Mickey Mantle Costs the New York Yankees the 1955 World Championship

June 29, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

There are times when a valid reason exists to explain an event. The Brooklyn Dodgers won their only World Championship in 1955 because Mickey Mantle was hurt.

Mickey was the American League’s top slugger in 1955, leading the junior circuit in home runs (37), slugging (.611), on base average (.431), OPS (1.042), extra base hits (73), triples (11, tied with Andy Carey), and walks (113). He batted .306.

The New York Yankees won the first game of the World Series without Mantle. Irv Noren played center field, batted third, and was hitless in four at bats.

Mickey sat out the second game as the Yankees won again to take a two games to none lead. No team in World Series history had ever won the first two games at home and failed to become World Champions.

The teams moved to Ebbets Field, where Mantle, with a noticeable limp that hindered his speed, started the third game.

Batting clean up, he hit a home run off Johnny Podres leading off the second inning, but in the Dodgers’ half of the second, Mickey was forced to move from center field to right field because of his bad legs.

In the sixth inning, trailing 6-2, Gil McDougald led off with a single. Yogi Berra followed with another single, bringing up Mickey, who hit an ordinary ground ball to PeeWee Reese at shortstop.

Normally, it would have been a force out at second, but Mickey couldn’t run, the Dodgers doubled Mantle, and the Yankees were finished for the day.

The Yankees lost the fourth game as Mickey struck out twice, bounced to the mound twice, and singled.

Brooklyn won the fifth game to take the lead in the Series as Mantle watched from the bench. The score was 5-3, and it isn’t much of a reach to wonder if Mickey might have turned the game around.

Back at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees jumped on Karl Spooner for five runs in the first inning, Whitey Ford pitched a complete game four-hitter, and there would be a seventh game to decide things.

Bob Cerv played center field and batted seventh against the southpaw slants of Johnny Podres.

Bill Skowron doubled with two outs in the bottom of the second for the first Yankees’ threat, bu Podres retired Cerv on a ground ball to Reese at shortstop to keep the game scoreless.

In the fourth, Cerv batted with Berra on second and two outs. He popped out to Reese.

Of course, Mantle would not have batted in Cerv’s sixth slot. He would have batted third or fourth, which would have changed the dynamics of the game.

Brooklyn won 2-0, but the Yankees managed eight hits and two walks. There is no doubt that the pressure of facing Mantle batting third could have made a big difference. Gil McDougald, who batted third, was not a number three hitter.

Injuries are part of the game, and injuries have allowed players with less talent than Mantle to be ranked ahead of him with respect to their careers, but many of the Yankees’ and Dodgers’ players believed that the 1953, and probably the 1952 Dodgers were better than the 1955 Brooklyn team.

Yes, the 1955 Dodgers thought they could win the World Series, but it was their good fortune that they didn’t have to contend with a healthy Mickey.


Lewis, Franklin. “The Yankees Were Dis-Mantled.” Baseball Digest , Nov. 1955

Mickey Mantle at Baseball Reference

1955 World Series at Retrosheet

Read more New York Yankees news on BleacherReport.com

readers comments
  1. Clarence on July 27th, 2014 10:45 pm



Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee