BotYD: Elite Eight, Series #1 – The 1956 Yankees @ The 1927 Yankees!
Earlier this month, we introduced the next month-long series that I’ll be running, called Battle of the Yankee Decades! To see the introductory and explanation post for this series, check it out here.
Last week, I announced the rules, seeding, and team rosters for each of the sixteen teams that were added into the tournament. Check that out here.
We began our simulations last Friday, and will start the Elite Eight today with the 1956 Yankees at the 1927 Yankees!
The great thing about Out of the Park Baseball: 21 is that in these simulations, you can easily see which team is favored (when the logos are different).
With the #1 seed against the #9 seed, we see this quite evidently in how the game favors their line-up as well as on the pitching side with this first match-up. The second line-up spot with Billy Martin against Mark Koenig is the only slight advantage to the 1956 Yankees. Will this show clearly in the series?
Remember: Now that we are onto the Elite Eight, each series is emulating a current-day ALDS Format with a Best-of-Five Game Series.
A game favoring an upset from a great pitching performance out of Whitey Ford (6.0 innings, 0 runs, 6 strikeouts) quickly turned sour for the 1956 Yankees as the bullpen started to come into the game. Against Tommy Byrne in the 7th the 1927 first struck as Lou Gehrig supplied 3-run off one swing of the bat, bringing the game within a run. Tom Morgan then collected a blown save as Mark Koenig and Babe Ruth hit back-to-back RBI singles to supply a late lead for 1927 en route to a win.
After a close Game One, and a quick 1-0 deficit in the first, the 1927 offense came out of nowhere to clobber 1956. On the pitching side, Herb Pennock went a great 7 innings allowing only 5 hits and 1 run with 7 strikeouts which combined with a scoreless 2 innings from Myles Thomas kept 1956 mostly off the base-paths. Interestingly enough, there were no home runs hit in this game, but 6 different batters for 1927 had one or more extra base hits, highlighted most by Earle Combs who collected two doubles and a triple while also collecting 5 RBI’s.
Game Three taking place in 1956 obviously helped the younger team as they were able to get back home to an older Yankee Stadium I. In a game that went very similarly to Game One in the series, the visiting team took a great lead and held onto it late, where 1927 went up 6-2 going into the bottom of the 7th. However, the bullpen let down Waite Hoyt, especially from the bat of Billy Martin and Yogi Berra who collect 6 RBI’s in the final two innings of the backs of a single, double, and triple, which helped give a late 10-6 lead and give the 1956 Yankees their first win of the 5-game series.
A common thread of this series was the falling apart of a bullpen, which is clearly seen as the 1956 Yankees needed to use 6 relievers to finish out Game Four after a 2 inning appearance from their starter. This led to a very quick and big deficit as the 1927 bats came to play, scoring 5 runs in the 4th, 4 runs in the 5th, and 3 runs in the 6th inning en route to 13 runs scored. Bob Shawkey pitched 4.2 innings to start the game and Urban Shocker redeemed himself from Game Three with a scoreless 2.2 relief innings along with Joe Giard who also pitched a scoreless 1.2, finishing out the game towards another series win.
Series Stats and MVP:
Unfortunately for Mickey Mantle (1956’s top hitter with a .600 SLG), he was the only hitter on his team with a home run. For Whitey Ford (1956’s top pitcher with a 0.00 ERA over 6 innings), outside of Bob Grim (1 inning of work) he was the only pitcher with an ERA under 4.50, which was definitely not helped by allowing 40 runs over the 4 games.
Bob Meusel led the way for 1927 en route to his series MVP, ending up with a .579 SLG (Earle Combs led the team with a .667 SLG, Babe Ruth had 1 HR, and Lou Gehrig had a .562 SLG with 2 HR’s). On the pitching side, Herb Pennock with his 1.29 ERA was great for 1927, coming out as their top pitcher after the four game series.
The Elite Eight Continues Tomorrow, With The:
1941 Yankees (#5 Seed) at the 1961 Yankees (#4 Seed)