YEAR IN REVIEW : 1947 American League

Off 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.

In 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.

In 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.

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"A manager who cannot get along with a .400 hitter ought to have his head examined." - Joe McCarthy on September 29, 1947

1947 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Boston
162
Boston
.343
Cleveland
45
Boston
207
Boston
32
Boston
.499
Boston
114
Boston
125
Boston
.634
St. Louis
34
Boston
335
New York
13

1947 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Detroit
24
Chicago
2.42
Cleveland
58
Cleveland
17
New York
Cleveland
5
Cleveland
196
New York
.704
Cleveland
20

1947 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees 97 57 .630 0
Detroit Tigers 85 69 .552 12
Boston Red Sox 83 71 .539 14
Cleveland Indians 80 74 .519 17
Philadelphia Athletics 78 76 .506 19
Chicago White Sox 70 84 .455 27
Washington Senators 64 90 .416 33
St. Louis Browns 59 95 .383 38

1947 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Detroit
762
New York
.271
Cleveland
234
Detroit
New York
1,439
New York
115
Detroit
.353
New York
794
New York
.407
Chicago
91
New York
72

1947 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Detroit
77
New York
3.40
Fewest Hits Allowed
New York
1,221
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Washington
63
Fewest Walks Allowed
Detroit
531
Cleveland
29
Detroit
15
Washington
New York
691
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On July 5, 1947, Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians became the first black player to appear in an American League game. Doby debuted against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning as a pinch hitter for pitcher Bryan Stephens . With two on, and two out, Doby struck out against Earl Harrist .

Despite breaking the color barrier two months after the senior circuit, the American League would be involved in several other racially significant games: July 20, 1947, St. Louis Browns ( Hank Thompson and Willard Brown ) versus the Red Sox in the first game where two black players appeared in the same lineup; August 9, 1947, Cleveland Indians ( Larry Doby ) versus the St. Louis Browns ( Hank Thompson ) in the first game where two black players opposed each other; and August 11, 1947, St. Louis Browns' Willard Brown became the first black player to hit an inside the park home run.

On September 28, 1947, the St. Louis Browns were playing the Chicago White Sox. In the broadcast booth preparing to call the game was the legendary Dizzy Dean who quipped he could still beat "nine out of ten who call themselves pitchers today." Challenged to prove it, Dean left the booth, started the game for the Browns, and tossed four shutout innings. Upon resuming his broadcast duties he commented, "I think I could pitch well enough to win up here (in the booth), but I don't intend to try!"

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