The Dodgers left Pittsburgh, went to Philadelphia. Humorists talked of 154 straight. After the game, talk was just a little more serious. How could the Dodgers lose? Everything they did dovetailed into a pattern of victory.
In Philadelphia after five innings the Dodgers trailed 2-0. But in the sixth inning before anyone was out, Junior Gilliam, Robinson and Snider combined a triple, a walk and a towering home run to put the Dodgers quite suddenly in front, 3-2. And instead of stopping with that, Brooklyn kept on. A hit and two walks loaded the bases with two outs and Pitcher Carl Erskine at bat. Pitchers don't hit, usually, but that night Erskine did. One run scored, and that seemed all as Outfielder Peanuts Lowrey fielded Erskine's single. But Manager Walter Alston, coaching at third, sent Base Runner Sandy Amoros on past third to what seemed a certain out at home. Lowrey's throw was in plenty of time, but far, far wide of the plate, and Alston's gamble paid off in an extra run—that extra run that repeats itself in the Dodger 10-game-victory fabric like a bright golden thread. That extra run was a comfort from the last half of the sixth on, when Relief Pitcher Ed Roebuck took over for an uncertain Erskine. Relief pitching was one of Brooklyn's prime weaknesses last year, particularly after Jim Hughes was overworked into inefficiency. Young Roebuck made his major league debut in Philadelphia, did not allow a hit or a run and left the Dodgers with seven straight victories, enthusiasm and high hopes for a bright future.
The next night in Philadelphia, Roebuck came to the rescue again with gilt-edged relief pitching, stopping the Phillies cold after they had scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings off Starting Pitcher Newcombe and Relief Pitcher Hughes to close the score to 7-6, a performance terribly reminiscent of Dodger pitching foldups in 1954. Roebuck, however, served to remind Phils and Dodgers alike that this was 1955, and that the Dodgers had won their eighth straight game.
Back came the Dodgers to Brooklyn to their storied home—Ebbets Field—to go after the games that would tie and break the consecutive-game record. Back they came to the most inexplicable thing that occurred in their entire run: almost nobody in Brooklyn came out to see them play.
That night, as they utilized seven walks, three hit batsmen and a wild pitch, all donated by Steve Ridzik of the Phillies, to edge Philadelphia 3-2 and tie the record, just 9,942 fans were in Ebbets Field. It was a cold night and television sets in Brooklyn are warm and cozy, and that might have explained it. But the next afternoon the Dodgers went after the new record against Robin Roberts, whose first two appearances of the season had resulted in decisive victories over the Giants. Here was a superb baseball situation, a fine team at the top of its form coming against a great pitcher in peak condition. Surely, now the Flatbush Faithful would jam into Ebbets Field.
Exactly 3,874 came out for the big game. The Dodgers, as proud of their record as good players naturally would be, were stunned.
"What's happened to the crowds?" said Pee Wee Reese. Ten straight wins, and a bush-league attendance in a park that Billy Herman once described as being "like the World Series every day," because the crowds were so big and so noisy. It was unexplainable.
POOR ROBIN ROBERTS
Perhaps in anger, perhaps in resentment, perhaps because they were still playing great baseball, the Dodgers raged against the great Roberts, pasted him with 10 hits, including three home runs, and won the record-breaking 10th straight by a resounding 14-4 score. Once again, an extra bright light shone in Brooklyn, this one held high by Relief Pitcher Joe Black, who had been the Dodgers' key man in the 1952 pennant race but who has had almost nothing on the ball since then. Black relieved starter Russ Meyer in the third and pitched six and two-thirds innings of splendid baseball to gain credit for the win.
It was a glorious day indeed, except for the crowd.