The Yankees entered the 1954 campaign hoping to extend their own major league record of five consecutive world championships they established one year earlier. To that end, they added a considerable amount of depth to their roster during the off-season. New York dispatched three minor leaguers to the St. Louis Cardinals for 38-year-old outfielder Enos Slaughter, who earned 10 All-Star selections during his time in St. Louis. The Yankees also worked out an 11-player deal with the Philadelphia Athletics that netted them veteran first baseman Eddie Robinson and others for a package of players that included minor league first sacker Vic Power, who was considered to be one of New York’s top prospects. Somewhat surprisingly, the Yankees sold Vic Raschi to the St. Louis Cardinals for $85,000. They replaced him on the roster, though, with 24-year-old right-hander Bob Grim, who they promoted from the minor leagues. First baseman Bill Skowron also made his initial appearance in pinstripes, earning a spot on the roster during Spring Training. Meanwhile, Jerry Coleman returned to the team after missing virtually all of the previous two years while serving in the military. He replaced Billy Martin at second base after Martin was similarly called into the service.
The additions New York made during the off-season gave manager Casey Stengel arguably the deepest and most talented squad he ever had at his disposal. The Yankees ended up posting a regular-season record of 103-51, compiling in the process their best mark under Stengel. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians finished the year with a record of 111-43, thereby beating out the Yankees for the American League pennant by a full eight games.
Despite failing to advance to the World Series for the first time in six years, the Yankees had a truly exceptional year, leading the league with 805 runs scored, while placing third in the junior circuit with a team ERA of 3.26. Whitey Ford served as the staff ace, finishing the year with a record of 16-8 and leading the team with a 2.82 ERA, 11 complete games, and 211 innings pitched. Bob Grim earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors by going 20-6 with a 3.26 ERA. Ed Lopat went 12-4, while Allie Reynolds posted a record of 13-4, working both as a starter and as a reliever. Meanwhile, Johnny Sain led the league with 22 saves.
Fourth outfielder Irv Noren contributed greatly to the offense, driving in 66 runs and leading the team with a .319 batting average. With Gil McDougald moving all over the infield, 22-year-old Andy Carey garnered the majority of playing time at third base. In just over 400 official at-bats, Carey drove in 65 runs and batted .302. Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle both had outstanding seasons. Berra hit 22 homers, finished second in the league with 125 runs batted in, scored 88 times, and batted .307, en route to earning A.L. MVP honors for the second time. Mantle batted an even .300, knocked in 102 runs, led the league with 129 runs scored, and placed among the leaders with 27 home runs, 12 triples, 102 walks, a .408 on-base percentage, and a .525 slugging percentage. Yet, surprisingly, he finished just 15th in the league MVP balloting. Both Mantle and Berra earned A.L. All-Star honors, along with teammates Bauer, Noren, Ford, and Reynolds. Berra also earned a spot on The Sporting News All-Star Team.By Bob_Cohen
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- Allie Reynolds, Andy Carey, Bill Skowron, Billy Martin, Bob Grim, Casey Stengel, Ed Lopat, Eddie Robinson, Enos Slaughter, Gene Woodling, Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Irv Noren, Jerry Coleman, Johnny Sain, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Vic Power, Vic Raschi, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra