and 13-5, the Yankees rode a strong pitching performance by Don Larsen to a 4-0 victory in Game Three. Warren Spahn then put the Yankees on the brink of elimination by shutting them out 3-0 in Game Four.
The Yankees, though, finally broke through against their nemesis Lew Burdette in Game Five, knocking him out of the box in the sixth inning, en route to posting a 7-0 victory. Bob Turley threw a complete-game five-hitter for New York. After winning Game Six in Milwaukee in the 10th inning, the Yankees defeated Burdette again in Game Seven by a score of 6-2. Bill Skowron delivered the big blow by hitting a three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning. Turley, who earned Series MVP honors by posting two of New York’s final three victories, worked the final 6 2/3 innings in relief. Hank Bauer starred at the plate for New York throughout the Fall Classic, batting .323, hitting four homers, knocking in eight runs, and scoring six others. The triumph gave the Yankees their 18th world championship and also established them as the first team since 1925 to win a World Series after being down three-games-to-one.
Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:
• February 4 - The Baseball Hall of Fame failed to elect any new members for the first time since 1950.
• February 6 - Ted Williams signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox that made him the highest paid player in major league history. Reports on the worth of the contract varied from $135,000 to $150,000.
• July 8 - At Memorial Stadium, home of the Baltimore Orioles, the American League defeated the National League, 4-3, in the All-Star Game. This was the first All-Star Game without an extra-base hit.
• July 20 - In the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park, Jim Bunning of the Detroit Tigers no-hit the Boston Red Sox 3-0.
• September 20 - Hoyt Wilhelm of the Baltimore Orioles struck out eight Yankees en route to throwing a 1-0 no-hitter.
• November 28 - The Boston Red Sox signed teenage sensation Carl Yastrzemski to a reported bonus of $100,000.
• Washington's Albie Pearson captured A.L. Rookie of the Year honors, making him the first winner from a last-place team.
• Chicago’s Billy Pierce lost a perfect game when Washington's Ed Fitzgerald doubled with two men out in the ninth inning.
• Chicago’s Nellie Fox played a major league record 98 consecutive games without striking out.
• Ted Williams won the American League batting title at age 40 with a mark of .328.
• The members of the BBWAA named Boston outfielder Jackie Jensen A.L. MVP. Jensen hit 35 homers, batted .286, scored 83 runs, and led the league with 122 runs batted in.
• Cleveland’s Rocky Colavito batted .303, finished second in the league with 41 home runs and 113 runs batted in, and topped the circuit with a .620 slugging percentage. He finished third in the MVP voting.
• Gold Glove selections were made for first time in both leagues.
• Chicago’s Luis Aparicio again led the American League in steals (29).
• Nellie Fox batted .300 and led the league with 187 hits.
• Billy Pierce won 17 games, compiled a 2.68 ERA, and tied for the league lead with 19 complete games.
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- 1958 World Series, Albie Pearson, American League, Bill Skowron, Billy Pierce, Bob Turley, Carl Yastrzemski, Casey Stengel, Chicago White Sox, Don Larsen, Ed Fitz Gerald, Elston Howard, Hank Bauer, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jackie Jensen, Jim Bunning, Lew Burdette, Luis Aparicio, Mickey Mantle, Nellie Fox, New York Yankees, Norm Siebern, Rocky Colavito, Roy Sievers, Ryne Duren, Ted Williams, Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra