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This day in baseball history, recalling an ancient grudge match

Yankee Stadium is closed for good as of nine days ago, the Yankees having failed to make the playoffs fpr the first time in years. But 50 years ago today, Yankee Stadium was preparing to play host to games 3, 4, and (presumably) 5 of its ninth World Series in ten years. The opponent would be the Milwaukee Braves.

The Braves had upset the Yankees the previous year. To a man, as I’ve read, the Yankees considered themselves the superior team, and were out to prove it in 1958.

With revenge very much on their minds, the Yankees effectively locked up the American League pennant in July. On August 1, they held a 16.5 game lead over second place Boston. Their record was 66-34. Every other team in the League was under .500.

The Yankees coasted the rest of the way, winning 26 and losing 28, as their focus shifted to the rematch with Milwaukee.

The Braves were just about holding up their end of the deal. Their rivals of the previous season — the Dodgers (now in their first season in LA) and the Cardinals — had collapsed. Two upstart teams — the Pirates and the Giants — were supplying the competition. On August 1 the Braves led San Francisco by only 2.5 games.

The Giants and the Pirates would be heard from big-time in the coming seasons, but neither posed a serious threat to the Braves in 1958. Ultimately, Milwaukee won the pennant by 8 games over second place Pittsburgh, finishing with the same record as the Yankees, 92-62.

The 1958 World Series would be a memorable one. I’ll recount its events during the coming days.

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