In America in 1950, the last time the Yankees and Phillies met in the World Series, the average cost of a new car was $1,510 and filling it with gas cost 18 cents a gallon. Harry S. Truman was President. With World War II just five years removed, the Korean War began when North Korean Communist forces invaded South Korea. “All About Eve” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. My folks got married.
On the diamond, the Philadelphia “Whiz Kids” defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers on the final day of the season to win the National League pennant.. Meanwhile the Yankees outlasted the Detroit Tigers by three games to win the American League flag.
The Yanks entered the World Series as heavy favorites, coming off a World Series win against the Dodgers in 1949. The Phillies were playing in their first Series in 35 years.
New York wound up sweeping Philadelphia in four games, although all four were tight, pitching duels.
Game One: Yankee right-hander Vic Raschi pitches a two-hit shutout to beat the Phillies and surprise starter Jim Konstanty, 1-0. Konstanty was making his first and only start of the season.
Game Two: Joe DiMaggio’s 10th inning home run into the left-field upper deck at Philadelphia’s old Shibe Park gives Allie Reynolds and he Yankees a 2-1 win over Robin Roberts.
Game Three: Shortstop Granny Hamner’s error in the eighth inning allows the tying run to score and the Yanks win 3-2 in the ninth on a two-out single by Jerry Coleman.
Game Four: Fueled by a Yogi Berra home run, rookie left-hander Whitey Ford, shown above, holds the Phils scoreless until an error in the ninth inning, and the Yankees prevail, 5-2.
The Yankees pitching rotation allowed only three earned runs and finished the Fall Classic with a combined 0.73 ERA. Only four other teams finished with an ERA of less than 1.00 — the 1905 New York Giants (0.00), the 1966 Baltimore Orioles (0.50), the 1907 Chicago Cubs (0.75) and the 1920 Cleveland Indians (0.89).
The Phillies also became the last National League team to fail to hit a single home run during the World Series. The last two NL teams without a homer before than were the 1939 Cincinnati Reds and the 1927 Pittsburgh Pirates. All three clubs were swept by the Yankees.
Coleman, the Yankees acrobatic second baseman who knocked in the winning run in both the first and third games and batted .286 in four games, was named the World Series MVP. Outfielder Gene Woodling led the Yankees with a .433 average and DiMaggio hit .308. Hamner hit .429 for the Phils, and first baseman Eddie Waitkus (whose godson is a Red Sox fan) batted. 267.
Konstanty would win the NL MVP Award that year, while Yankee shortstop and future Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto won AL honors. And the Yankees would go on to win three more World Series and five straight overall, the longest run in baseball history.
Yankees Roger Maris, left, and Mickey Mantle flank President Harry S. Truman.
Just finished “Truman”, David McCullough’s excellent biograph about the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. What a wonderful read. Provided great insight into this relatively common man — at least by presidential standards — who led the nation in times of war and peace.
From all appearances, young Harry wasn’t much of a ballplayer. “He was afraid of the rough and tumble of the schoolyard,” said McCullough, “and because of his glasses, felt incapable of any sport that involved a moving ball.”
Although it’s not portrayed in “Truman”, Harry was quite a baseball fan. Growing up in Independence, Missouri, it’s easy to think of Truman rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals.
And he enjoyed going to the old Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., and watching the Senators play. In fact, Truman, left, threw out the first pitch in seven successive opening games in Washington between 1946 and 1952. President Truman was ambidextrous and used both arms during his numerous ceremonial pitches.
Senators owner Clark Griffith and Truman were actually good friends, and Griffith personally campaigned for Truman during his run for the presidency.
Years later, after he left the White House, President Truman sent a telegram to Griffith with the following message:
“BEST OF LUCK TO YOU ON OPENING DAY AND EVERY DAY. WATCH OUT FOR THAT NIXON. DON’T LET HIM THROW YOU A CURVE. YOUR FRIEND, HARRY TRUMAN.”
Truman knew that his attendance at baseball games would symbolize world peace .
“May the sun never set on American baseball,” Harry Truman once said.