Chapter 8-The 1957 World Series
A lot of the Milwaukee-level of elation and hysteria was diluted by the three and a half hour distance from Milwaukee to Central Wisconsin. That rarefication (…or distraction…) was aided by the beginning of Junior year in High School and attendant extra-curricular activities. However…never forget the earlier account of my Mom as a fervent Braves fan…there was lots of excitement at home!!! To their great credit, at least from my perspective, the High School began the Series (the first two or three games) with the principal–Mr. Case–making rather terse, infrequent announcements of the scores. However, by the second week (Games three, four and five in Milwaukee), the announcements were more frequent, less terse and ‘way more animated!! I can’t recall the total extent of it, but, it seemed that most Homerooms had the games on start to finish that second week. Since the game was carried on NBC-TV, we were unable in those years, to tune in any NBC stations ’way up in the boonies. We were, however, able to get Earl Gillespie and some guy I don’t remember (not old fave, Blaine Walsh…) loud and clear on WSAU-Radio.
With the obvious exception of Braves’ fans, the Yankees were strongly favored to win the Series…They had tons of history, experience and talent!! The Braves were Midwest and had little history (1914 and1948) in the World Series and even that was when they were still in Boston. The last time a team from the Midwest was in the Series was in 1946-Cardinals and Red Sox.
Since then, of the 59 W.S. games that have been played, 54 were in the East and 46 of THOSE were in New York City. Also—since 1946—the Yankees have appeared in nine of those World Series and WON eight of the nine!! They have power: Mantle, Berra, Skowron; they have pitching: Ford, Larsen, Turley…and lots more!!
Of course Braves fans were well aware of the prowess of their own well-tested warriors. The National League and some of the American League know Warren Spahn…maybe the shrewdest left-hander ever. Add to the canny Spahn, Lou Burdette and Bob Buhl and you have Milwaukee’s “Big Three”. We have power, too…Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock.
Injuries on both teams may be an issue. The Yanks have had a mish-mosh of starting pitchers most of the season and still are thinking of Mantle and Skowron as day-to-day. For the Braves, Bob Buhl’s shoulder is still suspect, Billy Bruton is out for the season and Joe Adcock just got back from an early-season broken leg.
Sports Illustrated usually does a little piece where they compare/contrast the teams playing in the World Series. In ’57 they gave the edge in the pitching department to the Yankees based (mostly) on comparative ERA’s. They also gave the Yanks the advantage in fielding and base running. The Braves were given a slight margin in hitting based on S.I.’s evaluation re home runs, extra base hits and batting average. They thought, in the final analysis, that NY’s “incredible bench strength” made up for any other considerations…They went with the Yanks…
Fans of the respective teams are virtually as different as night and day. Compared to the rabidity of the Milwaukee fans, Yankee faithful are almost “ho-hum”, almost jaded. The Series is nothing new to them…it’s there practically every year—plus—winning it is just as “old hat”…no big deal, it happens all the time…Applause is lukewarm even for good plays.
The rest of the country is pretty much on the side of the underdog (8-5 odds) Braves, hoping they’ll sock it to these guys who think they own the Series. Sports pages in other cities carry almost as many articles on “the fans that made Milwaukee famous” as on the team itself.
These intensely loyal, totally partisan, fervid fans are 100% committed to their Braves…and they have next to no time for the “other” guys. In an early season game that the Braves were losing to the Giants, 13-0, in the eighth inning, somebody (Dick Cole, maybe…?) hits a home run and the stadium goes WILD like they’d just won the Series. Earl Gillespie talks about getting fan mail chiding him, complaining about how he calls a play: “You shouldn’t say ‘Mays was robbed of a hit’, you should say, ‘Logan just made a fabulous play’”. The Braves probably lead the league in numbers of women holding season tickets and in numbers of women in daily attendance.
For some of these ladies this baseball has been something of an awakening AND, at the same time, something of a learning experience (not all were fortunate enough to attend Mrs. Spahn’s classes…). All in all, it has made for a couple of cute (but, in NO way disrespectful) stories. The first is from the early days of the Braves in town and is from the Director of the ticket Department, Bill Eberly and letters or ‘phone calls he received from ladies requesting “tickets behind second base” or “seats right behind the pitcher”. The second is told as though in reference to Game 3. The husband purportedly comes home from the game complaining about the Braves leaving 14 men on base. His wife asks, “How could they leave 14 on base when there’s only 9 on a team”…Okay, okay, that’s enough…
The great disparity of attitudes may have contributed to the whole “Bushville”, “Bush League” imbroglio as the Yankees were arriving in Wisconsin. What appeared to be a big warm-hearted gesture was perceived/interpreted as unsophisticated behavior and the giganto, media-inflamed “hicks” versus “slicks” controversy was ON!!! More on all that in a minute…
Prior to the team’s departure for New York, the city of Milwaukee organized a huge, boisterous parade down Wisconsin Avenue. Many thousands of exuberant fans lined the sidewalks to wish their heroes well.
The October 14, 1957 issue of LIFE magazine likened it to “a bizarre sort of Mardi Gras celebration”. Yah…Dat’s believable….
A vanguard of boisterous Braves fans arrived in New York on September 30 in order to be there to greet the Braves when they arrived. Many of that contingent from “Baseball Batty Beerville”, (as they were dubbed by the NY press) spent a lively evening at Toots Shor’s restaurant and the following day enjoyed the many charms of the Big Apple. It was reported that scalpers were hawking Series tickets for $100-$150 for four Grandstand seats or four Box seats—Can you even IMAGINE paying that kind of money…?! Gamblers were still offering 8-5 odds on the Yankees, down from 12-5…
The Braves arrived at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday morning, October 1, 1957. After some stadium reconnaissance and auld lang syne they did some stretching, took batting practice and returned to their hotel.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1957
GAME 1—YANKEE STADIUM
Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford were named as the starting pitchers. Ford suffered with a sore shoulder at least half the season—his won/loss record was 10-4 with a 2.57 ERA. Spahn, at 36, just finished his eighth 20-win season going 20-10 with a 2.74 ERA.
The game, as you might expect, was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth. Jerry Coleman, Yankee second baseman, led off with a single. Tony Kubek, Milwaukee (West Bend) native, hit back to Spahn for an easy out while Coleman moved to second. Ford grounded to Johnny Logan who threw him out at first while Coleman took third. Hank Bauer, left fielder, doubled, scoring Coleman: 1-0,Yanks.
In the bottom of the sixth with one out, Elston Howard, left fielder, singled and Yogi Berra, catcher, worked Spahnie for a walk. Andy Carey, third baseman, singled Howard home with Berra going to third. That made it 2-0, Yanks.
Ernie Johnson came in to relieve Spahn. What happened next caused some controversy or, at least, discussion (read: second-guessing…) among the Braves faithful. It was totally typical Stengel strategy…Coleman dropped a squeeze bunt between third and the mound. Johnson was on it like a cat and, per Del Crandall’s (catcher-as-field-general) direction, threw Coleman out at first while Berra scored: 3-0. The discussion emanated from all those 20-20 hindsight, armchair catchers who thought there was plenty of time for a play at the plate which might have saved a run. I never heard even a comment about it from the players and after watching it on film (Thanks to Doak Ewing-Rare Sportsfilms, Inc.), I’m personally of the mind that Crandall made the right call. In the top of the seventh Wes Covington hits a solid double to left and advances to third on Nippy Jones’ out. Red Schoendienst singles up the middle to score Covington and it’s 3-1. Don McMahon comes in for Johnson and slams the door on the Yankees.
But, Ford continues to mechanically, methodically (that’s a compliment…!!) keep the Braves off the bases and, so, the final score of the first game is Yankees-3, Braves-1. The ubiquitous New York second-guessers (…they’re everywhere, they’re everywhere…!!) after watching Ford out-pitch Spahn, now think it’ll be the Yankees in five games…
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1957
GAME 2—YANKEE STADIUM
We have Lou Burdette of the Braves going up against the Yankees diminutive, but dangerous lefty, Bobby Shantz. For the regular season Shantz was 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA. The easy-going (off the field), highly competitive (on the field) Burdette won 16, lost 9 and had a 3.89 ERA for the season.
The press worked the irony of this being Burdette’s first game against his old team…The Yanks traded Lou and $50,000 for Johnny Sain—yeah, THAT Johnny Sain—in 1951. The Braves insisted on getting Burdette as part of the deal. Wags (NY wags) said Lou got thrown in to carry the money. Burdette told reporters Casey Stengel never called him by name (“hey, you…”) and that he only pitched batting practice and sat around in the bullpen.
Scoring began in the top of the second when Hank Aaron smacked a long fly ball to center field. The ball was misjudged by Mickey Mantle and Hank ended up on third with a triple. Joe Adcock promptly singled to center, scoring Aaron, and going to second when Mantle misplayed the ball and then threw wide to second: one-zip, Braves. In the bottom of the second with one out, Enos Slaughter walked. With two out Kubek singled sending Slaughter to third. Coleman singled, Slaughter scored, two on, two out. Shantz, a noted hitter, lines a shot to left that looks for all the world like its gonna fall but Covington runs it down and makes a great back-handed catch for the third out!! Covington gets a two-armed bear-hug from Burdette on his way back to the dugout. Fred Haney will later say this was the turning point in the game…1-1.
In the top of the third with one out, Logan hits a 2-1 pitch into the left field seats…2-1. In the bottom of the third, Bauer takes a strike and then hammers Burdette’s second offering into those selfsame seats: 2-2.
In the top of the fourth, Adcock singles, Andy Pafko singles with Big Joe holding at second. Covington twice attempts to sacrifice with then bloops a single over short…Adcock scores (3-2) while Pafko slides into third. Slaughter, instead of throwing home or to second, throws to third.
The ball gets by Kubek enabling Pafko to score and it’s 4-2, Braves. Art Ditmar relieves Shantz but the rest of the game is classic Burdette. His cool, unflappable inner resolve is inexplicably contrary to his outward behavior.
He’s jittery on the mound, puts his fingers to his mouth, then wipes them across his shirt front, tugs his cap, fidgets, goes to the rosin bag, landscapes the mound, faces the outfield, takes off his glove, rubs up the ball (Haney: “He could make coffee nervous…”), takes the sign from Crandall and comes off the mound very quickly.
He JUMPS toward the plate…he’s actually totally OFF THE GROUND at times. He’s got just amazing control—which somehow seems to get even better when he’s threatened—he moves the ball around but keeps it low. He has a decent fastball and an array of other pitches—slider, screwball that he uses like a change-up and a sinker that breaks straight down (this is the one they’d like you to believe is a spitball).
He doesn’t use the sinker all that much—mostly when he needs a strike and the batter is likely to be swinging…and he throws all this stuff with three deceptive motions…overhand, three-quarters and sidearm.
For all intents and purposes the game was over; the scoring was over. There were a couple of great defensive plays worthy of comment…In the bottom of the sixth Mantle very patiently worked Burdette for a walk. Berra hit a sharp grounder to Adcock who, looking almost balletic, fields it cleanly, whirls and fires a shot to Logan covering second for the force on Mantle…a great play that went mostly unnoticed but, which had ramifications beyond Joe’s excellent “D”. The next batter, Slaughter, hits a double to left that would have scored Mantle—except—he was out!!! Way to go, Joe!!!
In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Kubek singles to right. Joe Collins, batting for Coleman, pops out to Logan. Howard, batting for Bob Grim, hits a shot over second that screams extra bases except Logan makes a spectacular stop—both runners are safe—but on first and second instead of second and third.
The next batter, Bauer, also hits it to Johnny who flips it to Red for the force on Howard and the Braves win…and this is the first time in 47 straight World Series games that a team from outside NYC has won…!!!
