Year In Review : 1950 American League

Off the field...

The Korean War began after North Korean forces known as the "Democratic People's Republic" crossed the 38 th parallel dividing North and South Korea. The attack, aimed at reuniting the country under Communist rule from the North, took place on June 24 th and was a complete surprise to the American administration. Many feared that this attack heralded the beginning of World War III. Under the flag of the United Nations, sixteen countries sent military forces to South Korea's defense, most coming from the United States. Many other countries contributed equipment, supplies, and other support. North Korea's main allies were the Soviet Union, which supplied it with arms, and China, which later sent many troops.

Two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, attempted to assassinate President Truman on November 1 st . Both arrived in Washington D.C. the day before from the Bronx in New York City, where they were active in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. Both felt the assassination would call attention to their home country and advance the cause of Puerto Rican independence. In the ensuing gun battle, both traded gunfire with White House policemen and several Secret Service Agents. Torresola was killed in the melee, but Collazo reached the steps of Blair House before collapsing with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was later sentenced to death. President Truman himself commuted the sentence to life imprisonment in 1952.

In June 1950, three former agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and television producer Vincent Harnett, published "Red Channels", a pamphlet listing the names of one-hundred fifty-one writers, directors and entertainers who they claimed had been members of subversive organizations (before World War II) but had not been blacklisted. The names had been compiled from FBI files and a detailed analysis of the "Daily Worker", an underground newspaper published by the American Communist Party.

In the American League...

On June 8 th , the Red Sox recorded the most lopsided victory in baseball history after crushing the visiting St. Louis Browns 29-4. Boston also set several Major League records including most extra bases on long hits (thirty-two) in a game, and the most extra bases on long hits in consecutive games (fifty-one). Leadoff batter Clyde Vollmer set a Major League mark of his own as the only batter to go to the plate eight times in eight innings.

The Cleveland Indians came out swinging in the 2 nd game of a June 18 th doubleheader and set a modern Major League record by scoring fourteen runs in the first inning. The opening rally also tied the mark for most runs scored in a single inning. With the exception of pitcher Mike Garcia, all Tribe members batted twice en route to a 21-2 massacre.

The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers combined for a Major League record eleven home runs during a 10-9, June 23 rd outing at Tiger Stadium. It was also the first time that nine different players connected for home runs in a single game. Detroit tallied four home runs in the 4 th inning thanks to Dizzy Trout, Gerry Priddy, Vic Wertz, and Hoot Evers. New York's Hank Bauer connected for two while Joe DiMaggio, Jerry Coleman, Yogi Berra, and pinch hitter Tommy Henrich also belted round trippers. Home team slugger Evers finally won the contest with his second blast, an inside-the-park two-run game winner in the 9 th .

In the National League...

Boston Braves slugger Sid Gordon tied the Major League record for most grand slams in a season after knocking his fourth of the year against the Philadelphia Phillies. His team dominated both games in a Fourth of July doubleheader and their 12-9 win in game two gave both teams a combined total of forty runs, fifty-five hits, and ninety total bases for the day.

On July 16 th , players from around the league connected for thirty-seven combined home runs setting a new Major League record. Leading the home run derby was the Cincinnati Reds who posted two wins over the New York Giants, 16-4 and 11-10.

The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5 on July 26 th as the Dodgers' Jim Russell went both ways for two home runs, making him the first switch-hitter in history to accomplish the feat more than once. On the other side of the plate, St. Louis' Stan Musial hit in his 30 th straight game for the longest consecutive hitting streak of the decade.

Around the League...

Jackie Robinson, the man who broke baseball's color barrier signed a new contract for $35,000, making him the highest paid Brooklyn Dodger in the history of the franchise.

The Associated Press selected the "Miracle Braves" of 1914 as the greatest sports upset in the 20 th century. Managed by George Stallings, Boston completed the season riding a 60-16 streak to go 94-59. Later, they went on to win the National League pennant by 10½ games over the heavily favored New York Giants in the post-season.

President Harry Truman tossed out two balls at the Washington opener (one left-handed and one right-handed) then sat through a driving rain to see his Senators beat the Philadelphia Athletics 8-7 at Griffith Stadium.

In an effort to discourage the continued Major League signing of black ball players, Dr. J.B. Martin, the president of the Chicago Giants of the Negro American League, ordered manager Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe to sign several white players. Radcliffe obliged his employer by signing three white teenagers immediately and adding at least two others later in the season.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"I'm not quitting because I'm too old. I'm quitting because I think people want me to." - Connie Mack on October 18, 1950

1950 American League Player Review

1949 | 1950 American League Hitting Statistics | 1951

Washington
141
Boston
.354
Detroit
56
Detroit
218
Cleveland
37
Cleveland
.442
Boston
144
Boston
144
Boston
131
New York
.585
Boston
15
Boston
326
Boston
11
Boston
11
Detroit
11

1950 American League Pitcher Review

1949 | 1950 American League Pitching Statistics | 1951

St. Louis
22
Cleveland
22
Cleveland
3.20
Washington
53
Washington
15
Detroit
4
Cleveland
170
New York
.724
Cleveland
23

1950 American League Standings

1950 All-Star Game | 1950 Team Standings | 1950 World Series

98
56
.636
0
95
59
.617
3
94
60
.610
4
92
62
.597
6
67
87
.435
31
60
94
.390
39
58
96
.377
40
52
102
.338
46

1950 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Detroit
722
Batting Average
Boston
.302
Doubles
Boston
287
Hits
Boston
1,665
Home Runs
Cleveland
164
On Base Percentage
Boston
.385
Runs
Boston
1,027
Slugging Average
Boston
.464
Stolen Bases
Philadelphia
42
Washington
42
Triples
New York
70

1950 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Detroit
72
ERA
Cleveland
3.76
Fewest Hits Allowed
Cleveland
1,289
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Washington
99
Fewest Walks Allowed
Detroit
553
Saves
New York
31
Shutouts
New York
12
Strikeouts
New York
712
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On June 8, 1950 , the Boston Red Sox went wild against the St. Louis Browns, winning 29-4, and setting new American League single game records for runs scored during a game , extra base hits, and total bases (since broken).

