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Series Wrapup

Story

After cruising to the National League pennant by a 13 ½ game margin of victory the previous year, the Brooklyn Dodgers had a far more difficult time separating themselves from the rest of the senior circuit in 1956.  It took a season-ending three-game sweep of the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates for the Dodgers to finally lay claim to the N.L. flag with a record of 93-61.  The Milwaukee Braves finished second, just one game back, while the surprising Cincinnati Reds came in a very close third, only two games off the pace.

The Reds featured the National League’s most potent offense, topping the circuit with 775 runs scored and establishing a new league record by hitting 221 home runs as a team.  N.L. Rookie of the Year Frank Robinson led the assault with 38 homers, 83 runs batted in, a .290 batting average, and a league-leading 122 runs scored.  Ted Kluszewski clubbed 35 homers, drove in 102 runs, scored 91 others, and batted .302.  Outfielders Wally Post and Gus Bell added 36 and 29 round-trippers, respectively, while catcher Ed Bailey chipped in with 28 of his own.  

The Braves also had an impressive lineup that included sluggers Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, and Joe Adcock.  Aaron hit 26 homers, drove in 92 runs, scored 106 others, and led the league with a .328 batting average and 200 hits, en route to earning a third-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting.  Mathews hit 37 home runs, knocked in 95 runs, and scored another 103.  Adcock batted .291 and led the team with 38 home runs and 103 runs batted in.  

Equally impressive was Milwaukee’s pitching staff, which compiled a league-leading 3.11 team ERA.  Warren Spahn finished second in the league with 20 victories, 20 complete games, and a 2.78 ERA.  Lew Burdette won 19 games and led all N.L. hurlers with an ERA of 2.70.  Bob Buhl posted an outstanding record of 18-8.

In the end, though, the Dodgers’ combination of solid hitting and strong pitching enabled them to win their last pennant in the borough of Brooklyn.  Duke Snider paced the Dodger offense, batting .292, driving in 101 runs, scoring 112 others, and leading the league with 43 home runs, 99 walks, a .402 on-base percentage, and a .598 slugging percentage.  Gil Hodges added another 32 round-trippers, while Jim Gilliam batted .300 and scored 102 runs.  

Don Newcombe anchored Brooklyn’s starting rotation, finishing the campaign with a record of 27-7, a 3.06 ERA, 268 innings pitched, 18 complete games, and five shutouts.  The big right-hander’s outstanding season earned him N.L. MVP honors and recognition as major league baseball’s first Cy Young Award winner.

The Dodgers got off to a good start against the Yankees in the World Series, winning the first two games by scores of 6-3 and 13-8.  However, the Yankees took the next two contests, to even the Fall Classic at two games apiece.  New York then took a 3-2 Series lead when Don Larsen hurled the only perfect game in postseason history by shutting out the Dodgers 2-0 in Game Five.  Brooklyn’s Clem Labine helped his team even the Series again by hurling 10 scoreless innings during a 1-0 Dodger victory in Game Six.  But the Yankees pounded five Dodger pitchers in the decisive seventh contest, en route to posting a 9-0 Series-clinching victory.   

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

• May 12 - Carl Erskine tossed the second no-hitter of his career as the Brooklyn Dodgers blanked the New York Giants, 3–0, at Ebbets Field.

• July 25 - Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit the first, and, to-date, the only walk-off inside-the park grand slam in major league history in a 9-8 win over the Chicago Cubs.

• September 25 - Brooklyn Dodgers hurler Sal Maglie pitched a 5-0 no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies.

• Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot boxes during the All-Star voting process, putting all Reds regulars onto the starting team.  Commissioner Ford Frick disallowed the vote and replaced some of the Reds with more deserving players.

• Dale Long of the Pirates hit home runs in a record eight consecutive games.

• Willie Mays led the National League with 40 stolen bases, compiling in the process the highest total in the major leagues since 1944.

• The National League won the All-Star Game 7-3 at Washington.

• The Braves led the National League race by one game with three games remaining on the schedule, but they dropped two of three while the Dodgers won three straight.

• Stan Musial led the National League with 109 runs batted in.

• Clem Labine led the major leagues with 19 saves.

• Robin Roberts led the major leagues with 22 complete games.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BRO 1888 5098 720 1315 680 .204 212 36 179 65 37 2136 .302 .325 .661 146 34 86
CHN 1907 5260 597 1281 563 .174 202 50 142 55 38 2009 .284 .255 .564 99 46 87
CIN 2041 5291 775 1406 734 .180 201 32 221 45 22 2334 .331 .273 .652 112 43 90
ML1 1948 5207 709 1350 667 .211 212 54 177 29 20 2201 .304 .348 .664 99 42 142
NY1 2034 5190 540 1268 497 .186 192 45 145 67 34 1985 .272 .272 .576 114 37 59
PHI 1903 5204 668 1313 616 .216 207 49 121 45 23 1981 .364 .283 .682 132 42 52
PIT 2093 5221 588 1340 546 .182 199 57 110 24 33 1983 .308 .260 .599 124 40 95
SLN 2002 5378 678 1443 628 .178 234 49 124 41 35 2147 .324 .258 .640 128 31 41

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BRO 355 93 61 1367 772 441 5684 1251 171 89.240 543 601 46 11 30 42 3
CHN 377 60 94 1391 744 613 6015 1325 161 71.080 612 708 37 6 17 24 1
CIN 386 91 63 1391 653 458 5907 1406 141 78.420 594 658 47 4 29 18 2
ML1 332 92 62 1394 639 467 5823 1295 133 42.510 480 569 64 12 27 24 2
NY1 417 67 87 1377 765 551 5880 1287 144 89.910 578 650 31 8 28 24 1
PHI 366 71 83 1377 750 437 5890 1407 172 90.800 643 738 57 4 15 20 2
PIT 423 66 88 1376 662 469 5891 1406 142 76.920 572 653 37 6 24 37 1
SLN 390 76 78 1390 709 546 5909 1339 155 173.080 612 698 41 11 30 45 1

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BRO 2305 6885 5010 1743 132 .969 16420 32 27 1.00 9
CHN 2198 7083 5274 1651 158 .968 16700 48 26 1.00 17
CIN 2275 7061 5166 1756 139 .961 16669 50 32 0 8
ML1 2293 7195 5251 1777 167 .937 16719 14 14 2.00 5
NY1 2336 6977 5114 1694 169 .962 16522 28 30 3.00 24
PHI 2175 6900 5215 1512 173 .974 16527 62 21 1.00 3
PIT 2422 7071 5174 1704 193 .944 16509 20 26 4.00 17
SLN 2312 7055 5115 1787 153 .974 16667 52 23 0 8

West

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East

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Tagged:
1956 World Series, Bob Buhl, Brooklyn Dodgers, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, Dale Long, Don Larsen, Don Newcombe, Duke Snider, Ed Bailey, Eddie Mathews, Ford Frick, Frank Robinson, Gil Hodges, Gus Bell, Hank Aaron, Jim Gilliam, Joe Adcock, Lew Burdette, Roberto Clemente, Robin Roberts, Sal Maglie, Stan Musial, Ted Kluszewski, Wally Post, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays

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