After the game the Braves flew back to Milwaukee. They were welcomed by thousands of fans at the airport and still more along the streets. The stadium and the city were decorated for the gala.
Braveland was beside itself in excitement and anticipation. Friday, October 4, was the official travel day so it was a day of rest for the Braves. But…the media, the local businesses and the fans were all agog. As a snippet of perspective: On October 4, 1957, the Russians launched into space—into orbit around the earth—the very first EVER unmanned satellite…which they called “Sputnik”. It was sorta kinda the size of a basketball, weighed sorta kinda the same as an average man and took something like an hour and a half to completely orbit the earth. The awesome, fearsome consequences regarding world domination were almost beyond imagination!!! This totally unheard of breakthrough in world politics managed to make page three of the Milwaukee newspapers…nowhere near as important as the Braves in the World Series—at HOME!!!
October 4 was also the day the Yankees arrived by train; they were almost instantly embroiled in controversy. For reasons unknown (to me, at least…), the good people of Sturtevant, Wisconsin (A couple thousand population, 20-25 miles south of Milwaukee), had arranged a festive celebration and welcome for the Yankees as their train was stopped in town. From the perspective of the Yanks: the train ride had been long, they had a bus waiting in Milwaukee to take them to their hotel, then out to the stadium for stretching and batting practice and then back to the hotel for a good night’s rest. So—they refused to get off the train and went right on to Milwaukee…where city officials were ready and waiting to bestow on them Wisconsin’s warmest welcome. Ignoring all this foofaraw, the Yankees rushed off the train and onto the bus. An old friend of Casey Stengel’s, Judge Robert Cannon (followed by a couple reporters), got on the bus to persuade “Ol’ Case” to step out, pose for a couple of pictures and receive the hearty handshake of friendship and welcome from the good burghers of Milwaukee. Casey’s response was a warm and firm “no”. The reporters duly noted that Judge Cannon left looking “peeved”. The reporters were stopped by a burly type with a distinct Noo Yawk accent who told them “Get off the bus…This is bush league stuff”.
From that moment on every sportswriter in the city used the terms “bush” “bush-league”, “Big Shot Bombers” and /or “Bush-League Braves in practically every single story printed about the Series.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1957
GAME 3, MILWAUKEE COUNTY STADIUM
The Milwaukee Sentinel’s headline: TODAY WE MAKE HISTORY!
this would be the first World Series game played in the Central Time Zone since 1946 and the first—ever—in Milwaukee. Bob Buhl and Bob Turley were the starters. During the regular season Turley went 12-5 with a 2.43 ERA. Buhl was headed for a 20-win season until he ran into shoulder trouble in August. As it was he was 17-6 with a 2.78 ERA.
The game was a laugher, a “laffer”, a wiillldd and crrraaaazzzyy game no matter your allegiance. The crowd booed Stengel every time he came out on the field. Kids asked him for his autograph and upon getting it would say “Thanks, Busher”.
In the top of the first, with one out, Tony Kubek (Born and raised in Milwaukee—home town boy’s homecoming) hits Buhl’s third pitch into the right field stands and rounds the bases in a deafening silence—the doggedly partisan Braves fans do NOT cheer any feats of the opponent!! 1-0. It was, however, like a bucket of ice water on the rowdy, raucous crowd. Then Mantle walked…then Berra walked…then Buhl whirled and threw to second to pick off Mantle who had strayed too far from the bag—woulda had him—but the throw went wide into center field. In spite of getting tangled up with Schoendienst, Mantle went to third and Berra ended up on second. Gil McDougald hits a sacrifice fly to score Mantle, Berra holds at second…2-zip. Harry (Suitcase) Simpson hits a high bouncer behind second which Schoendienst knocks down while Berra scores, 3-zip. Juan Pizarro comes in for Buhl and gets the third out. In their half of the inning, the Braves load the bases but fail to score. In the bottom of the second, Bob Hazel works Turley for a walk…Del Rice singles him to second.
Turley nearly hits Schoendienst with a wild pitch that Berra dives to stop while Hazel goes to third. Red singles which scores Hazel (3-1) and moves Rice to second. Logan is called out on strikes. Eddie Mathews walks and, once again, as Earl Gillespie was wont to say,” The bases are FOB—full of Braves”. At this point, Don Larsen of ’56 World Series No-Hitter fame, relieves Turley. Aaron flies out to Bauer leaving the bases FOB. In the top of the third, Mantle singles, Berra singles and Mantle goes to third. McDougald bounces to Mathews and Mantle is out in a rundown while Berra goes to second. Howard, batting for Simpson, walks, loading the bases. Jerry Lumpe singles scoring Berra and McDougald…5-1. Gene Conley relieves Pizarro and gets the side out. The Braves go three up, three down. In the top of the fourth with one away, Kubek singles…Mantle hits a home run…7-1. With two away, McDougald walks. Howard hits a screamer down the third base line…Eddie makes a dandy backhand stop and throws him out. The Braves again go three up and three down. In the top of the fifth, Ernie Johnson becomes the new Braves pitcher and the Yanks go three up, three down. In the bottom of the fifth Logan leads off with a single up the middle breaking Larsen’s string of scoreless innings. Mathews flies out to Kubek and Aaron hits one over the screen in right center: 7-3. In the sixth the Braves load the bases once again and are unable to get anyone home. Bob Trowbridge replaces Johnson in the top of the seventh…McDougald walks and steals second. With two out, Coleman and Larsen walk, loading the bases. Bauer singles, scoring two…9-3. Kubek hits Trowbridge’s first pitch into the right field stands…12-3. Once again this feat was greeted with a round of virtual silence. This, mercifully, was the end of the scoring. Of note: McMahon was the Braves’ pitcher in the eighth and ninth and the reason for the preceding sentence as far as the Yankees were concerned. In the bottom of the eighth, Del Rice walked and West Bend, Wisconsin’s own Johnny DeMerit was sent in to run for him.
