1943 World Series
The 1943 World Series matched the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals against the New York Yankees, in a rematch of the 1942 Series.
The Yankees won the Series in five games for their tenth championship in 21 seasons. It was Yankees' manager Joe McCarthy's final Series win.
This Series was scheduled for a 3–4 format due to wartime travel restrictions. The 3–4 format meant there was only one trip between ballparks, but if the Series had ended in a four-game sweep, there would have been three games played in one park and only one in the other.
Due to World War II both teams' rosters were depleted. Johnny Beazley, Jimmy Brown, Creepy Crespi, Terry Moore, and Enos Slaughter were no longer on the Cardinal roster. Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing, and Buddy Hassett were no longer on the Yankee roster. Also Yankee Red Rolfe retired to coach at Dartmouth College.
Cardinal pitchers Howie Pollet, Max Lanier, and Mort Cooper ranked 1-2-3 in the National League in ERA in 1943 at 1.75, 1.90 and 2.30, respectively.
In a classic-rematch of the previous year's contest, the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees once again found themselves competing for the World Championship title. The underdog Redbirds had dethroned the mighty Bombers in 1942 and the devastating loss was the first since 1926 for the Yankees, who had won in all eight of their appearances in the Fall Classic. Both teams had maintained their dominance throughout the 1943 season, despite losing several key players to military service. The Cardinals were without Howie Pollet (who left in August) and the Yankees lost Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Red Ruffing to tours of duty. On the home front, the Card's Stan Musial had a tremendous season, winning the National League batting title with an incredible .357 average. He was also backed up by the finest pitching in the National League as Pollet, Max Lanier and Mort Cooper ranked 1-2-3 in the league in ERA at 1.75, 1.90 and 2.30, respectively. The Yanks still boasted Charlie Keller and Joe Gordon who provided power at the plate with thirty-one and seventeen home runs, respectively. First baseman Nick Etten, (acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies) proved a significant addition as well and drove in a team-high one-hundred seven runs and Spud Chandler led the pitching staff with twenty wins. Even without "Joe D" and the gang, Joe McCarthy's team still won the American League pennant with a 13½-game difference over second-place Washington.
In a repeat of the previous opener, the Cardinals fell behind, thanks to the pitching of Spud Chandler, who threw a seven-hit, 4-2 winner that featured a key 2-2 tie breaker in the sixth on singles by Frankie Crosetti and rookie third baseman Billy Johnson, a wild pitch by Lanier and another single by Bill Dickey. The big story in Game 2 was the bittersweet play of the Cardinal's Cooper brothers, who were mourning the death of their father who had passed away the day before. Mort pitched a one-run ballgame for eight innings and Walker singled in three at-bats and laid down a sacrifice bunt. Both brothers were backed up by Marty Marion, who belted a third-inning homer with the bases empty, and Ray Sanders, who powered a two-run shot in the fourth. Despite the Nationals best efforts, the Yankees rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth and wound up the 4-3 winners.
Al Brazle, a twenty-nine-year-old rookie who won eight-of-ten decisions in the regular season and boasted a 1.53 ERA, kept the Cards' hopes alive for a repeat of '42 (in which St. Louis won four straight to take the title) by pitching masterfully through seven innings of Game 3. Unfortunately, the lefthander was unable to maintain his momentum in the eighth as the Yankees scored five times. Joe DiMaggio's replacement in centerfield, converted pitcher Johnny Lindell, started the rally with a double on the error of Harry Walker who misplayed the ball. Pinch-hitter George Stirnweiss bunted, and first baseman Sanders threw to third baseman Whitey Kurowski in an effort to cut down Lindell. The throw was in time, but Lindell crashed into Kurowski and knocked the ball loose. After a fly-ball moved Stirnweiss to second, Crosetti was walked intentionally to load the bases. Johnson, a .280 hitter in his first season with the Yankees, proceeded to foil the strategy by clearing the bases with a triple. Gordon and Etten added run-scoring singles later in the inning, pushing the score to 6-2. Johnny Murphy finished the job by working a 1-2-3 ninth in relief of winning pitcher Hank Borowy.
Nothing changed in Game 4 as Marius Russo put on a one-man show. A 5-10 pitcher for the Yankees in '43, Russo held St. Louis to seven hits, doubled and scored the winning run in the eighth as New York won 2-1. As the Series headed to Game 5, the Yankees were thinking revenge and were one win away from having it. The Cardinals on the other hand, were only thinking about survival and selected Mort Cooper to go against Chandler the next day. The Redbirds put up a great offensive effort, knocking the Yankee pitcher for ten hits, but were unable to score on any of them. The Bombers only needed one, a two-run homer from Bill Dickey in the sixth that sealed their fate with a 2-0 triumph. The American's had their revenge and manager Joe McCarthy had his seventh (and final) World Series Championship.
Despite World War II, which seriously depleted every Major League Baseball roster, the Yankees and Cardinals both repeated as league champs. The New Yorkers were, of course, out for revenge, as they'd fallen to St. Louis in a short five-game World Series a year earlier.
The Yankees got off to a good start in Game 1 as starter Spud Chandler allowed just two runs and seven hits while going the distance. Cardinal starter Hal Lanier pitched well, too, but hurt his own cause with an error in the fourth which led to a pair of unearned runs and a wild pitch in the sixth leading to another. Final: Yankees 4, Cardinals 2.
Game 2 saw St. Louis shortstop Marty Marion hit a solo homer in the third, first baseman Ray Sanders blast a two-run clout in the fourth and the Cards hold on for a 4-3 decision to even the Series at one game apiece.
Because of wartime travel restrictions, the Series remained in New York for Game 3. Good thing, too, as 69,990 customers in Yankee Stadium set a new World Series attendance record. All those fans went home happy, too, as the Bombers scored five in the eighth on their way to a 6-2 triumph. Third baseman Billy Johnson contributed the key blow, a bases-loaded triple, and Hank Borowy earned the win with eight strong innings.
The Series finally moved to St. Louis for Game 4, but it did the Cardinals little good. They could score just once off Yankees starter Marius Russo, who also scored the go-ahead run after doubling to lead off the eighth inning. With the potential tying run on second base, Russo retired Lou Klein to end the 2-1 contest.
And the Yanks clinched the Series in Game 5, as Spud Chandler improved upon his Game 1 performance with a 10-hit shutout, with New York winning 2-0 on Bill Dickey's two-run homer in the sixth.