#Shortstops: Drawing the perfect postseason
For seven straight days from in the fall of 1947, New York City was abuzz with drama and excitement.
Easily one of the most entertaining World Series ever contested was taking place between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Prior to 1947, the Dodgers and the Yankees hooked up in the Fall Classic only once before, with the Yankees winning in five games in 1941. It was the beginning of a long run between the two teams battling it out for baseball’s top prize for the next decade and a half.
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To keep up with all of the excitement, newspaper sports columns were the go-to item for every baseball fan. However, an unusual part of the print media also covered the World Series: Cartoonists. Gene Mack, a well-known Boston Globe cartoonist, was famous for his baseball illustrations. Over the years, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has obtained several original illustrations of Mack’s work, including his depiction of the 1947 World Series.
The 1947 cartoon perfectly recaps an action packed series, filled with key moments and clutch performances. Mack highlights several important stories throughout the series. However, none more memorable than the Dodgers’ three extraordinary wins that had Brooklyn fans thinking that this could be their year.
It all started in Game 3, the Dodgers were down two games to none, and came out with a roaring 6-0 lead. Ebbets Field was supercharged as the Yankees continued to claw their way back, but the Dodgers held onto win 9-8, thanks to pitcher Hugh Casey.
The next day, baseball fans would witness one the wildest endings in World Series history. Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens held the Dodgers hitless through 8 ⅔ innings. With runners on first and second and two outs, 33-year-old Navy veteran Cookie Lavagetto pinch hit for Eddie Stanky. The Dodgers were on the cusp of being on the wrong end of the first no-hitter in World Series history until Lavagetto smacked a long fly off the right field wall scoring two runs to walk it off for Brooklyn. The Dodgers won the game 3-2 with one hit. Ebbets Field was a madhouse.
Baseball drama at its best left Lavagetto in laughter and in tears.
In Game 5, the Yankees would win another pitchers’ duel by the score of 2-1. Once again, the Dodgers had their backs against the walls. The third moment Mack depicts is a catch, considered to be one of the most memorable World Series catches of all time. Journeyman outfielder and defensive replacement Al Gionfriddo would make a dramatic catch robbing fellow Italian-American, Joe Dimaggio, in the sixth inning of what could have possibly been a game-tying 3-run home run.
Dimaggio, stunned and angry, kicked the dirt in disgust, a rare public display of emotion. Another unlikely star saved the day for the Dodgers as Brooklyn would go onto win 8-6 forcing a Game 7.
With a series filled with heroic plays for the Dodgers, their luck would eventually run out, as the Yankees would go onto to win Game 7 on Oct. 6 by a score of 5-2, and the series four games to three.
It was a World Series never to be forgotten. It would see two little-known players, Al Gionfriddo and Cookie Lavagetto, bask in glory only to never play another game in the Major Leagues after the series. It featured record crowds, clutch performances and it ended in another title for the New York Yankees, their 11th in 24 years.
It was a series full memories, memories perfectly depicted by Gene Mack.
Michael Belmont was a 2019 library research intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development