The Braves loaded the bases for the fourth time in the game and for the fourth time in the game did not score. Unfortunately, leaving 14 men on base tied a World Series record. Between them, the Braves and the Yanks gave up 19 walks in the game—setting a new World Series record. It was a game that makes some of us wannabe second-guessers shake our heads…Oh, well…tomorrow is another day.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1957
GAME 4, MILWAUKEE COUNTY STADIUM
Several sportswriters, whether introspectively or retrospectively, made comments regarding the “game faces” on the Braves players this day…the determination and fire apparently quite evident. The crowd, even prior to the game, demonstrates that totally partisan loyalty that they showed at the end of the ’56 season…they are loud, proud and rowdy today—same as always.
With the promise of a great pitching exhibition, today’s starters are Tom Sturtivant and Warren Spahn. Sturtivant, a solid, dependable gamer went 14-6 with a 2.67 ERA for the season. The wily Spahn comes off a creditable Game 1 loss with his always competitive posture.
In the top of the first, Kubek bunts safely. Bauer grounds out to Logan but Kubek gets to second. Mantle hits back to Spahn who spins and throws to Logan trapping Kubek in no-man’s-land for out number two, but Mantle is safe at first.
Berra walks, McDougald singles, scoring Mantle…1-0. Berra stays at second. Howard grounds to Mathews who tags Berra coming into third—inning over. In the bottom of the fourth Logan singles, Mathews doubles and Aaron hits a soft Sturtivant knuckler over the left field wall: 3-1.
Torre promptly follows suit over the right field fence and it’s 4-1. In the fifth, Shantz relieves Sturtivant. In the top of the ninth with two out, Berra singles off a tiring Spahn. McDougald singles to right sending Berra to second. The keen-eyed Howard works Spahnie to a 3-2 count…and hits the payoff pitch for a three-run home run…4-4. Radio and TV audiences thought their stations had turned off the crowd noise—the silence was absolutely deafening…The Braves went three up, three down and we’re going into extra innings, folks!! In the top of the 10th, Haney sends Adcock in to play first base and stays with his veteran pitcher. With two outs Kubek beats out a high hopper behind the mound. Bauer triples to left scoring Kubek and it’s 5-4 them. Tommy Byrne’s first pitch to Nippy Jones is low and inside and gets past Berra and Augie Donatelli calls it a ball. Jones tells Donatelli the ball hit his foot and retrieves the ball as it bounces off the screen to point out the smear of shoe polish on it.
Donatelli changes his call and awards Jones first base. Bob Grim relieves Byrne; Felix Mantilla is sent in to run for Jones. Schoendienst sacrifices Mantilla to second. Stengel, to a chorus of boos and catcalls, comes out to Donatelli and takes Mantle out of the game, moves Kubek to center and puts Slaughter in left. Logan, unimpressed, doubles into the left field corner scoring Mantilla and it’s 5-5. Mathews comes to the plate, my Mom is yelling at the radio “C’mon, Eddie, hit a homer!!’.
I’m pretty sure he couldn’t hear her but he did it anyway—a beautiful shot over the right field fence…Logan scores ahead of him, it’s 7-5 Braves and that’s your final, folks!! What a game!!!
Considerable conjecture ensued about whether Stengel should have walked Mathews with first base open—his response was similar to mine…”…and face Aaron!?!?!”. This was some game of challenges met and turned back. Sportswriter Oliver Kuechle said the Braves “out-Yanked the Yanks…” Spahn said, “There’s no lift like coming from behind”. Asked about Howard’s homer, he said, “it was a sinker that turned out to be a stinker”—the inimitable Spahn!! Asked if he would keep the “shoe polish” ball, Jones said, “No, I’m gonna show it around a little but I’m gonna give it to them”, indicating batboys Paul Wick and Chad Blossfield. Whether or not Game 4 was a “turning point” in the Series (as many claimed), it sure was one heck of a morale builder!!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 1957
GAME 5, MILWAUKEE COUNTY STADIUM
The day dawned fair and warm. In many, many respects this is probably the best game of the 1957 World Series. What a stellar pitching match-up: Whitey Ford, winner of Game 1 and Lou Burdette, winner of Game 2. Some touted it as Burdette’s turn for a magnificent pitching duel with Ford…
Among others in attendance was Mrs. Frederick C. Miller, widow of Fred Miller, Miller Brewing mogul and huge Braves fan and supporter who died in a 1954 plane crash. Mrs. Miller was accompanied by Mr. Clarence J. Christiansen.
In the top of the second inning Red Schoendienst suffered a severe muscle pull in his fight groin chasing an Enos Slaughter single up the middle. Felix Mantilla went in to play second. In the fourth McDougald hit a shot that looked like it might clear the fence in left until Covington leaped high against the fence, caught the ball and tumbled to the ground-his second tremendous defensive play in the Series!!
In the top of the sixth, the Yanks went three up, three down. With two out in the bottom of the sixth Coleman had Mathews played perfectly—on the grass and shaded towards first. Mathews hit a high bouncer right at him. Instead of charging the ball, Coleman waited back for it, misjudging Mathews speed and hustle.
Mathews was clearly safe at first! Aaron then singled to right allowing Eddie to go to third. Ford made a good pitch to Adcock—in on his wrists—but the big man from Coushatta, LA muscled it into right field for an RBI single as Mathews scored.
They played the seventh, eighth and ninth innings but there would be no more scoring. Both pitchers were brilliant!! Compared to their normal ebullience, the crowd was comparatively quiet…perhaps seeing the masterpiece being painted before their eyes. Ford, in eight innings, threw 89 pitches, 58 for strikes. He allowed just six hits (but three of them in the momentous sixth inning) and one base on balls. Burdette threw 86 pitches, 63 for strikes…he faced only 32 batters. Red Smith, the great sports columnist, had two dandy quotes on Burdette. The first: ”There is a striking air of assurance about him, a cool, deliberate efficiency”.
