Year In Review : 1950 National 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

"The Whiz Kids' accomplishment is one of those that endures, and this book (The Whiz Kids and the 1950 Pennant) tells their story well. It is, in fact, a three-base hit: one part Roberts' recollections, one part reminiscences by his teammates and others, and one part Rogers' narrative. Together they create a very pleasing whole." - Steve Gietschier of The Sporting News

1950 National League Player Review

1949 | 1950 National League Hitting Statistics | 1951

New York
144
St. Louis
.346
St. Louis
43
Brooklyn
199
Pittsburgh
47
New York
.460
Philadelphia
126
Boston
120
St. Louis
.596
Boston
35
Brooklyn
343
Philadelphia
14

1950 National League Pitcher Review

1949 | 1950 National League Pitching Statistics | 1951

Boston
27
St. Louis
2.49
New York
Philadelphia
74
Philadelphia
22
St. Louis
5
New York
New York
New York
Philadelphia
Boston
191
New York
.818
Boston
21

1950 National League Standings

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

91
63
.591
0
89
65
.578
2
86
68
.558
5
83
71
.539
8
78
75
.510
12½
66
87
.431
24½
64
89
.418
26½
57
96
.373
33½

1950 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
New York
627
Batting Average
Brooklyn
.272
Doubles
Cincinnati
257
Hits
Brooklyn
1,461
Home Runs
Brooklyn
194
On Base Percentage
Brooklyn
.349
Runs
Brooklyn
847
Slugging Average
Brooklyn
.444
Stolen Bases
Brooklyn
77
Triples
Pittsburgh
59

1950 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Boston
88
ERA
Philadelphia
3.50
Fewest Hits Allowed
New York
1,268
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
St. Louis
119
Fewest Walks Allowed
Philadelphia
530
Saves
Philadelphia
27
Shutouts
New York
19
Strikeouts
Brooklyn
772
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

Did you know that on June 7, 1950, a Caribbean based scout for the New York Giants named Alex Pompez submitted a report recommending the signing of a right-handed pitched named Fidel Castro?

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

The first thing that pops into the memory of baseball fans regarding 1950 is the Philadelphia Phillies “Whiz Kids”. The National League pennant race went down to the last game of the season with the Phillies and Robin Roberts (HOF) defeating the second place and preseason favorite Dodgers and Don Newcombe 4-1 in ten innings. Both pitchers went the distance until Dick Sisler (son of HOF George Sisler ) blasted a three run home run in the tenth to move the Phils on to the World Series. It should never have gotten to this point as the Phillies held a 7 ½ game lead over the Boston Braves and a 9 game lead over the Dodgers on September 20. But what a dive they took as the lead dropped to 4 games over the Dodgers going into the last week of the season. They then managed to lose back to back doubleheaders to the Giants allowing the Dodgers to pull within one game for this end of season contest.

#1 The Whiz Kids (91-63) . The roster was filled with young players. It included two 23 year old future Hall of Famers pitcher Robin Roberts , (20-11, 3.04 era, 40 games, 304 innings) and 23 year old centerfielder Richie Ashburn who batted .303. But there were others: Home runs and RBIs came from 3B Puddin Head Jones (25, 82), catcher Andy Seminick (24, 88) and outfielder Del Ennis (31, 126). Supporting Roberts were pitchers Curt Simmons (17-8), and Jim Konstanty (16-7, 22 saves). Konstanty was a surprise choice as the NL MVP (the Cy Young Award for best league pitcher was not awarded until 1956). Roberts ' 20 win season was the first of six consecutive 20 win seasons. Ennis who hit 31 homeruns in 1950 went on to a very successful, but often overlooked, thirteen year career with 288 home runs, 1,284 RBIs and a lifetime batting average of .284.

#2 Brooklyn Dodgers (89-65) . Many very familiar names in baseball lore were playing in Brooklyn by 1950. The four future Hall of Famers 2B Jackie Robinson (.328,12, 81 ), shortstop Pee Wee Reese (.260,11,62 ), outfielder Duke Snider ( .321,21,127 ) and catcher Roy Campanella (.281,31,105) teamed up with 1B Gil Hodges’s 32 homeruns and OF Carl Furillo’s .305 batting average to provide the offense. Pitchers Don Newcombe and Preacher Roe had identical 19-11 won lost seasons.

#3 New York Giants (86-68) . The Giants rallied late in the season to close within 5 games under the leadership of (HOF) manager) Leo Durocher . Third baseman Hank Thompson , outfielders Bobby Thomson and catcher Wes Westrum all hit more than 20 homeruns. Second baseman Eddie Stanky batted .305 and led the team in runs scored with 115. Pitchers Larry Jansen (19-13) and the Barber Sal Maglie (18-4,) led the pitching staff. The gritty Maglie earned his Barber nickname for his ability to throw tight and inside to the hitter.

#4 Boston Braves (83-71) . sputtered in the stretch run. What success they achieved this season came from the pitching of " Spahn and Sain and pray for rain ". (HOF) Lefthander Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain combined for 41 wins. Vern Bickford also contributed with 19 wins including a no hitter. First baseman Earl Torgenson and 3B Bob Elliott hit over 20 homeruns while rookie outfielder Sam “the Jet” Jethroe was the surprise of the year hitting 18 homeruns and stealing a league leading 35 bases. Jethroe was named the NL Rookie of the Year . He had been recruited from the Negro League at the age of 28 and was the first black player for the Boston Braves. Due to age and injuries Sam only played four seasons of major league baseball.

The Bottom Feeders

#5 St. Louis Cardinals (78-75) . despite the presence of two future HOF outfielders Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter plus HOF 2B Red Schoendienst the Cards barely played .500 baseball. Musial had an outstanding season batting .346, 28 homeruns and 109 RBIs. With the exception of Howie Pollett’s 14 wins the team had little in the way of pitching.

#6 Cincinnati Reds (68-87) . Had little to offer outside of young slugger Ted Kluzewski who batted .307 with 25 homeruns and 111 RBIs, and future Yankee World Series pitcher Ewell Blackwell (17-15,2.97 ) . Rookie OF Joe Adcock showed some promise.

#7 Chicago Cubs (64-89) . Not much you can say for a team whose only standouts were outfielders Andy Pafko and veteran Hank Sauer who both hit over 30 homeruns. Their leading pitcher won 13 games but lost 20. No wonder Manager (HOF) Frankie Frisch was on the hot seat and lost his job midway through the next season.

#8 Pittsburgh Pirates (57-96) . The second year of a disastrous era for Pittsburgh fans. (HOf) Ralph Kiner led the league with 47 homeruns and 118 RBIs and young outfielder Gus Bell batted .292 in his major league debut but that was pretty much it at the plate. There were no pitchers on the staff that won more games than they lost. Twenty year old hurler Vern Law showed some promise. Second baseman Danny Murtaugh would someday manage the Pirates in better times.

On August 26, 1950, either the manager or the pitcher ( Ken Raffensberger ) of the Cincinnati Reds made the wrong call when Gil Hodges reached based 3 consecutive times and was driven in each time by a Roy Campanella home run.

On September 3, 1947, Ron Northey hit a pinch hit grand slam for the St. Louis Cardinals. On May 30, 1948, Northey, during game two of a doubleheader, duplicated his pinch hit grand slam feat. On September 18, 1950, Northey, now playing for the Chicago Cubs, became the first Major League player in history with 3 career pinch hit grand slams .

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