As America welcomed in a new and promising decade, the Cincinnati Reds were still recovering from a miserable loss to the New York Yankees in the previous year's Series. The American League's newest dynasty had once again, swept the National League champs in four games (without Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig in their line-up). The Reds almost prevented a sweep in the bottom of the tenth (in Game 4) as they managed to send the tying run to the plate three times, but were unable to finish the job as Johnny Murphy protected the Yankees' 7-4 lead for their second consecutive sweep, and fourth consecutive World Series title.
Many National League fans had hoped that a worthy contender would finally step up and dethrone the perennial American League champions, but Cincinnati had come up short... very short. Things were finally looking up for the Nationals in 1940 as Bill McKechnie's club raced to one-hundred victories with a twelve-game margin in the National League pennant race and surprisingly, it was the New York Yankees who had come up short this time for the American League title. The Detroit Tigers had finished one game ahead of Cleveland and two in front of New York with a line-up that combined for seventy-four home runs and two-hundred eighty-four runs batted in. Plus, four Tiger regulars batted .313 or higher.
The American League's newest offensive superpower exhibited some of the skills that had dethroned the defending World Champions in Game 1 as they ran Reds' starter Paul Derringer from the mound in a five-run second on the way to a 7-2 opening victory. Pinky Higgins, Dick Bartell and Bruce Campbell each knocked in two runs for Detroit, who got solid eight-hit pitching from Bobo Newsom whose father had died suddenly after coming in from South Carolina to see his son pitch. The Reds were able to even it up the next day as Jimmy Ripple's two-run homer and Bucky Walters' three-hit pitching enabled Cincinnati to win, 5-3.
The "seesaw nature" of the Series con...