Year In Review : 1953 American League

O ff the field...

After three bloody years, one month, and two days of fighting, the Korean War officially ended. In the end the United States suffered 33,327 deaths and 102,000 wounded at a cost of $18 billion dollars. Under the terms of the cease-fire, Korea was re-divided at the 38 th parallel (as it was the day the Communists had first attacked). Agreement was quickly reached in almost all areas, with the exception of a prisoner-exchange compromise. The United Nations forces refused to return prisoners who did not want to be repatriated and as a result, sporadic fighting continued over a two-year period until President Eisenhower threatened the use of nuclear weapons to achieve peace.

American Communist Party members turned spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were executed on June 19 th after being convicted of espionage for selling the formula for the atomic bomb to the Soviets. They were the first civilians put to death under the Espionage Act of 1917.

I n the American League...

Boston Red Sox slugger turned combat ace Ted Williams safely crash-landed his damaged Panther fighter plane after being hit by enemy fire while flying a combat mission in Korea on February 19 th . He later returned home from active-duty in August and finished the season with thirteen home runs and an incredible .407 batting average.

New York Yankee Mickey Mantle hit the longest home run in Griffith Stadium history with a five-hundred sixty-five foot "tape-measure" blast off pitcher Chuck Stobbs for a 7-3 victory over the Washington Senators on April 17 th .

The St. Louis Browns set the Major League mark for most consecutive home defeats, after losing their 20 th game in succession, 6-3 to the visiting Cleveland Indians.

I n the National League...

Roy Campanella set the Major League record for most runs batted in by a catcher after smacking a three run home run in a 6-3 Brooklyn Dodgers win over the Philadelphia Phillies on September 7 th . Campanella's total of one-hundred twenty-five runs batted in topped New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra's mark of one-hundred twenty-four set in 1950. The perennial All-Star had also set the National League mark for most home runs by a catcher the previous day after topping the Chicago Cubs' Gabby Hartnett who hit thirty-seven in 1930.

Cincinnati's ball club officially changed its name from the "Reds" to the "Redlegs", in response to the McCarthy era pressure of anti-communism. They later reverted back to the Reds in 1959.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Boyd Tepler was denied in the U.S. Court of Appeals after filing a $450,000 grievance against Major League Baseball and owner William Wrigley. The lawsuit, filed in 1951, accused his coaching staff of negligence that led to a premature career-ending arm injury in 1944.

A round the league...

United States Immigration Commissioner Mackey warned that all Major League alien ballplayers who jumped U.S. pro-contracts faced deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act.

After seventy-seven years, the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves in the first franchise shift in baseball since 1903 when Baltimore moved to New York (Yankees). As a result, Milwaukee assumed Pittsburgh's place in the Western Division for scheduling purposes and the Brewers were moved to Toledo.

In an effort to prevent the decline of baseball in small towns and cities throughout the country, Senator Edwin C. Johnson offered a bill to give all ball clubs the sole right to ban radio and/or television broadcasts of major league games in their own territories. The bill was intended to restore the equity between large communities and the small areas and was in direct response to the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department who had prohibited teams from banning any broadcasts in 1949.

On June 3 rd , U.S. Congress officially cited the research of New York City librarian Robert Henderson that clearly proved Alexander Cartwright had "founded" the game of baseball and not Abner Doubleday. Henderson's book "Bat, Ball and Bishop", which was published in 1947, documented Cartwright's contribution to the origins of the game.

"I don't think its wise to send a man (Bobo Holloman) back to the minor leagues right after he's become immortal. It looks as if you are punishing him for throwing a no-hitter." - Bill Veeck
1953 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Washington

123

Batting Average

Washington

.337

Doubles

Washington

43

Hits

Detroit

209

Home Runs

Cleveland

43

On Base Percentage

New York

.429

RBI

Cleveland

145

Runs

Cleveland

115

Slugging Average

Cleveland

.613

Stolen Bases

Chicago

25

Total Bases

Cleveland

367

Triples

Chicago

16

1953 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Washington

24

ERA

New York

2.42

Games

Boston

69

Saves

Boston

27

Shutouts

Washington

9

Strikeouts

New York

186

Winning Percentage

New York

.800

Wins

Washington

22

1953 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

99 52 .656 0

Cleveland Indians

92 62 .597

Chicago White Sox

89 65 .578 11½

Boston Red Sox

84 69 .549 16

Washington Senators

76 76 .500 23½

Detroit Tigers

60 94 .390 40½

Philadelphia Athletics

59 95 .383 41½

St. Louis Browns

54 100 .351 46½

1953 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

656

Batting Average

New York

.273

Doubles

Detroit

259

Hits

Detroit

1,479

Home Runs

Cleveland

160

On Base Percentage

New York

.359

Runs

New York

801

Slugging Average

New York

.417

Stolen Bases

Chicago

73

Triples

Chicago

53

Washington

1953 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

81

ERA

New York

3.21

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,286

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Boston

92

Cleveland

Fewest Walks Allowed

Washington

478

Saves

New York

39

Shutouts

New York

18

Strikeouts

Chicago

714



On May 6, 1953, Bobo Holloman made his Major League debut and won his first Major League game. However, did you know that he also hit 2 singles, drove in 3 runs, and did not allow a single hit?

What do Walter Johnson and Mel Parnell have in common? In 1908 and 1953, respectively, both pitchers shutout the New York Yankees in all of their starts during the season.

Other notable dates in 1953 include: June 18 - Boston Red Sox scored a record 17 runs during the seventh inning, July 6 - Mickey Mantle hit a pinch hit grand slam over the roof in Connie Mack Stadium, July 8 - Al Kaline smacked his first Major League hit, July 29 - Ted Williams returned after nearly six months in the Korean War, September 13 - Bob Trice became the first black Athletics' player, and on September 27 the St. Louis Browns played their final game in the American League (and lost 2-1 versus the Chicago White Sox).

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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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