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Article:How the Braves Lost the 1958 World Series

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by Harold Friend

Joseph Abstein was a Boston fan until his team moved to Milwaukee in 1953. Joe still roots for the Braves. He fondly recalls the 1957 World Series in which the Braves beat the Yankees, but once in while, he still has nightmares about the 1958 World Series.

The Yankees Were "Just Another Team" Until the 1957 World Series

I was a Boston Braves' fan who was extremely upset when the team moved to Milwaukee in 1953, but I remained a Braves' fan. The Red Sox were our primary rival because we played in the same city. Fans of both teams, unlike fans of any one of New York's three teams, knew that it was highly improbable that the Red Sox and Braves would ever meet in the World Series. The Yankees were just another team to Braves' fans until 1957.

The Braves "upset" the Yankees in the 1957 World Series. It was the first Braves' first World Championship since the Miracle team of 1914. Nineteen fifty eight was different.

The Braves Win the First Two Games of the 1958 World Series

The Braves won the first two games of the 1958 World Series at County Stadium. Counting the seventh game in 1957, the Braves had a three game winning streak against the Yankees.

The Braves Go Ahead, Three Games to One

The Series moved to Yankee Stadium, where Don Larsen shut us out for seven innings, Ryne Duren pitched a scoreless eighth and a scoreless ninth, and Hank Bauer hit a pair of two-run home runs for a 4-0 Yankees' win. The next day, Warren Spahn bested Whitey Ford, as the Braves won, 3-0, to take a commanding three games to one lead.

The only time a team ever came back from a 3-1 deficit in games occurred way back in 1925, when the Pirates beat Washington. Little did I or anyone else know that the nightmare was just starting.

Lew Burdette Finally Loses to the Yankees

It was a crisp, sunny afternoon in New York. Bob Turley, who couldn't get out of the first inning in Game 2, faced Yankees' killer Lew Burdette. Things looked bright for the Braves. Burdette was going for his fifth consecutive World Series win over the Yankees, but I remembered that the Braves had moved from Boston, and we all knew what the Yankees usually did to Boston.

Gil McDougald hit a cheap home run in the third inning, left fielder Elston Howard made a spectacular catch in the sixth inning, and the Yankees routed Burdette in a six run sixth inning. I was getting a little worried.

Warren Spahn Against Whitey Ford On Two Days' Rest

Tuesday was a travel day back to Milwaukee, and on Wednesday, Warren Spahn started against Whitey Ford for the third time in the Series, each on two --repeat that -- two days rest. Spahn had pitched nine scoreless innings on Sunday, and Ford had gone seven.

My head ached the entire game. I started watching it at home, and then remembered that I had watched Spahn's shut out at my friend's house. Of course, I immediately got onto my bicycle and watched the rest of the game with him. It didn't help.

Casey Stengel Managed a Crucial Win

Casey Stengel earned the right to say, "Boy, did I manage good."

Hank Bauer hit a home run in the first. I thought, "Here we go again," but we tied the game in our half of the first. Then, in the second, with Wes Covington on third and Andy Pafko on first, Spahn singled home Covington with the lead run. When Ford walked Red Schoendienst to load the bases, Stengel yanked Ford and brought in Art Ditmar, a move that saved the game.

Ditmar and then Ryne Duren held us scoreless and the Yankees tied the game in the sixth inning. It was still tied, 2-2 after nine innings. Spahn, and his two days rest, were still pitching.

Gil McDougald led off the tenth with a home run. With two outs, singles by Elston Howard and Yogi put Yankees on first and third. Don McMahon took over for Spahn and yielded a Bill Skowron single that turned out to be the winning run because we scored once in the bottom of tenth. Stengel had to bring in Bob Turley to get Frank Torre on a looping line drive to Bobby Richardson to end the game.

The Yankees Beat Burdette Again

The next day, in Game 7, the Yankees beat Burdette for the second time. Don Larsen started, but he was ineffective, and Stengel, as he had done the previous day with Ford, yanked Larsen in favor of Bob Turley, who had gone nine innings on Monday, and had pitched in relief on Wednesday. Turley finished the game, allowing only a home run by Del Crandall. We were no longer World Champions.

I don't like the Yankees, but I don't like any team that the Braves play. Fans must realize that they and the teams the root for don't have the luxury of rooting more against one team than another. A fan who roots for the Braves roots for her team to win. It doesn't matter which team they victimize.

References:

1958 World Series at Retrosheet

By JOHN DREBINGER. (1958, October 7). YANKEES WIN, 7-0; CUT BRAVES' LEAD IN SERIES TO 3-2 :Turley Pitches 5-Hitter and Strikes Out 10 Before 65,279 at Stadium M'DOUGALD PACES DRIVE He Clouts Homer and 2-Run Double -- Burdette Routed in 6-Run 6th Inning.New York Times (1857-Current file),1. Retrieved January 2, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 92651677).


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