Now it became suddenly obvious that Spahn, the master, was laboring, and that Stengel, no longer the underdog, was pressing him. Still Spahn pushed on, through the seventh and eighth and, finally, the ninth. He certainly had done all that anyone could have asked. He had pitched nine innings and had given up only two runs. Now, if they could score just once, the Braves could win the World Series in the last of the ninth. Instead, three Braves struck out successively, dismally, depressingly, and Spahn lost the game to the first Yankee up in the 10th, Gil McDougald, who hit a home run.
He lost another run later in the inning, and the Braves scored one at last, uselessly, in their half of the 10th, but the game really ended on McDougald's home run. Milwaukee Manager Fred Haney took Spahn out before the inning was over, and as the pitcher walked to the dugout with his brisk, athletic stride, his head down, the crowd in County Stadium rose and enveloped him in a huge, warm, appreciative roar of applause. It was only a baseball game, of course, only a childish pastime turned into adult amusement, but this was a moment to remember, this salute to a great pitcher in the time of his bitterest defeat.
As for Casey Stengel, the situation had changed. He was still smiling, but this time the onlookers could appreciate why. The odds favored him now.
GAME 7 THE WRECK OF ALL THE BRAVES
And so, unbelievably, the Series came down to a seventh game. There would be no ifs in this game, no tomorrow.
Attention focused on Casey Stengel. He had never given up in this Series, not even in the disastrous fourth game in Yankee Stadium when excruciatingly bad outfielding ruined Whitey Ford's fine pitching. That was the day he ran up the dugout steps, clapping his hands, shouting at his ballplayers, trying to keep them alive. That was the day that ended with the Yanks down, three games to one, and defeat in the Series all but certain.
But Stengel had rallied his team and had come back with two victories to tie the Series at three-all. Now all he had to do was win one more time. Faced with this problem, was he tense, worried? Writer-Reporter Les Woodcock reported on the pre-game scene in County Stadium:
"The sky was grey as Casey Stengel took his familiar position in the Yankee dugout about an hour and a half before the game started. Of course he was mobbed by reporters and, of course, he monopolized the conversation. For a man facing one of the most crucial games of his career, he seemed perfectly at ease as he talked and talked and talked. He talked about an umpire's decision the day before. He talked about postseason trades. He talked about Yogi Berra playing golf. He talked about Ryne Duren and his glasses. He talked about ex-Yankees like Cerv, Jensen, Triandos, and how good they are now. He mentioned another ex-Yankee, 'Look at Burdette, too. He pitches pretty good. I hope he doesn't today.'
"He talked about Roy Sievers and Lou Skizas and Ted Williams. He talked about hitting. He talked about Don Larsen and how well he could hit and what a good first baseman he might make. He talked about the scouting reports he had received on the Braves. He joked about his lineups for the day (he'd made out a couple and when they accidentally fell from his pocket to the bench he grabbed them up quickly, saying, I don't want you fellas to see the names I juggled around'). Of the game, the vital seventh game, he said: I feel better than I did earlier in the Series. I'm glad it went this far. My boys felt pretty good the last few days. Now they're either going to have a good winter or a bad winter. It depends in five hours.'
"The sun came out at 12:05 as Stengel was talking. The sky brightened, and the few clouds overhead eventually drifted away during the game."