The second might be preceded by noting that Burdette, as usual, kept the ball low so well that only two balls were hit to the outfield the entire game. Red Smith: “Burdette poured in the low stuff and the Yankees beat at it as though clubbing at snakes”. In the ninth he struck out the first two batters; McDougald blooped a single over second, then he jammed/fooled Berra who popped weakly to Mathews for the final out. Braves lead in the Series—three games to two!! A couple other things bear mention: Crandall was great behind the plate plus he threw out Slaughter in the second; he threw out Mantle at second in the eighth on a pitch that bounced!! Pafko had a nifty catch on McDougald’s fly in the first. Mantilla handled nine chances without a bobble with seven assists…probably his best was going hard to his left on Coleman’s grounder in the fifth. The infield looked like a million bucks—they also had three double plays!! While he didn’t end up in the game, Taylor Phillips was warming up in the bull pen a couple different times. On the glummer side, the Redhead’s groin pull did not bode well. Doc Feron said (without too much definition) it was “a bad one…”. He planned to try heat and massage but wasn’t hopeful. Red said the last one of these had lasted 10 days. There’s no way to downplay Burdette’s sparkling performance—at the same time there’s no way it wasn’t a team effort!!
After the game the Braves flew to New York. It was a beautiful night in Milwaukee…a warm fall evening. Wisconsin Avenue was quiet. There were a lot of people—singles, couples, groups—just out for a pleasant stroll—taking in the quiet night air. Here and there groups paused to talk—some talked about the game, some talked about the weather. This almost pastoral scene extended from the lakefront to the YMCA. A little before 8:00P.M., a carload of young people heading east on Wisconsin Avenue started blowing the horn. Quickly other (mostly younger) drivers did the same. This cacophony was somehow contagious not only to drivers but to pedestrians as well—it went on ‘til well past 10:00 P.M. It was mostly celebratory…
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1957
GAME 6, YANKEE STADIUM
This has promise of another fine pitching duel…Buhl and Turley…both excellent hurlers but neither has shown his true self in this Series. The game started well…no scoring in the first inning nor in the top of the second. Jerry Lumpe, leading off the Yanks half of the second, singles into right. Simpson is caught looking at a third strike and Lumpe is caught trying to steal second.
Turley’s little grounder back to Buhl ends the inning.In the third inning with two out, Slaughter draws a walk. Berra hits Buhl’s first pitch into the lower right field seats and it’s 2-zip. McDougald singles, Lumpe walks, Johnson relieves Buhl and strikes out Simpson to retire the side. Mathews hits a double in the fourth but doesn’t score. Frank Torre leads off the top of the fifth hitting a 3-2 pitch into the right field stands, 2-1. In the top of the seventh Aaron leads off with a homer into the left field bull pen (The Milwaukee Sentinel’s “Bushville Wins” has a great shot of Taylor Phillips going high in the air in the pen to catch the ball…)…it’s tied, 2-2. In the Yankee half of the seventh with one out, Bauer homers putting the New Yorkers on top, 3-2. It was probably Ernie Johnson’s only mistake in the Series…he gave Bauer an inside curve on a 2 and 2 count when the most successful strategy pitching to Bauer was in keeping the ball outside. Bottom of the eighth—McMahon on the mound; Berra doubles and McDougald sacrifices him to third. Lumpe flies out to Covington close to the left field line.
Covington makes an excellent throw to the plate—slightly to the pitcher’s side so as not to hit the runner—Rice takes the throw and dives into the sliding Berra for the third out. All five runs in the game were via home runs: Berra with Slaughter on, Torre, Aaron and Bauer. Turley took a deep breath before every pitch, shortened his slide step and threw a four-hitter…Series tied…
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1957
GAME 7, YANKEE STADIUM
The Milwaukee Sentinel headline spoke for everyone: “This HAS to be the Day!” There’s no gloom on Wisconsin Avenue…everyone is patient and calm…Thursday is the day…we’ll get it done Thursday. Braves fans in Yankee Stadium are a vociferous minority…they are rockin’ The House That Ruth Built—they come pretty close to making more noise than New York fans. Although pretty much pumped and ready for Spahnie to get this done—and won—we hear the veteran lefty is still down with a virus and—on only two days rest—Burdette will face off against Larsen. Even though we know he’s already won Games Two and Five, we’re a little concerned with the short break…and, suddenly, it’s like Sudden Death—THIS IS IT!!!
After the Braves go three up and three down in the first, it starts like a house afire! Bauer, leading off, doubles down the left field line.
Slaughter hits a little tapper back to Burdette who whirls and fires to Logan trapping Bauer between second and third. Bauer somehow manages to dive past Logan back into second just as Slaughter slides into second. Logan looks at both of them—then tags both of them—let the umps straighten it out!
Slaughter is eventually called out and Burdette, Mathews and Logan all end up with assists on the play. Burdette gets the side out. With one down in the top of the third, Super Rookie Bob Hazle singles. Logan grounds to Kubek at third—double play ball—Kubek throws wide to Coleman at second—both runners are safe!
Mathews doubles into the right field corner scoring Hazle and Logan: 2-0. Shantz relieves Larsen. Aaron singles scoring Mathews, 3-0. Covington singles, Aaron goes to third. Torre hits a grounder to Coleman who tosses to McDougald forcing Covington but is safe at first when McDougald’s throw is too late. Aaron scores and it’s 4-0. Art Ditmar relieves Shantz for the top of the fourth and is relieved by Sturtivant for the top of the sixth. Crandall singles, is sacrificed to second by Burdette, safely steals third but overslides the bag and is tagged out. Byrne becomes the fifth Yankee pitcher in the top of the eighth. With two out Crandall hits one into the stands in left…5-0.
In the bottom of the ninth the Yankees mount that fabled comeback. With one out McDougald singles. With two out Coleman singles, McDougald goes to second. Byrne hits a hard shot off Mantilla’s glove (no error) and the bases are loaded. Powerful Bill “Moose” Skowron hits a scorcher down the third base line…Mathews makes a brilliant backhand stop…steps on third forcing McDougald for the FINAL OUT!!!
