On October 5, 1953, the New York Yankees defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers to win their fifth World Series in a row. It was a record-breaking championship: Joe McCarthy’s legendary 1936-1939 Yanks had won four in a row, but no team had ever won five. The Bombers had squeaked by the Bums in Game 7 the previous year, and everyone thought that the Brooklyn team–powered by amazing pitching and a taste for revenge–would be back to claim the title. But instead, they lost for the seventh time in as many chances, and their cross-town rivals made World Series history.
More than anyone else, the 1953 series belonged to second baseman Billy Martin. At the beginning of the first game, he cracked a three-run triple and added three more hits on the way to a 9-5 Yankee victory. In the second, Martin hit a game-tying homer in the seventh inning, paving the way for Mickey Mantle’s two-out two-run blast in the eighth. The Bombers won that game 4-2. The Dodgers won the third game, thanks to pitcher Carl Erskine’s series-record 14 strikeouts. They won the fourth, too, but lost their momentum in Game 5: The Yankees had 25 hits; Martin homered again; and Mantle hit a grand slam (only the fourth in championship history) into the upper deck of the left-field stands.
In the ninth inning of the sixth game, the unfortunate Dodgers were losing 3-1. Then, with one out, Duke Snider walked; after that, Carl Furillo clobbered a run into the right-field stands. The game was tied. But in the bottom of the inning, Yankee Hank Bauer walked to first and made it to second on an infield single from Mantle. Then, the irrepressible Martin–who batted .500 in the series with 12 hits in all (a double, two triples, two homers and 8 RBIs)–stepped to the plate. He singled to center, sending Bauer home and winning the game.
On the same day in 2001, in the first inning of a game at San Francisco’s Pac Bell Park, Giant Barry Bonds hit his 71st home run, breaking the record Mark McGwire had set three years before. He hit another homer off the same pitcher–L.A. Dodger Chan Ho Park–in the third. Two nights later, he hit his last bomb of the season. His record still stands.