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Series Wrapup

Story

In the end, the 1955 baseball season belonged to the Brooklyn Dodgers.  After a heartbreaking string of near-misses that began in 1947, the Dodgers finally had their year, breezing to the National League pennant and nipping the Yankees in the World Series in seven tough games to win the first world championship in franchise history.

Sophomore skipper Walter Alston had the Dodgers flying out of the starting gate.  They won their first 10 games, and 20 of their first 22, en route to building a 12 ½ game lead by July 4.  Brooklyn cruised from that point on, finishing the regular season with a record of 98-55, 13 ½ games in front of the second-place Milwaukee Braves.

Easily the National League’s most well-balanced ball club, the Dodgers topped the senior circuit with 857 runs scored, while also surrendering fewer runs to the opposition than any other team in the league (650).  Don Newcombe anchored Brooklyn’s pitching staff, finishing the year with a record of 20-5, a 3.20 ERA, 17 complete games, and 234 innings pitched.  Meanwhile, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider led an offense that topped the major leagues with 201 home runs.  Fully recovered from the hand injury that hampered him one year earlier, Campanella hit 32 homers, drove in 107 runs, and batted .318, en route to winning his third N.L. MVP Award.  Snider hit 42 round-trippers, batted .309, and led the league with 136 runs batted in and 126 runs scored.  He finished a close second to his teammate in the MVP balloting.

After laying waste to the rest of the National League during the regular season, the Dodgers faced their old nemesis, the New York Yankees, in the World Series.  Brooklyn got off to a rocky start, losing the first two contests by scores of 6-5 and 4-2.  However, the Dodgers won the next three games to take a 3-2 lead in the Series.  Three hits and three RBIs by Roy Campanella and a strong pitching effort by Johnny Podres gave the Dodgers an 8-3 victory in Game Three.  Home runs by Campanella, Gil Hodges, and Duke Snider helped Brooklyn even the Series with an 8-5 win in Game Four.  Two more homers by Snider led the Dodgers to a 5-3 victory in Game Five.  The Yankees came back to take Game Six, though, riding a Whitey Ford four-hitter to a 5-1 win that evened the Fall Classic at three games apiece. 

Johnny Podres took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning of the decisive seventh contest.  But the Yankees mounted a serious threat by putting runners on first and second, with no one out.  Representing the go-ahead run, Yogi Berra then lofted a long fly ball deep into the left field corner that Sandy Amoros pulled in with an outstanding running catch.  The Dodger left fielder quickly got the ball back into the infield, allowing shortstop Pee Wee Reese to double-up Gil McDougald, who had strayed too far from first base.  Podres did the rest, shutting out the Yankees the rest of the way to give Brooklyn its first world title.  The rookie left-hander’s two victories earned him Series MVP honors.

Although the Dodgers’ World Series triumph proved to be the highlight of the 1955 campaign, several players from other teams distinguished themselves over the course of the season.  Philadelphia’s Robin Roberts led all N.L. hurlers with 23 wins, 26 complete games, and 305 innings pitched.  Ted Kluszewski had his second straight monstrous year for the fifth-place Cincinnati Reds, hitting 47 home runs, driving in 113 runs, scoring 116 others, batting .314, and leading the league with 192 hits.  Chicago’s Ernie Banks established a new record for major league shortstops by hitting 44 home runs.  He also knocked in 117 runs, scored 98 others, and batted .295.  Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews both had big years for the second-place Braves.  In just his second season, Aaron hit 27 home runs, drove in 106 runs, scored 105 others, and batted .314.  Mathews hit 41 homers, knocked in 101 runs, scored another 108, batted .289, and led the N.L. with 109 walks.  Although the defending-champion New York Giants stumbled to third in the senior circuit, Willie Mays had another superb year, batting .319, driving in 127 runs, scoring 123 others, and leading the league with 51 home runs, 13 triples, 382 total bases, and a .659 slugging percentage. 

