Year In Review : 1952 National League

O ff the field...

After an eight-year study, scientist Jonas Salk finally developed a vaccine that prevented the crippling disease known as polio. Though he was hailed as a miracle worker and a national hero, Salk remained shy of the public eye. He declined to apply for a patent for the vaccine, saying that he was more concerned with people having access to it than the money it would bring him. His next project, one that lasted up until his death in 1995, was to find a cure for AIDS.

The 1952 Olympic games took place in Helsinki reflecting the attitudes of "East versus West" that had been spawned by the Cold War. The Soviet Union decided to rejoin the competition for the first time since 1912, although from a distance. Instead of joining the other athletes in the Olympic Village, the Soviets set up their own camp strictly for Eastern bloc countries near the Soviet naval base at Porkkala. All Russian athletes were then chaperoned by Soviet officials everywhere they went in an effort to prevent communication with athletes from the West.

I n the American League...

On April 30 th , renamed "Ted Williams Day" at Boston's Fenway Park, "Teddy Baseball" played in his final game of the season before going overseas to serve in the Korean War as a Marine fighter pilot. Fittingly, in his last at-bat, the Red Sox slugger hit a game-winning, two-run home run off Detroit's Dizzy Trout for a 5-3 victory over the Tigers.

Seven players including members of the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians were turned in by American League umpire Bill Summers for apparently "fraternizing" before a game. Although the players remained nameless, they were fined $5 each for violating the 1951 rule that strictly prohibited socializing between players from two competing teams.

Washington Senators' owner Clark Griffith dispelled any chance of being accused of practicing preferential treatment after he sold his own nephew, catcher Sherry Robertson, to the Philadelphia Athletics. Robertson later returned to his uncle's front office and served as director of their farm system from 1958-1970.

I n the National League...

Boston Braves ace Warren Spahn tied a National League record (set by Jim Whitney) after posting eighteen strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs in a ffiteen inning, 3-1 loss. Spahn also added a home run as the only score in support of his own efforts. June 14 th has also been remembered as a winning day in Braves history after team scout Dewey Griggs signed an up and coming rookie named Henry Aaron to his first Major League contract.

The Brooklyn Dodgers set a National League mark after completing double plays in twenty-three consecutive games.

On September 29 th , Stan Musial shocked the Cubs by making his first (and only) Major League pitching appearance. After beating Chicago's Frank Baumholtz for his sixth batting title, the St. Louis Cardinal's slugger decided to face his adversary from the mound. Baumholtz responded to the challenge with a clutch hit and managed to reach base on a fielding error en route to a 3-0 victory.

A round the league...

The Celler committee announced that legislation for government control of Major League Baseball was unnecessary. The committee stated that the sport was obviously "competent and trustworthy" enough to solve its own problems. They also opposed all legislation exempting the reserve clause from antitrust laws.

Russia openly criticized the American game of baseball by citing their own version called "lapka" as being the original concept for the game. The State Department quickly came to the defense of the National Pastime by accusing the Soviet's claim as the founders of baseball to be part of its "Hate America" Cold War campaign.

Major League attendance plummeted for the second season in a row as National League ticket sales dropped a staggering 904,854 and American League sales went down 588,788.

"(Hank) Aaron is the best prospect see in the Negro League since Willie Mays." - The Chicago Defender (1952)
1952 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Pittsburgh

110

Batting Average

St. Louis

.336

Doubles

St. Louis

42

Hits

St. Louis

194

Home Runs

Pittsburgh

37

Chicago

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.440

RBI

Chicago

121

Runs

St. Louis

105

St. Louis

Slugging Average

St. Louis

.538

Stolen Bases

Brooklyn

30

Total Bases

St. Louis

311

Triples

New York

14

1952 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

30

ERA

New York

2.43

Games

New York

71

Saves

St. Louis

16

Shutouts

Cincinnati

6

Philadelphia

Strikeouts

Boston

183

Winning Percentage

New York

.833

Wins

Philadelphia

28

1952 National League

Team Standings

Brooklyn Dodgers

96 57 .627 0

New York Giants

92 62 .597

St. Louis Cardinals

88 66 .571

Philadelphia Phillies

87 67 .565

Chicago Cubs

77 77 .500 19½

Cincinnati Reds

69 85 .448 27½

Boston Braves

64 89 .418 32

Pittsburgh Pirates

42 112 .273 54½

1952 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

663

Batting Average

St. Louis

.267

Doubles

St. Louis

247

Hits

Chicago

1,408

Home Runs

Brooklyn

153

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.348

Runs

Brooklyn

775

Slugging Average

Brooklyn

.399

Stolen Bases

Brooklyn

90

Triples

New York

56

1952 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

80

ERA

Philadelphia

3.07

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,265

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Philadelphia

96

Fewest Walks Allowed

Philadelphia

373

Saves

New York

31

Shutouts

Philadelphia

17

Strikeouts

Brooklyn

773



The "good purchase of the year award" must be given to the Boston Braves who were wise enough to obtain an 18-year-old Hank Aaron from the Indianapolis Clowns for $2,500 (plus $7,500 if he remained with the franchise for 30 days).

On June 15, 1952, the St. Louis Cardinals were losing 11-0 versus the New York Giants at The Polo Grounds. Five innings later the score was 14-12 and the Cardinals were victorious in the greatest comeback game of the season.

Trivia alert: The pitcher who got the last win for the Boston Braves was Virgil Jester and it took place on September 27, 1952 at Ebbets Field.

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