1964 World Series
The Yankees, the defending American League champs, promoted skipper Ralph Houk to General Manager after the 1963 season, replacing him with popular star player Yogi Berra. The club struggled under his leadership, standing in third place behind the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox into September. However, the team heated up under pressure, going 22-6 in September, and clinched the pennant on the season's penultimate day.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals had an even rougher path to the World Series. On August 17th, the club stood in fifth place, nine games behind the Philadelphia Phillies. Owner Gussie Busch fired GM Bing Devine, and word circulated that manager Johnny Keane was the next to go. However, the Cards went 30-14 from that point on, and, aided by the collapse of the Phillies, went on to win the pennant by one game.
The Yankees were led by stars Mickey Mantle, who hit .303 with 35 homers despite missing time with a leg injury, and Whitey Ford, who went 17-6 with a 2.13 ERA. The Cardinals featured speedy young outfielder Lou Brock, who hit .348 with 12 homers and 33 steals after coming over from the Chicago Cubs in a June trade that would eventually go down as one of the most lopsided in history, and third baseman Ken Boyer, who clubbed 29 home runs with a league-best 119 RBIs en route to being named the NL MVP.
- Frank Secory (NL), Bill McKinley (AL), Ken Burkhart (NL), Hank Soar (AL), Vinnie Smith (NL), Al Smith (AL)
|1||St. Louis 9, New York 5||October 7||30,805|
|2||New York 8, St. Louis 3||October 8||30,805|
|3||New York 2, St. Louis 1||October 10||67,101|
|4||St. Louis 4, New York 3||October 11||66,312|
|5||St. Louis 5, New York 2||October 12||65,633|
|6||New York 8, St. Louis 3||October 14||30,805|
|7||St. Louis 7, New York 5||October 15||30,346|
The teams went to New York for Game Three, and the contest was a pitcher's duel between Jim Bouton and Curt Simmons. With the game tied 1-1 in the 9th inning, Mickey Mantle clubbed a homer to give the Yanks a 2-1 win.
The Yankees scored three runs in the 1st inning of Game Four but that was all they could muster up. Ken Boyer hit a grand slam in the 6th, and that was all the Cardinals needed to win, 4-3, and knot up the series again.
In Game Five, Gibson added 13 more strikeouts, and Tim McCarver hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning to give the Cards a 5-2 win, after Tom Tresh had tied the score with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th for the Yankees.
In the deciding Game Seven, the Cards jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and despite two homers by the Yankees in the 9th inning, hurler Gibson held on to give the Cardinals a 7-5 win, as the team captured their first world championship since 1946.
An interesting footnote to this series is the fact that brothers Ken and Clete Boyer both played third base for the opposing clubs. Though neither had an outstanding overall performance, Ken hit a pair of homers, and Clete added one as well; both connected in the decisive seventh game.
In the days following the World Series, clubhouse drama continued for both teams. Johnny Keane resigned as manager of the Cardinals, and Yogi Berra was fired by the Yankees (who cited a lack of clubhouse communication as the reason). Later in the winter, the Yankees hired Keane, the man who had beaten them, to become the club's next skipper.
- William A. Cook: The Summer of '64: A Pennant Lost, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2002. ISBN 978-0-7864-1216-7
- David Halberstam: October 1964, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1994. ISBN 0449983676
- John Harry Stahl and Bill Nowlin, ed.: Drama and Pride in the Gateway City: The 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2013. ISBN 978-0-8032-4372-9
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series