BotYD: Elite Eight, Series #2 – The 1941 Yankees @ The 1961 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 tournament last Friday, and started the Elite Eight yesterday. Today we continue with the 1941 Yankees at the 1961 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).
We’ve found ourselves in another situation where we aren’t quite sure which team in this match-up is favored as the interlocking-NY logos are the same for the 1961 and 1911 teams. This is made especially harder as they are the #4 and #5 teams respectively, so we’d expect the line-ups and pitching match-ups to be close.
Judging by the star rating, we can see that the 1941 team (#5 seed) has a slight advantage over the 1961 team by taking 5 of the 9 line-up spots as well as the 1st starting pitching match-up.
While it wouldn’t be a big upset, is one in the cards? Let’s see!
The 1961 Yankees took a quick lead in Game One with a 3-run first inning, mostly off the bat of Yogi Berra and a 2-run HR. However, Joe DiMaggio or 1941 didn’t want to be outdone, hitting a 2-run HR of his own in the 4th as part of a 5-run inning to supply a lead for 1941. This would prove to be all they would need, as pitching held 1961 scoreless after the first inning, but a late Joe Gordon HR in the 8th inning helped bring about a 7-3 victory in Game One for the 1941 Yankees. Neither starting pitcher was particularly dominant (Marius Russo: 5.1 IP, 3 R; Whitey Ford: 4.0 IP, 5 R), but a Lefty Gomez scoreless 2.1 innings in relief proved important in the win.
In Game Two, the 1961 Yankees again took an early led with a 4-run first inning, highlighted by a 2-RBI double by Bill Skowron. From then on out, there was a lot of 1 and 2 run half innings from both teams as they each approached 8 runs. Tied after 9 innings, 1941 went ahead in the top of the 10th from an RBI single to go ahead, but in the bottom of the inning after the 1961 Yankees tied the game again at 9, Roger Maris collected a walk-off RBI single of his own to provide a win and tie the series at 1 game apiece. Luis Arroyo collected the win for 1961, but no pitchers had any truly important or good performances to note.
With the series tied, the two teams went back in time 20 years to play in the 1941 version of Yankee Stadium I for Games Three and Four. Again, the 1961 Yankees took an early led, as they’ve often done, going ahead 3-0 after the top of the 3rd inning after a solo HR from Bill Skowron and a 2-run HR from Tony Kubek. The 1941 Yankees delivered a run of their own in the bottom of the third from a Johnny Sturm RBI-single. This proved to be all the runs in this game, as pitching finally proved to show up. Ralph Terry (1961) had the top performance with a 6 inning, 3 hit, 1 run effort and Red Ruffing (1941) had a decent outing of his own with 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs.
After being nearly shut-out in Game Three, the 1941 Yankees decided to flip the script by not only shutting out the 1961 Yankees, but instead no-hitting them in a dominant effort by Marv Breuer. 9 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts with only 87 pitches thrown. Absolutely dominant. A NO-HITTER!
The offense for 1941 wanted to add to this greatness of a game as they scored 10 runs off of the 1961 pitchers, with most coming from 3-run Joe DiMaggio HR in the 3rd inning, and a solo and 3-run HR from Tommy Henrich as well. This has easily been the most exciting game in this series.
After tying the Best-of-Three series, these two teams were catapulted back ahead 20 years to the 1961 Yankee Stadium I, and like almost every game so far, the 1961 Yankees took an early 1st inning lead. This time from a solo HR off the bat of Roger Maris. Joe DiMaggio quickly tied the game with a solo HR of his own in the 2nd, but Yogi Berra came through with a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 4th and a Clete Boyer 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 6th were more than enough to take home a 6-2 victory. Whitey Ford pitched a good game to make up for a poor effort in Game One, this time going 7 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. The 1961 Yankees took the series 3-2.
Series Stats and MVP:
Even in a losing effort for 1941, Joe DiMaggio still took home the series MVP while hitting .474 (and a 1.158 SLG) with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI’s. Tommy Henrich also played great for 1941, hitting .476 (.952 SLG) with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI’s of his own. With pitching, there were lots of good efforts, but it would be wrong not to mention Marv Breuer again with his Game 4 No-Hitter as a major highlight. Wow.
For 1961, the hitting was much more confined as nobody truly stood out amongst the crowd. If I had to award anybody, it would go to Mickey Mantle, who didn’t have the highest SLG, but came out with a .571 OBP from collecting 7 walks during the series. On pitching, again, there were lots of close performances, but I lean towards Luis Arroyo, who collected a win and 2 saves while coming in clutch with a 1.80 ERA over 5 innings of great relief work.
The Elite Eight Continues Tomorrow, With The:
1904 Highlanders (#11 Seed) at the 1939 Yankees (#3 Seed)