The Yankees hardly looked invincible on the way to winning their ninth pennant in 10 years under manager Casey Stengel in 1958. Their 92 victories represented their lowest win total since Stengel took over the managerial reins of the team in 1949. No one on the club knocked in more than 100 runs, and only one player on the squad scored more than 80 times. Yet, New York still managed to finish 10 games ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox, while leading the league in both runs scored and team ERA for the second straight year.
Whitey Ford finished 14-7, with a league-leading 2.01 ERA and seven shutouts. Bob Turley, though, established himself as arguably the ace of the staff by topping the circuit with 21 victories and 19 complete games, while posting a 2.97 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander earned Cy Young honors and a second-place finish in the league MVP voting.
Meanwhile, Mickey Mantle continued to pace the Yankee offense, 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 placed fifth in the MVP balloting and headed a contingent of nine Yankee players that represented the American League in the All-Star Game.
After defeating the Yankees in the World Series the previous year, the Milwaukee Braves earned their second consecutive trip to the Fall Classic by finishing the regular season with a record of 92-62, eight games ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates. However, the Braves used a slightly different method to capture their second straight pennant. While the 1957 squad featured the senior circuit’s most potent offense, the 1958 club placed just fourth in the league in scoring. Milwaukee, though, had the N.L.’s best pitching staff, leading the league with a team ERA of 3.21. Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette gave the Braves the National League’s top pitching duo. Spahn compiled an ERA of 3.07 and led the league with 22 victories, 23 complete games, and 290 innings pitched. Burdette finished 20-10, with a 2.91 ERA, 19 complete games, and 275 innings pitched. Meanwhile, Hank Aaron was again the team’s top offensive performer, earning a third-place finish in the league MVP voting by hitting 30 homers, driving in 95 runs, scoring 109 others, and batting .326.
It appeared as if Milwaukee had New York’s number once the World Series got underway. The Braves took the first two games at home by scores of 4-3 and 13-5. Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford dueled into the eighth inning of Game One with the score tied 3-3. Spahn continued on the mound for the Braves even after Stengel replaced Ford with reliever Ryne Duren. The score remained tied until the bottom of the 10th inning, when Bill Bruton singled home the game-winning run against Duren.
Burdette continued to be a thorn in the side of the Yankees in Game Two, winning a 13-5 decision and hitting a three-run homer in the process. Burdette went the distance, despite giving up two home runs to Mickey Mantle and another by Hank Bauer.
The Yankees finally got in the win column when the Series moved to New York for Game Three, taking the third contest by a score of 4-0. Don Larsen and Ryne Duren combined for the shutout, while Bauer drove in all four runs for New York with a two-run single and a two-run homer.
The Braves appeared to draw a stranglehold on the Fall Classic when Warren Spahn out-dueled Whitey Ford in Game Four to give Milwaukee a 3-1 lead in the Series. Spahn surrendered just two hits to New York in throwing a complete-game 3-0 shutout.
With their backs against the wall, the Yankees entered Game Five knowing they had to beat Lew Burdette, who won his previous four starts against them in the Fall Classic. As if the Yankees didn’t have enough incentive, Burdette added fuel to the fire by suggesting to the media that New York would have a difficult time finishing any higher than fourth if they played in the National League. The Yankees silenced Burdette by knocking him out of the box during a six-run sixth inning, en route to posting a 7-0 victory. Bob Turley threw a five-hit shutout for New York.
Down three-games-to-two, the Yankees returned to Milwaukee for the final two contests. Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn both started Game Six on only two days’ rest. While Ford lasted just into the second inning, Spahn pitched heroically into the 10th, having held New York to a 2-2 tie. However, Gil McDougald led off the top of the inning with a home run, before the Yankees pushed across an insurance run. Milwaukee scored once in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn’t enough, as New York came away with a 4-3 victory.
Don Larsen started Game Seven for New York against Lew Burdette, who took the mound for Milwaukee on only two days’ rest. After shutting out the Braves in Game Five and working four innings in Game Six, Bob Turley relieved Larsen in the third inning. He went the rest of the way, allowing Milwaukee just one run. Meanwhile, the Yankees scored four times against Burdette in the eighth inning to win the Series with a 6-2 victory. The big blow of the contest was a three-run homer by Bill Skowron.
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 and allowing just 10 hits in just over 16 innings of work, while striking out 13.By Bob_Cohen
- 1958 World Series, Bill Bruton, Bill Skowron, Bob Turley, Casey Stengel, Don Larsen, Eddie Mathews, Gil McDougald, Hank Aaron, Hank Bauer, Lew Burdette, Mickey Mantle, Milwaukee Braves, New York Yankees, Ryne Duren, Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford, Yankee Stadium, Yogi Berra