Year In Review : 1955 American League

O

Entrepreneur Ray Kroc opened the first McDonalds restaurant in Des Plains, Illinois, initiating the world's largest and most successful "fast-food" chain. Even after McDonald's was well established, Kroc still attempted to move forward with German-tavern restaurants, pie shops and even theme parks, like Disneyland. No endeavor however, would match the success of the "Golden Arches".

After racing in Bakersfield, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, up-and-coming actor James Dean traded in his Porsche Speedster for a Porsche Spyder 550 called "Little Bastard". Later that year he was killed in a bizarre auto accident on his way to race in Salinas, California. "Rebel Without a Cause" (considered to be his greatest work) was released less than a month later to rave reviews.

America's greatest theme park, Disneyland, opened in Anaheim California with eighteen cutting-edge attractions, including the Jungle Cruise, Tomorrowland Autopia, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and the Mark Twain Adventure. After years of construction, the ground-breaking visions of animation tycoon Walt Disney evolved into the creation of a Magical Kingdom that drew one million visitors in six months.

I n the American League

Eight years after Jackie Robinson broke the color-barrier, Elston Howard became the first African-American to don the Yankees pinstripes. The twenty-six year-old catcher, debuted with a clutch single in his first at-bat as New York went on to defeat the Boston Red Sox 8-4 at Fenway Park.

Cleveland Indians' ace Bob Feller one-hit the Boston Red Sox for a 2-0 victory on May 1 st setting a Major League record with twelve career one-hitters. Later that season, teammate Herb Score broke Grover Cleveland Alexander's rookie season strikeout record after fanning his two-hundred thirty-fifth of the year.

On June 21 st , Mickey Mantle became the first New York Yankee ever to hit a home run to straight-away center at Yankee Stadium. The epic blast traveled well over the thirty-foot hitter's backdrop and landed in the ninth row of bleachers for an estimated total of four-hundred eighty-six feet.

I n the National League

In his first Major League start, Pittsburgh Pirates' pitcher Al Grunwald threw "for the cycle" after surrendering a single, a double, a triple, and a home run (for four runs) all in a single inning during a 12-3 loss to the New York Giants.

Brooklyn Dodgers' pitcher Don Newcombe became the only National League pitcher of the decade to steal home (after he hit a clutch triple) in the ninth inning en route to a 6-2 win over the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates on May 26 th . Later in the season he would win twenty games and set another National League record with seven home runs, the most ever by a pitcher.

New York Giant Willie Mays became only the seventh player ever to hit fifty home runs in a single season after knocking two-run homers in each game of a double header against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Polo Grounds. Mays joined fellow sluggers Babe Ruth, Ralph Kiner, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Hack Wilson and Johnny Mize as a member of baseball's prestigious "50 Club".

A round the league

At the beginning of the 1955 season only three teams, out of sixteen, still had yet to field a black ballplayer (Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies).

On July 9 th , Chicago newspaperman Arch Ward, the originator of the All-Star Game, died suddenly at the age of fifty-eight on the way to cover his twenty-second Midsummer Classic. Ward was the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and was also credited with initiating the All-Star College Football Game and the All-America Football Conference.

One of the game's greatest, Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner died at the age of eighty-one on December 6 th . Wagner had played twenty-one years of outstanding baseball with eighteen of them as a Pittsburgh Pirate. He completed his career with a .327 career batting average, six-hundred forty-three doubles, two-hundred fifty-two triples and seven-hundred twenty-two stolen bases. He also hit one-hundred one home runs (with never more than ten a season), won the National League Batting Champion title eight times and batted .300 (or better) sixteen times — including fifteen seasons in a row.

The 1955 season debuted such rookie talents as Sandy Koufax, Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Harmon Killebrew. All now have plaques hanging in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

"Just hold them for a few innings, fellas. I'll think of something." - Chuck Dressen
1955 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

113

Batting Average

Detroit

.340

Doubles

Detroit

38

Hits

Detroit

200

Home Runs

New York

37

On Base Percentage

New York

.433

RBI

Detroit

116

Boston

Runs

Cleveland

123

Slugging Average

New York

.611

Stolen Bases

Chicago

25

Total Bases

Detroit

321

Triples

New York

11

1955 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

18

ERA

Chicago

1.97

Games

Cleveland

60

Saves

Cleveland

19

Shutouts

Detroit

7

Strikeouts

Cleveland

245

Winning Percentage

New York

.762

Wins

New York

18

Cleveland

Boston

1955 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

96 58 .623 0

Cleveland Indians

93 61 .604 3

Chicago White Sox

91 63 .591 5

Boston Red Sox

84 70 .545 12

Detroit Tigers

79 75 .513 17

Kansas City Athletics

63 91 .409 33

Baltimore Orioles

57 97 .370 39

Washington Senators

53 101 .344 43

1955 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

723

Batting Average

Chicago

.268

Doubles

Boston

241

Hits

Detroit

1,407

Home Runs

New York

175

On Base Percentage

Boston

.354

Runs

Detroit

775

Slugging Average

New York

.418

Stolen Bases

Chicago

69

Triples

New York

55

1955 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

66

ERA

New York

3.23

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,163

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Washington

99

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

497

Saves

Cleveland

36

Shutouts

Chicago

20

Strikeouts

Cleveland

877



On April 12, 1955, the Athletics played their first game in Major League history in the city of Kansas City and beat the Detroit Tigers 6-2.

On August 13, 1955, Larry Doby committed an error while playing outfield. This ended his streak of errorless games and set a new American League record of one-hundred sixty-seven games without an error.

In September 26, 1955, Ted Williams finished the season with a .356 average and seventy-one walks which was well ahead of batting champion Al Kaline's .340 average. Due to the high amount of walks, Ted Williams did not have enough at-bats to win the batting champion title. A rule change occurred by the following season changing the batting title criteria to plate appearances versus times at-bat.

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