Yankees become World Series kings with win in 1938 Fall Classic

Written by: Craig Muder

Before Oct. 9, 1938, the Yankees had won a total of six World Series – placing the team among the A’s, Giants and Red Sox as the dominant clubs of the first four decades of modern baseball.

But by the end of play on Oct. 9, 1938, the Bronx Bombers had officially taken their spot as baseball’s most successful team.

Future Hall of Famer Red Ruffing scattered eight hits during a complete game that day, beating the Cubs 8-3 to clinch his second win of the Series and wrap up a sweep for the Yankees in front of their home crowd at Yankee Stadium.

It was the third straight title for New York’s American League club – the first time in modern history a team had won three straight World Series.

The Yankees would go on to win the title again in 1939, stretching the streak to four straight.

In the decades since, only the 1949-53 (five straight titles) Yankees have topped that mark – and only the 1972-74 Oakland A’s and 1998-2000 Yankees have won as many as three straight championships.

The Yankees dominated the American League in 1938, winning 99 times and finishing nine-and-a-half games in front of second-place Boston. The National League race, meanwhile, was much closer. The Cubs charged down the stretch against a Pirates team that had led the league for most of the season – finally overtaking the Bucs on Sept. 28 on Gabby Hartnett’s famous “Homer in the Gloamin’” at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished the year with a record of 89-63, two games better than the Pirates.

The World Series, however, belonged to the Yankees. New York won Game 1 behind a complete game from Ruffing and four hits from another future Hall of Famer, Bill Dickey. Game 2 featured a home run by Joe DiMaggio and seven strong innings by Lefty Gomez as the Yanks scored six runs off Cubs starter Dizzy Dean in a 6-3 victory.

Joe Gordon and Dickey homered in a 5-2 Yankees win in Game 3 to set up the finale in Game 4.

The Yankees’ Game 4 lineup was so deep, in fact, that it featured future Hall of Famers batting in the No. 4 (DiMaggio), No. 5 (Lou Gehrig), No. 6 (Dickey) and No. 8 (Joe Gordon) spots as well as Ruffing on the mound in the No. 9 hole.

From 1932 through 1943, the Yankees would win a total of seven World Series titles.


Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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