Yankees History: How the Bombers Sealed the 1928 World Championship

While not as dominant as the famous 1927’s “Assassins Row”, 1928 Yankees You are not slouch. AL pennant’s last margin lasted only 2.5 games on track, but the Yankees’ 101 wins en route to another World Championship.

There, they will be matched against the NL champion St. Louis Cardinals, who were themselves in a tight race. St. Louis won 95 games, which was just two times behind the second-placed Giants. Their victory led to a World Championship rematch two years earlier, with the Cardinal winning seven matches. The streak ended after Babe Ruth was knocked out for the final runner-up in the ninth with the Yankees dropping by just one round. The Yankees took it to another level the following year, but some excitement about a rematch would certainly be warranted.

The 1928 World Championships began in New York, with the Yankees winning fairly outright. The series then moved to St. Louis for Game 3, where the Cardinals had the opportunity to fend for themselves, getting three straight games at home. They started this race in perfect fashion, opening a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the first on the Jim Bottomley RBI triple.

Lou Gehrig answered again by driving from the top of a second with a home run, then gave the Yankees the lead inside the park who also scored Ruth in fourth. This would later be answered by the Cardinals in fifth place when Andy Hay doubled the house in one run to tie the match. This paved the way for its sixth summit, and a sequence that would change the game, and possibly the series.

Mark Koenig led the Yankees’ sixth segment with a single, but was quickly wiped out on the base lanes after Ruth settled in strength for second. Gehrig’s career gave the Yankees two teammates as Bob Meusel and then came to the plate. Meusel grounded one to three, sending the third Cardinals to baseman High and throwing to Frankie Frisch for second. Frisch took Gehrig out of the force play, but they also clashed. The collision caused Fresh to throw first as a potential double play wrong, sending Ruth home.

Bottomley, the Cardinals’ first starter, recovered the ball and brought it home before Ruth, but another collision resulted in the ball being lost to St. Louis goalkeeper Jimmy Wilson. After Wilson got the ball, he threw it into second place with a Meusel header there. However, Frisch was still off, resulting in another mistake for Wilson, his second in the play. When the dust settled on the play, the Yankees were leading 4-3 and runner-up with just one advantage in the inning. Before the inning was over, the Yankees made two more runs, both unearned, to extend their advantage to three runs.

On the seventh, the Yankees got another round on Ruth RBI’s single. This also wasn’t gained because sprinter, Cedric Durst, made it to the base thanks to a foul on left St. Louis player Chick Havley.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ first bowler, Tom Zachary, settled after the Cardinal tied in the fifth. The only real problem he had after that came when the two top hitters of St. Louis were in the eighth solo. However, Zachary Wilson made it add to his very bad day by establishing in a double game. Zachary threw four goal-less runs to finish the game, to net the Yankees a 7-3 victory. The last four-run margin ended up being exactly the same amount as the number of unearned runs the Yankees scored on the day.

This also put the Yankees 3-0 ahead in the series, and they never lost from there. Two days later, the Yankees came back from a 2-1 deficit by scoring a total of six runs over the seventh and eighth rounds. Another 7-3 win in Game 4 would see the Yankees win their second consecutive World Championship and third in franchise history.

At the same time, who knows what happens if the runaway 6th inning of Game 3 isn’t played this way? The Cardinals might end up winning that game. From the standpoint of wise, a close 2-1 streak win with two more home games would probably look a lot better than a 3-0 loss to the defending champions. The Yankees led by Premier Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig by 2-1 might still win twice on four chances, but hey, they play games for a reason.

So, sure, you probably couldn’t say a single play changed the entire trajectory of the 1928 World Championship. However, the Yankees also took full advantage of the Cardinals briefly losing their minds.

Sources

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN192810070.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1928_WS.shtml

The New York Times, October 8, 1928

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