YEAR IN REVIEW : 1956 American League

Off the field...

Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and approximately one-hundred other participants in the "Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott" were indicted for conspiracy to conduct an illegal boycott and sentenced to prison. All cases were eventually settled by $100 fines and the Supreme Court later ruled that segregation on any form of public transportation was unconstitutional.

After Colonel Tom Parker negotiated the sale of Elvis Presley's Sun Records contract to RCA, the future "King of Rock and Roll" had his first recording session at their studio in Nashville. Among the songs recorded was "Heartbreak Hotel" which was released as a single and sold over 300,000 copies in its first three weeks. It quickly climbed to number one on Billboard's pop singles chart for eight weeks, hit number one on the country chart, number five on the R&B chart and became the first Elvis single to sell over one million copies, earning him his first gold record.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco married film actress Grace Kelly. A civil ceremony was held in the throne room in the Palace of Monaco and was attended by the couple's close family and friends. The Prince, who still rules the country today, succeeded his grandfather Louis II in 1949 to become Monaco's thirty-first ruler. Unfortunately, Princess Grace was killed in a car crash on September 14, 1982 after her car went off a road over a cliff in Monaco.

In the American League...

The New York Yankees and Washington Senators combined to set a Major League record after each hit three home runs on Opening Day. Bronx Bomber Mickey Mantle hit two tape measure blasts himself (both over five-hundred feet) off pitcher Camilo Pascual en route to a 10-4 win.

Boston lefthander Mel Parnell tossed a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park on July 14 th . The 4-0 triumph was the first "no-no" for the Red Sox since 1923. Unfortunately Parnell went on to a mediocre 4-4 record before tearing a muscle in his pitching arm that ultimately ended his career as Boston's winningest lefty.

Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw ninety-seven pitches for the only perfect game in World Series history while defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 in Game 5.

In the National League...

On May 2 nd , twenty-five Giants and twenty-three Cubs participated in a seventeen-inning marathon setting a Major League record for the most player appearances in a single game. New York eventually prevailed over Chicago 6-5 as both teams combined to intentionally walk eleven batters (another Major League record) with the home team "Cubbies" contributing seven.

Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates connected against the Brooklyn Dodgers' Carl Erskine at Forbes Field on May 28 th for his eighth home run in as many games. His consecutive record for round trippers would stand for thirty-one years until New York Yankee Don Mattingly finally equaled it in 1987.

Despite losing 13-6 to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21 st , the Brooklyn Dodgers' Junior Gilliam made twelve assists at second base to set a modern Major League record, while team captain Pee Wee Reese tallied his two-thousandth Major League hit - one of only five active players to reach the plateau.

Around the League...

The Major League owners voted to establish the Cy Young Memorial Award for outstanding pitcher of the year. Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers (who won the 1949 Rookie of the Year Award) became the first recipient and also went on to win the National League Most Valuable Player title.

Pitching legend Satchel Paige signed a new contract with the Birmingham Black Barons (Negro League) at age fifty to both play and manage. His frequent successful duels against such barnstorming Major Leaguers as Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, and Bob Feller helped boost the credibility of black baseball and established him as one of the greatest aces ever to take the mound.

Former National Football League tackle (New York Giants) turned American League umpire Frank Umont became the first Major League official to wear glasses while calling a game. Many fans hoped that it would start a "trend" across the league as many umpires had been accused of needing spectacles.

The National Braille Press presented Boston Red Sox manager Pinky Higgins with their 1956 schedule, printed in Braille for the first time. All other Major League teams would soon follow with Braille printed season calendars for the sight impaired.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"(Mickey) Mantle's got more power than any hitter I ever saw - including the Babe." - Yankee Coach Bill Dickey on Aptil 17, 1956

1956 American League Player Review

1955 | 1956 Hitting Statistics League Leaders | 1957

Washington
151
New York
.353
Boston
40
Detroit
196
New York
52
Boston
.479
New York
130
New York
132
New York
.705
Chicago
21
New York
376
Boston
11
Washington
Chicago
Kansas City

1956 American League Pitcher Review

1955 | 1956 Pitching Statistics League Leaders | 1957

Cleveland
21
Chicago
New York
2.47
Baltimore
62
Baltmore
16
Cleveland
5
Cleveland
263
New York
.760
Detroit
21

1956 American League Team Standings

1956 All-Star Game | 1956 Team Standings | 1956 World Series

97
57
.630
0
88
66
.571
9
85
69
.552
12
84
70
.545
13
82
72
.532
15
69
85
.448
28
59
95
.383
38
52
102
.338
45

