After failing to advance to the World Series the previous three seasons, the Yankees captured the American League pennant under new manager Bucky Harris in 1947, finishing 12 games ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers, with a record of 97-57. Although no one individual player had a truly dominant year for the Yankees, they were easily the junior circuit’s most well-balanced team. New York led the A.L. with 794 runs scored and 568 runs allowed, compiling in the process a league-best 3.39 team ERA. Allie Reynolds topped the pitching staff with 19 victories, while Joe Page won 14 games in relief and led the league with 17 saves. On offense, Tommy Henrich led the team with 98 runs batted in and 109 runs scored. Joe DiMaggio captured A.L. MVP honors despite posting relatively modest numbers. He finished the year with 20 home runs, 97 runs batted in, 97 runs scored, and a .315 batting average.
The Brooklyn Dodgers returned to the World Series for the first time in six years, earning the right to face the Yankees in the Fall Classic by finishing five games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals in the National League, with a record of 94-60. The Dodgers were also a well-balanced squad, finishing third in the senior circuit in both runs scored (774) and runs allowed (667). Ralph Branca placed among the league leaders with 21 wins, a 2.67 ERA, and 280 innings pitched. Dixie Walker led the club with a .306 batting average and 94 runs batted in. Meanwhile, Jackie Robinson earned Rookie of the Year honors and a fifth-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting by batting .297, scoring 125 runs, and leading the league with 29 stolen bases.
The Dodgers seemed overmatched in the first two games of the World Series, losing both contests played at Yankee Stadium in convincing fashion. The Yankees scored five times against Brooklyn ace Ralph Branca in the fifth inning of Game One, after which they cruised to a 5-3 victory. New York then brought out the heavy lumber the following day, rocking four Dodger pitchers for 10 runs and 15 hits, en route to posting an easy 10-3 win.
The Dodgers showed their resilience, though, winning the next two games at Ebbets Field. Brooklyn jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning of Game Three, then held on the rest of the way, outlasting the Yankees by a final score of 9-8.
The fourth contest turned out to be the most memorable of the Series. Yankee hurler Bill Bevens entered the bottom of the ninth inning clinging to a 2-1 lead, having no-hit the Dodgers over the first eight frames. After retiring the first two batters he faced, Bevens issued his ninth and tenth walks of the contest (the second one intentionally). The New York right-hander then lost both his no-hitter and the game when Dodger pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto stroked a double off the right field wall to bring home both runners with the tying and winning runs.
The Yankees bounced back in Game Five to take a 3-2 Series lead, with Spec Shea throwing a complete-game four-hitter, en route to leading New York to a 2-1 victory. Joe DiMaggio’s fifth-inning homer provided the winning margin.
Another memorable moment occurred after the Series returned to Yankee Stadium for Game Six. With the Dodgers holding onto an 8-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, DiMaggio stepped to the plate with two men out and two men on. Crushing an offering from Brooklyn reliever Joe Hatten to deep left-centerfield, DiMaggio delivered what appeared to be the game-tying blow. However, substitute left fielder Al Gionfriddo raced to the bullpen fence some 415 feet from home plate and made a circus catch to rob The Yankee Clipper of at least a triple. In a rare display of emotion, the usually stoical DiMaggio kicked the infield dirt as he neared second base. Gionfriddo’s catch ended up enabling the Dodgers to come away with a Series-tying 8-6 victory.
The Yankees put an end to the Dodgers’ hopes of capturing their first world championship the very next day, defeating Brooklyn by a final score of 5-2 in Game Seven. Joe Page preserved the victory by shutting out the Dodgers after he entered the game in the fifth inning. While DiMaggio’s two homers led all players on both teams, Johnny Lindell was the hitting star of the Series. The Yankee outfielder drove in seven runs and collected nine hits in 18 times at-bat, for a .500 batting average.