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David Brown

New York-Philly Series déjà vu: Have we not met before?

David Brown
Big League Stew

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New York and Philadelphia meeting in the World Series seems like a fresh idea, as it has been nearly 60 years since the neighboring Phillies and Yankees got together.

But the Big Apple and the Big Brotherly Lover share a Fall Classic history that spans more than 100 years — even if most it revolves around two teams that moved long ago.

Other than in 1950 when the Yankees swept the Phillies in four games, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics faced off in the Series three times. This was in the early 20th century, well before both teams resettled in the Bay Area.

We're talking big, Hall-of-Fame names in this New York-Philly World Series lineage. John McGraw vs. Connie Mack, the two winningest managers of all time.

Christy Mathewson vs. Frank "Home Run Baker."

Eddie Plank vs. Rube Marquard!

Overall, New York and Philly are 2-2 in World Series. Let's see how they got there, starting with what's happening in the photo above: The Yankees' Yogi Berra tagging out Philly's Granny Hamner at home plate during Game 4 of the '50 Series.

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1950 — 'Whiz Kids' fizzle out — Yankees 4, Phillies 0

Aptly nicknamed because many of their stars — including Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts (right), Curt Simmons, Willie Jones, Del Ennis and Hamner — were under age 25 on Opening Day, the Phillies grinded out the NL pennant race and eliminated the Brooklyn Dodgers on the last day of the regular season for their first pennant since 1915.

The Yanks, defending champs as they often were in that era, were led by an aging-but-still great Joe DiMaggio, diminutive MVP Phil Rizzuto, Jerry Coleman, Allie Reynolds and rookie Whitey Ford. Despite it being a sweep, the World Series was one of the closest in history, with the Yanks winning three one-run games before putting away the Phillies 5-2 at Shibe Park in Game 4.

The Phillies, without lefty Simmons because of red tape related to his military service, also went 3-for-30 with runners in scoring position. The franchise would not get a chance to win their first World Series for another 30 years.

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1913 — '$100,000 Infield' worth every penny — Athletics 4, Giants 1

When they tire chattering about 1989, do A's and Giants fans of today still talk smack about the rivalry of the 'teens? The Philadelphia A's were one of the AL's dominant teams of the era; the Yankees were just getting around to calling themselves the "Yankees." The Giants were kings of New York.

The cornerstone of the A's was their expensive infield, relatively speaking, led by third baseman Frank Baker and second baseman Eddie Collins, both eventual Hall of Famers. Shortstop Jack Baker and first baseman Jack "Stuffy" McInnis rounded out Connie Mack's pride, but it was the play of rookie catcher Wally Schang who might have made the biggest difference in the Series. Solid during the regular season, Schang matched Frank Baker with a homer and seven RBIs, and had a higher OPS over five games.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Philly-New York World Series? Games were played at each city on alternating days. None of this 3-2-3 stuff.

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1911 — Take that, John McGraw, you rapscallion! — Athletics 4, Giants 2

After the Giants won the NL pennant in 1904, McGraw refused to meet the Boston Americans (later the Red Sox) in the World Series. The snob! So much for the "tradition" the major leagues started in 1903. McGraw's snub still echoed in 1911, even though his team agreed in 1905 to play the A's.

McGraw (right, in the white belt after Labor Day) shook the hand of Connie Mack (right, in the cool hat) but did so with the backing of many in the media who predicted the Giants would unseat the A's, the reigning World Series champs.

Looked like a good call after Christy Mathewson edged Chief Bender in Game 1, but Mathewson lost his other two starts in the series and the A's repeated.

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1905 — Sweet fancy Moses, Christy Mathewson — Giants 4, Athletics 1

In probably the best postseason pitching performance of all time, Christy Mathewson went 3-0 with no ERA to prove McGraw's point about superiority. In total, he allowed 13 hits and one walk with 18 strikeouts over 27 innings. If you didn't complete games back in those days, they sent you to the salt mines.

After shutting down the A's on a four-hitter in Game 1, Mathewson came back with two days rest to do it again in Game 3. Not wanting to mess around, McGraw went with Mathewson again in Game 5 with one day of rest. Mathewson slipped a little, tossing a five-hitter. He also made two errors. But the Giants won 2-0 to take the World Series.

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