Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For the 1st time in 50 years, the Dodgers Play a Day Game at Yankee Stadium

October 3, 1963 - Game Two of the World Series.

Sandy Koufax the day before had stifled the Yankee lineup in what was then a World Series record, 15 strikeouts in a 5-2 Dodger victory.  Game two was a revenge match for the Bronx Bombers, who felt they could handle crafty left hander, Johnny Podres (15-13, 3.81 ERA).  Podres, who beat the Yankees in game seven of the '55 series during his rookie year was now 30 years old.  1963 would be the last year that Johnny would be a regular in a major league rotation.  His illustrious career was winding down and he was hittable.  In the waning months of the season, Podres had surrendered 36 earned runs over 60 innings for a 5.40 ERA.

The Yankees were countering with fireballing rookie left hander, Al Downing (13-5, 2.56 ERA, 4 shutouts).  Gentleman Al started 22 games for New York in his first season and he led the American League with a K/9 ratio of 8.8.  His veteran ball club was hungry to break out the bats after the masterpiece that Sandy K. threw.  It wasn't to be.

Podres reached back in his arsenal of pitches and gave a little extra.  It would be the last hurrah for a great Dodger, whose career wasn't over by any means, but it was later shown that it was coming to a close.  His best days as a pitcher were soon over.

A crowd of 66,455 jammed into Yankee Stadium to watch the Dodgers break out to a 2-0 lead in the first, courtesy of a two run double by Willie Davis.  It was a fortunate turn of events for the Dodgers, as Yankee right fielder Roger Maris made a rare defensive miscue, misjuding the Davis drive and playing it into a double.

Maris would soon be out for the remainder of the sereis as he ran into a grandstand railing while attempting to field a Tommy Davis hit ball that resulted into a triple.  By the 4th inning, the Dodgers led 3-0 on a home run by former Yankee great, Moose Skowron.

Skowron had been dealt to the Dodgers in the off-season for Stan Williams.  Moose's pals were sitting over in the Yankee first base dugout, and it was difficult for him to play against them, but he did with a flair.  He batted .385 in the '63 series against his old mates, which turned out to be his highest post season batting average in his career.  It was a surprise to Skowron that he was playing at all in the Series as he had difficulty adjusting to the National League and he hit .203 on the year with only 4 homers.  But Walter Alston knew that historically he was a clutch performer in the Fall Classic and he wrote Skowron's name into the starting lineup in all four games.

"I was garbage all year," he told reporters after game two.  "I surely didn't expect to play in the series.  And let's be honest, I certainly didn't deserve to."

In the top of the 8th inning, with the Dodgers up 3-0, Tommy Davis laced his second triple of the day and drove in the Dodgers 4th run.  Podres made it into the 9th inning to attempt to finish out a shutout, but was lifted with one out after Maris' replacement, Hector Lopez doubeld to deep left field.  Ron Peranoski finished up the game, surrendering a single and the lone Yankee run crossed the plate before retiring the final two Yanks, Joe Pepitone nad Clete Boyer via groundball and strikeout.

It was the final Dodger-Yankee day game at the Bronx in 49 years and and 8 months.  Between 1941 and 1963, the Dodgers had played  23 day games (all in the Fall Classic, with the Dodgers winning 8 and losing 15) at Yankee Stadium.  The string was broken today, as the first of a day night double header got underway.  It's about time.

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