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The Yankees made their second of five straight World Series appearances under manager Casey Stengel in 1950, advancing to the Fall Classic by beating out three other teams for the American League pennant with a record of 98-56.  A five-game winning streak at the end of the year enabled the Yankees to distance themselves from the second-place Detroit Tigers, who finished just three games back.  The Boston Red Sox finished third, only four games out, while the Cleveland Indians came in fourth, six games out of first place.

The Yankees had neither the league’s top offense, nor its best pitching staff.  However, they were the American League’s most well-balanced team, placing second in the junior circuit with 914 runs scored and finishing third with a team ERA of 4.15.

Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto led the Yankee attack.  After missing more than half of the 1949 campaign due to injury, DiMaggio batted .301 and placed among the league leaders with 32 home runs, 122 runs batted in, and 114 runs scored.  Berra had his breakout season, hitting 28 home runs and finishing among the league leaders with 124 runs batted in, 116 runs scored, and a .322 batting average.  Phil Rizzuto had the greatest year of his career, batting .324, compiling a .418 on-base percentage, and placing among the league leaders with 125 runs scored, 200 hits, and 36 doubles.  The Yankee shortstop earned A.L. MVP honors for his exceptional performance.  Berra finished third in the balloting, while DiMaggio came in ninth

Meanwhile, New York’s starting rotation was as deep as anyone’s in baseball.  Vic Raschi led the staff with 21 victories, 17 complete games, and 257 innings pitched.  Eddie Lopat placed second to Raschi on the team with 18 wins and 15 complete games.  Allie Reynolds won 16 games, and Tommy Byrne posted 15 victories.  The arrival of Whitey Ford at mid-season further enhanced the Yankee rotation.  The 21-year-old left-hander compiled a record of 9-1 over the season’s final three months, along with a team-leading 2.81 ERA. 

The Philadelphia Phillies had an even more difficult time capturing their first National League pennant in 35 years, edging out the runner-up Brooklyn Dodgers by only two games, with a record of 91-63.  Philadelphia’s Whiz Kids had merely an average offense, finishing fourth in the senior circuit with 722 runs scored.  Outfielder Del Ennis was the team’s primary offensive threat, finishing the year with 31 home runs, 92 runs scored, a .311 batting average, and a league-leading 126 runs batted in, en route to earning a fourth-place finish in the MVP voting.  But Philadelphia had easily the senior circuit’s best pitching staff, compiling a league-best 3.50 team ERA.  N.L. MVP Jim Konstanty won 16 games in relief, saved 22 others, and compiled a 2.66 ERA in his 152 innings of work.  Meanwhile, 21-year-old Curt Simmons won 17 games and 23-year-old Robin Roberts posted a team-leading 20 victories, 21 complete games, and 304 innings pitched.    

Although they entered the World Series as heavy underdogs to the more experienced Yankees, the young Phillies put up a surprisingly good fight.  Philadelphia surrendered a total of only 11 runs to New York during the Fall Classic.  However, Yankee pitching held the Phillies to only five runs, enabling New York to sweep the Series in four straight games.

Vic Raschi and Jim Konstanty engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel in Game One, with the latter making his first start in four years.  The Yankees pushed across the game’s only run in the top of the fourth inning on a leadoff double by Bobby Brown and two long fly balls.  Although Konstanty allowed New York just four hits over eight innings, he found himself out-pitched by Raschi, who surrendered only two hits to the Phillies in going the distance for the 1-0 victory.

Allie Reynolds and Robin Roberts each allowed just one run over the first nine innings of Game Two, forcing the contest to go into extra innings.  Joe DiMaggio led off the top of the 10th with a home run into the upper deck in left field off Roberts to give the Yankees their second straight one-run victory.

After falling behind earlier in the contest by a score of 1-0, the Phillies took their only lead of the Series in the top of the seventh inning of Game Three when they pushed across a single run for the second consecutive inning.  However, the Yankees tied the score in the eighth inning, before winning the game in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI-single by Jerry Coleman. 

New York won the final contest in more convincing fashion, completing the sweep with a 5-2 victory behind Whitey Ford, who left the game with two men out in the bottom of the ninth inning having surrendered only two unearned runs to Philadelphia. 

Yankee pitchers compiled a brilliant 0.73 team ERA during the Fall Classic, allowing the Phillies only three earned runs and 26 hits in the four contests.  Gene Woodling was the team’s top batsman, collecting six hits in 14 times at-bat, for a .429 batting average.   

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
1950 World Series, Allie Reynolds, Bobby Brown, Casey Stengel, Curt Simmons, Del Ennis, Ed Lopat, Gene Woodling, Jerry Coleman, Jim Konstanty, Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees, Phil Rizzuto, Philadelphia Phillies, Robin Roberts, Vic Raschi, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra

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