Pivotal World Series Plays
Neal and Essegian Wake Up Dodgers
1959 World Series Game 2: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago White Sox
After 13 2/3 innings of play in the '59 World Series, the visiting Dodgers had been out­scored 13-0 by the "Go Go" White Sox. The travel-weary Californians had to beat the Mil­waukee Braves two in a row in the best-of-three playoff for the National League pennant. They played the first game in Milwaukee, then flew to the West Coast for Game 2. After a day off, they flew back to Chicago to start the Fall Classic.
The NL champs were humiliated in the opener 11-0. And now the Sox had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2.
155lb 2B Charlie Neal came to the plate with two out and none on in the top of the 5th against righthander Bob Shaw, who was 18-6 during the season. After hitting .287 during the 154-game season, Neal went 5-for-11 (.455) in the playoff, scoring three runs and knocking in one with his 19th homer. He led the Dodgers with 103 runs and 30 doubles. His 11 triples led the National League. As John Kuenster put it in the Chicago Daily News the next day, "the lightest man in the Dodgers' lineup swung a heavyweight punch." Shaw fired a fast ball "over the middle just below the belt" (as Neal described it afterward) that Charlie smashed over the LF wall into the White Sox bullpen with his 30-ounce bat. The Dodger dugout erupted with newfound energy. The clout also led to one of the most famous pictures in baseball history - LF Al Smith being drenched by a cup of beer.

Managers Walt Alston and Al Lopez

Charlie Neal

Al Smith drenched by cup of beer
after Neal's 5th-inning homer.
The score remained 2-1 into the top of the 7th. With two out and none on, manager Walt Alston chose Chuck Essegian to pinch hit for starter Johnny Podres. The backup out­fielder of Armenian descent had appeared in only 24 games for the Dodgers after a trade with St. Louis. However, he hit .304 with six doubles and a homer. With the count 3-and-1, Shaw threw a breaking ball that Essegian smashed halfway up the LCF stands to tie the game. "We were a run behind. There were two out, and it was getting late," said Alston. "I wanted somebody who could hit the ball out of the park. I like the way Essegian swings a bat. He doesn't hit very often, but I thought he might hit one out."

L-R: Chuck Essegian, Larry Sherry, Sherm Lollar out at the plate.
Shaw walked leadoff man Jim Gilliam. Chicago manager Al Lopez had Turk Lown warming up in the bullpen but decided to stick with his starter. Big mistake! Neal got the same pitch he hit out in his previous at-bat and this time propelled it over the CF fence to give the Dodgers their first lead of the Series, 4-2.
The lead held up thanks to the relief pitching of Larry Sherry and another pivotal play - a great relay throw that nipped the tying run at the plate.
Sherry had been one of the heroes of the Dodger stretch drive after Alston moved him to the bullpen in early August. He won six games, including both playoff games against Mil­waukee, and saved three others. He even threw a complete game shutout at Pittsburgh September 11. So it was no surprise that the Dodger skipper called on Larry to save Game 2.
He set the Sox down 1-2-3 in the 7th. But he ran into trouble in the 8th when 1B Ted Kluszewski and C Sherm Lollar singled to put runners at first and second. Earl Torgeson pinch ran for Kluszewski, but Lopez did not replace the slow-footed Lollar, and that decision would come back to bite him. LF Al Smith smacked a full-count pitch for a double to LCF. Torgeson scored easily, and third base coach Tony Cuccinello sent Lollar home also. However, a great relay throw by SS Maury Wills easily beat the lumbering catcher to the plate to keep the Dodgers in front 4-3. With Smith, the potential tying run, perched on third after the throw in, Sherry struck out PH Billy Goodman and induced a foul pop from RF Jim Rivera.
LA could not add to the lead in the 9th, but that was no problem for Larry, who got three groundouts in the bottom of the inning to preserve the 4-3 victory.
In the jubilent Dodger clubhouse, relief P Clem Labine yelled to Neal, "Did you tell me that bat of yours is jumping? Whew! It's smoking."
Charlie credited coach Chuck Dressen with improving him as a hitter. "He told me to choke up slightly on the bat. He had me wrap a strip of tape near the knob so my hands wouldn't slip down." By choking up, he had better control of the bat and wasn't an easy out when pitchers tried to jam him.
Cuccinello explained why he sent both runners home in the 8th. "I had them running all the way because, even though Lollar is slow, he was off with the pitch." "I was running," said Sherm, "but when I tried to pick up the ball when I got to second, I couldn't. I couldn't see where it was, and I stopped because I was afraid it would be caught. If I had kept running, I probably would have scored."
The Dodgers won three of the next four games to take the Series in six games.