I saw that game. I have the videotapes of all the World Series of 1949 through 1953, and I have been watching them closely, just to see Steady Eddie pitch. The only difference between him and Whitey Ford, if memory serves, was that Ford was a little faster; otherwise, the two could well have been twins out there on the mound.
You may remember that Lopat spent a large part of the 1952 season on the shelf as a result of what turned out to be tendonitis of the left shoulder. He had pitched two games in the 1951 Series and won both of them, but after that second game he suddenly couldn’t lift his left arm—the weather might have been a factor, because I remember that it had been cold and damp all Series (it even rained on the day the fourth game was scheduled to be played). But one day Lopat suddenly remembered an orthopedic surgeon whom he had known in Chicago during his White Sox days, and he flew out to see him. The doctor examined him, told him that he had tendonitis in his throwing shoulder, and prescribed a series of X-Ray treatments—extreme, yes, but they worked, and when Lopat came back he was pitching better than ever. He ran up a record of 33-8 frm that point until the end of the 1954 season.
He told me that story, and then he said, “But enough of that. Tell me about the slider.” I had been working on that pitch all winter and had used it in a couple of games, one relieving, two starting, and I felt very comfortable with it as my strikeout pitch. And yes, he did throw a murderous screwball, but not exclusively—he used it as part of his arsenal. One time he asked me if I ever threw it. I replied that I did not, and he said “Good for you. You don’t need it.” Indeed I didn’t—I had a whole closetful of breaking pitches to work with.
It’s always a great pleasure to watch him at work.