1956 World Series — Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees

Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

In October 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers (93-61) who finished just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Braves and two games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds, met for the sixth time in the last ten years the New York Yankees (97-57) in what proved to be the Dodger’s last World Series before moving to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.

The Dodgers were managed by Walt Alston of Darrtown, Ohio with general manager Buzzie Bavasi while the Yankees were managed by Casey Stengel and had as general manager George Weiss.

The Dodgers were led by centerfielder Duke Snider (34 HR, 101 RBI, .292 BA, 112 RS), catcher Roy Campanella (20 HR), Gil Hodges (32 HR, 87 RBI, 86 RS), Carl Furillo (21 HR, 83 RBI, .289 BA) and Jim Gilliam (.300 BA, 21 SB) as well future Hall of Famers and both 37 years old Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

Brooklyn’s pitching staff was anchored by Don Newcombe, 27-7, Roger Craig, 12-11, 39 year old Sal Maglie, 13-5, 2.87 ERA, and Carl Erskine, 13-11. In the bullpen they had Clem Labine, 10-6, 19 saves and 19 year old Don Drysdale and 20 year old Sandy Koufax.

The Yankees were led by 24 year old switching hitting American League Triple Crown Winner Mickey Mantle (52 HR, 130 RBI, .353 BA, 132 RS), catcher Yogi Berra (30 HR, 105 RBI, .298 BA, 93 RS), Bill Skowron (23 HR, 90 RBI, .308. BA) and Hank Bauer (26 HR, 84 RBI, 96 RS). They also had 38 year old Phil Rizzuto and 40 year old Enos Slaughter.

Lefthander Whitey Ford, 19-6. 2.47 ERA, Johnny Kucks, 18-9, Don Larson, 11-4, Tom Sturdivant, 16-8 and Bob Turley, 8-4, were their starters while Bob Morgan 11 saves and Tommy Byrne 7-3, 6 saves were the relievers.

Game one was in historic Ebbets Field in Brooklyn with Whitey Ford pitching for New York and Sal Maglie going for the Dodgers. Despite home runs by Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin, Maglie pitched a complete game 6-3 victory. He was helped by home runs by Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges.

Game two was a high scoring affair as starters Don Larson and Don Newcombe both lasted less than two innings. Brooklyn prevailed 13-8 with the help of a three-run home run by Duke Snider while Yogi Berra added a grand slam for the Yankees as the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the series.

For game three, the teams moved across town to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with Whitey Ford back on only two days rest to start against Roger Craig.

Ford fared better this time with a complete game 5-3 victory, helped by home runs by Billy Martin and Enos Slaughter with Slaughter’s being a three run affair in the sixth scoring. It proved to be the winning run and the Yankees pull to within one game, 2-1 in the series.

In game four, the Yankees got another complete game. This time a six hitter by Tom Sturdivant and with the help of home runs by Mantle and Hank Bauer, the Bronx Bombers tie the series 2-2 with a win.

In the World Series, no pitcher had ever pitched a no hitter but that was about to change as Yankee starter Don Larsen went to the mound to start the fifth game of the 1956 World Series-arguably the most historic World Series game ever played.

Against a lineup that featured five future Hall of Famers, Hodges, Snider, Campanella, Jackie Robinson, and Pee Wee Reese, Larsen slowly worked through the lineup without allowing not only no hits but also no baserunners.

With Larsen needing only one more out for the perfect game, Dodger manager Walt Alston sent up Dale Mitchell to pinch hit for Sal Maglie. Larsen got two strikes on Mitchell and on the next pitch home plate umpire Babe Pirelli’s arm went out calling Mitchell out on a called third strike and Don Larsen had pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.

A Mickey Mantle solo home run off of Maglie provided one of the runs Larsen needed as the Yankees good pitching continued and they won 2-0 to go up 3-2 in the series.

Game six was back at Ebbets Field and Walt Alston sent out reliever Clem Labine to start against the Yankees Bob Turley and they hooked up in a pitching duel with the score 0-0 as the Dodgers began to bat in the bottom of the tenth inning.

In one of the last at bats of his historic career, Jackie Robinson singled in Junior Gilliam with the winning run and the Dodgers tie the series up at three games each.

In game seven, which was their last game ever in Ebbets Field, the Dodgers had a forgettable game.

Their ace, Don Newcombe, started but Yogi Berra homered with one on in both the second and fourth innings and Elston Howard and Bill Skowron added home runs as the Yankees won the game 9-0 and their seventeenth World Series title.

Don Larsen got the series MVP in that most historic World Series. It was the last one in Brooklyn, the last major league game for Jackie Robinson (he retired after the World Series rather than report to the Giants to whom he had been traded) and Larsen’s perfect game.

Major league baseball was much different in 1956 than in 1947 when Jackie Robinson integrated the game.

The Yankees were back the next year and the Dodgers as the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959.

Statistics from this article were from baseball-reference.com and Youtube.com.