Golden Moments in Sports History

The 1947 World Series

While it is known to history primarily as the first World Series in which an African-American, Jackie Robinson, played, the 1947 Fall Classic boasts many other arguments as to why it is ranked among the best ever played, such as:

  1. A pitcher coming within one out of the first Series no hitter, only to lose the game
  2. A great catch by an obscure left-fielder to rob the great DiMaggio of a homer
  3. A thrilling seven game competition featuring a number of future Hall of Famers

Pennant Races
National League: Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher was suspended for the season in March by Commissioner Happy Chandler for consorting with gamblers. Burt Shotton managed the team in civilian clothes from the dugout as the Dodgers outlasted the Cardinals by 5 games. The championship marked the changing of the guard in the National League. St. Louis had won four of the five previous NL titles with a team that Branch Rickey had built as General Manager. However, in 1943 Rickey jumped to Brooklyn and applied his same technique of building a solid farm system to upgrade the Dodgers, who won the NL six times from 1947-1956.
American League: Building on a 19-game winning streak that began in late June, the Yankees won the Junior Circuit by 12 games.

World Series
Game 1: New York opened at home with a 5-3 win as Spec Shea defeated Ralph Branca. Joe Page got the save, relieving in the 6th inning – an approach forgotten in today's baseball.

Game 2: The Yanks took a 2-0 Series lead, pounding the Dodgers 10-3. Allie Reynolds threw a complete game. Dixie Walker homered for the visitors while Tommy Henrich clouted a four-bagger for the winners.

Game 3: The hitting onslaught continued across town in Ebbets Field as the Dodgers outlasted the visitors 9-8. A 6-run second shelled Bobo Newsom and gave the home team a lead it never relinquished. Joe DiMaggio and a rookie catched named Yogi Berra homered for the Yankees.

Game 4: ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING GAMES IN WORLD SERIES HISTORY saw Bill Bevens, a hard-throwing right-hander, take a no-hitter into the 9th inning. He held only a 2-1 lead because the Dodgers parlayed two walks in the 5th into a run. In 21st century baseball, Bevens would never have pitched the ninth, turning the game over to the closer despite a no-hitter. With one out, Carl Furillo walked, Bevens' ninth of the game. With two outs, pinch-runner Al Gionfriddo stole second, causing Yankee skipper Bucky Harris to walk Pete Reiser intentionally. Pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto, an aging has-been, then doubled high off the right field wall, scoring both runners.

Game 5: Spec Shea pitched a masterful 4-hitter for a 2-1 Yankee victory. Joltin' Joe homered in the fifth for what turned out to be the winning run.

Game 6: Needing only one win back home, the Yankees were denied the championship in another high-scoring affair, 8-6. Allie Reynolds didn't make it past the 3rd inning. The game is most remembered for the sensational catch by Al Gionfriddo against the bullpen gate in left-center field to rob DiMaggio of a sure home run to end the 6th inning with two men on.

Game 7: As usual in a "subway series," the teams played their seventh game in seven days. Harris started Shea with only one day's rest. When Brooklyn scored two in the second, Bevens came in with two days' rest. Then Joe Page pitched one hit ball the last five innings to seal the Yankees' 5-2 win before 71,548.

Interesting facts about the 1947 Series

  1. Neither Lavagetto nor Gionfriddo, the Dodgers Series heroes, had another at-bat in the major leagues. Lavagetto retired and Gionfriddo was sent down the following spring, replaced by one of the many young outfielders in the Dodgers' 33-team farm system.
  2. Robinson wasn't a big factor in the Series. He hit .259 with 3 runs and 3 RBIs. He played first base as he had all year.
  3. Furillo led Brooklyn with a .353 average. Henrich topped the Yanks at .323. DiMaggio hit only .231 but scored 4 runs with 5 RBIs.

Golden Rankings Home