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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LIFE: 1955 World Series: Rare, Never-Seen

For a baseball fan, it’s impossible to think of the Dodger and Yankee teams of the 1940s and ‘50s and not marvel at the names. Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, Whitey Ford, Pee Wee Reese, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider—two clubs positively brimming with Hall of Famers. By the time they met in the 1955 World Series, however, the Yankees had already won 16 titles; the Dodgers, exactly none.

Now, 55 years later, in a gallery of rare and never-seen photos, LIFE recalls the epic, seven-game Subway Series when “Dem Bums” won their first—and, as it turned out, their only—world championship, cementing their place in Brooklyn lore and baseball legend.

bobm Posted: October 27, 2010 at 11:12 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, yankees

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   1. Cris E Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:09 PM (#3676722)
These are really wonderful. My favorite shows Berra right after Robinson stole home and includes this: "Today, he's often regarded as a universally admired, almost cuddly elder statesman of the game. But back then, when the game was on the line, Yogi Berra was a bad, bad man."
   2. mathesond Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:10 PM (#3676724)
My favourite is #22, the locker-room celebration. Not only for the picture, but also the description
   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:15 PM (#3676731)
the Yankee standing next to Casey and the umps in #14--is that Tom Sturdivant?
   4. Cris E Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:17 PM (#3676735)
Does it say who wrote these? They're well written, but every once in a while something slips in that's startlingly suspect. In the Hank Aaron set, for example, it says "With all due respect to Mays, Musial, Koufax, and a few others, Aaron was then, and is now, the greatest living baseball player." Yikes. I mean, that's the sort of thing you say on the day of retirement to be nice, but not thirty years later.
   5. Matt Welch Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:24 PM (#3676745)
G-r-e-a-t pictures. Campy tagging the #### out of Billy Martin is my fave.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 27, 2010 at 02:44 PM (#3676761)
By coincidence, a friend just e-mailed these to me, and they're terrific. My favorites were #18 and #19, which show Robinson dancing off third in game 3, bluffing a steal of home. Having watched every inning of that Series, in my mind that sequence represented its turning point. It's too bad there isn't an accompanying sound track, because I can still hear Robinson's screaming in his distinctive high pitched voice.

What the pictures also don't show was how completely Bob Turley was rattled by this, and how he quickly disintegrated afterward. This was before Turley adapted the no-windup windup, and not only he could remember Robinson's steal of home in game 1, but he'd already lost a game himself that year in Detroit on a walkoff steal of home. The poor boy never had a chance.
   7. esseff Posted: October 27, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3676781)
Does it say who wrote these? They're well written, but every once in a while something slips


"Arthur Daly"? C'mon, LIFE.
   8. Sam M. Posted: October 27, 2010 at 03:18 PM (#3676800)
Those are just fantastic. So evocative of the teams, the era, the drama. There really is something to be said for a time in baseball when a small number of truly powerhouse teams dominate and create the kind of rivalry that history remembers for (basically) ever. Every era, every type of competitive environment, has its pluses and minuses, so I'm not saying I'd always want it to be where the same two teams are facing each other six times in a nine-year period. But once very few decades, it has its place. This was glorious.
   9. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: October 27, 2010 at 03:32 PM (#3676813)
There really is something to be said for a time in baseball when a small number of truly powerhouse teams dominate and create the kind of rivalry that history remembers for (basically) ever.

The seemingly eternal struggle between the Wilpons and common sense, for example.
   10. Sam M. Posted: October 27, 2010 at 04:02 PM (#3676834)
The seemingly eternal struggle between the Wilpons and common sense, for example.

Not only was that a gratuitous shot at the Mets' owners, but if it causes a Mets' hijack of this thread, I want to note who was responsible for it . . . .

I will say this: for all the criticism Fred Wilpon took over his desire to make the new stadium evoke Ebbets Field, when you see these photos and think back on the way it was for a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in those days, it's kind of understandable. Right or wrong, wanting to have those echoes come alive again must be a powerful, driving force for the man -- and when you own the New York National League baseball team, and you're about to build a new stadium, you are the one person in the universe who can actually do it. Given the life he's led, it would be almost impossible not to want to imprint the memory of that team, and of Jackie Robinson in particular, on the space.

