THE SPORTING SCENE
Unimpressive Yankees Stumble to Victory Over Tough San Francisco Pitching Staff
The middle of October brings antumn leaves, football games, the first bour exams and, almost as inevitably, another world championship for the New York Yankees and the American League. This year's version found the Bronx Bombers picking up their 20th series victory since 1927 in a seven-game marathon with the San Francisco Giants.
But if the ending of the 1962 classic carried a slightly familiar ring, the method used by the New Yorkers was as uncharacteristic of a Yankee team as pennant winners have been to the city of Boston (the '48 Red Sox did the trick for perhaps the last time ever). Strangely enough, pitching and defense rather than the traditional New York batting power stopped the Giants' bid for glory.
Last year, the New Yorkers squashed the Cincinnati Reds in five quick games. The season before that, Pittsburgh stopped Casey Stengel's bunch in seven, but not before Bomber bats had scored more runs than any other baseball nine in series history. The Pirates triumphed in 60 by pouncing on such chronic Yankee weaknesses as shaky pitching and erratic fielding.
Giants Stymie Yankee Batters
Holding the Yanks to an average of just 2.66 runs per game, Jack Sanford and company pitched well enough to justify a senior circuit victory under almost any other set of circumstances. In fact, Giant hurlers performed so well that their mates actually outscored New York overall, 21 runs to 20.
Yankee center fielder Mickey Mantle may have almost won the American League batting title, but he batted a puny .120 against the Giant mound corps. Teammate Roger Maris did manage one home run in the sixth game (a losing cause, but his four hits in 25 at bats still put him well below the .200 mark for the seven-game series.
The two Yankee sluggers seemed to have set the style. Such other series dependables as Elston Howard, Yogi Benra, and Bobby Richardson were equally unimpressive helping the team to a rousing .199 average. Only Cletis Boyer and rookie Tom Tresh solved Giant pitching for respectable batting totals.
San Francisco even robbed its East Coast rivals of their most dangerous and traditional weapon--the home run ball. Used to swatting circuit blows in bunches, the baffled Bombers smashed only three homers in 63 innings of play at spacious Yankee Stadium and windswept Candlestick Park.
But if they didn't hit the ball hard and if they didn't hit it very often, the Yanks connected frequently enough to support a suddenly inspired pitching staff and an air-tight defense for the required four wins.
Terry's Pitching Paces Bombers
Right-hander Ralph Terry pitched 25 stellar innings including two complete games, Goat of the '60 series, Terry managed to control his penchant for throwing home run balls and displayed remarkable control in issuing only two walks throughout the series.
Bill Stafford and Whitey Ford allowed four runs between them in nailing down the other two Yankee wins while teammates came up with crucial defensive plays. All three outfielders (Mantle, Maris and Tresh) made spectacular catches at critical moments, capped by Maris' run-preventing peg in the last inning of the seventh game.
The Giants, though falling to take full advantage of their opponents' inability to hit, were more than a worthy opponent. The turning point of the series didn't come until that last shot off the bat of Willie McCovey hit Bobby Richardson's glove to keep the winning run and 120,859.44 sitting on second base.