The 1954 World Series matched the National Leaguechampion New York Giants against the American League champion Cleveland Indians. The Giants swept the Series in four games to win their first championship since 1933, defeating the heavily favored Indians, who had won an AL-record 111 games in the regular season; it has since been broken by the 1998 New York Yankees (114) and again by the 2001 Seattle Mariners(116, tying the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most wins ever). The Series is perhaps best-remembered for “The Catch“, a sensational running catch made by Giants center fielder Willie Mays in Game 1, snaring a long drive by Vic Wertz near the outfield wall with his back to the infield. It is also remembered for utility player Dusty Rhodes‘ clutch hitting in three of the four games, including his walk-off hit for Monte Irvin that won Game 1, probably the best-known hit to be described as a “Chinese home run“, since it barely cleared the 258-foot (79 m) right-field fence at the Polo Grounds. Giants manager Leo Durocher, who had managed teams to three National League championships, won his first and only World Series title in his managerial career. The Giants, who would move west to become the San Francisco Giants, would not win a World Series again until the 2010 season.
This was the first time the Cleveland Indians had been swept in a World Series and the first time the New York Giants had swept an opponent without qualification. They had won four games without a loss in the 1922 World Series, but there was also one tie. Game 2 was the last World Series and playoff game at the Polo Grounds, because the Giants did not win another pennant until after their move to San Francisco and because the Mets did not reach the postseason until after they moved to Shea Stadium. Game 4 was the last World Series and playoff game at Cleveland Stadium; the Indians did not return to the World Series or playoffs until 1995, a year after Jacobs Field opened.