Year In Review : 1955 National League

Off the field...

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.

In 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.

In 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".

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"To do what he (Jackie Robinson) did has got to be the most tremendous thing I've ever seen in sports." - Pee Wee Reese

1955 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Milwaukee
109
Batting Average
Philadelphia
.338
Doubles
Milwaukee
37
Hits
Cincinnati
192
Home Runs
New York
51
On Base Percentage
Philadelphia
.449
RBI
Brooklyn
136
Runs
Brooklyn
126
Slugging Average
New York
.659
Stolen Bases
Milwaukee
25
Total Bases
New York
382
Triples
Pittsburgh
13
New York

1955 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Philadelphia
26
ERA
Pittsburgh
2.83
Games
Brooklyn
60
Saves
Philadelphia
16
Shutouts
Cincinnati
5
Strikeouts
Chicago
198
Winning Percentage
Brooklyn
.800
Wins
Philadelphia
23

1955 National League

Team Standings

Brooklyn Dodgers 98 55 .641 0
Milwaukee Braves 85 69 .552 13½
New York Giants 80 74 .519 18½
Philadelphia Phillies 77 77 .500 21½
Cincinnati Redlegs 75 79 .487 23½
Chicago Cubs 72 81 .471 26
St. Louis Cardinals 68 86 .442 30½
Pittsburgh Pirates 60 94 .390 38½

1955 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Brooklyn
674
Batting Average
Brooklyn
.271
Doubles
Brooklyn
230
Hits
Cincinnati
1,424
Home Runs
Brooklyn
201
On Base Percentage
Brooklyn
.359
Runs
Brooklyn
857
Slugging Average
Brooklyn
.448
Stolen Bases
Brooklyn
79
Triples
Pittsburgh
60

1955 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Milwaukee
61
ERA
Brooklyn
3.68
Fewest Hits Allowed
Philadelphia
1,291
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Milwaukee
138
Fewest Walks Allowed
Cincinnati
443
Saves
Brooklyn
37
Shutouts
Cincinnati
12
Strikeouts
Brooklyn
773
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

Did you know that on June 3, 1955, Stan Musial , a future 3,000 Hits Club member, hit his 300th career home run?

On August 15, 1955, National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn hit a home run in Sportsman's Park giving him a home run in every single National League ballpark.

On October 25, 1955, baseball legend and future hall of fame executive Branch Rickey left the Pirates organization and retired from Major League Baseball.

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