Johnny Podres Shuts Out The Yankees to Win Game 7 of The 1955 World Series
The Brooklyn Dodgers had appeared in seven World Series previous to 1955. They had lost all of them. But on Tuesday, October 4, 1955, a magical afternoon (yes the World Series was always played in the daytime until 1971) occurred at Yankee Stadium in front of 62,485 fans. Amazingly the game was not sold out.
Johnny Podres, after winning game three of the World Series, was matched up in game seven against Yankee veteran Tommy Byrne. An interesting side note: Byrne rode the IND subway from 59th Street to Yankee Stadium unrecognized by anyone. Podres ended up pitching the game of his life – an eight hit, 2-0 shutout. The Dodgers had finally vanquished the Yankees who had beaten them in five previous World Series.
The Dodgers played without Jackie Robinson who was nursing a strained Achilles tendon. And the Yankees were equally handicapped without Mickey Mantle, who, even though he pinch hit in this game, missed most of the Series with a torn leg muscle. Other Yankees and Dodgers stars like Duke Snider and Hank Bauer played despite being injured.
The Dodgers scored one run in the fourth when Roy Campanella doubled and a single by Gil Hodges drove him home. The Dodgers added a run in the sixth with Hodges hitting a sacrifice fly to drive in Pee Wee Reese.
The acknowledged defensive play of the game was made by Dodgers left fielder Sandy Amoros.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with Billy Martin on second and Gil McDougald on first and no one out, Yogi Berra drove a ball deep into the left field corner that looked like it might clear the bases if it fell in. Amoros came out of nowhere on a dead run, stuck out his glove and made a spectacular one handed grab. He quickly threw the ball to shortstop Pee Wee Reese who relayed it back to first baseman Gil Hodges to complete a double play on Gil McDougald who had strayed too far from first base.
What many people do not realize is that Sandy Amoros was not in left field originally. In the bottom of the sixth Amoros came in from the bench to replace Jim Gilliam who was moved from left field to second base after Don Zimmer was removed for pinch hitter George Shuba in the top of the inning. Minutes after entering the game Amoros made “the catch.”
Also had Podres not retired Berra, manager Walter Alston said to reporters after the game, he was going to bring in reliever Clem Labine.
But it never came to that and Podres finished strong and became the first Dodger pitcher to win two games in a World Series and the third to throw a shutout.
Johnny Podres was an unlikely hero to win two critical games in the 1955 World Series. Podres was signed in 1951 at a tryout at Ebbets Field. His 1955 regular season record was a mediocre 9-10. He had not pitched a complete game in his previous 13 starts going back to June 14 against the Cincinnati Reds. He had also complained of arm trouble until right before the start of the World Series.
After the game was over Podres was in disbelief. In the clubhouse Podres was yelling “Wow!”. He ran up and down, jumping and screaming “Wow, wow, wow!” “I’ll never forget this all my life. What a wonderful thing to win the World Series.”
Podres turned and yelled across the room to Dodgers captain Pee Wee Reese, “Hey Pee Wee! What did I tell you? I said they wouldn’t get a thing off of me, didn’t I?”
Brooklyn went into pandemonium and celebrations erupted throughout the borough and especially in Flatbush, home of the Dodgers. There would be no more cries of Brooklyn’s lament “wait ’til next year!” 1955 was next year.
Even the defeated Yankees could not begrudge Brooklyn for finally winning. Many of the Yankee Stadium fans in attendance applauded when the Dodgers won the game. Yogi Berra went into the Dodger clubhouse afterwards to congratulate the team and he stayed for a half an hour talking with the Dodger players.
This final photo sums it all up. In Witherbee, NY the hometown of Johnny Podres, Johnny’s mother received a kiss from her seven-year-old son Tom when he came home from school. Mrs. Podres was busy shopping all day and visiting neighbors. She said she was so excited over all the news.
For anyone who was alive then, so were we all.