*Remembering Yankee Stadium:
(For your reading pleasure
adapted from REMEMBERING YANKE STADIUUM: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE
HISTORY OF THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT, on sale everywhere)
The World Series competition for the Yankees in
1951 was the Giants of New York. They had a storybook season,
chasing, catching and then conquering their hated rival Brooklyn
Dodgers in a one-game play-off on Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard
'Round the World."
EDDIE LOPAT: All the reporters told us to watch
out. "The Giants are hot," they said. "They beat the Dodgers
coming out of nowhere." We didn't believe what anybody told us
or what they printed in the newspapers. The other teams had to
beat us on the field. That was where it counted.
MONTE IRVIN: We were still on a high after
beating the Dodgers in 1951 in that playoff game when we went up
against the Yankees in the World Series. Without a chance to
rest, we reported to the Stadium the next day. I got four
straight hits and also stole home in the first inning.
My last time up, Yogi Berra said: "Monte, I don't
know what to throw you. You have been hitting high balls and low
balls and curve balls. I'm gonna have you get a fastball right
down the middle."
I really didn't believe Yogi. But sure enough
Reynolds threw me a fastball right down the middle. I hit a
line drive. The ball was caught. I really wanted that hit. No
one had ever gone five for five in the World Series.
Fielding the first black outfield in World
Series history - Hank Thompson, Monte Irvin and Willie Mays -
the Giants defeated Allie Reynolds and the Yankees 5-1 with
Dave Koslo going the distance for the win.
STEVE SWIRSKY: I was ten years old and a Yankee
fan. My dad didn't have a lot of money but he came home one
day with two tickets for the second '51 World Series game.
I remember everything about that day - the smells, the walking
around to the little shops, my dad digging deep to buy a cap and
a hot dog for me. It almost glowed in my heart 'cause I used to
listen to the Yankee games on the radio from all over the
country even though there were times I could barely hear it.
We sat down the left field line underneath the
overhang - 20 rows back. In those days poles held up the
overhang. My seat had an obstructed view. But you know how some
women are about little boys . A woman switched seats with me so
I could see. It was Willie Mays who hit the fly ball that
Mantle, playing right field, chased. Mantle was not the
superstar that he was going to be, but there was a big hush when
he went down. It seemed like the world stopped.
The 19-year-old Mantle, attempting to avoid a
collision with Joe DiMaggio, twisted his ankle in the fifth
inning on a sprinkler-head cover protruding from the outfield
grass. He lay there, motionless. His right knee had snapped and
was he was lost to the Yankees for the rest of the series.
No matter - the Yankees were loaded with talent and though the
Giants had momentum, it was another world championship for
Stengel's guys on October 10, 1951 as Vic Raschi bested Dave
Koslo, 4-3 before 61,711. That was the last World Series game
Joe DiMaggio ever played in.
I am at work on my newest effort - - REMEMBERING
FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY, a companion book to
REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM (The Definitive Book) Fall 2008
(Abrams, STC). If you or those you know have specific stories
and memories of times (first game, marker moments, oddity) at
the Fens - please get in touch with me and hopefully we can set
up a date and time for me to interview you. I would appreciate
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