1958 World Series
The 1958 World Series was a rematch of the 1957 Series, with the New York Yankees beating the defending champion Milwaukee Braves in seven games for their eighteenth title, and their seventh in ten years.
With that victory, the Yankees became only the second team in Major League Baseball history to come back from a 3–1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series; the first was the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates. (The 1903 Boston Red Sox came back from a 3–1 deficit in a best-of-nine affair.)
This was the first year New Yorkers had only one local team to root for; both the Giants and the Dodgers were now playing their home games more than 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away (in San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively). Both returnees to the Series had no problems repeating as league champions during the regular season. Milwaukee coasted to an eight-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League and the Yanks bested the Chicago White Sox by ten games in the American. With no pennant race in either league, managers Casey Stengel of the Yankees and Fred Haney of the Braves could rest their aces in preparation for an exciting repeat of the 1957 World Series.
Almost a year to the day, the defending champion Milwaukee Braves and perennial champion New York Yankees met again for the second time in as many years. The National League champions had surprised everyone the previous year after overcoming an early deficit to dominate their American League rivals for the remainder of the Series. For the first time, (in a long time) the Bronx Bombers were not the heavy favorites after losing two of the last three Fall Classics. It was new territory for Casey Stengel's Yankees and they were determined to even it up. Many New York sports writers had already turned on their home team and several quoted predictions of the end of baseball's greatest dynasty.
Game 1 featured Warren Spahn going against Whitey Ford for a quick 4-3 opening victory. Things were not as close in Game 2 as the Braves' Lew Burdette (a three complete-game winner in '57) showed his talents on the other side of the plate with a three-run blast that capped off a seven-run rally in the first. He continued his balanced attack by holding the Yankees to just two runs and three hits going into the ninth. Things changed quickly however, as he was shelled for four hits resulting in three runs. The Yankees Hank Bauer had a late-inning homer and Mickey Mantle added his second of the day. Over the course of his career "The Mick" would go on to set the all-time World Series home run record that still stands to this day. Both efforts went in vain though as Milwaukee went on to a crushing, 13-5 triumph. The third outing took the Series in a completely different direction as Don Larsen and Ryne Duren both combined for a 4-0 shutout that left the hitters on both benches high and dry. Bauer in fact, was the only slugger to generate any offense with a bases-loaded single and a two-run homer that extended his Series hitting streak to seventeen games. The record wouldn't last long though as Warren Spahn would outdo the Yankees outfielder the very next day.
Down three games to one, New York was nearing the end of an era and the Braves were on the verge of clinching their second consecutive title. Burdette returned to face Bob Turley (a twenty-one game winner) in a final showdown. Backed by Gil McDougald's bases-empty homer in the third, Elston Howard's spectacular snatch (and double play) off Red Schoendienst's sixth-inning liner and a six-run rally against Burdette and reliever Juan Pizarro in the bottom of the sixth, Turley emerged a 7-0 winner by giving up only five-hits and chalking up ten strikeouts. Things remained in their favor the following day as the Yanks squared the Series with a 4-3, ten-inning victory in Game 6.
For the second straight year, Larsen would be chosen as the Yankees' starting pitcher in Game 7. And for the second straight year, he lasted exactly three innings before hitting the showers. A short-rested Turley returned in relief and after escaping a bases-loaded situation in the third, held a 2-1 lead over Burdette and the Braves entering the Milwaukee sixth. With two out, though, Del Crandall belted a game-tying home run. After both clubs were held scoreless in the seventh, Burdette retired the first two Yankees in the eighth. Fortunately for New York, the Braves luck was about to run out. First, Yogi Berra tagged the Milwaukee ace for a double. Then, Elston Howard followed suite with a go-ahead single. Andy Carey singled off of third baseman Eddie Mathews' glove and finally Skowron crashed a devastating home run to left-center, The Yankees were ahead, 6-2, and the score did not change. With Turley yielding only a single run and two-hits in 6 2/3 innings of relief, the Yankees managed to beat the odds for their eighteenth World Series title.
The surprise comeback had not only restored the Yankees to their previous stature, it had also tied a record as they became only the second team (1925 Pittsburgh Pirates) to rally back from a 3-1 deficit to win baseball's most prestigious crown. Hank Bauer (who was a nine-Series veteran) led with most runs scored (six), most hits (ten), most home runs (four) and most runs batted in (eight). He also topped the Yankees sluggers with a .323 average. Despite less-than-stellar stats in his first four Classics (seven for fifty-seven with a .123 avg.), he combined for eighteen hits, six home runs, fourteen RBIs and a .290 average against the Braves in '57 and '58.