It would have been so much smarter -- or at least wiser -- if he'd been able to universalize what he was trying to do instead of personalize it, and made the stadium an amalgam of all three New York NL baseball traditions, with influences from the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field weaving magic all throughout as minor notes, and emphasis on the Mets' history the major chord. Ah, well.
   11. TerpNats Posted: October 27, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3676849)
It would have been so much smarter -- or at least wiser -- if he'd been able to universalize what he was trying to do instead of personalize it, and made the stadium an amalgam of all three New York NL baseball traditions, with influences from the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field weaving magic all throughout as minor notes, and emphasis on the Mets' history the major chord. Ah, well.
That's the main criticism of CitiField (one of them, anyway) -- that the Brooklyn Dodgers' segment of the NY National League experience was overemphasized at the expense of the others, including the Mets' own four-plus decades of history.
   12. bunyon Posted: October 27, 2010 at 04:35 PM (#3676862)
World Series Championships by New York teams:


New York Yankees 27
New York Giants 5
New York Mets 2
Brooklyn Dodgers 1
   13. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 27, 2010 at 04:45 PM (#3676871)
The "Angry Berra" photo is awesome. Just the part with Berra and the ump is so perfect, it's almost Norman-Rockwell-esque.
   14. Sam M. Posted: October 27, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3676877)
The Dodgers look really awful by that measure, having had from 1903 to 1957 to win the Series, and won only one. If you don't count 1904, when there was no WS:

New York Yankees: 27/107 seasons
New York Giants: 5/54 seasons
New York Mets: 2/49 seasons
Brooklyn Dodgers: 1/54 seasons

But the Dodgers do better when it comes to pennants (this time counting 1904, but again starting somewhat arbitrarily with 1903):

New York Yankees: 40 pennants/108 seasons
New York Giants: 17 pennants/55 seasons
Brooklyn Dodgers: 7 pennants/55 seasons
New York Mets: 4 pennants/49 seasons
   15. bunyon Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:02 PM (#3676890)
Sam: sure. I posted what I did because it just dawned on me that the Mets have more World Series titles than the Brooklyn Dodgers had. I mean, deep down I suppose I knew that, but it came as a revelation anyway.

Similarly, seeing that the Mets have almost the same number of seasons in the World Series era as the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants is shocking.
   16. Gamingboy Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3676900)
Awesome images.
   17. Sam M. Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3676907)
Actually, the Dodgers had two more pennants (1916 and 1920) as the Brooklyn Robins, which I didn't count. It was the same franchise, so they really should get credit for 9 pennants, not 7. Those were the only two World Series, by the way, in which the Brooklyn team didn't play the Yankees. In 1916, they lost in five to the Red Sox, and in 1920 they lost in seven games (5-2, though, not 4-3) to the Indians. After 1920, it was 21 years before the Dodgers returned to the Series, and every time after that, the Yankees awaited them.
   18. esseff Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:20 PM (#3676915)
New York Giants: 17 pennants/55 seasons


Or is it 15 pennants, counting from 1903? 17 would include the two from the 1880s.
   19. Sam M. Posted: October 27, 2010 at 05:29 PM (#3676924)
Or is it 15 pennants, counting from 1903? 17 would include the two from the 1880s.

Right. 17 counts the two from the pre-WS era. It's only 15 from 1903 forward (one of which was 1904, the year no WS was played).
   20. Don Malcolm Posted: October 27, 2010 at 07:05 PM (#3677034)
Simply superb. One suspects that there are lot more than just these, and one hopes that the entire collection might emerge sometime (hopefully soon!) in a coffee-table book about baseball's pre-eminent post-season rivalry.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 27, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3677084)
the Yankee standing next to Casey and the umps in #14--is that Tom Sturdivant?


Since the picture was taken during Game 3, it could be. Sturdivant pitched the 7th and 8th innings that day. If we could figure out what Stengel had come out to argue, we could figure out who the player was.

-- MWE
   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 27, 2010 at 11:39 PM (#3677253)
The Series ended on October 4th.

Common sense is in short supply these days.
   23. esseff Posted: October 27, 2010 at 11:47 PM (#3677258)
In fact, Game 3 of the '55 Series was the last World Series game to be played in September.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 28, 2010 at 02:00 AM (#3677585)
New York Giants: 5/54 seasons

Fun fact: The combined World Series / NFL Championship game records for the New York Giants is 11 and 19, and 11 and 22 if you count San Francisco. That's the exact mirror image of the Yankees' World Series record at the beginning of the Torre era.

-------------------

the Yankee standing next to Casey and the umps in #14--is that Tom Sturdivant?

Probably not, since he's got a bat in his hand, and Sturdivant didn't come to bat in that game. Going by what I can see of his face, my memory of the faces, and the process of elimination, my guess would be Bob Cerv.
   25. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 28, 2010 at 02:38 AM (#3677689)
Going by what I can see of his face, my memory of the faces, and the process of elimination, my guess would be Bob Cerv.

I think you're right
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 28, 2010 at 02:52 AM (#3677727)
It was mostly by the process of elimination, since the faces of all the other Yankee batters in that third game were more familiar to me than Cerv's. The rest of them were long-time Yankee regulars whose faces would have been instantly recognizable. The only other possibility would have been Andy Carey, but Carey looked much younger than that guy in the picture.
   27. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 28, 2010 at 02:55 AM (#3677736)
Bob Cerv from that era
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 28, 2010 at 03:03 AM (#3677767)
Yeah, that looks even more like the guy in the picture than the Cerv I remember from his second time around with the Yanks in the early 60's.

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