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Houk: “We Don’t Feel Disgraced”

Oct. 6, 1963 - “We don’t feel disgraced,” said manager Ralph Houk (pictured today after congratulating Dodger manager Walter Alston) of his Yankees, who had just been swept out of the World Series by the Dodgers. The 22 hits for the Yankees tied a Series low that dates back to 1914. It was the ninth sweep in Series annals. “I told the players they had nothing to be ashamed about,” said Houk, “and that’s the way I feel. We were ready at the start of this Series, and we have no alibis. But we’re not ashamed. We’re going to win a lot more Series in the future.” But there was no escaping the fact that for the second straight day, the Yankees, the club with the highly advertised million-dollar infield, the team that never beats itself, had kicked away a ballgame — and the World Series — on a fielding fluke. “Clete’s throw was good” said dazed rookie first baseman Joe Pepitone, the kid who moved Moose Skowron out of Yankee Stadium and made the All-Star lineup in his first season. “I didn’t see it. It got lost in the shirts behind third base. It hit me on the side of the glove and wrist and went on by. Nothing like that happened to me all year. I didn’t have a single error all year on an infield throw.” Pepitone uttered a curse and then walked to the showers. His hand went up to his eye and brushed away a tear. Then he looked sheepishly at his teammates, hoping they didn’t see it. HIs teammates missed it because most of them were crying inside. It’s easy to cry when you’re out $4,000 or so — the difference between winning and losing the World Series. A number of Dodgers expressed the view that Pepitone should not be blamed for the error that cost the Yanks the game. Both Skowron and Ron Fairly said that in day games, the white shirts behind third often make it impossible to see throws coming across the infield. “We’ll take a razzing,” said Whitey Ford. “We always do, anyway. Whenever we do any little thing wrong, we hear it. Wherever we go, 90% of the people root against us. Now it will be 99%.” “That’s right,” agreed Mantle. “You have to lose sometimes,” he said, “but never this way — not four straight. People will forget what happened in Pittsburgh [when the Yankees lost in seven]. But they’ll never forget this. I know I won’t. I never saw pitching like that. In our league, we see good pitching for a game or two, but never for four straight games. These guys are the best I have ever seen.”

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