MLB: Art Ditmar Saved Whitey Ford in 1958 but No One Saved Ditmar in 1960

New York Yankees fired manager Casey Stengel after the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

One of the major reasons the Yankees lost was because Stengel didn’t start Whitey Ford in the opener. He gave the start to Art Ditmar, calling him the Yankees most consistent pitcher that year, which was true.

The Pirates blasted Ditmar for three runs in the first inning, sending him to the showers. Dick (Captain Strangeglove) Stuart was the only Pirate he retired.

Ford didn’t get a start until the third game. He shut out the Pirates, 10-0. He started the sixth game, and shut out the Pirates, 12-0.

Since the Yankees scored four runs in the first game, the “experts” speculated that the Yankees would have won the opener and eventually the World Series. You know, as the preordained base hit when, with two outs, a runner is thrown out attempting to steal second. The batter leads off the next inning with a home run. Would he have hit the home run in the previous inning if the runner hadn't tried to steal?

Anyway, Stengel never managed in a vacuum.

In 1958, Ditmar helped bail out Ford and the Yankees. His performance against the Milwaukee Braves was critical in setting up the chance for the Yankees to win the World Series.

After Hank Bauer staked Ford to a 1-0 lead with a first inning home run, the Braves scored a run off Ford in their half of the first inning on two singles to tie the game.

Then Ford's troubles really started.

With one out, Wes Covington singled. Andy Pafko singled. And then  Warren Spahn singled home Covington to put the Braves ahead, 2-1. Hooray for the designated hitter.

When Ford walked Red Schoendienst to load the bases with only one out, Stengel, who sometimes had a quick hook, brought in Art Ditmar to save a game the Yankees had to win.

Bases loaded and only one out. The County Stadium crowd was going wild. The noise was deafening. Javier Vazquez and Ed Whitson would have loved it.

Ditmar did his job but also got lucky. He got out of the jam with one pitch.

Johnny Logan hit a short fly ball to left. Elston Howard moved in on the ball and made the easy play, but third base coach Billy Herman had Andy Pafko tag up from third and then tagged out at home.

Ditmar worked three and two-thirds innings of scoreless ball. He gave the Yankees a chance to win, which they finally did in 10 innings.

There is no question that if Ford started the first game in 1960, the Yankees would have had a better chance of winning that World Series, but Stengel had seen Ditmar succeed in the World Series before.


Yankees win, 4-3, in tenth and tie braves in series. (1958, Oct 09). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. 1. Retrieved from

TAGS: , MLB History, , World Series