Pandemonium ensues—on the field—in the stands—in Milwaukee—in the State of Wisconsin and a lot of other places where people witnessed and shared in a dream come true—THE MILWAUKEE BRAVES ARE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD…and its satellite…!!!
In Milwaukee bedlam reigned from Thursday afternoon until at least Saturday night. Beer and champagne literally flowed freely in the streets. It started slowly… with people coming out of stores, shops, offices downtown, seeing one another, starting to grin, then starting to yell.
Total strangers, up and down Wisconsin Avenue, all over the downtown area, danced, hugged, kissed and screamed and yelled in the streets. At first traffic was moving on Wisconsin Avenue—then it couldn’t…!! At first people listened to the police officers trying to direct traffic and maintain some level of order—then they didn’t…!!
Yes, there was joy
when mighty Mathews
stepped on third!!
Six girls in white from a beauty culture school downtown were in the street decorating cars with streamers…they were later seen dancing in a circle around a smiling, good-natured traffic cop at Wisconsin and North Plankinton. Stores and other businesses got into the celebration. The city turned on lights that read “W.C. 1957” right after the game ended. A store brought its Braves souvenirs counter out on to the sidewalk and were promptly rushed by exhilarated fans. Theatre marquees first proclaimed the “WIN” and then changed to “WELCOME”.
The flags and oversized Indians on the light poles soon came down—one fan had one of the Indians attached to the front of his car in such a fashion that he couldn’t see—a cheerful policeman stopped the guy…and helped him re-mount it on the rear of the car. If you dialed West 6-1212 to get the weather forecast, you got the forecast…and the score of the game. If you called the Braves’ offices, instead of being greeted “Braves”, you got a breathless, young female voice: “World’s Champions”. A mail truck driver stopped in gridlock traffic got out and decorated his truck with streamers—the crowd applauded!! A yellow convertible—very nearly dragging the ground—was loaded with Braves signs and about 17 young men and women—in it or ON it!!
Somewhere around 3: 00P.M., Mayor Zeidler declared a city holiday and city workers poured out of offices and city hall to join the festive throng. People who lived or worked in upper story apartments or offices threw paper, confetti and streamers down on the street revelers.
Someone observed that this was the biggest celebration in Milwaukee since V-J Day (August 1945) but… two to three times bigger. Others likened it to Times Square on New Years Eve.
The Braves flew back to Milwaukee after the game and arrived at Billy Mitchell Field somewhere around 7:30 P.M. There were some 12.000 people at the airport—inside the terminal, outside the terminal, along the service road to Howell Avenue—waiting to meet and greet their conquering heroes. A snow fence was up to keep the crowd back from the team. As the Braves came out of the terminal, the crowd surged over, around, through the fence to pound the back and shake the hand of every player they could. The procession finally got moving just before 8:00 P.M. The original, published parade plan called for the players and their wives to ride in convertibles through downtown and out to the Stadium.
The original route was north on Howell, over to South Kinnickinnic, north to Maple, west to Third Street, north to Wisconsin Avenue, west to Blue Mound and to the Stadium. As it turned out, the police, parade officials and city officials came to the conclusion that trying to drive vehicles through downtown on Wisconsin (wall to wall people celebrating in the streets) would be foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst. So…they turned off south of downtown, took National to 27th Street, turned north to west Wisconsin Avenue and out to Blue Mound. Some 250,000 hugging, cheering, yelling, snake dancing fans never got even a glimpse of the cortege. And, yet, city officials estimated there were 750,000 fans along the parade route. There’s a story that somewhere along the alternate route the parade went past a neighborhood funeral home. When the mourners heard what was happening outside, they set aside their grieving for a moment and went out to add their cheers to the multitude. Red Schoendienst was quoted upon seeing the incredible numbers of dancing, cheering loyalists, “I’ve seen a lot of baseball towns but THIS is IT ”!!! At the Stadium reception Mayor Zeidler said, “The best baseball fans in the world welcome the the best baseball team in the world”…and they cheered and cheered and cheered…!!!
Casey Stengel was as gracious as could be expected in defeat: “We were outplayed. And I was outmanaged. They deserved to win”. When asked about Lou Burdette: “Burdette was the big man of the Series. He took care of us all the way. He was just as good in the third game as he was in the second and in the first. He made us hit the ball on the ground in almost every tight spot. He was great!!” One of Mantle’s post-series comments: “Batting against Burdette was like reading a mystery novel without ever finding a clue”. Some perspective on The Mick’s remark: For the season he hit .365 with 34 homers and 92 RBI’s—against Burdette he hit .263 with 1 homer and 2 RBI’s. My personal fave comment was from one of my personal fave guys—Yogi Berra: “He (Burdette) doesn’t overpower you; but, you don’t overpower him either.”
Lou Burdette was the hands down, without a doubt, absolutely, positively, great hero of the 1957 World Series…three wins in a series—first time since Coveleski in 1920…24 consecutive scoreless innings…over 100 batters in a row who never made it around to home plate…
Eddie Mathews was “nominated” for Vice President by wild Braves fans for very good reasons: His Series Batting Average was not overwhelming, but in key situations—he was THERE!! He came to bat nine times with runners on base and three of those times he got hits. His 10th inning home run was the penultimate hit of game four. His speed, hustle and determination accounted for the ONLY run in game five. His third inning double in Game seven was the NY backbreaker and enough for the final win. His keen eye at the plate netted him eight walks. As if that wasn’t enough, his sparkling—sometimes spectacular—defense surprised the heck out of the Yankees—especially Stengel!! Apparently the scouting reports the Yanks received on Mathews (and Covington, too…) were less than complimentary regarding their defensive prowess—HA!!
Hank Aaron hit .393 for the Series and .400 with men on base—73 points and 80 points, respectively, higher than his regular season averages. His fielding—in a new and difficult position (center field)—was flawless. His 22 total bases was highest on either team as were his three home runs and seven RBI’s.
