The 1959 World Series — the Dodgers take a standing eight-count, then rally

The Los Angeles Dodgers edged their way into the 1959 World Series as underdogs and quickly confirmed their status as such by losing the opening game 11-0. This was the biggest rout ever in a Series opener. It would not be exceeded until 2007 when the Red Sox slammed the Rockies 13-1 in their opener.
The White Sox bats cooled off in Game Two, but they took a 2-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning. The Dodgers had thus scored only one run in 15 innings against Early Wynn, Jerry Staley, and Bob Shaw. Shaw retired the first two Dodgers in the seventh. But then pinch-hitter Chuck Essegian homered, Jim Gilliam, and Charley Neal hit his second homer of the game. Suddenly, the Dodgers were up 4-2.
That was the score in the bottom of the eighth, when Ted Kluszewski led off with a single. Kluszewski, a top National League slugger throughout the 1950s, had been brought to the White Sox late in the season to add power to “go-go White Sox” attack. In Game One he had smashed two home runs in driven in five runs.
When Sherm Lollar followed Kluszewski’s single with one of his own, Chicago manager sent Earl Torgeson in to run for Big Klu, but left the slow-footed Lollar in the game. Al Smith promptly doubled, but Lollar was thrown out at home plate on two fine throws — Moon to Wills to Roseboro. Lopez should have sent on a pinch runner, and with no one out, Lollar should not have tried to score.
The situation wasn’t too grim for Chicago, though. Smith had advanced to third on the throw and he represented the tying run with only one out. Lopez sent up a Billy Goodman to pinch-hit. Goodman, a former AL batting champion, was one of the best contact hitters in the game. During his career, which ended in 1962, he struck out only 329 times in more than 6300 plate appearances.
Sherry fanned Goodman nonetheless and then retired Jim Rivera on a pop-up. In the ninth, Sherry set down the White Sox in order. The Dodgers had survived an opening game rout to take one out of two on the road, as the series headed, for the first time ever, to the West Coast.


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