No baseball city has been as successful on the diamond as New York.
That’s not hyperbole, either. Four Big Apple franchises — the Yankees, Mets, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants — have combined to win 35 of 112 World Series. St. Louis, all courtesy to the Cardinals, is next with 11.
Yes, New York baseball is in a league of its own. And in the spirit of that statement, amNewYork thought it would be fun to pit four of the greatest teams from the five boroughs against each other, with the help of the acclaimed baseball-management game “Out of the Park Baseball 18,” available now for PC and Mac.
Within the highly customizable options of “OOTP,” we created a fictional league featuring a representative from each NYC franchise: the 1927 Yankees, the 1986 Mets, the 1955 Dodgers and the 1905 Giants. Each team played 108 games (36 against each opponent) in the regular season, with the top two clubs facing off in a seven-game championship series. Call it the City Series.
Read on to see how the fantasy matchup played out in amNY’s simulation.
Most might expect the ’27 Yankees, often referred to as the greatest team in baseball history, to run away from the pack. Instead, the ’55 Dodgers edged them out by one game to set up a postseason matchup against the first-place ’86 Mets. The ’05 Giants finished a distant fourth.
Dwight Gooden and Bobby Ojeda led the way through the season for the boys from Flushing. Gooden posted a 3.05 ERA, while Ojeda tossed six shutouts. Several Mets hitters exceled, none more than Lenny Dykstra and his .312/.396/.494 slash line.
Brooklyn’s success stemmed from a terrific season by Roy Campanella, who batted .335 with 24 home runs. Jackie Robinson, who in ’55 was nearing the end of his trailblazing career, led the Dodgers with a .411 on-base percentage. Excellent hitting helped them overcome struggles by ace Don Newcombe (4.06 ERA).
So what went wrong for the Yankees? Well, the legendary Babe Ruth hit .216 and swatted an uncharacteristic nine home runs. More effective was Lou Gehrig (.268 average, 29 home runs). Hall-of-Fame right-hander Waite Hoyt pitched exceptionally (3.00 ERA), but fellow starters George Pipgras and Herb Pennock couldn’t pull their weight for the Bronx Bombers in a tight race for second.
The same can be said of righty Christy Mathewson. As the ’05 Giants’ ace, he managed a middling 3.67 ERA. The regular lineup at the Polo Grounds didn’t stand out much, other than perhaps the Cooperstown-enshrined catcher Roger Bresnahan and his .296/.422/.358 slash line.
Needless to say, the Mets’ 12-game cushion atop the standings made them the clear favorites against Brooklyn entering the City Series.
Game 1 at Shea Stadium got off to a good start for the Mets, with a four-run second inning giving them a 4-1 advantage that led to Newcombe’s early exit in the fifth.
But the tide turned for Brooklyn in the ninth. Jesse Orosco, on to close for the Mets with a 5-4 lead, loaded the bases and walked the Dodgers’ Carl Furillo to tie it. After striking out Gil Hodges for the second out, Robinson reached on an error by third baseman Howard Johnson to score Duke Snider for what turned out to be the winning run in a 6-5 Brooklyn win.
Another one-run game played out in Game 2, this time in a pitchers’ duel between Ojeda and the Dodgers’ Johnny Podres. Ojeda went the distance and scattered 10 hits, but was bit by a pair of solo homers by Pee Wee Reese and Don Zimmer.
Podres was sharper, keeping the Mets from going deep and allowing just six hits and two runs scattered over 8 1⁄3 innings as Brooklyn won 3-2, to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Mets’ came out swinging in Game 3 as the series shifted to Ebbets Field. Keith Hernandez’s three-run homer in the first staked an early lead for righty Ron Darling, who allowed one run and three hits over six innings.
Then, the Dodgers struck. After pitching a scoreless seventh, the wheels came off Orosco again with a 3-1 lead. He was tagged by Reese and Snider, who combined to drive in four runs and send the closer packing. By the end of the eighth, the Dodgers led, 7-3. Although Darryl Strawberry tripled in the ninth to score Hernandez, it wasn’t enough as the Dodgers won, 7-4, and moved within a game of the sweep.
With momentum fully on their side, confident Brooklyn went for the jugular in Game 4. The Dodgers scored twice in the second and third, and three times in the fourth to lead, 7-3. Gooden surrendered all seven runs — two were unearned, but the six walks were self-inflicted.
That eased the pressure on Newcombe, who allowed five runs (four earned) over 7 1⁄3 innings en route to a 7-5 victory, and a City Series sweep for the Dodgers. Reese, the Hall of Fame shortstop, batted .462 over four games to earn MVP honors.