Even though the great Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement at the conclusion of the previous campaign, the Yankees captured their fourth consecutive American League pennant in 1952, finishing the season with a record of 95-59, just two games ahead of the second-place Cleveland Indians. Mickey Mantle helped to pick up some of the slack in DiMaggio’s absence, finishing his second major league season with 23 home runs, 87 runs batted in, 94 runs scored, and a .311 batting average, en route to earning a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting. Teammate Yogi Berra placed fourth in the balloting, ending the year with a team-leading 30 home runs, 98 runs batted in, and 97 runs scored.
In spite of the efforts of Mantle and Berra, it truly was New York’s exceptional pitching staff that enabled the team to edge out Cleveland in the final standings. Yankee pitchers permitted the opposition to cross the plate a total of only 557 times, compiling in the process a league-best team ERA of 3.14. Allie Reynolds had the finest season of his career, posting a record of 20-8, a league-leading 2.06 ERA, 160 strikeouts, and six shutouts, and throwing 24 complete games. The right-hander’s extraordinary performance earned him a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting. Reynolds received a significant amount of help from starters Vic Raschi and Ed Lopat, and from former Boston Braves ace Johnny Sain, who won 11 games and saved seven others, working primarily out of the bullpen.
The Yankees subsequently faced in the World Series a Brooklyn Dodger team that overcame a devastating conclusion to the 1951 campaign to win their third National League pennant in six years. Rebounding from a crushing defeat at the hands of the arch-rival New York Giants in a best-out-of-three playoff series that ended their 1951 season, the Dodgers finished first in the senior circuit with a record of 96-57, 4 ½ games in front of the Giants. Easily the National League’s most well-balanced team, the Dodgers topped the circuit with 775 runs scored, while they also allowed the second-fewest runs to their opposition (603).
Starting pitchers Carl Erskine and Billy Loes both placed among the league leaders in ERA, with marks of 2.70 and 2.69, respectively. Meanwhile, relief ace Joe Black earned Rookie of the Year honors and a third-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting by going 15-4, with a 2.15 ERA and 15 saves.
Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider paced the Dodgers on offense. Campanella hit 22 homers and drove in 97 runs. Hodges led the team with 32 homers and 102 runs batted in. Robinson hit 19 home runs, drove in 75 runs, scored 104 others, batted .308, and compiled a league-leading .440 on-base percentage, en route to earning a seventh-place finish in the MVP balloting. Snider hit 21 homers, knocked in 92 runs, and batted .303.
The World Series proved to be a see-saw affair that saw the Dodgers win Games One, Three, and Five, and the Yankees take Games Two, Four, Six, and Seven. The Yankees failed to lead the Fall Classic at any time until they emerged victorious in the decisive seventh contest.
Home runs by Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, and Pee Wee Reese, along with the stellar pitching of Joe Black, who made only his third start of the year, led the Dodgers to a 4-2 victory in Game One. Black went the distance, out-dueling Yankee starter Allie Reynolds.
Vic Raschi held the Dodgers to only one run on three hits in the second contest played at Ebbets Field. Meanwhile, Billy Martin’s three-run homer gave Raschi all the runs he needed to even the Series at one game apiece, with a 7-1 win in Game Two.
Yogi Berra and Johnny Mize hit solo home runs against Dodger starter Preacher Roe when the Series moved to Yankee Stadium for Game Three. But the Yankees did little else against Roe, who went the distance as Brooklyn regained the Series lead with a 5-3 victory.
Joe Black and Allie Reynolds returned to the mound for Game Four, but this time Reynolds out-dueled Black, shutting out the Dodgers by a score of 2-0. Mize hit his second home run in as many days.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the Series with a 6-5, 11-inning victory in Game Five. Duke Snider homered and drove in the winning run with a double. Johnny Mize homered for the third consecutive game.
Snider hit two home runs for Brooklyn when the Series returned to Ebbets Field for Game Six. However, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle homered for New York, and Vic Raschi didn’t allow any other Dodgers to cross the plate, as the Yankees evened the Series at three games apiece.
A Mantle home run off Joe Black in the top of the sixth inning of Game Seven gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. They scored one more run in the seventh, then held on as Bob Kuzava came out of the bullpen to retire the final eight Dodger batters in preserving New York’s 4-2 victory.
Although Duke Snider led all players in the Fall Classic with four home runs and eight runs batted in, Johnny Mize’s three homers, six runs batted in, and .400 batting average earned him Series MVP honors.By Bob_Cohen
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- Allie Reynolds, Billy Loes, Billy Martin, Bob Kuzava, Brooklyn Dodgers, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Duke Snider, Ebbets Field, Ed Lopat, Gene Woodling, Gil Hodges, Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Jackie Robinson, Joe Black, Johnny Mize, Johnny Sain, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Pee Wee Reese, Preacher Roe, Roy Campanella, Vic Raschi, Yogi Berra