Comfort, confidence or whatever, everything went well with the Brooklyns. For instance, Manager Walter Alston pressed his luck and tried for even more runs by inserting a pinch hitter for Don Zimmer, his second baseman. The pinch hitter failed, but this was Brooklyn's day, you see, and the move paid off anyway. Gilliam, who had been playing left field, moved to second to replace Zimmer, and little Sandy Amoros, a fleet-footed Cuban, took Gilliam's place in left. And, almost immediately, in the bottom of that sixth inning, came the fantastic play illustrated in detail above, the play that brought the Yankees crashing down to earth. And Amoros was the key to it. Gilliam, wise men opined, would never have made the play.
The last three innings were brilliant with tension. Now, at last, it seemed that it could be done: the Yankees could lose; and more, the Dodgers could win.
The seventh inning belonged to Pee Wee Reese, the captain of the team, the veteran shortstop who had played in five losing World Series and who wanted so much to win. He charged Skowron's grounder like a ferret, pounced on it and made the play. Cerv hit another grounder that Pee Wee, almost frantic with need, charged and handled. Howard singled but the injured Mickey Mantle, pinch-hitting, popped up behind third, and Reese, rushing under it, bounced with eagerness, waiting, bounced, bounced, grabbed the ball, and bounced again, lightly now, with the third out in his glove.
In the eighth the Yankees made a last, vain, thrashing grab for victory. Rizzuto singled. Crafty little Martin, two runs behind, tried to push a hit into right, but Furillo came fast and took it at his knees. McDougald rapped a base hit. Berra, the menace, gave Brooklyn pause, but he lifted a high fly to right. Two out now. The fierce Hank Bauer was at bat, and the Yankees were on the edge of the dugout. Podres threw a ball to Bauer, then a called strike. Bauer fouled a pitch back to the screen and took a second ball. Podres set himself and then threw violently, as hard as he could, with so much effort that he fell off the mound toward third base, staggering to keep his balance. The pitch split the plate. Bauer swung and missed, and the crowd roared, a full-throated shout of victory. The Dodgers jounced off the field.
The ninth was Podres' inning. His strength and speed were overpowering, and the anticipation of victory rode on every pitch. Skowron tapped back to the mound, and John, plucking the ball tardily from the netting of his glove, threw him out. Cerv raised an easy fly to Amoros. Howard, the last man, took a called strike (the crowd exploded with noise), a ball, swung and missed (another explosion), took a second ball high. He stepped out of the batter's box, and the crowd jeered impatiently. He stepped back in. He fouled a pitch back, fouled another. The Dodger infield moved restlessly, fidgeting. Podres threw again, a big fat, arrogant changeup that Howard swung at and topped on the ground, fittingly enough toward Reese. Pee Wee fielded it (commenting later that it seemed to take hours to pick up the ball), threw it to first to Hodges, and that was it. After a half century of waiting the Brooklyn Dodgers were champions of the world.