As is nearly always the case in our great American pastime, the Series was a series of team victories—everyone played a part at some point. Spahnie had two good outings—he lost one, he won the other. Both Logan and Covington were impeccable on defense and both had key hits. Schoendienst, Pafko, Rice and Crandall were as rock-solid and dependable as you would have expected. Torre was marvelous at first base and hit two home runs!! Adcock had at least one gorgeous defensive play and at least one gorgeous RBI and key hits. But for one lapse, Ernie Johnson was terrific!
There are more guys who deserve mention just for being there who might not have enjoyed their best day or best performance that time out—but–ZOWIE!!!—they were there!!! Ya gotta feel bad for Billy Bruton who because of his injury didn’t play and Dave Jolly and Taylor Phillips who just didn’t get called upon to play—but, they were there!!!
As a team, the Braves batting average (.209) was the lowest ever by a winning team. However, the timely hits, the efficient hits were what really mattered most. They demonstrated the fire and spirit and determination that we all knew was there and in the final moment—their finest moment—THEY WON!!!
The seven game series set a new attendance record of 394,712. Average attendance for the four games in Yankee Stadium was 64,323 per game. Average attendance for the three games in Milwaukee County Stadium was 45,808 per game. Afterwards, John Quinn remarked that based on ticket requests, if County Stadium were large enough, average attendance would have been closer to 200,000 per game. Net gate receipts, also biggest in World Series history, were $2,475,978.94… added to that was $3,000,000 for radio and television rights. The player’s shares were $8,924.36 to the winners and $5,606.06 to the losers. For those who follow such things, the radio and television receipts were deposited in the Major League Central Fund which turned over 60% ($1,800,000) to the Major League Baseball Players Pension Committee…Thus far the research…but it’s all a matter of record if you wish to go there.
After the immediate hullabaloo of Series excitement had quieted down somewhat and life and business began returning to some semblance of normal, some other noteworthy events came to pass. We’ll not go into roster issues at this juncture except to note that on October 19, 1957, Fred Haney signed on to manage the Braves in 1958. Warren Spahn’s great season on the mound earned him the Cy Young Award. On November 13, Hank Aaron was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
On November 7 (only because he’s a Milwaukee guy), Tony Kubek was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year. The biggest post-season story during the fall of ’57 in cities not named Milwaukee, was the impending move to the west coast of the Giants and Dodgers. Both teams gave substantially the same rationale for their decision to move: Older, deteriorating stadiums (The Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field); not enough parking and the incredible potential of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Califorinia!
December finds just the very beginnings of discussions about the County Stadium rental contract. The original contract was for five years and ends as of December 31. The Milwaukee County Board is interested in a larger slice of the pie. Stay tuned—there’ll be more on this as it unfolds…
SPORT magazine names Lou Burdette their Man of the Year and gives him an award and his picture on their magazine cover. Fans are in total agreement with SPORTS’s choice…and are at least as thrilled and amazed at the erstwhile rock thrower, roofer, taxi driver’s latest venture: singer!! Spahn was heard to comment: “There’s some question about that…” However, Lou’s new record on the Dot label was at #29 on WFOX’s “First Fifty” for the week of December 7. His gravelly baritone rings out on “Three Strikes and You’re Out” b/w “Mary Lou”.
Probably we ought not be surprised at yet another successful venture from a guy who’s held a bunch of really different kinds of jobs and who, according to Assistant Trainer, Joe Taylor, knows the annual snowfall of Alaska and what salamanders eat. In fact, says Taylor, Burdette knows “something about everything”. Well, Lou, you were a big “hit” with the fans during the regular season and especially, in the post-season…So, now, here ya go—Number 29 on the WFOX charts—Lou Burdette—not only being a big hit—now having a big hit!!! All the best, Lou…and thanks!!!
Almost every celebration has memories and sometimes we are able to stretch those memories out with remembrances, mementos, and souvenirs…Here are a few Series-related memorabiliae…that must be a word…Keep in mind that some of these things were available at or before the Series and some became available in the aftermath of the Series…by this point EVERYBODY was on the Braves bandwagon!!
This is an original piece of art from well-known sports artist, Carl Hubenthal. It first appeared in a September 1957 issue of The Sporting News. If you look closely you can see artist’s marks on it that were air- brushed or erased out of the TSN version. What incredible imagination it takes to create something like this!!!
These Stanford Pottery Indians are something of an anachronism as they really do not fit into ’57 except the one with the broken feather that commemorates this wonderful World Series. They are an earlier issue; prior to 1957…Again if you could really see up close and personal, the “Braves” is actually painted over “Indians” as in Cleveland…Thusly, the remarkable resemblance to Chief Wahoo, the Indians’ mascot…and NO resemblance to ANY of the Braves logos past, present or future. And, finally, for those who (like me) are confused re the dating of the Ladies Day fan with the Chief Wahoo likeness, it is not from 1957 but, earlier, too.
As always, you can find variations of these pennants the most common of which is color. At least one that I am missing from ’57 is the one Mayor Zeidler is holding in the street celebration shot.
Some people collect JUST press passes; if I could find more, I just might, too. Note that the dude from the Christian Science Monitor had passes to both Milwaukee and New York games-red and yellow. The other red pass is from the late, great Bob Allen; best known as the statistician for the Braves and, later, as agent for Hank Aaron and a whole host of other well-known ball players. The shape of the more desirable, harder to come by Locker Room pass made it easier on the security staff in identifying those elite few permitted in that elite area.
These are just stubs; there are whole tickets out there if that is more exciting to you. The New York Stadium Club tickets were for an executive level suite-type area that had extras: bar service, waitresses, food of a more-than-stadium fare, etc.
