Year In Review : 1947 National League

O ff the field...

Captain Chuck Yaeger, an American test pilot, became the first to break the sound barrier after he accelerated his X-1 test plane to six-hundred seventy miles per hour, at an altitude of 42,000 feet. The specially designed aircraft was dropped from a modified B-29 bomber leftover from World War II.

Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced the goals of his Economic Recovery Plan, otherwise known as "The Marshall Plan" which stated that "the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world". The idea of providing aid in the reconstruction of war torn nations provided markets for American goods, created reliable trading partners, and supported the development of stable democratic governments in Western Europe. Congress's approval of the Marshall Plan signaled an extension of the bipartisanship of World War II into the postwar years.

I n the American League...

Philadelphia Athletics catcher Buddy Rosar finally dropped a pop-up on May 20 th for his first recorded error in one-hundred forty-seven games and seven-hundred fifty-six chances. New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra went on to extend the Major League record to one-hundred forty-eight and nine-hundred fifty from 1957 to 1959, but Rosar's single-season record of one-hundred fifteen games and six-hundred five errorless chances stood unchallenged for fifty years until Charles Johnson of the Florida Marlins topped it in 1997.

Larry Doby became the first African-American to play in the American League after appearing as a pinch-hitter for the Cleveland Indians on July 5 th during a 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The following day he started at first base and went one-for-five at the plate.

On August 13 th , Willard Brown of the St. Louis Browns became the first African-American player to homer in the American League after hitting a pinch inside-the-park home run for a 6-5 victory over pitcher Hal Newhouser and the Detroit Tigers.

I n the National League...

On April 17 th , the Brooklyn Dodgers topped the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field 12-6, as baseball's first African-American player; Jackie Robinson tallied his first Major League hit (a bunt single). Robinson would go on to perfect the "squeeze play" while bunting forty-two times throughout the season.

Johnny Mize of the New York Giants set a Major League record after hitting three successive home runs (for the fifth time in his career) during a 14-5 loss to the Boston Braves. Mize would later go on to add a sixth, three-homer performance while playing with the New York Yankees in 1950.

After several St. Louis Cardinal players were rumored to initiate a strike as a sign of protest against playing with Jackie Robinson, National League President Ford Frick and team owner Sam Breadon both announced that any player directly involved in any acts of racial prejudice or disobedience would be suspended indefinitely. Cardinal manager Eddie Dyer wholeheartedly denied the allegations and his "Redbirds" went on to play (and beat) the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-1.

A round the league...

Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler announced the development of the first official pension plan for major leaguers. The plan stated that any player with five years experience would receive a check for $50 a month at age fifty, and $10 a month over the next five years. The pension fund was initially set up for $650,000, with teams providing 80% and the players investing the remaining 20%.

April 27 th was declared as "Babe Ruth Day" at all Major League ballparks. During a special pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium, a frail looking Ruth, who was battling the effects of throat cancer, struggled through a short speech thanking the fans for their continued support. The emotional program was broadcast nationwide on television, radio and over the loudspeakers at every stadium as "The Bambino" was presented with a bronze plaque with his likeness from the American League and a leather-bound book with signatures of every player from the National League.

Tragedy struck the Minor League system as standout Jimmy Davis (Longhorn League) died after being hit in the head with a pitched ball. The promising twenty-year old outfielder was hitting .333 at the time and had tallied nineteen home runs in forty-eight games.

New York Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio was named the American League's MVP by a single point over the Boston Red Sox' Ted Williams. Williams, the Triple Crown winner, received two-hundred one points, but was completely left off one writer's ballot igniting a major controversy. It was later determined that a single, tenth-place vote (or better) would have granted him the two points that were necessary to top DiMaggio.

"(Leo) Durocher has not measured up to the standards expected or required of managers of our baseball teams." - Commissioner Harry Chandler
1947 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

104

Brooklyn

Batting Average

St. Louis

.363

Philadelphia

Doubles

Cincinnati

38

Hits

Boston

191

Home Runs

Pittsburgh

51

New York

On Base Percentage

Cincinnati

.449

RBI

New York

138

Runs

New York

137

Slugging Average

Pittsburgh

.639

Stolen Bases

Brooklyn

29

Total Bases

Pittsburgh

361

Triples

St. Louis

16

Philadelphia

1947 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cincinnati

23

ERA

Boston

2.33

Games

New York

62

Saves

Brooklyn

18

Shutouts

Boston

7

Strikeouts

Cincinnati

193

Winning Percentage

New York

.808

Wins

Cincinnati

22

1947 National League

Team Standings

Brooklyn Dodgers

94 60 .610 0

St. Louis Cardinals

89 65 .578 5

Boston Braves

86 68 .558 8

New York Giants

81 73 .526 13

Cincinnati Reds

73 81 .474 21

Chicago Cubs

69 85 .448 25

Philadelphia Phillies

62 92 .403 32

Pittsburgh Pirates

62 92 .403 32

1947 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

732

Batting Average

Boston

.275

Doubles

Boston

265

Hits

St. Louis

1,462

Home Runs

New York

221

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.364

Runs

New York

830

Slugging Average

New York

.454

Stolen Bases

Brooklyn

88

Triples

St. Louis

65

1947 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

74

ERA

St. Louis

3.53

Fewest Hits Allowed

Brooklyn

1,299

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Boston

93

Fewest Walks Allowed

Boston

453

Saves

Brooklyn

34

Shutouts

Boston

14

Brooklyn

Strikeouts

St. Louis

642



The quote at the top of the page was made on April 9, 1947, when the Office of the Commissioner suspended Leo Durocher for "an accumulation of unpleasant incidents". Later in his life Durocher wrote of the 1 year suspension, "To this day, if you ask me why I was suspended I could not tell you why."

Easily the MOST historic moment of the season took place on April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier to become the first modern black player in Major League history.

On August 16, 1947, Ralph Kiner hit three home runs during one game. On September 11, 1947 Kiner hit three again to become only the second National League player in history to have two three-home run games during the same season. The first to accomplish the feat was Johnny Mize (1938) and after the season Kiner commented, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Fords."

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