It was a cheerful, old-fashioned World Series, with plenty of hitting, some very good pitching, a nice selection of heroic plays and a few totally unexpected heroes. The first two games seemed lop-sided, if you looked only at the scores, but they were tight and tense until the Cardinals, in the opening game, and the Yanks, in the second one, pulled away in the late innings. The third and fourth games were squeakers all the way—one-run victories with the winning run in each case a homer by precisely the man the team depends on most: Mickey Mantle for New York, Ken Boyer for St. Louis. Otherwise, neither dominated the scene, because this was turning out to be a Series in which many of the leading characters were younger men, newer faces—rookies like Mike Shannon and Mel Stottlemyre, almost-rookies like Tim McCarver, who won the fifth game in the 10th inning, hitherto obscure figures like Carl Warwick. For William Leggett's day-by-day account, turn the page.
The first game of the 61st World Series was distinguished by the presence of two third basemen named Boyer, two umpires named Smith and two St. Louis managers—one of them employed by the Yankees. There was also a record-tying number of hits for a first game, 24, partially caused by a 20-mile-an-hour wind; the Cardinals used 11 of their 12 to put men in scoring position, and they won 9-5.
A Series in Busch Stadium brought back odd memories to the opposing managers. Thirty-eight years ago, when Johnny Keane was 14, he had stood in line for six hours to buy a bleacher seat at the stadium for the first Series game to be played in St. Louis. Yogi Berra recalled that he had mowed lawns and run errands so he could afford a seat behind home plate when the old Browns had played the Yankees.
Before Keane and Berra met formally at home plate the St. Louis starters had met in their clubhouse high above the field and discussed how they could beat Whitey Ford, the winningest pitcher (10-7) in Series history. Their overwhelming conclusion was that because Ford does not walk hitters in big games they would have to swing at pitches early in his sequences. This strategy began to work in the second inning, with the Yankees leading 3-1. Shannon hit the first pitch thrown to him for a single, McCarver popped up on a first pitch, Maxvill trickled a second pitch to the mound that moved Shannon to second, and Sadecki, after being forced to check his swing on a high pitch, drove the next one to right field to bring in Shannon. Although New York got another run and went ahead 4-2, the Cardinal strategy won the game in the fifth.
Boyer singled on the first pitch but Shannon, ready to swing on his first one, had to take it far inside. He then hit the next one 475 feet for a tying homer. After Tim McCarver doubled, Pinch Hitter Carl Warwick lined the first pitch from Reliever Al Downing to left, and the Cards were never behind again.
The Yankee infielders had some trouble with the exceptionally hard Busch Stadium infield, where ground balls often do not bounce truly, and the outfielders were bothered by the wind and sun. (Cardinal outfielders use different shades of sunglasses as a game progresses.) Tresh lost Flood's fly ball in the sun in the sixth, and it went for a triple, scoring Javier; Mantle overthrew home on Sadecki's single in the second, and Shannon scored.
What may have been the game's decisive play occurred in the second when, with one out, the Yankees had Ford on second and Linz on first. They had already scored three runs and seemed on the way to a big inning. Richardson lined a hit to left, and Ford, burdened by a windbreaker and a slow runner at best, came into third and was waved on by Coach Frank Crosetti. As Cardinal Fielder Brock threw home, Third Baseman Boyer moved into position as if to cut it off, thus holding Linz at second. Brock's throw was perfect, and Ford was out at home by many feet. The Yankees might have had the bases loaded with one out and Maris, Mantle and Howard coming up. With two out and Linz and Richardson on base, Maris struck out.
If the game seemed to indicate that this Series would belong to the hitters, one Cardinal at least had a different view. Dick Groat sat by his locker sipping a beer afterward and said, "Every Series, just like every season, is decided by pitching, and I refuse to believe this one will not be."