Year In Review : 1954 National League

O ff the field...

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) backed a coup by Colonel Carlos Armas to overthrow the Guatemalan Government. The government, ruled under Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, supported a Communist-authored land reform bill that expropriated most of the land holdings of United Fruit Company. The Guatemalan actions had led to a U.S. arms embargo, but they later purchased arms from Czechoslovakia providing an excuse for the uprising.

After hearing the case of Brown versus the Board of Education, Chief Justice Earl Warren (United States Supreme Court) formally ruled that all forms of segregation were unconstitutional. The landmark case was a first step in mandating racial equality and initiated the desegregation of all public institutions in the United States of America.

I n the American League...

The Boston Red Sox managed to pull off a rare triple play, but still lost to the Baltimore Orioles during a seventeen-inning game that set a new American League record for time consumed at four hours and fifty-eight minutes, and tied the Major League mark (set seven weeks earlier) for the most players used in a single game (forty-two).

On August 30 th , the Cleveland Indians completed an embarrassing eleven home-game sweep of the visiting Boston Red Sox. It was the first such sweep since the New York Yankees, led by "Murderers Row", had blanked the laughable St. Louis Browns back in 1927.

Mickey Vernon of the Washington Senators tallied his 2,000 th career hit on September 2 nd . He also notched his nineteenth home run of the season for a franchise record for left-handers.

I n the National League...

Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals hit five home runs during a May 2 nd doubleheader against the New York Giants. In a strange coincidence, eight-year-old Nate Colbert (who would grow up to play for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics) was in attendance and would become the only other player in Major League history to tie Musial's mark. Both teams split for the day as the Cards won the first game 10-6 and the Giants took the second 9-7.

On May 4 th , the Phillies and Cardinals set a Major League record (later broken) by using a staggering forty-two combined players during an eleven-inning, 14-10 Philly victory. Philadelphia used seven pitchers throughout the effort and the St. Louis topped them with eight men on the mound.

At Ebbets Field, Milwaukee Brave Joe Adcock hit four home runs and added a double for a total of eighteen total bases during a 15-7 massacre over the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 31 st . Adcock's eighteen bases set a Major League record and when combined with the seven bases from the day before, gave him a two-day tally of twenty-five. The combined total tied the slugger with Ty Cobb for most bases in two consecutive games.

A round the league...

"The Yankee Clipper" Joe DiMaggio married Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe in San Francisco. Nine months later the two were divorced, but continued to maintain an on-again, off-again relationship. DiMaggio had reportedly told friends that the two were going to be re-married shortly before her death from a drug overdose eight years later. In the years that followed, he rarely spoke of her and had roses delivered to her gravesite twice a week for the next two decades. He never married again.

Rightfielder Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals outpolled every other National League player in the 1954 All-Star balloting.

In Game 1 of the Fall Classic, New York Giants outfielder Willie Mays made what many consider to be the greatest catch in World Series history. "Say Hey" managed to hold the game to a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning after racing back to deep centerfield and making an awkward "over-the-head" snatch of Cleveland Indian Vic Wertz's 462-foot drive.

The Major League owners association voted down the sale of the Athletics to a syndicate representing the city of Philadelphia. One week later, Arnold Johnson emerged to buy a controlling interest in the franchise from the Mack family for a reported $3.5 million dollars. He later decided to move the team to Kansas City amidst mixed emotions from the rest of the league.

"You get a few handshakes and walk away from 20 years of your life (when he left the St. Louis Cardinals). I cried like a baby." - Future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter
1954 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Philadelphia

125

Batting Average

New York

.345

Doubles

St. Louis

41

Hits

New York

212

Home Runs

Cincinnati

49

On Base Percentage

Philadelphia

.442

RBI

Cincinnati

141

Runs

St. Louis

120

Brooklyn

Slugging Average

New York

.667

Stolen Bases

Milwaukee

34

Total Bases

Brooklyn

378

Triples

New York

13

1954 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

29

ERA

New York

2.30

Games

Brooklyn

60

Saves

Brooklyn

24

Shutouts

New York

6

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

185

Winning Percentage

New York

.750

Wins

Philadelphia

23

1954 National League

Team Standings

New York Giants

97 57 .630 0

Brooklyn Dodgers

92 62 .597 5

Milwaukee Braves

89 65 .578 8

Philadelphia Phillies

75 79 .487 22

Cincinnati Redlegs

74 80 .481 23

St. Louis Cardinals

72 82 .468 25

Chicago Cubs

64 90 .416 33

Pittsburgh Pirates

53 101 .344 44

1954 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

634

Batting Average

St. Louis

.281

Doubles

St. Louis

285

Hits

St. Louis

1,518

Home Runs

Brooklyn

186

New York

On Base Percentage

St. Louis

.354

Runs

St. Louis

799

Slugging Average

Brooklyn

.444

Stolen Bases

St. Louis

63

Triples

Philadelphia

58

St. Louis

1954 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

78

ERA

New York

3.10

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,258

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Milwaukee

106

Fewest Walks Allowed

Philadelphia

450

Saves

Brooklyn

36

Shutouts

New York

19

Strikeouts

Brooklyn

762



On April 13, 1954 , Hank Aaron made his Major League debut. The young outfielder went 0 for 5. Ten days later, on April 23, 1954 , the future home run king went yard during his 7th career game against Cardinals' pitcher Vic Raschi .

On July 31, 1954 , Joe Adcock hit a bases empty home run during the second inning with Don Newcombe on the mound. During the 5th inning Adcock went deep versus Erv Palica . During the 7th inning Adcock went deep again - this time versus Pete Wojey AND in the 9th inning Adcock became a member of one the rarest hitting clubs when he went deep for a record tieing 4 times - his final victim being Johnny Podres .

Did you know that prior to the 1954 season players were allowed to leave their glove on the field between innings? This rule was changed in late 1953 and 1954 was the first season were it was no longer officially permitted.

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