New York Yankees
New York Yankees
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- AAA: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees International League, AA:Trenton Thunder Eastern League, Advanced A: Tampa Bay
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Choosing not to rest on their laurels after winning the previous year’s World Series, the Yankees entered the 1957 campaign having made several changes to their roster. They made their biggest move on February 19, when they completed a 13-player trade with the Kansas City Athletics in which they received a package of players that included infielder Clete Boyer and pitchers Art Ditmar and Bobby Shantz. Although Boyer spent the year in the minor leagues, he eventually became the team’s starting third baseman from 1961 to 1966. The 28-year-old Ditmar led the American League with 22 losses the previous season, but the Yankees felt he could help them as a spot-starter/long reliever. Shantz won the A.L. MVP Award five years earlier when he won a league-leading 24 games for the Athletics. However, he had since been converted into a relief pitcher after hurting his arm the following year.
The Yankees also decided to add some youth to their starting lineup, bringing up from the minor leagues 21-year-old infielder Tony Kubek. Although manager Casey Stengel chose not to use the youngster at any one particular position, the versatile Kubek received a significant amount of playing time at shortstop, third base, left field, and center field over the course of the season. Bobby Richardson also spent his first full season with the club, eventually inheriting the starting second base job from Billy Martin after the latter was traded to Kansas City for his alleged involvement in the infamous Copacabana night-club incident.
The combination of youth and veteran leadership enabled the Yankees to capture their eighth pennant in nine years under Stengel, finishing first in the American League with a record of 98-56. The Chicago White Sox placed a distant second, eight games back in the standings.
Although blessed with neither an overpowering lineup nor a dominant pitching staff, New York proved to be the junior circuit’s most well-balanced team. The Yankees led the league with 723 runs scored, while also posting a league-low 3.00 team ERA. With Whitey Ford missing more than a month of the season due to arm problems, Tom Sturdivant led the team with 16 victories. He also finished second in the league with a 2.54 ERA. Leading the circuit in ERA was Bobby Shantz, who excelled in his dual role of starter/reliever. The little left-hander finished 11-5, with nine complete games and a league-leading 2.45 ERA. Bob Turley posted 13 victories and finished fourth in the league with a 2.71 ERA, while Don Larsen chipped in with 10 wins. Despite missing a significant amount of time, Whitey Ford won 11 games and compiled a 2.57 ERA. Meanwhile, Bob Grim did an outstanding job coming out of the bullpen, winning 12 games, posting a 2.63 ERA, and leading the league with 19 saves.
On offense, Yogi Berra had his worst year since becoming a full-time player, batting only .251. Yet, he still managed to hit 24 home runs and drive in 82 runs. Bill Skowron helped pick up some of the slack, finishing second on the team with a .304 batting average, hitting 17 homers, and knocking in 88 runs. Gil McDougald also had a solid year, batting .289 and scoring 87 runs. Tony Kubek’s .297 batting average and tremendous versatility ended up winning him A.L. Rookie of the Year honors. Mickey Mantle was again the league’s best player, being selected as A.L. MVP at season’s end after hitting 34 home runs, knocking in 94 runs, leading the league with 121 runs scored and 146 bases on balls, and finishing second in the circuit with 315 total bases, a .365 batting average, a .515 on-base percentage, and a .665 slugging percentage. Mantle earned All-Star honors, along with teammates Berra, Skowron, Kubek, McDougald, Richardson, Howard, Grim, and Shantz. Mantle, McDougald, and Berra also earned spots on The Sporting News All-Star Team.
The Yankees met the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series for the first of two consecutive times, beginning the Fall Classic on a positive note by defeating Warren Spahn in Game One by a score of 3-1. White Ford threw a complete-game five-hitter. However, Milwaukee took three out of the next four contests, with Ford losing a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to Lew Burdette in Game Five. After the Yankees won Game Six back in New York, Burdette posted his third victory of the Series in Game Seven, blanking the Yankees 5-0 on only two days’ rest. The win gave the Braves their only world championship while playing in the city of Milwaukee.