The Yankees became the first team in either league to capture five straight pennants in 1953, doing so by finishing the regular season with a record of 99-52, 8 ½ games ahead of the second-place Cleveland Indians.  Clearly the American League’s most well-balanced team, New York led the junior circuit in both runs scored (801) and fewest runs allowed (547).  Whitey Ford led New York’s deep pitching staff with a record of 18-6 and 11 complete games, while also compiling an ERA of 3.00.  Ed Lopat finished 16-4 with a league-leading 2.42 ERA.  Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds, and Johnny Sain also made huge contributions to the team.

The Yankees also had a considerable amount of depth in their lineup.  Second baseman Billy Martin had his finest offensive season, hitting 15 home runs, driving in 75 runs, and scoring 72 others.  Third baseman Gil McDougald batted .285, knocked in 83 runs, and finished second on the club with 82 runs scored.  Leadoff hitter Hank Bauer batted .304 and scored 77 runs.  Gene Woodling led the team with a .306 batting average and a .429 on-base percentage.  Mickey Mantle hit 21 home runs, drove in 92 runs, batted .295, and finished third in the league with 105 runs scored.  Yogi Berra batted .296 and led the team with 27 homers and 108 runs batted in, en route to earning a second-place finish to Cleveland’s Al Rosen in the A.L. MVP voting. 

As impressive as the Yankees were, the National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers seemed even more imposing heading into the Fall Classic.  The Dodgers finished the regular season with a record of 105-49, a full 13 games ahead of the runner-up Milwaukee Braves in the senior circuit.  Brooklyn’s franchise-record 955 runs scored exceeded the total number of runs tallied by the league’s second-highest scoring team by a count of almost 200.  The Dodgers also topped the senior circuit with 208 home runs and a .285 team batting average.  Meanwhile, Dodger pitchers compiled the third-lowest team ERA in the league.

Brooklyn’s potent offense was led by Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, and N.L. MVP Roy Campanella.  Robinson batted .329, drove in 95 runs, and scored 109 others.  Furillo hit 21 homers, drove in 92 runs, and led the league with a .344 batting average.  Hodges hit 31 home runs, knocked in 122 runs, scored 101 others, and batted .302.  Snider earned a third-place finish in the MVP voting by placing among the league leaders with 42 homers, 126 runs batted in, a .336 batting average, and a .419 on-base percentage, while topping the circuit with 132 runs scored and a .627 slugging percentage.  Campanella won the award for the second time by hitting 41 homers, scoring 103 runs, batting .312, and leading the league with 142 runs batted in.  Pee Wee Reese and Jim Gilliam also contributed significantly to the Dodger attack.  Reese scored 108 runs and finished second in the league with 22 stolen bases.  Gilliam placed among the league leaders with 125 runs scored and 21 stolen bases, and he topped the circuit with 17 triples.  

The Yankees didn’t seem to be the least bit impressed with the National League champions at the start of Game One, though, scoring four times against Dodger ace Carl Erskine in the bottom of the first inning, to jump out to a 4-0 lead.  Brooklyn eventually tied the score at 5-5, but a Joe Collins homer in the bottom of the seventh inning put the Yankees ahead to stay.  New York won the contest by a final score of 9-5.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game Two.  However, Billy Martin tied the game with a solo home run, before a two-run blast by Mickey Mantle the next inning gave starter Ed Lopat all the runs he needed to defeat Brooklyn 4-2.

Down two-games-to-none, the Dodgers evened the Series by winning the next two contests at home.  Carl Erskine struck out 14 Yankees in Game Three, en route to out-dueling New York starter Vic Raschi by a score of 3-2.  Brooklyn scored the winning run on an eighth-inning homer by Roy Campanella.  Duke Snider’s homer and four RBIs led the Dodgers to a 7-3 victory in Game Four.

The Yankees regained the Series lead in Game Five, though, rocking four Dodger pitchers for four home runs during an 11-7 victory.  Woodling, Martin, McDougald, and Mantle all homered for New York.  Mantle’s blast was a grand slam.

The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Game Six, but the Dodgers fought back to eventually tie the score on a two-run homer by Carl Furillo in the top of the ninth inning.  Series hero Billy Martin then brought home Hank Bauer with the winning run on a single to center field.  The 4-3 victory gave the Yankees their record-setting fifth consecutive world championship.

Although Yogi Berra batted .429 and drove in four runs for the Yankees, Billy Martin earned Series MVP honors by going 12-for-24, for a .500 batting average, with two home runs, two triples, and eight runs batted in.

By Bob_Cohen
1953 World Series, Allie Reynolds, Billy Martin, Brooklyn Dodgers, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Duke Snider, Ed Lopat, Gene Woodling, Gil Hodges, Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Jackie Robinson, Jim Gilliam, Joe Collins, Johnny Sain, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Vic Raschi, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra
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