Maury Wills opened the second game with a single to center, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Jim Gilliam doubled to left. In the third Sandy Koufax hit one batter with a pitch and threw the following sacrifice bunt into right field to give the Cardinals men on second and third with one out. The next batter grounded to short, and the runner from third was thrown out at the plate. The next man grounded out, too, to end the inning, and Koufax went on to pitch a shutout. Score three points for the Dodgers: one for speed, one for clutch fielding, one for Sandy Koufax.
In the third game the Dodgers were behind 5-1, but they tied the score with three runs in the eighth and another in the ninth on a home run by an unknown rookie named Dick Nen. Score a point for guts and another for luck. In the 10th Dick Groat opened with a triple, but the Cardinals were unable to score off Perranoski, who pitched six shutout innings in relief as he waited patiently for the Dodgers to win the game in the 13th. Perranoski faced 23 men in all. Three had base hits, and two were walked intentionally after Groat's triple. Of the other 18, three struck out, three hit fly balls and 12 hit grounders to the infield. Score another very large point for Ron Perranoski.
Score a point for Willie Davis, who had seven hits and three stolen bases in the three games. Give something to Frank Howard, who hit a big home run, and John Podres, who might have had a shutout, too, if Stan Musial had not hit a valedictory home run.
And give a point to the manager, who placidly proved he was right. He did not blow the pennant, and his players did not choke. The Los Angeles Dodgers won like champions.
WHO WILL WIN THE WAR OF THE LEFTIES?
Nothing comes easy to the Dodgers. They do not score like the Yankees, or hit like the Yankees or field like the Yankees. The Dodgers are a team built around pitching and speed, but a team, too, that is built to play its best baseball in Dodger Stadium, where the base paths are as hard as slate and a pitcher never feels the cold, clammy outfield wall pressing against his back.
Granted, only one other team in the last 30 years—the wartime 1945 Detroit Tigers—ever scored as few runs as this Dodger team and still found itself in a World Series. But the Dodgers built their victories stone by stone, with a walk, a steal and a single, or a double, a bunt and a fly ball. Four runs are a lot of runs to score in Dodger Stadium, where the ball does not carry as far as in other parks and home run hitters face the disadvantage of fences 330 feet distant down both the left- and right-field foul lines. In left center and right center, these fences quickly fall away to 380 feet, a set of statistics guaranteed to diminish Yankee power. The Yankees have played in Dodger Stadium 18 times during the last two seasons, and in 11 of those games they were held to four runs or less by Angel pitching—and Angel pitching is related to Dodger pitching only in that both involve a baseball. The Yankees, who normally hit one home run every 29 times at bat, have averaged only one homer every 56 times at bat in Chavez Ravine. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the most famed slugging act since Ruth and Gehrig, have managed but one homer between them in 91 times up.
The Dodgers, with little reputation as a hitting team, bring a .251 season average into the Series, compared to the Yankees' .252, and the lineup contains a scattering of power that will be dangerous in Yankee Stadium. Frank Howard can reach the seats anywhere, and Ron Fairly pulls the ball hard down that short right-field line. If Alston decides to play Moose Skowron at first base instead—well, Skowron hit 165 home runs in his nine years as a Yankee. John Roseboro and Wally Moon will be dangerous in the Stadium, and Roseboro hits left-handers well.
But the big weapons for the Dodgers are speed and pitching. One of the fascinating aspects of this Series is this: How much can the Dodgers run against the Yankees, particularly Whitey Ford? Ford has an unsurpassed move to first base, and it is possible that he will be used three times should the Series go seven games. Maury Wills, who stole 104 bases last year, only began stealing late this season after recovering from injuries; he steals when everyone in the ball park knows he is going to steal—and gets away with it. Wills certainly will harass Ford, but Ford may also contain Wills. This battle is one that baseball fans have dreamed of for two years. With Wills on first and Ford pitching, switch-hitting Jim Gilliam bats from the right side of the plate and, while he is not as effective from the right side as from the left, Junior still owns two of the best eyes in baseball. No one in the National League strikes out as infrequently. Gilliam is excellent at fouling off pitches with two strikes on him and, with Wills drawing throws at first base, Ford may spend a lot of energy on the top part of the Dodger batting order. Willie Davis, the Dodger center fielder, just happens to have superior speed himself, and his batting average of .240 is deceptive. He can bunt and run, and if he pushes a bunt up the third-base line there are few pitchers who can come off the mound, pick up the ball, turn and throw to first base in time to catch him. Roseboro can run; Tommy Davis is the leading hitter in the National League, and he can run as well as slug.