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New York City Baseball Madness

NEW YORK - The scene in New York City back in the era of the "Subway Series" the 1940s and 1950s - always comes back in black and white, always comes back with a rush of noise.

For many who lived through that time, the images still tarry in memory. It was a time when World Series tickets were being printed each season for one, two or all three New York City baseball teams. It was a time when the look and the style of the teams and their players and the numbers on their uniforms, their nicknames - were as familiar to fans as their own telephone number or address.

The 1956 World Series matchup between the Dodgers of Brooklyn and their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, was a matter of revenge for the Bronx Bombers and their fans. The year before the Bums had finally broken through and beaten the Yanks in the World Series.

The first two games of the 1956 Fall Classic were played in Brooklyn. President Dwight D. Eisenhower attended the first game. Looking strange in a Dodger uniform, long time Giant pitcher Sal Maglie struck out 10 batters and spaced nine hits. Brooklyn won the game, 6-3. Whitey Ford took the loss for the Yankees as Dodger fans crowed: "Even a good lefty like Ford gets 'rooned' at Ebbets Field."

"Murder at Ebbets Field" headlined the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS the next day after the Dodgers won again, 13-8. Casey Stengel pitched Don Larsen, Johnny Kucks, Tom Morgan, Bob Turley and Mickey McDermott - to no avail.

Game three shifted to Yankee Stadium. Whitey Ford came back from his first game defeat and went the distance in the 6-3 Yankee triumph.

The series was tied as the Yanks won the fourth game, 6-2. Hank Bauer belted his first World Series home run in the seventh inning off a 20-year-old making his first Fall Classic appearance. His name was Don Drysdale.

There were 64,619 in attendance at Game Five at Yankee Stadium. They stayed through all nine innings, witnesses to one of the great moments in sports history - Don Larsen's pitching of the only perfect game in all the years of the World Series.

Maglie had the misfortune to be the opposing pitcher the day Larsen was touched by destiny. Maglie yielded but five hits, one of them a home run to Mickey Mantle and another was a run- scoring single to Bauer. For years afterwards, Maglie insisted: "I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to think about it. I just want to forget it."

The teams returned to Ebbets Field for Game Six. Again the Yankees pitched a no-windup hurler, Bob Turley. And again the zeroes went up on the scoreboard. But this time they went up for both teams. At the end of nine innings, the game was scoreless. The Dodgers had managed just three hits off the man known as "Bullet Bob." The Yankees had collected just four hits off Clem Labine.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Junior Gilliam Walked. Most of the 32,224 iron-lunged zealots at Ebbets Field were screaming for Yankee blood.

Duke Snider was walked intentionally after Gilliam moved to second base on a sacrifice. Jackie Robinson came up and drove an inside pitch to left field over the glove of a leaping Enos Slaughter. The ball smacked against the outfield wall. The Dodgers won the game, 1-0.

"I pitched the greatest game I ever pitched in my life," Turley said, "and I got beat."

Game seven was no contest. It was all Yankees.

Yogi Berra blasted a two-run homer and then another. The shots knocked out Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe, the 1956 National League Most Valuable Players and Cy Young award winner. Elston Howard whacked a fourth-inning home run for the Yankees. Bill Skowron rapped a grand slammer for the Yanks in the seventh. Allowing just three hits, Johnny Kucks coasted to his 9-0 win over the Dodgers.

No one knew it back then but that seventh game was the final game of the final Subway Series World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

After the 1957 season the Dodgers and the New York Giants moved to California, leaving the Yankees with center stage in the Big Apple. Some Dodger and Giant fans switched their allegiance to the hated Yankees. Others became fans of the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodges. Still others waited for the return of National Baseball to New York City and became Met fans.

There will be other Subway Series, but none will never quite equal those series from New York City baseball's last golden age.

 Harvey Frommer is the author of the classic "New York City Baseball 1947-1957: The Last Golden Age.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
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on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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