August 23, 2016
Game Seven: World Series 1955
The general rule is that games that manifest a curse – or, in the case of the 1955 World Series, a curse that was broken – usually are odd… unique… memorable. Here are some oddities, unique or memorable things about Game Seven in Yankee Stadium:
- Johnny Podres: Instead of starting veterans Carl Erskine or Don Newcombe, who were both available, Manager Walter Alston chose 23-year-old rookie Johnny Podres to start Game Seven. Podres had only gone 9 – 10 during the regular season, but he had pitched well enough to win Game Three (despite yielding a home run to Mickey Mantle).
- Podres had not played for the previous losers: As Podres pointed out, he wasn’t there in any of the seven previous World Series losses by the Dodgers, nor was he there in the seven seasons of disaster just prior to the 1955 season. (1947 and 1949– losses to Yankees in WS; 1950 – loss of the pennant-winning game to the Phillies; 1951 – Bobby Thomson meets Ralph Branca; 1952 and 1953 – again, they lose both Series’ to the Yankees; 1954 – the Giants win it all as the Dodgers finish second).
- Sandy Koufax wasn’t there at the World Series – Koufax had been signed in December of 1954, but had played very sparingly for Brooklyn that season. He was taking college classes during the Series.
- Mickey Mantle didn’t play in Game Seven – he had a leg injury, so the Yankees’ best hitter against Podres was out of the line-up.
- Johnny Podres had precision control – The Dodgers’ pitcher threw every pitch Roy Campanella called for; Campie called “The game of his life,” according to Podres.
- Phil Rizzuto makes a mistake by getting hit by a batted ball:( From the HBO Special, “The Ghosts of Flatbush” in 2007) : Carl Erskine (Dodger pitcher): “There was a peculiar play that nobody talks about, but to me, it was an omen.” Narrator: Sliding into third, on what looked to be an infield hit, Yankee Phil Rizzuto got hit by the ball for the inning’s third out. Carl Erskine: “That’s the things that happened to US!” Andy Mele (Dodgers’ fan): “Maybe the tide is turning a little bit here. Maybe we’re gonna get a break here in Brooklyn for a change.”
- The amazing play on a ball hit by Yogi Berra by Sandy Amoros, Dodger left-fielder: He had been shading Yogi to pull, so he had a long run to catch the shot into the left field corner (Yogi being a left-handed batter, he usually pulled the ball to right field). Amoros not only made the catch (heading right into the left-field corner), but he turned and threw the ball to Pee Wee Reese, who caught a stunned Yankee base-runner (Gil MacDougal) off first base for an incredible double play. This was in the bottom of the sixth – it was the last Yankee chance.
- Gil Hodges drove in both runs: That’s significant because his wife prayed SPECIFICALLY TO JESUS that the Dodgers would win. This was not a frivolous “using the Lord’s name in vain” incident; she gives testimony of her actual prayer later on: Mrs. Hodges recalled her prayer in the last inning: “I was standing up on the seat. I couldn’t look at the batter. And I’m talking… to Jesus, ‘Please, it doesn’t mean anything to the Yankees! They’ve won it so many times – Please!… I beg You! I implore you!’ “
- Pee Wee Reese threw out Elston Howard, with Gil Hodges making the final out: No one had suffered as long as Reese on that team – he had played for the 1941 team that lost to the Yankees, too (the “Mickey Owens’ Dropped Third Strike” Series).
Conclusion: When these kinds of amazing events are pointed out, someone often mentions “the baseball gods” because this game and others seem to be controlled by some supernatural force. I’m here to say: There are no “baseball gods.” But there is a Baseball God – His name is Elohim… He is also named Yahweh. Jesus, who is the God-man, the only Son of God, called Him “Abba Father.” And – yes – He is in control of all things. He blesses some teams, and He curses some teams. He does what He wants to reveal His glory.
And – the Cubs will win this year because He has ordained it. Just like the Dodgers won in 1955… Just like the Phillies won in 1980… Just like the Red Sox won in 2004…
Because He is the ONE and ONLY BASEBALL GOD! May Abba Father be praised!