After a magical 1961 season that saw the Yankees win 109 games en route to capturing their 19th world championship, New York had a more difficult time winning the American League pennant in 1962. Nevertheless, they finished five games ahead of the second-place Minnesota Twins, with a record of 96-66. The Yankees were again the junior circuit’s most well-balanced team, leading the league with 817 runs scored, while finishing second with a team ERA of 3.70.
New York’s starting rotation featured three of the league’s top pitchers. Ralph Terry compiled an ERA of 3.19 and led all A.L. hurlers with 23 victories and 299 innings pitched. Whitey Ford finished 17-8 and placed among the league leaders with a 2.90 ERA and 258 innings pitched. Bill Stafford chipped in with 14 victories.
Meanwhile, New York’s offense remained the best in the American League. Elston Howard hit 21 home runs, drove in 91 runs, and batted .279. Bill Skowron hit 23 homers, knocked in 80 runs, and batted .270. In addition to playing a stellar third base, Clete Boyer had his finest offensive season in pinstripes, hitting 18 homers, driving in 68 runs, scoring 85 others, and batting .272. Tom Tresh earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors by hitting 20 home runs, knocking in 93 runs, scoring 94 others, and batting .286. Although he didn’t come close to matching his record-setting performance from one year earlier, Roger Maris still managed to hit 33 homers and drive in 100 runs. Bobby Richardson had the finest season of his career, batting .302, placing among the league leaders with 99 runs scored and 38 doubles, and topping the circuit with 209 hits. The second baseman’s exceptional year earned him a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting. Finishing just ahead of Richardson in the balloting was Mickey Mantle, who won his third trophy despite appearing in only 123 games and accumulating just 377 official at-bats. Mantle hit 30 home runs, knocked in 89 runs, scored 96 others, placed second in the league with a .321 batting average, and topped the circuit with 122 walks, a .486 on-base percentage, and a .605 slugging percentage.
Facing the Yankees in the World Series were the San Francisco Giants, who earned the right to appear in the Fall Classic by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game playoff. The Giants finished the season with a record of 103-62, one game ahead of the Dodgers, who ended the campaign with a mark of 102-63.
Although the Giants had only slightly above average pitching, placing sixth in the National League with a team ERA of 3.79, they featured the senior circuit’s top offense, leading the league with 878 runs scored and 204 home runs. Right-fielder Felipe Alou hit 25 homers, drove in 98 runs, scored 96 others, and batted .316. Third baseman Jim Davenport batted .297 and scored 83 runs. Second baseman Chuck Hiller scored 94 times. Willie McCovey hit 20 home runs and knocked in 54 runs, in only 229 official at-bats. Orlando Cepeda batted .306, scored 105 runs, and finished among the league leaders with 35 home runs and 114 runs batted in. Willie Mays remained the heart and soul of the team, earning a close second-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting by batting .304, leading the league with 49 home runs and 382 total bases, and placing among the leaders with 141 runs batted in, 130 runs scored, and a .615 slugging percentage.
Jack Sanford headed San Francisco’s pitching staff, posting an exceptional record of 24-7. Billy O’Dell finished second on the team with 19 victories and placed among the league leaders with 20 complete games and 281 innings pitched. Billy Pierce finished 16-6. Meanwhile, Juan Marichal had his breakout season, winning 18 games, throwing 18 complete games, and tossing 263 innings.
The Yankees and Giants appeared to be evenly matched heading into the World Series, making for an exciting and extremely competitive Fall Classic.
Although the Giants ended Whitey Ford’s consecutive scoreless innings streak in World Series play at 33 2/3 by pushing across single runs in the second and third innings of Game One, Ford shut out San Francisco the rest of the way, en route to giving the Yankees a 1-0 Series lead with a 6-2 complete-game victory. Clete Boyer’s seventh-inning homer against Billy O’Dell put New York in the lead to stay.
The Giants rebounded to take Game Two at Candlestick Park by a score of 2-0. Jack Sanford out-dueled Ralph Terry, shutting out New York on only three hits. Willie McCovey homered for San Francisco.
Bill Stafford gave New York a 2-1 Series lead when the Fall Classic shifted to Yankee Stadium for Game Three. Stafford held the Giants to two runs on four hits during New York’s 3-2 victory. Chuck Hiller’s seventh inning grand slam against Yankee reliever Jim Coates provided the winning margin in San Francisco’s 7-3 victory in Game Four. Jack Sanford and Ralph Terry faced one another for the second time in the Series in Game Five, with Terry avenging his Game Two loss with a 5-3 victory. Tom Tresh’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning was the game’s big blow.
When play resumed in San Francisco after several days of rain, Billy Pierce outpitched Whitey Ford, allowing New York just two runs on three hits during a 5-2 San Francisco victory that evened the Series at three games apiece.
Terry and Sanford took the mound against each other for yet a third time when the two teams met in the Series finale on October 16th. Sanford allowed the Yankees just one run on seven hits in going the distance. However, Terry blanked the Giants on only four hits, working out of trouble in the ninth inning by getting Willie McCovey to hit a vicious line drive right at Bobby Richardson, with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. The 1-0 victory gave the Yankees their 20th world championship.
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- 1962 World Series, Bill Skowron, Bill Stafford, Billy Pierce, Bobby Richardson, Chuck Hiller, Clete Boyer, Elston Howard, Felipe Alou, Jack Sanford, Jim Coates, Jim Davenport, Juan Marichal, Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees, Orlando Cepeda, Ralph Terry, Roger Maris, San Francisco Giants, Tom Tresh, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey