For the connoisseur, the most delightful aspect of the 1958 World Series was the play of Mr. Albert Schoendienst, second baseman and pro par excellence. Red swung his bat and carried his glove with great finesse throughout the Series, but two plays—one at bat and one in the field—stand out.
On a hit-and-run play, with the runner on first breaking for second with the pitch, Red, batting left-handed, waited until the last possible minute to swing. In the long moment that this waiting took, the Yankee shortstop moved to his left to cover second base, and in that instant Red slapped a ground ball directly through the shortstop position so recently vacated. It was, well, perfect—the sort of thing you read about but seldom see.
An even rarer jewel was the superb play caught in the photo sequence above, which was his masterpiece in the field. With the score tied 0-0, two out and a Yankee runner on third base, Yogi Berra hit a changeup pitch on a slow line toward right field.
It appeared to be a certain base hit, a sure run, but Schoendienst timed his leap perfectly and got his glove on the ball. But he could not hold it. The ball angled off the leather, and as it and Red fell back toward the ground, Schoendienst pursued it with his bare hand. A loose ball in a tense situation is often a trigger for panic. Schoendienst, briskly but calmly, forced his body to stop going one way, twisted back, chased the ball to earth, grabbed it and threw it quickly to his first baseman. Berra, despite a desperate headlong leap across the base (right), was out by some inches. The run did not score. The inning was over. The tie and, as it turned out, the shutout were preserved.