1956 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Boston
727
Batting Average
Detroit
.279
Doubles
Boston
261
Hits
Detroit
1,494
Home Runs
New York
190
On Base Percentage
Boston
.365
Runs
New York
857
Slugging Average
New York
.434
Stolen Bases
Chicago
70
Triples
Washington
62

1956 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cleveland
67
ERA
Cleveland
3.33
Fewest Hits Allowed
Cleveland
1,233
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Baltimore
99
Fewest Walks Allowed
Chicago
524
Saves
New York
35
Shutouts
Cleveland
17
Strikeouts
Cleveland
845
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

There might not be an official record for the most wild looking pitches, but on May 20, 1956, Washington Senators' pitcher Chuck Stobbs would have probably qualified for the top ten when he uncorked a wild one that landed 17 rows into the stands and closer to first base than home plate! After the game Stobbs told reporters, "I wanted to dig a hole and hide under the mound."

1956 American League Pennant Race | by Jim Halloran ( Baseball and America )

The Yankees dominance continued. They started the season winning seven of eight and took permanent possession of first place on May 16. This would be the seventh pennant in eight seasons under Casey Stengel. It was the year that Mickey Mantle blossomed into his great career by winning the Triple Crown and MVP batting .353, 52 home runs and 130 RBIs. He was again supported by Yogi Berra, Hank Bauer, Bill Skowron and Gil McDougal. Even with a pitching staff that led the league in wins, complete games, ERA, shutouts, and strikeouts the Indians could not keep pace.

The promising White Sox won six fewer games than '55 due mainly to not being a good road team. With the exception of Kansas City dropping two places and Washington moving up one the final standings were a copy of 1955.

#1 New York Yankees (97-57) . The talented lineup included four positions player that hit more than 20 home runs—Mantle, Berra, Skowron and Bauer. With disappointing seasons from pitchers Bob Turley, Don Larsen and Tommy Byne, Stengel found a hidden gem in 26 year old Tom Sturdivant (16-6) and sophomore Johnny Kucks (18-9). Whitey Ford, (19-6), missed out on winning 20 games by losing on the last day of the season. Outfielder Elston Howard provided some relief for Yogi by filling in behind the plate in 26 games.

#2 Cleveland Indians (88-66) . Rookie outfielder Rocky Colavito quickly became a fan favorite by belting 21 home runs. Reliable outfielder Vic Wertz also created some excitement with 32 home runs and 106 RBIs. Second baseman Bobby Avila suffered through a miserable year batting .224 and 3B Al Rosen was mediocre. They missed Larry Doby who was sent off to the White Sox. Pitchers Early Wynne, Bob Lemon and Herb Score each won exactly 20 games. Score led the league in shutouts.

#3 Chicago White Sox (85-69) . Despite two important additions — (HOF) Larry Doby and the AL Rookie of the Year and future Hall of Fame Luis Aparicio, the team disappointed after three years of improvement. Aparicio was making defensive plays that left the crowd speechless. Doby and Minnie Minoso each hit more than twenty home runs. Second baseman Nellie Fox failed to hit his usual .300 plus and 1B Walt Dropo never got on track. Pitcher Billy Pierce had his first 20 game win season. He was supported by Jack Harshman's 16 wins, however the reminder of the pitching staff was very mundane.

#4 Boston Red Sox ( 84-70) . 1956 duplicated the record of 1954. An upward movement was expected following the acquisition of 1B Mickey Vernon from the Senators. Vernon .310 batting average and the expected fine seasons from Ted Williams, .345 with 24 home runs and OF Jackie Jensen .315, 20 home runs and 97 RBIs kept the offense moving, but once again the pitching let them down. Right hander Tom Brewer led the staff with a solid 19 game winning season, but age and an ankle injury to former ace Mel Parnel took their toll.

The Forgottens

#5 Detroit Tigers (82-72) . Shortstop Harvey Kueen (.334)and OF Al Kaline (.314, 27 homeruns and 128 RBIs) were joined by the surprising outfielder Charlie Maxwell .326 with 27 home runs. Third baseman Ray Boone had a career best .308, 25 home runs. Two pitchers, Frank Lary and Billy Hoeff, stood out winning 21 and 20 games respectively, but it was not enough to make up for the lack of depth and consistency of the rest of the team.

#6 Baltimore Orioles (69-85) . A slight move up the ranks was encouraging for this previously futile team. Only one player with 20 home runs, catcher Gus Triandos, and only one bat hit .300 — Bob "Frozen Rope" Boyd. Only one pitcher won more than 10 games, Ray Moore with twelve. But still an improvement of 12 wins over 1955.

