Soderholm-Difatte: 60 years ago, batting eighth for the Yankees … the pitcher

From SABR member Bryan Soderholm-Difatte at Baseball Historical Insight on May 15, 2016:

It’s often said that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. After having set the pace out front of everybody else since just the fourth game of the year, the Yankees awoke in Cleveland on May 16, 1956, preparing to play they 27th game of the season—the equivalent of 4.5 miles into a 26-mile marathon—to find that the Indians were now running beside them in the race. True, it was early, but the Yankees definitely preferred that their arch rival since the 1951 season be running behind them, rather than running even. Casey Stengel’s starting line-up for the game was quite unorthodox; he had the pitcher bat eighth and his weak-hitting shortstop, Phil Rizzuto, ninth—not so unusual today, perhaps, but in the 1950s it certainly was.

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Originally published: May 19, 2016. Last Updated: May 19, 2016.