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Having lost several players to the war effort, the Yankees fielded a far less impressive team in 1943 than the one that represented the American League in each of the previous two World Series.  With Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich, Phil Rizzuto, and George Selkirk all serving in the military, the Yankees scored some 130 fewer runs than they tallied just one year earlier.  Yet, with every other team being similarly adversely affected, New York’s total of 669 runs scored led the American League.  New York also allowed the fewest runs of any team in the circuit, permitting the opposition to score only 542 runs over the course of the season.  Led by A.L. MVP Spud Chandler, who finished the campaign with a 20-4 record, a 1.64 ERA, five shutouts, and 20 complete games, New York featured easily the league’s best pitching staff.  Their superior team balance enabled the Yankees to capture their third straight pennant, finishing the year with a record of 98-56, 13 ½ games ahead of the second-place Washington Senators.

The St. Louis Cardinals had an even easier time repeating as National League champions, finishing a full 18 games in front of second-place Cincinnati, with a record of 105-49.  Fast developing into a juggernaut, the Cardinals ran away with the N.L. flag by placing second in the senior circuit with 679 runs scored, while allowing their opponents to cross the plate only 475 times, en route to compiling easily the lowest team ERA in all of baseball, a mark of just 2.57.  Mort Cooper had another sensational season, finishing the year 21-8 with a 2.30 ERA.  Max Lanier also pitched brilliantly, going 15-7 with a league-leading 1.90 ERA.  Meanwhile, Stan Musial captured N.L. MVP honors by topping the circuit with a .357 batting average, 220 hits, 20 triples, 48 doubles, a .425 on-base percentage, and a .562 slugging percentage.  The St. Louis lineup also featured standouts Walker Cooper, Marty Marion, Harry Walker, and Whitey Kurowski.  With such a varied arsenal, the Cardinals entered the World Series as the prohibitive favorite to defeat the Yankees for the second year in a row.

The Series actually began in similar fashion to the previous year’s Fall Classic, with the Yankees again coming out on top in Game One, this time by a score of 4-2.  Spud Chandler went all the way for the victory, with Joe Gordon homering for New York.

As was the case one year earlier, St. Louis rebounded to take Game Two.  The Cardinals built a 4-1 lead through the first eight innings, with Mort Cooper limiting the Yankees to just one run on four hits.  Cooper tired in the ninth, though, allowing New York to make the game interesting by scoring twice before finally getting the third out.

However, the similarities to the previous year’s Fall Classic ended suddenly and dramatically in the third contest.  With St. Louis clinging to a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees scored five times against three Cardinals pitchers to pull out a 6-2 victory. 

The Yankees took a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the Series in Game Four, when Marius Russo held the Cardinals to just one run and seven hits during a 2-1 complete-game victory.  New York scored only two runs again in Game Five, but Spud Chandler made those runs stand up, shutting out the Cardinals by a score of 2-0.  The Yankees scored their two runs in the top of the sixth inning on a home run by Bill Dickey.  Dickey’s four RBIs in the Fall Classic led both teams.  Meanwhile, Chandler starred on the mound, throwing two complete-game victories and allowing the Cardinals only one earned run in his 18 innings of work.  The victory avenged New York’s five-game World Series loss to St. Louis from one year earlier.   

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
1943 World Series, Bill Dickey, Charlie Keller, George Selkirk, Harry Walker, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Marius Russo, Marty Marion, Max Lanier, Mort Cooper, New York Yankees, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing, Spud Chandler, St. Louis Cardinals, Stan Musial, Tommy Henrich, Walker Cooper, Whitey Kurowski

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