By Harv Aronson
There are two chapters to go in this series of World Series matchups as in this edition I take you back 75 years to 1943 and the Fall Classic was a rerun of Major League Baseball’s title matchup from one year before.
In 1941 the mighty New York Yankees took the championship from “Dem Bums” from Brooklyn beating the Dodgers four games to one. A year later, the St. Louis Cardinals were the National League representatives in the World Series and did the reversal of what the Dodgers could not do. In five games, the Cardinals were the world champions. The Yanks had won the opener 7-4 but the Cards won the next four and the championship.
The following season, both teams were back at it once the season ended and after winning 106 games in 1942 losing only 48 St. Louis lowered the record in 1943 to 98-56 whereas the Yankees improved by two games to 105-49 but finished 18 games ahead in first place. The Cardinals also won the National League in double digit games, 13 ½ ahead of the closest team.
This time, New York turned the tables on St. Louis winning four of the five games and the series. After a split of the first two games, the Yankees did not lose again. This Yankees team was a far cry from the 1927 Yankees’ “Murderer’s Row” and in 1943 had a team batting average of just .256. They had just 100 home runs led by Charlie Keller’s 31.
The Cardinals on the other hand Had Walker Cooper, Harry Brecheen, Whitey Kurowski, Marty Marion, Stan “The Man” Musial, and Harry Walker. But they lost in five games. St. Louis finished the 1943 season with a .279 team batting average but only managed 70 homeruns. Stan Musial had hit .357 for 1943 but in the World Series his number dropped to .278.
New York had a 20-game winner in 1943 named Soud Chandler and in the World Series he was the winner in two of the Yankees’ four victories. The Cardinals had a big winner in Mort Cooper (21-8) but he split his two decisions. For New York, playing in the Fall Classic was nothing new. They had already played in 11 World Series before 1943 and won nine of them. In years forward they would establish themselves as the kings of the sport with the most appearances and titles in World Series history.
For the Cardinals, they were in their sixth World Series appearance heading into the 1943 matchup with New York and they previously had won four and lost one. Their most famous championship team was the 1934 “Gashouse Gang” That team had a bunch of rag-tag players and the nickname is a myth as to how it actually came to be.
I found one explanation on the internet that says the shortstop of that team; the infamous Leo Durocher was talking amongst teammates in a derogatory way about the American League and told his buddies that if the Cardinals reached the World Series they would easily win the thing. He then reportedly added:
“Why, they wouldn't even let us in that league over there. They think we're just a bunch of gashousers.”
The Cardinals went on to win that series four games to three defeating the Detroit Tigers but for the New York Yankees, they would be in three straight World Series from 1941 to 1943 winning twice. Four years later they were back to defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers again. After a one year hiatus, the Yanks would win every World Series from 1949 until they were ousted as American League champs by the Cleveland Indians in 1954.