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Game Three and the Yankees’ comeback in the 1956 World Series

Before the series comebacks of this year, the Yankees needed to escape a significant deficit in the 1956 World Series.

World Series - Media Day Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In both series the Yankees have played this postseason, they have fallen behind by two games only to win the next three.

For as much playoff success the Yankees have had in their history, there aren’t as many wild, series-swinging comebacks as you might think. Obviously, they have come back from series deficits before. The 1996 World Series immediately comes to mind as one example. However, in many of their championship runs, they’ve often been playing from ahead.

The 1996 win was one obvious comeback, but another a little further back happened in 1956.

The Yankees took on the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series and quickly fell behind. The opening two games of the series were played at Ebbets Field and the Dodgers won both of them. Yankees’ pitching allowed a combined 19 runs.

The series shifted to Yankee Stadium for Game Three and Whitey Ford took the mound. He allowed a run in the top of the second, but a Billy Martin home run tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.

Ford allowed just two baserunners in the next three innings, with the Dodgers managing no runs. The Yankees similarly put on a couple baserunners without pushing across a run.

Then in the top of the sixth, Pee Wee Reese hit a one-out triple and scored on a Duke Snider sac fly. Just like that, the Yankees were now 12 outs away from going down 3-0 in the World Series.

Thankfully for the Yankees, 12 outs is still a lot. In the bottom of the sixth, Hank Bauer led off with a single, and Yogi Berra picked up a two-out single a couple batters later. Enos Slaughter brought them all home with a home run, putting the Yankees up 4-2.

The Yankees were leading, but they still had plenty of work to do. In the seventh, the Dodgers put a couple runners on when Ford walked Gil Hodges and allowed a single to Carl Furillo. After getting a fly out, another Dodger reached after Yankees’ third baseman Andy Carey made an error on a grounder. Hodges scored and the Dodgers were within one run again. With the tying and go ahead runs on base, Ford induced a fly out and a ground out to get out of the inning.

The Yankees went on to tack on an insurance run in the eighth, while Ford allowed just one baserunner in the final two innings and finished off a complete game. The Yankees survived a couple precarious positions, and hung on for the win. Instead of being down 3-0, the Yankees were now down just a game and had two more games at home.

In Game Four, the Yankees never trailed and tied the series. Don Larsen threw a perfect game the next day in Game Five, and the Yankees went now up 3-2. They wound up taking the series in seven games to win their 17th championship.

These playoffs have shown that series can swing pretty dramatically. Something as important to Yankees’ history as Don Larsen’s perfect game might not have happened were it not for some timely hits and outs in Game Three.