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Ultimate Yankee Series II: Game Five

Lineups: 1978 (Visitor) Willie Randolph 2B, Mickey Rivers CF, Thurman Munson C, Reggie Jackson RF, Lou Piniella LF, Graig Nettles 3B, Chris Chambliss 1B, Bucky Dent SS, Ed Figueroa P

1961 (Home) Bobby Richardson 2B, Tony Kubek SS, Mickey Mantle CF, Elston Howard C, Roger Maris RF, Bill Skowron 1B, Yogi Berra LF, Clete Boyer 3B, Whitey Ford P

Starting Pitchers: Ed Figueroa (20-9, 2.99) looks to avenge his Game Two loss against Game One loser Whitey Ford (25-4, 3.21).

Summary: In Game Four, the ‘61s found their power, and in Game Five, they picked it right back up from the beginning. Lightning in the second inning when Roger Maris connected for a solo homer off of Figueroa.

That was all of the scoring as the contest entered the fifth inning, when singles by Berra, Boyer and Ford (who beat out a bunt) loaded the bases for Bobby Richardson with nobody out. Manager Whiteman was thinking about just getting another run home, but Richardson had other ideas and homered, and the ‘61s had a 5-0 lead.

That’s a pretty good lead with a Hall-of-Famer on the mound, and Ford cruised, allowing only five hits. The ‘78s got on the board in the eighth when Yogi Berra booted one out in left field to allow Willie Randolph to score. Manager Semendinger’s hope of a comeback was dashed when Maris homered for a second time on the bottom of the frame. Reggie Jackson’s solo shot in the top of the ninth was a matter of too little, too late.

1961 Yankees 6, 1978 Yankees 2. The 1961 team wins the series four games to one.

What went right: Ford was in control the whole game, allowing only five hits and striking out nine…Maris finally got untracked with his two homers…Tony Kubek had three more hits and is series MVP with a .500 average (11 hits in 22 at bats).

What went wrong: The big inning undid Figueroa again…Mickey Mantle finished with three singles and a .167 average for the series.

Player of the game: Maris ripped two homers, seeming to finally find his stroke.

Final Thought: The 1961 Yankees are one of the great teams of all time. When I decided on this series I knew that the ‘78s were the lesser team of the two but thought in a short series that Guidry, Goose and Reggie could overcome. Personally, I was hoping for a longer series as the games with Paul were very enjoyable

An interesting footnote to the 1961 Yankees. Here’s a list of the on-base percentages, from leadoff hitter to eight, of their most common lineup. I stuck fairly close to this during the series:

.295 – Richardson .306 – Kubek .372 – Maris .448 – Mantle .387 – Howard .318 – Skowron .330 – Berra .308 – Boyer

The top two batters with an OBP of about .300!

Using 21st century lineup concepts, I might set the lineup this way:

Berra Mantle Maris Howard Skowron Boyer Kubek Richardson

The setting up of the lineup has certainly evolved over the past sixty years!

Speaking of sixty years, Strat-O-Matic is celebrating their 60th anniversary in 2021! Check it out!


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