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Having fallen just one game short of winning their seventh world championship in nine years under Casey Stengel the previous season, the Yankees made only minimal changes to their roster heading into the 1958 campaign.  Norm Siebern, who The Sporting News selected as its 1957 Minor League Player of the Year, earned a promotion to the big-league club, winning the starting left field job in Spring Training.  Any other improvements to the ball club were expected to come from within.  New York anticipated hard-throwing right-hander Ryne Duren, acquired from Kansas City one year earlier, to assume a more prominent role in the bullpen.  With Yogi Berra’s offensive production having fallen off considerably the previous year, the Yankees decided to limit his time behind the plate by giving him more extensive playing time in the outfield.  Elston Howard’s workload would correspondingly increase.  The team also looked forward to a return to full health by staff ace Whitey Ford.

The Yankees had little difficulty capturing their fourth straight pennant, finishing the regular season with a record of 92-62, ten games ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox.  Yet, they began to show signs of vulnerability, posting their lowest win total since Stengel took over the team 10 years earlier.  No one on the club knocked in more than 100 runs, and only one player on the squad scored more than 80 times.  Although Yogi Berra hit 22 home runs and knocked in 90 runs, he experienced his second consecutive subpar season, batting just .266 and scoring only 60 runs.  Bill Skowron also regressed somewhat, hitting only 14 homers, driving in just 73 runs, and batting only .273.

Still, the Yankees led the American League in both runs scored and team ERA for the second straight year, scoring 759 times and compiling an ERA of 3.22.  Whitey Ford finished 14-7, with a league-leading 2.01 ERA and seven shutouts.  Bob Turley earned Cy Young honors and a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by topping the circuit with 21 victories and 19 complete games, while posting a 2.97 ERA.  Ryne Duren excelled out of the bullpen, leading the league with 20 saves, compiling a 2.02 ERA, and allowing only 40 hits in 76 innings of work, while striking out 87 batters.

On offense, Norm Siebern batted .300 and scored 79 runs.  He also won a Gold Glove for his outstanding defensive play in the outfield.  Elston Howard began to assume a more prominent role on the team, leading the club with a .314 batting average and knocking in 66 runs.  Mickey Mantle again served as the focal point of New York’s attack, batting .304, placing among the league leaders with 97 runs batted in, a .443 on-base percentage, and a .592 slugging percentage, and topping the circuit with 42 home runs, 127 runs scored, 129 bases on balls, and 307 total bases.  Mantle’s outstanding performance earned him a fifth-place finish in the league MVP voting and his seventh consecutive selection to the A.L. All-Star Team.  Teammates Skowron, McDougald, Kubek, Berra, Howard, Ford, Turley, and Duren joined him on the A.L. squad.  Turley also earned a spot on The Sporting News All-Star Team.    

The Yankees entered the World Series against the Milwaukee Braves seeking to avenge their loss from one year earlier.  However, the Braves appeared to be well on their way to defeating the Yankees again after they jumped out to a three-games-to-one lead.  The Yankees, though, finally broke through against their nemesis Lew Burdette in Game Five, knocking him out of the box in the sixth inning, en route to posting a 7-0 victory.  After winning Game Six in Milwaukee in the 10th inning, the Yankees defeated Burdette again in Game Seven by a score of 6-2 to capture their 18th world championship.  Hank Bauer was the hitting star of the Series, batting .323, hitting four homers, knocking in eight runs, and scoring six others.  Bob Turley, though, won Series MVP honors for posting two of New York’s final three victories.  

 

By Bob_Cohen
 

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Tagged:
1958 World Series, Bill Skowron, Bob Turley, Casey Stengel, Elston Howard, Gil McDougald, Hank Bauer, Lew Burdette, Mickey Mantle, Milwaukee Braves, New York Yankees, Norm Siebern, Ryne Duren, Tony Kubek, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra

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