RECORDS & AWARDS
July 13, 2012Richmond High School
By TROY DERENGOWSKI, EIHSS SPORTS
#21 1955 BROOKLYN DODGERS
In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers didn’t have to wait until next year. That year the Dodgers won their first and “only” World Series finally beating the Yankees. Brooklyn lost the Yankees in their 5 most recent World Series’, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953.
Jackie Robinson made sure the Dodgers didn’t lose this time by giving his teammates a pep talk before the series. Robinson said “We gotta win this one. If we lose again, they’ll be calling us choke-up guys the rest of our lives. Do we want that? The answer was NO. Finally the Dodgers and their fans could say they are #1.
The Dodgers of 1955 dominated the NL like no other team had done. They were in first place 166 of 168 days in the regular season. The Dodgers may have been in first from wire to wire if their schedule hadn’t started two days after the start of the NL schedule. Brooklyn got off to a fast start going 10-0 and winning 22 of their first 24. By Independence Day, the Dodgers led the National League by 12 and a half games. When all was said and done, they beat the favorite Braves by 13 and a half games.
Before the 1955 season started, Manager Walter Alston had to gain control of a team that had become frustrated and appeared to be run by the veteran players. Alston was a smooth manager and wasn’t afraid to platoon when needed. Alston also had to juggle a pitching staff that was ailing. The Dodgers had 10 pitchers with at least 5 wins.
Catcher Roy Campanella won his third MVP award after hitting 32 HR’s, driving in 107 and batting .318. Duke Snider had another great season with 42 HR’s, 136 RBI and a .309 batting average. Snider also scored a league leading 126 runs. Carl Furillo and Gil Hodges also put together solid seasons. Furillo banged out 26 HR’s with 95 RBI and hit .314. As for Hodges, he hit 27 HR’s with 102 RBI and a .289 average. Third baseman Jackie Robinson was declining in his abilities but still made a great contribution. Shortstop Pee Wee Reece had one of his best years batting .282 with 10 HR’s and 61 RBI.
What may have been a bigger surprise was the pitching staff. They had only one ace in Don Newcombe. He was their ONLY ace going 20-5 with an ERA of 3.19. He won his first 10 decisions and then soared to 18-1 by July 31. Brooklyn’s next biggest winner was Clem Labine who went 13-5 with an ERA of 3.25 and 11 saves. Anderson, Indiana native Carl Erskine was the only other double figure winner with 11.
This was a Dodger team that was built with character and was business like in every approach. According to those following the team said there was no fooling around. You were expected to be a ballplayer! As a team the Dodgers scored the most runs of any NL team (857), allowed the fewest (650), lead the league in BA (.271), slugging (.448), HR’s (201) and stolen bases (79). The pitching staff lead the NL in ERA (3.68), strikeouts (773) and saves (37).
The World Series looked early like it would be the same old story. The Dodgers fell behind 2-0 to the Yankees then became the first team ever to reach the top in seven games. The New York DAILY NEWS headline read the next day; “WHO’S A BUM?”
FINAL RECORD: 98-55
WON THE WORLD SERIES VS YANKEES 4-3
MANAGER: WALTER ALSTON