Few teams have dominated a World Series the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated in 1963. The Dodgers won 99 games during the season, and faced the defending World Champion Yankees in the Series for the first time since they abandoned Brooklyn.
Outstanding Los Angeles Pitching
Sandy Koufax had the first of his four outstanding years, going 25-5 with a minuscule 1.88 ERA, a 159 ERA+, and an 0.875 WHIP. Don Drysdale won 19 games, lost 17, but had a 2.63 ERA to go along with his 114 ERA+ and 1.091 ERA+.
Relief pitcher Ron Perranoski finished second to the Cardinals’ Lindy McDaniel in saves with 22. Perranoski, made 69 relief appearances, worked 129 innings, and was 16-3 with a 1.67 ERA. And the Dodgers had Johnny Podres, who had been the pitching hero when Brooklyn won its only World Championship.
The Yankees Also Had Great Pitching
The Yankees won their fourth consecutive pennant in 1963 with a record of 104-57. Pitching was the Yankees’ strength. Whitey Ford (24-7) and Jim Bouton (21-7) led a staff that allowed only 3.40 runs per game. Ralph Terry, who had shut out the Giants, 1-0 in the seventh game of the 1962 World Series, won 17 games, and erratic fire baller Al Downing was 13-5, with a 2.56 ERA, a 137 ERA+, and a 1.104 WHIP.
New York Never Led in Any Game
Los Angeles swept New York. The Yankees never had the lead in any game. The best they could manage was to tie the fourth game, 1-1, when Mickey Mantle hit a home run off Sandy Koufax, who beat Whitey Ford twice.
After Koufax beat Ford in the series opener, 5-2, old nemesis Johnny Podres won the second game at Yankee Stadium, 4-1, beating Al Downing. In Los Angeles, Don Drysdale shut out the Yankees, 1-0, besting Jim Bouton, and the next day, Koufax beat Ford again, 2-1, to wrap up the World Championship.
The Yankees’ Offense Was Shut Down
The Yankees scored four runs, had only 22 hits, batted an anemic .171, and managed 5 walks compared to 37 strikeouts. It was complete domination. Although the scores were close, the feeling persisted that all Los Angeles needed was a run or two to win, which proved to be true. Yankees’ pitching was solid, but Los Angeles pitching almost completely shut down the Yankees’ offense.
The Yankees Were Favored
Going into the series, the Yankees were considered unbeatable by some, but those who knew the importance of great, not good but great pitching, gave Los Angeles a decent chance of winning. After Los Angeles swept, the Yankees’ performance was compared to that of the 1914 Philadelphia Athletics, who were also considered almost invincible, but who were ignominiously swept by the Miracle Boston Braves.
An Interesting Reaction to the Sweep
The Yankees’ reaction to being swept was interesting to say the least, but it was true. To a man, they considered the loss to the Pirates in 1960 worse.
“I don’t care if the Dodgers beat us 10 straight games,” said Mickey Mantle. “I still feel we have a better team. We couldn’t hit, and their pitching was terrific. But this one didn’t hurt like 1960.”
Moose Skowron, who was with Los Angeles, sat in the winner’s locker room and validated MIckey’s feelings. “I sat next to Mickey that year, and he cried, and cried all the way home.”
It is never good to lose, but the pain is much greater when the loss was almost a win. In 2001, Arizona at least matched the agony the 1960 Pirates put on the Yankees. In 1966, the Orioles dominated Los Angeles even more than Los Angeles had dominated the Yankees in 1963.
1963 Los Angeles Dodgers
1963 New York Yankees
By JOHN DREBINGER Special to The New York Times. (1963, October 7). DODGERS WIN, 2-1, SWEEPING SERIES AGAINST YANKEES :Koufax Triumphs Again as New York Loses Four in Row for First Time. New York Times (1857-Current file),1. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). (Document ID: 80712561).
By LEONARD KOPPETT Special to The New York Times. (1963, October 7). 1960 LOSS WORSE, THE PLAYERS SAY :Team Felt More Humiliated After Defeat by Pirates in 7 Games 3 Years Ago Skowron Recalls 1960 Howard Lauds Pitching . New York Times (1857-Current file),39. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). (Document ID: 80713110).