Hank Bauer: The Marine Hero Who Won a 1958 World Series Game with a Cracked Bat

by on September 30th, 2010
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Hank Bauer’s bat cracked at the most opportune moment for the New York Yankees. Manager Casey Stengel praised Bauer, not because he broke a $3.65 bat but because the bat produced a bloop single that drove in two runs.

Speaking to reporters, Stengel expressed his pleasure.

“That Bauer was wonderful. I know he iced it with that homer later and I know that last one traveled about three times as far as the single in the fifth, but that single was the one that really did it for us.”

Why do modern sabermetricians think that only extra base hits win games?

Bauer explained that Milwaukee Braves’ right-hander Bob Rush had hit him on the fists with a fast ball, breaking his bat. The ball landed in short left field as Norm Siebern and Gil McDougald scored to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Don Larsen shut out the Braves, Bauer drove in two more runs with a seventh inning home run and the Yankees now trailed the Braves, two games to one in the 1958 World Series.

It was a hard fought game that the Yankees had to win after dropping the first two games at Milwaukee. Warren Spahn pitched a complete game victory in the first game. Lew Burdette followed with a complete game win in the second game.

It would turn out that Bob Rush would be the only starter besides Spahn and Burdette that the Braves would use in the series.

No team has ever come back from a three games to none deficit to win the World Series. The Yankees had never beaten Burdette. Spahn was scheduled to start the fourth game against Whitey Ford, while Burdette and Turley would hook up for Game 5.

The 1958 New York Yankees were a never-say-die unit. Mickey Mantle, Moose Skowron, Elston Howard, Yogi Berra, Ford and especially Bauer never gave in and the never gave up.

Hank Bauer was used to being a hero even before he joined the Yankees.

He was a hero in WWII. He was with the Fourth Marine Regiment , Sixth Division, stationed at Okinawa. His outfit suffered 110 percent casualties, either killed or wounded.

Bauer was hit in his left thigh by flying shrapnel. He spent two weeks in the hospital and was finished fighting, at least in WWII.

Many of the Yankees of the 1950s and 1960s championship teams have been forgotten, in part because Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Elston Howard were such great players. But the Yankees would never have won so many World Series without Gil McDougald, Moose Skowron, Gene Woodling, Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, Eddie Lopat, Ryne Duren and especially Henry Albert Bauer.

References:

By, L. E. (1958, Oct 05). Bauer’s broken-bat single proves luckiest ‘break’ for yankees in series. New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. S2. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/114519895?accountid=46260

Ex-marine plays a familiar role. (1958, Oct 05). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. S2. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/114525622?accountid=46260


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