Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PTWSW #53: The 1956 New York Yankees

Manager: Casey Stengel
Record: 97-57
Ballpark: Yankee Stadium
Owner: Dan Topping & Del Webb
GM: George Weiss
Coaches: Frankie Crosetti, Bill Dickey, Jim Turner

Future Hall of Famers: Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, Enos Slaughter

All-Stars: Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Johnny Kucks, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Gil McDougald

Team Leaders, Batting

BA:
Mickey Mantle, .353 (AL leader)
OBP: Mickey Mantle, .464
SLG: Mickey Mantle, .705 (AL leader)
OPS: Mickey Mantle, 1.169 (AL leader)
2B: Yogi Berra, 29
3B: Hank Bauer, 7
HR: Mickey Mantle, 52 (AL leader)
RBI: Mickey Mantle, 130 (AL leader)
BB: Mickey Mantle, 112
SB: Mickey Mantle, 10

Team Leaders, Pitching

W:
Whitey Ford, 19
SO: Whitey Ford, 141
ERA: Whitey Ford, 2.47 (AL leader)
IP: Whitey Ford, 225.2
CG: Whitey Ford, 18
SHO: Johnny Kucks, 3
K/BB: Tom Sturdivant, 2.12 (AL leader)
SV: Tom Morgan, 11

Tidbits

Oldest Player: Enos Slaughter (b. April 27, 1916)

Youngest Player: Tom Carroll (b. September 17, 1936)

First to Leave Us: George "Ted" Wilson (d. October 29, 1974)

Last Survivor: Twelve are still living as of November 2, 2015.

First in Majors: Enos Slaughter (debut April 19, 1938)

Last in Majors: Elston Howard played his final Major League game on September 29, 1968, one day after his former teammate Mickey Mantle took the field for the last time.

First to Play For the Franchise: Phil Rizzuto (April 14, 1941)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Mickey Mantle (September 28, 1968)

Pre-union Team: The 1953-54 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles (Billy Hunter, Don Larsen and Bob Turley).

Reunion Team: The 1957 Kansas City Athletics (Bob Cerv, Rip Coleman, Billy Hunter, Billy Martin, Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Irv Noren, Lou Skizas and Ralph Terry). The K.C. A's were essentially a Yankee farm team in those days, thanks to Topping and Webb getting their buddy Arnold Johnson installed as owner.

Accomplishments

Mickey Mantle, AL MVP
Mickey Mantle, AL Triple Crown
Don Larsen, perfect game on October 8

Season Summary

As usual, the Yankees entered the season favored to win the pennant. The only ones they disappointed were fans of the other seven American League teams, as they nearly led wire-to-wire and won the flag by nine games. Their offense was unmatched in runs per game, homers, slugging percentage and OPS+, and they even finished second in stolen bases (only 51, but still...). Mickey Mantle led the way with a Triple Crown season, edging out Ted Williams for the batting title in the final week. On the other side of the ball, their defense was second-best in TotalZone rating and their pitching staff (aided by Yankee Stadium) was solid enough to allow the second-fewest runs per game.

One of the league's younger teams, the Yankees discarded several veterans over the course of the season. Most notable was longtime shortstop Phil Rizzuto, who drew his release in August. His roster replacement was the older Enos Slaughter, selected off waivers from the Athletics to give the Yanks sorely-needed outfield depth.

The World Series matchup was Yankees vs. Dodgers for the fourth time in five seasons. The Brooklynites had beaten the Bombers the previous year, and this time they had home-field advantage. The Dodgers won the first two at Ebbets Field, but the Yankees tied it by winning the next two on their own turf. Game 5 proved to be the most memorable of the Series; Don Larsen took the mound for the Yankees and retired all 27 batters he faced for what is still the only no-hitter in the history of postseason baseball. Back in Brooklyn for Game 6, the two teams staged another classic pitcher's duel. Young Yankee fireballer Bob Turley battled Brooklyn's Clem Labine, normally a reliever, for nine scoreless innings. The winning run scored in the bottom of the tenth, when left fielder Slaughter misplayed Jackie Robinson's line drive with Jim Gilliam on second. Like the previous year, the home team had won each of the first six games; also like the previous year, the road team would win Game 7. The Yankees scored nine runs while Johnny Kucks allowed none, cruising to their seventeenth World Series title.


Acknowledgements:

Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
Google News Archives

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