The next night in Yankee Stadium, before the second Cleveland-New York game, Broadcaster Red Barber asked a Cleveland sportswriter about the Indians' chances. "They're all through," the writer said flatly. "They haven't a chance. All they'll do from here on in is play out the schedule."
That night the Indians lost again, 10-0.
On Saturday the Indians tried a third time. They took a 3-0 lead, lost it, fell behind by a run and then tied the score in the ninth. But in the 10th, with the bases loaded, the Yankees' Billy Martin hit a sharp single into left for the winning run. On the scoreboard in center field the White Sox-Red Sox final score was outlined in lights: Boston had four runs, eight hits, one error; Chicago had no hits, no runs, no errors. It was more than a beating the veteran Mel Parnell had given them. The White Sox were the first club to be at the wrong end of a no-hitter at Fenway Park in 30 years. It was Chicago's sixth successive defeat. Coming at this particular point, it spelled humiliation and heralded the crash of pennant hopes.
The next day, Sunday, was the last gasp. Cleveland limped out of Yankee Stadium and up to Fenway Park, only to split two games with the Red Sox, causing both teams to lose ground. In New York the White Sox met the Yankees in a double-header. Chicago lost the first game 2-1. In the second they opened up a 3-0 lead, but the Yankees, as always, scrambled back to tie it up. The White Sox held on, fought back, even as the Indians had a day earlier, and in the top of the 10th went ahead 5-4. But in the last of the 10th Jim Wilson walked Mickey Mantle, walked Yogi Berra and, after a sacrifice, walked Joe Collins, to load the bases. He struck out Andy Carey, but then, off the endless Yankee bench, came Hank Bauer to pinch-hit. It was a strange situation, because no one seemed to doubt the outcome. If Wilson managed to get Bauer out and save the game it would be an upset, pure and simple.
He didn't. Bauer chopped a grounder into left, two runs scored, the Yankees won the game and the double-header, and for all practical purposes the pennant race was over.
The Yankees, after losing those four games in Chicago three weeks earlier, had won 17 of their next 19 games. They had extended their lead from four percentage points to 124, and their lead in games from a puny one to an overwhelming 10�.
What is the magic that explains this Yankee surge? Is it simply that the American League is so poorly stocked with player talent that one well-balanced club can tear it apart? And that in the National League the Yankees would be just another team?
One of the Yankee-chasing American League managers laughed at that. "I don't really know the National League at all," he said, "but I can tell you this. If the Yankees were in it, they'd be in first place there too."
The reason? "Talent!" the American Leaguer yelled. "The players. They got 'em and they get 'em. Stengel's got players on his bench who'd make a better team than some of the teams we have in the majors right now. How do they get them? They have good people and they work hard. And they have prestige: that Yankee name, those" World Series' checks. You take a boy has a chance to sign—for the same deal—with two or three different clubs and one of them's the Yankees. Who's he going to sign with? Us? You're darn right he isn't! It's the Yankees! Damn, no wonder they're so tough to beat."
Specifically, the Yankees have such as Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. There was a story around last week that other Yankee players were beginning to resent the publicity that Mantle has attracted this year. A veteran Yankee player hooted. "Listen," he said. "He's DiMaggio. He's the big man. Everybody on this club roots for him. Mantle and Berra, they're making money for all of us."