These were not the official World Series scorecards. They were sold as souvenirs and were lots less expensive. I don’t know if the rather unique spelling-“Milkwaukee”-was intentional or not…a good pun though for America’s Dairyland…
These are items that were available from the various purveyors of souvenirs in and around the stadium. Two different “Scalp the Yankees” headbands; there might be at least one other variation. The “I was there…” pennant is seen fairly often on ebay. The tomahawk that it hung from is seen a lot less often. See the picture (again) of Mayor Zeidler and Councilman Martin Schreiber to see a demonstration of the “Brave Arrow”.
I have only ever seen THIS copy of this statue. There certainly may be others and almost for sure in better condition. The fact that the tag is scotch taped on does give me pause…tell me if you know…
Some more souvenirs you could get at the Stadium or at various retail stores, shops, bars, outlets, et al. The tie bar is a press pin that someone—a member of the fourth estate—had made into a piece of jewelry. The same goes for the necklace…however, the necklace was a piece that was given to a player or a player’s wife…you can tell by the white on the feather.
These trays or ashtrays were made by a company on Long Island, New York called MacNeil and Moore. I’ve included the two from September 24 commemorating the clinching of the NL pennant plus the Sentinel headline proclaiming the WS victory. Missing, of course, is the Journal version re the WS. We’ll pick up their headline in a minute…keep watching…
The two mugs/tankards in the middle are also from MacNeil and Moore and feature the 10/11/57 headlines of the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel. The mug on the right is of an unknown (to me) origin—but it does say “China” on the bottom…The mug on the left is from our old friends at Bill’s Specialty in Milwaukee and it has the same Braves logo on the other side always used by the good folks at Bill’s.
The two larger tankards/mugs are also of an unknown origin. Each features the respective 10/11/57 headline of the two Milwaukee newspapers and each has the ticket on the reverse. The three smaller mugs are from Bill’s Specialty and each is a variation…and all have the familiar Braves logo on the front.
The three glasses on the left in front are from a set of 25 or 27 or 30 depending on who you talk to. All have the World Series winning Braves logo on one side and a line drawing of a player on the other side. There are sorta kinda two sets as there is the “highball” style glass set as shown here and a water glass style set. These particular three are Frank Torre, Mel Roach and Red Schoendienst. The fourth glass in front is a Braves World Champions with various statistics. On the left in the rear is a fairly easy to find water glass from Spic and Span—the cleaners who also had the great card sets. This glass has a gold “logo” of the Braves and gold facsimile signatures of all the players…very cool!!! The glass on the right in the rear is another stat glass with a lot of gold on it…harder to find…especially in really good condition.
These placemats were found at a lot of eating places around Wisconsin in the months following the Series. Notice that one has a matching napkin…I’d be interested in knowing who made these or, really, who had them made and distributed them via what means…maybe a large food distributor? Maybe a beer/liquor distributor? Let me know if you know…
You saw one of these earlier in the celebratory aftermath of the Series; I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this same one…These had some interesting variations, too. Some were more greenish, some were more blueish. Most had “WELCOME” on the bottom…some had “Braves”…some had “1957 World Series”…there may be others…This one is autographed by Hank Aaron, Andy Pafko and Bob Buhl.
There were more 1957 World Series cigarette lighters manufactured than this one…Either the Journal or the Sentinel had one for sure…Not sure who Aunt Nellie was but…No idea in all the world from whence came the tie…found it on ebay…probably…
These banks from Banks…or Savings and Loan Institutions were usually from the Milwaukee area. I was kind of surprised to find this one from Rock Island, Illinois. I may have noted in an earlier installment that there was quite a contingent of Braves fans from Illinois due to the ticket outlet in Rockford. Rock Island is quite a bit downstream from Rockford…pretty cool!! Note the facsimile autographs…
I wish I knew a whole lot more about these candy boxes…Are they nifty or what…?? Supposedly the ladies who worked for the Braves’ organization received these after the Series…Let me know if you know…
I saved the greatest mystery for almost last…I have asked everyone I could think of if they know anything about this cement glove. It weighs about 40 pounds. It looks like the only game-used Eddie Mathews glove I’ve ever seen up close. The detail on this is astonishing!! You can see the metal grommets the lacing is strung through. You can probably read “Milwaukee Braves” on the front and “World Champions” on the back. On the ball it says”1957”. Wouldn’t you love to know the history of this piece…Who made it…For whom…When…Where was it kept, stored, displayed…??? I would…!!!
Since we left off the narrative portion in December, it seems appropriate to end the memorabilia portion in December, too. For all you autograph hounds…no, that’s not Lou Perini’s actual signature…Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!
Hey…That’s kinda sorta it for this time…I did promise an update on the situation with the upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 1957 World Series as it is being celebrated in the State of Wisconsin…here’s what I know on that…
As of this writing I am working/playing/maybe even sometimes helping two historical societies/museums: The Wisconsin State Historical Society (WHS) and The Milwaukee County Historical Society (MCHS). Both have raided my collection and gone off with hundreds of items of memorabilia—they refer to them as “images” (pictures) and “artifacts” (I thought that artifacts came from Egyptian archaeological digs-but no, artifacts is collectible stuff/memorabilia). Both museums will have their respective 50th Anniversary Celebration exhibits on display from about July 22 to December/January. Here are ‘phone numbers so you can call them to get days and hours they’re open. I hope you’ll try to get to both of them. They are borrowing items from quite a number of people we know… some collectors, some players, some families of players…There should be some really nice stuff to see that, hopefully, will bring back some wonderful memories. Tell everyone!!! The number in Madison (WHS) is (608) 264-6400. The number in Milwaukee (MCHS) is (414) 273-8288. Please don’t forget the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association’s banquet at the end of August. Hurry, they were close to “sold out” last week.
It is likely I will try to do 1958 in two parts, too. In case you noticed how long it took me to get this out…I had several distractions, not the least of which were these really terrific museum folks…Hopefully things will get back to normal if I can even remember what THAT is…
As always…Keep those cards and letters…and emails coming…see you in ’58…
Until then…Please stay tuned…
Go Get ‘Em, Braves…!!!