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After failing to advance to the World Series in any of the previous three seasons, the Yankees returned to the Fall Classic in 1936, having laid waste to the rest of the American League by finishing the regular season with a record of 102-51, 19 ½ games ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers.  Led by A.L. MVP Lou Gehrig and brilliant rookie centerfielder Joe DiMaggio, New York’s powerful offense scored a total of 1,065 runs, falling just two runs shy of tying the all-time mark the team established five years earlier.  Yankee pitchers also compiled the lowest team ERA in the junior circuit, posting a mark of 4.17.

The New York Giants had a far more difficult time capturing the National League pennant, beating out both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs by only five games, with a record of 92-62.  The Giants’ starting lineup wasn’t nearly as impressive as that of their American League counterparts, with Mel Ott being the team’s only player to hit more than 10 home runs or drive in more than 70 runs (Ott finished the year with 33 homers and 135 RBIs).  The Giants scored a total of only 742 runs over the course of the regular season.  Yet, they had baseball’s best pitcher in Carl Hubbell, who claimed N.L. MVP honors for the second time by compiling a record of 26-6, with a 2.31 ERA, 25 complete games, and 304 innings pitched.  Included in Hubbell’s 26 victories were 16 consecutive wins he posted at the end of the year.

Hubbell continued his winning streak in Game One of the Fall Classic, defeating the Yankees by a score of 6-1 in the first meeting between the two New York clubs since the 1923 World Series.  Shortstop Dick Bartell homered against Yankee starter Red Ruffing to give the Giants their first run, before they put the game out of reach by scoring four more times against Ruffing in the bottom of the eighth inning.  The victory by the Giants ended the Yankees’ 12-game winning streak in World Series play.

The Yankees rebounded in Game Two, though, humiliating the Giants by hammering five pitchers for 18 runs and 17 hits during a lopsided 18-4 win.  Tony Lazzeri’s grand slam home run during a seven-run third inning broke the contest wide open. 

The Yankees managed only four hits against Giants starter Freddie Fitzsimmons in Game Three.  However, one of those was a Lou Gehrig homer in the third inning, and another was an RBI single by Frank Crosetti in the bottom of the eighth, enabling the Yankees to come away with a 2-1 victory.

Another third-inning homer by Gehrig in Game Four gave the Yankees a four-run cushion against Carl Hubbell, who subsequently tasted defeat for the first time in months.  The Yankees went on to win the contest by a final score of 5-2, thereby taking a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the Series.  Monte Pearson registered the complete-game victory for the Yankees.

After the Giants extended the Series to a sixth game by winning the fifth contest by a score of 5-4 in 10 innings, the Yankees put an end to the suspense by knocking out Fitzsimmons early in Game Six, en route to posting a 13-5 victory. 

Although it took the Yankees six games to finally dispose of the Giants, the outcome of the Series never really seemed to be in doubt.  The Yankees outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 43 to 23, and they also outhit the Giants, .302 to .246.  Joe DiMaggio drove in three runs and batted .346 in his first World Series appearance.  Lou Gehrig hit two homers, drove in seven runs, and batted .292.  Third baseman Red Rolfe collected 10 hits and batted .400, while outfielder Jake Powell also accumulated 10 hits, knocked in five runs, and led both teams with a .455 batting average.        

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
1936 World Series, Carl Hubbell, Dick Bartell, Frankie Crosetti, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Jake Powell, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Monte Pearson, New York Giants, New York Yankees, Polo Grounds, Red Rolfe, Red Ruffing, Tony Lazzeri, Yankee Stadium

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