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• May 12 - Sam Jones of the Chicago Cubs became the first African-American to pitch a no-hitter in the major leagues when he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4–0.

• July 31 - On the anniversary of his four-home run game, Braves' first baseman Joe Adcock had his arm broken by a pitch from the New York Giants' Jim Hearn.  Adcock missed the remainder of the season.

• November 12 - Fred Hutchinson replaced Harry Walker as the St. Louis Cardinals manager, leaving the National League without a player-manager for the first time in its history.

• Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe collected 42 hits.

• Philadelphia’s Richie Ashburn led the National League with a .338 batting average.

• Robin Roberts led the National League in starts a record sixth straight year.

• Down 5-0 at one point, the National League rallied to win the All-Star Game 6-5 in 12 innings at Milwaukee.  Stan Musial delivered the winning blow with a walk-off home run.

• Bill Virdon of the Cardinals earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Ted Kluszewski’s 47 home runs gave him 136 round-trippers and only 109 strikeouts from 1953 through 1955.

• Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend led the National League with a 2.84 ERA

• Ernie Banks established a new single-season major league record by hitting five grand slam home runs.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 1830 5193 857 1406 800 .203 230 44 201 79 56 2327 .328 .319 .682 132 54 75
CHN 1890 5214 626 1287 597 .186 187 55 164 37 35 2076 .311 .274 .603 107 33 69
CIN 2024 5270 761 1424 726 .198 216 28 181 51 36 2239 .318 .289 .632 104 43 76
ML1 1790 5277 743 1377 699 .232 219 55 182 42 27 2252 .320 .326 .658 113 39 72
NY1 2041 5288 702 1377 643 .203 173 34 169 38 22 2125 .349 .300 .660 108 50 69
PHI 1821 5092 675 1300 631 .157 214 50 132 44 32 2010 .318 .236 .648 139 43 53
PIT 1918 5173 560 1262 532 .206 210 60 91 22 22 1865 .315 .273 .612 132 32 93
SLN 2022 5266 654 1375 608 .182 228 36 143 64 59 2104 .297 .257 .602 122 44 56

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 363 98 55 1379 773 483 5799 1296 168 72.270 564 650 46 9 37 35 2
CHN 363 72 81 1380 686 601 5944 1306 153 74.710 639 713 47 9 23 31 1
CIN 399 75 79 1364 576 443 5781 1373 161 97.690 598 684 38 12 22 28 3
ML1 357 85 69 1383 654 591 5965 1339 138 115.440 591 668 61 5 12 30 3
NY1 400 80 74 1387 721 560 5972 1347 155 49.770 581 673 52 6 14 19 1
PHI 347 77 77 1357 657 477 5750 1291 161 91.150 592 666 58 8 21 28 0
PIT 353 60 94 1363 622 536 5967 1480 142 110.130 665 767 41 5 16 30 4
SLN 428 68 86 1378 730 549 5972 1376 185 133.940 698 757 42 8 15 31 3

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 2193 6938 5076 1707 155 .948 16538 34 28 1.00 5
CHN 2206 7049 5139 1739 171 .954 16543 54 25 1.00 21
CIN 2283 6998 5121 1718 159 .965 16355 31 31 4.00 10
ML1 2147 7195 5193 1818 184 .970 16599 26 28 2.00 10
NY1 2296 7098 5162 1772 164 .967 16637 31 28 1.00 23
PHI 2161 6777 5129 1522 126 .972 16280 35 33 1.00 18
PIT 2246 7096 5102 1799 195 .965 16345 39 29 3.00 19
SLN 2368 6987 5136 1676 175 .964 16524 29 18 1.00 14

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1955 World Series, Bill Virdon, Bob Friend, Brooklyn Dodgers, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Fred Hutchinson, Gil Hodges, Hank Aaron, Harry Walker, Jim Hearn, Joe Adcock, Johnny Podres, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Roy Campanella, Sam Jones, Sandy Amoros, Stan Musial, Ted Kluszewski, Walter Alston, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays

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