1950 American League Pennant Race | by Jim Halloran ( Baseball and America )

Although it did not enjoy the climatic finish of the NL, the AL did have four teams with 90+ wins. The Yankees got off to a quick start and held on to win by three games over the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers were followed by Boston and Cleveland. As is often the case the results were influenced by injuries. The Yanks lost Joe Dimaggio for over two months at the beginning of the season, the Tigers were hit hard when ace Virgil Trucks was lost due to an arm injury for the remainder of the season after seven starts, and the Red Sox were without Ted Williams for two months after he broke his elbow during the All-Star Game .

#1 Yankees (98-56) . Casey Stengel was living a manager’s dream with his championship roster. An aging (HOF) Joe Dimaggio was still producing batting .301, 32 homeruns and 132 despite injuries. The three other future Hall of Famers showed their stuff: Shortstop Phil Rizzuto won the AL MVP by batting .324, catcher Yogi Berra hit .322 with 22 homeruns and 124 RBIs and 37 year old 1b Johnny Mize clobbered 25 homeruns. The Yanks were loaded in pitchers with all stars Vic Raschi (21-8) Allie Reynolds (16-12) and Ed Lopat (18-8). The veteran threesome were joined by rookie and future Hall of Famer Whitey Ford (9-1).

#2 Tigers (95-59) . Although they did not have a lot of name recognition outside of (HOF) 3B George Kell (.340 with 101 RBIs) they gave the Yankees some nervous moments. The everyday lineup featured outfielders Vic Wertz and Hoot Evers both batted over .300 with 20 plus homeruns and a hundred RBIs. The pitching staff included pitchers (HOF) Hal Newhouser (15-13), future Cincinnati manager Fred Hutchinson (17-9) and Art Houtteman (19-12). If ace Virgil Trucks had not been hurt, it might have been the year of the tiger.

#3 Red Sox (94-60 ). A team of veterans that could hammer a baseball. Third baseman Johnny Pesky batted .312, Dom Dimaggio .325, Hall of Famers 2B Bobby Doerr .294 with 27 homeruns and 120 RBIs, and Ted Williams .317, 28 homeruns with 92 RBIs despite playing in only 89 games. Utility man Billy Goodman was the AL batting champ hitting .354 and 1b Walt Dropo made his major league debut by batting .322 with 34 homeruns and 144 RBI. Dropo was a runaway choice for the AL Rookie of the Year Award . Mel Parnell (18-10,) was the ace of the pitching staff.

#4 Indians (92-62) . A star studded line up could not keep the Indians from a September slump that knocked them out of contention. The offense was fueled by 3B Al Rosen who batted.287 with 37 homeruns and 115 RBIs, 1B Luke Easter belted 28 homeruns while knocking in 107 and outfielder Larry Doby slugged 25 homeruns, 102 RBIs while batting .326. Aging (HOF) Bob Feller (16-11) teamed up with Bob Lemon (23-11), (HOF) Early Wynn (18-8) and Mike Garcia (11-11) to form a star studded pitching staff.

The Losers

#5 Senators (67-87) . A struggling team with little to create fan interest, The one bright spot was 22 year old 1B Mickey Vernon batting .306. Third baseman Eddie Yost .295 led the AL in walks. They did have 14 game winner pitcher Sid Hudson but that was pretty much it.

#6 White Sox (60-98) . At least this team had two young players to build on. Although (HOF) 2B Nellie Fox and pitcher Billy Pierce did not post great statistics their potential was starting to show. Complementing the young players were veterans 1B Gus Zernial 28 homeruns and 93 RBIs and 1B Eddie Robinson a .314 batting average and 20 homeruns.

#7 Browns (58-96) . Not much was positive regarding this team that had languished in or one step from the cellar since the war years. This year they actually had two future good ballplayers: young outfielder Roy Sievers and catcher Sherm Lollar , but being the Browns they did not hold onto them.

#8 A's (52-102) . 1950 marked the final and 50th year of Connie Mack at the helm and I imagine he was pleased to step aside. Losing more than 100 games in a 154 game schedule took some really bad baseball. They clung hopelessly to the idea that veterans 1B Ferris Fain and SS Eddie Joost would turn things around. They did have one promising pitcher, 5 ft 6 inch Bobby Shantz who would break through a few years later.

Which slugger would you guess hit the longest home run at Cleveland Stadium? Mickey Mantle ? Ted Williams ? Al Rosen ? It was hit on June 23, 1950, by Indians' first baseman Luke Easter who blasted a Joe Haynes pitch into the upper right deck of right field.

Billy Goodman of the Boston Red Sox played 1 game at shortstop, 5 games at second, 21 games at first base, 27 games at third base, and 45 games in left field during 1950. Billy Goodman also won a batting title during 1950 making him the first winner who was not a regular position player.

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