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’56 World Series Notes

November 17, 2022

Certainly I offer all due respect to the Astros pitchers who combined to pitch a World Series turnaround/combined no hit game in #4, weeks back.

Roy Halladay, who sadly died while flying a non commercial plane 7 years later, hurled a post-season individual no hit game for the Phillies, vs the Dusty Baker managed, Cincinnati Reds in their “div” series opener in 2010.

However, neither comes close (obviously Halladay’s effort comes closer individually, but the team effort and subsequent ‘Stros crown, juxtaposed with the Phils’ eventual LCS loss to the first of three big time value, S.F. Giants’ title teams, makes the Houston effort better to me) to Don Larsen pitching a perfect game, in the pivotal 5th game of the 1956 World Series.

It was a (2-0) win and his Yankees eventually prevailed in 7 games, vs the Brooklyn Dodgers, completing a (6-1) Yankees’ W.S. record vs Brooklyn in their 7 “Subway” Series clashes.

Notes and thoughts abound: A legendary broadcaster, Bob Wolff, who put my “play by play” tape from the broadcasting class he taught at Pace University in Westchester, now so many years back, in the Smithsonian Institute along with such treasures as Mr. Wolff’s interviews with Babe Ruth (sorry HBO, N.Y. Giants Preservation Society and any who said it, but Babe Ruth and NOT Willie Mays is baseball’s greatest player. I loved Willie as a player but ….) and Ted (he and Willie combined for 1 World Series win, (Willie and the N.Y. Giants in ’54) and NO World Series home runs) Williams, told the audience that the subway fare a nickel in 1941 when the first Subway Series between the Yankees and Dodgers was played, had risen to 15 cents, those 15 years later in 1956.

There were no right or left field umpires in the ’56 W.S.– thus game 1 home plate umpire, Babe Pinelli, would rotate and be behind the plate, where his right hand would go up, perhaps incorrectly, signaling Don Larsen had caught Dale Mitchell “looking,” to complete a masterpiece.

Sal Maglie started both Pinelli home plate umpiring games in the ’56 World Series, facing the great Edward “Whitey” Ford, then (3-1) in World Series play, eventually to be (10-4) at one point and finish (10-7) in such tilts, in the “opener” (have to tangent another Ford opener that the first of his 3 losses in his final 3 W.S. decisions to Sandy and L.A. which was evoked in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” when Mr. Nicholson’s “Randall” asks “who do you like in the opener?”) before his fateful encounter with Mr. Larsen in #5.

Finally on the more than one occasion I asked/interviewed the great Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra about his heroics in #7, (he had jumped into Larsen’s arms after game 5 ended, an indelible baseball moment!), he talked of pitcher, Johnny Kucks shutout win in that decisive game.

In #1, Kucks is warming up, described as tall by Bob Neal, President Dwight David Eisenhower, who saw two Yankees’ wins at “Wash” that season is in attendance, the great Jackie Robinson who previously played first and second base as well as left field in previous World Series all vs the Yankees, is at third base and throws out Hank Bauer to start the World Series.

Enos Slaughter, whose teams won 4 of the 5 World Series in which he played–winning in ’42 and ’46 the latter featuring his “mad dash” home for the decisive 8th inning run in #7 with the Cardinals and in ’56 and ’58 with the Yankees. The Braves, then in Milwaukee were the Yankees’ opponent in both the ’57 and ’58 World Series and won in ’57. Slaughter ended his big league career, playing briefly at the end of the ’59 season for the Braves, who finished in a tie, bidding for a third straight pennant. However L.A. beat them in 2 straight playoff games en route to the ’59 crown. I would think “Country” (Slaughter) was INELIGIBLE for play in that ‘off. Slaughter did not play, though on the roster for the Yankees in the ’55 W.S. and was in military service when the Cardinals split in the ’43 and ’44 World Series.


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