A Close Play At The Plate In Game 3 Of The 1951 World Series

Alvin Dark Slides In Safely As Yogi Berra Drops The Ball And The Yankees Fall Apart

Giants shortstop Alvin Dark is safe at home plate as Yankees catcher Yogi Berra can't handle the ball

Giants shortstop Alvin Dark is safe at home plate as Yankees catcher Yogi Berra can’t handle the ball

NEW YORK: ERROR FOR BERRA – Giant Alvin Dark is safe at the plate as Yogi Berra drops the ball trying to tag him. Bobby Brown threw to Berra from third on Monte Irvin’s grounder in the Giants big five-run sixth inning. The National League champs made it their second victory over the Yankees in the third game of the 1951 World Series at the Polo Grounds, Oct 6, with a 6-2 score.  Credit (ACME) 10-6-51

The New York Giants had every reason to believe that this was the year they would win the World Series. They had defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers just days before in a best of three tie-breaker playoff series. On October 3, Giants fans witnessed the “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” – Bobby Thomson’s dramatic 9th inning home run off of Ralph Branca that propelled them into the Series against the Yankees.

The World Series would be a match-up between cross-river rivals and their respective rookie stars Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle and it would end up being the finale for Joe DiMaggio’s career.

On October 6, 1951 with 52,305 fans packed into the Polo Grounds, the largest crowd ever to see a World Series game in a National League ballpark, the Giants fans were cautiously optimistic.

The series was tied at one game apiece and the Giants were holding a slim 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, when depending on how you look at it, the Giants erupted or the Yankees fell apart.

After Giant pitcher Jim Hearn struck out, Eddie Stanky began the fireworks by walking and then attempting to steal second. Stanky was going to be out by a lot when Berra called for a pitchout and threw a bullet to Phil Rizzuto, who was now waiting to tag Stanky out. Stanky (appropriately nicknamed “The Brat”) did not appreciate being a dead duck and when he slid into second, he raised his foot and purposely kicked the ball out of Rizzuto’s glove. As Rizzuto was screaming bloody murder and chasing the ball into the outfield, Stanky got up and steamed into third. Rizzuto was charged with an error. Manager Casey Stengel protested but umpire Bill Summers ruled that Stanky had done nothing illegal.

Two singles followed scoring Stanky and with Alvin Dark at third, Monte Irvin hit a ground ball to third baseman Bobby Brown. With Dark breaking for the plate, Brown’s threw home had Dark beat, but uncharacteristically Berra dropped the ball for the Yankees second error and another run.

Then Whitey Lockman put the nail in the coffin with a three run home run.

After the 6-2 victory the Giants were up two games to one on the Yankees.

But this would be the last win for the Giants in the 1951 World Series. The Giants dropped the next three games by scores of 6-2; 13-1; and 4-3 as the Yankees won their third consecutive World Series.

Neither Mantle or Mays were factors in the outcome. Mickey Mantle hurt his foot in game two and missed the remainder of the series. He had one hit in just five at bats. Mays batted just .182 with four hits in 24 at bats, scoring only one run and driving in one. DiMaggio batted .261 and would never play again.

Giants fans would have to wait until 1954, when the championship would return to the Polo Grounds with a four game sweep over the Cleveland Indians.

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One thought on “A Close Play At The Plate In Game 3 Of The 1951 World Series

  1. Rick

    Mickey Mantle did not hurt his foot. He tore ligaments in his right knee in Game 2 when his foot caught on an open drain cover in right centerfield. Mickey was running to catch a fly ball hit by Willie Mays and shortened his stride so he wouldn’t run into Joe DiMaggio. This was the knee injury that never healed, and, if Jane Leavy got it right, Mickey played the rest of his career with no anterior cruciate ligament.

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