The 1956 World Series of Major League Baseball was played between the New York Yankees (representing the American League) and the defending champion Brooklyn Dodgers (representing the National League) during October 1956. The Series was a rematch of the 1955 World Series. It was the last all-New York Series until 2000; the Dodgers and the New York Giants moved to California after the 1957 season. Additionally, it was the last time a New York team represented the National League until 1969, when the New York Mets (an expansion team that debuted in 1962) delivered what was arguably the biggest upset in World Series history by defeating the Baltimore Orioles in five games.
The Yankees won the Series in seven games, 4–3, capturing their seventeenth championship. Brooklyn won Games 1 and 2, but New York pitchers threw five consecutive complete games (Games 3–7) to cap off the comeback. The highlight was Don Larsen's perfect game in Game 5. Larsen was named the Series MVP for his achievement. The Dodgers scored 19 runs in the first two games, but only 6 in the remaining five games, with just one in the final three games.
This was the last World Series to date not to have scheduled off days (although Game 2 was postponed a day due to rain).
As of April 2015, three original television broadcasts from this Series (Games 2 partial, Games 3 and 5) had been released on DVD.
AL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL Brooklyn Dodgers (3)
†: postponed from October 4 due to rain
Three batters into the game, the Yankees led 2-0 on a Mickey Mantle home run. Brooklyn struck back with a Jackie Robinson homer in the second inning and a three-run Gil Hodges shot in the third, then won behind Sal Maglie's complete-game pitching.
Neither starting pitcher survived the second inning, Don Newcombe giving up a Yogi Berra grand slam, and Don Larsen giving up four unearned runs. Little-known pitcher Don Bessent worked the final seven innings for the win. Larsen's next start would be somewhat better. (See Game 5.)
Whitey Ford pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits, and got the support he needed from an Enos Slaughter three-run homer in the sixth.
Hank Bauer's two-run homer in the seventh off Don Drysdale, pitching in relief, put the game away for the Yankees, who got a complete-game six-hitter from Tom Sturdivant. Mantle hit a solo home run off Ed Roebuck in the previous inning.
In Game 5, Larsen, working in an unusual "no-windup" style, pitched the only postseason perfect game, and the only postseason no-hitter until 2010. Of several close moments, the best remembered is Gil Hodges' fifth-inning line drive toward Yankee Stadium's famed "Death Valley" in left-center, snared by center fielder Mickey Mantle with a spectacular running catch.
A reporter asked Yankees manager Casey Stengel if this was the best game Larsen had ever pitched. Stengel diplomatically answered, "So far!" For Larsen, this was an especially satisfying performance, as he had acquired perhaps a better reputation as a night owl than as a pitcher. Stengel once said of Larsen, "The only thing he fears is sleep!" Larsen's perfect game was also the last game that umpire Babe Pinelli called behind the plate.
Sports cartoonist Willard Mullin drew an illustration of a happy Larsen painting a canvas titled The Perfect Game, observed by Mullin's classic "Brooklyn Bum." Referencing the old saw "I don't know much about art but I know what I like", the disgusted-looking Bum came up with a variation: "I don't care if it is art—I don't like it!"
In a 10-inning scoreless pitching duel with both starters going all the way, Jackie Robinson's walk-off single to left in the bottom of the 10th won the game for Clem Labine and kept the Dodgers' championship hopes alive. Tough-luck loser Bob Turley gave up a 10th-inning walk to Jim Gilliam, a sacrifice bunt by Pee Wee Reese and intentional pass to Duke Snider before the decisive hit.
Yogi Berra's two homers led New York to an unexpectedly easy title-clinching victory. Yankee pitcher Johnny Kucks struck out Jackie Robinson to end the game and the Series. It would be Robinson's final at-bat, as he retired at the season's end.
1956 World Series (4–3): New York Yankees (A.L.) over Brooklyn Dodgers (N.L.)
NBC televised the Series, with announcers Mel Allen (for the Yankees) and Vin Scully (for the Dodgers). In 2006, it was announced that a nearly-complete kinescope recording of the Game 5 telecast (featuring Larsen's perfect game) had been preserved and discovered by a collector. That kinescope recording aired during the MLB Network's first night on the air on January 1, 2009, supplemented with an interview of both Larsen and Yogi Berra by Bob Costas. The first inning of the telecast is still considered lost and was not aired by the MLB Network or included in a subsequent DVD release of the game.
The Mutual network aired the Series on radio, with Bob Wolff and Bob Neal announcing. This was the final World Series broadcast for Mutual, which had covered the event since 1935; NBC's radio network would gain exclusive national rights to baseball the following season.