#7 Washington Senators (59-85) . Having sent their only good hitter, Mickey Vernon, to Boston the Senators had to rely on the bats of shortstop Pete Runnels .310, catcher Clint Courtney .300, outfielders Roy Sievers, 20 home runs and Jim Lemon, 27 home runs. Pitchers Chuck Stobbs,15 wins, and Pedro Ramos, 12 wins, accounted for 75% of the starting pitchers wins.

#8 Kansas City Athletics (52-102) . It was not a case of young players breaking into the major leagues. The team was pretty much made up of castaways and it showed. The brightest spot was 1B Vic Power who batted .309. Harry "Suitcase" Simpson, so named for the many teams he was traded too, hit 21 home runs and knocked in 105. Ace pitcher Art Ditmar won 12 games however he lost 22. Troy Hermage won one game while losing 13.

On May 30, 1956, Mickey Mantle hit the legendary 600+ foot home run in Yankee Stadium. On the mound was Pedro Ramos of the Washington Senators who had a 2-2 count with Mantle batting left-handed and two men on base. The next pitched was crushed and it traveled 370 feet away, 117 feet high, and approximately 18 inches away from clearing the right field facade - which would have allowed it to become the first and only pitch to literally leave Yankee Stadium.

Other notable dates in 1956 include: July 14 - Mel Parnell's no-hitter, July 17 - Ted Williams' 400th career home run, August 23 - Nellie Fox 7-for-7 at the plate, September 9 - Bob Feller Day in Cleveland, and September 11 - Bob Lemon's 200th career victory.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac3h
Mookie Betts. Johnny Mize. Sammy Sosa. The only players in #MLB history with six career three-homer games, updated… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac22h
Happy Birthday Dallas Braden [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. #MLB resume = 0 SHU, 0 CGs, less than 18 Ws, then a… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac13 Aug
Email inbox (1⃣5⃣9⃣) this morning. Third one, nice quote made by Tim Dillard, from a teammate. Sourced quote. Found… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac12 Aug
Art Shamsky #otd 1966 entered a game in 8th inning - and finished with THREE HOME RUNS, setting several #MLB record… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac11 Aug
These are the last three MLB players born in 1980, still playing in the majors! If you ever wondered who was the la… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac10 Aug
RIP Carroll Hardy (😥). He played in the #NFL with the #SanFrancisco 49ers in 1955, he played #MLB from 1958-1967, h… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac10 Aug
The pitch: "Bret Boone (@theboone29) tells you what it's really like" on his new #podcast. #BaseballAlmanac checked… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac10 Aug
Red Barrett threw 5️⃣8️⃣ pitches in a COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT #otd 1944. Still the #record for fewest pitches in a ga… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac10 Aug
Baseball in 2020 is, um, strange, and different, and interesting, and difficult to to describe. (@MrMet & @mrsmet)… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Aug
Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) hit HR lefty & righty in same game-again! @Indians all-time leader (6). Tied in #MLB histo… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Aug
Happy International Beer Day from Baseball Almanac! ❤️⚾️❤️🍺 IG Pic of the Day: instagram.com/baseballalmana…twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Aug
RIP Horace Clarke (😢). 2B with #NewYork #Yankees (1965-74) & #SanDiego #Padres (1974). Horace Clarke Era is defined… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Aug
Where’s Waldo? We’ve carefully hidden a slightly different baseball in this stunning photograph of artistic magnitu… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Aug
1️⃣,7️⃣9️⃣1️⃣ #MLB players have #Twitter accounts & #BaseballAlmanac has them ALL listed on same page of #research.… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Aug
Jack Stivetts threw a #NoHitter #otd 1892, 1st in franchise #history for #Braves. #OTD 2020: #BaseballAlmanac added… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Aug
The #Washington #Senators played a #doubleheader #otd 1909 - their 8th consecutive set of #doubleheaders that seaso… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Aug
We are FAR from perfect, however, we are ALWAYS willing to try and make things perfect! It's what we've been doing… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Aug
Baseball Almanac [baseball-almanac.com] started in 1999. It literally has 500,000+ pages of #MLB history! Triple… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Aug
DYK there was a NL team in #Buffalo, called the #Bisons (s/a modern @MiLB team)? Rosters (1879-1885) & schedules ha… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Aug
Vic Raschi [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…] set a still-unbroken RBI #record #otd 1953. Springfield Rifle set a balks mark… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Desktop Version