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

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Washington
151
Batting Average
New York
.353
Doubles
Boston
40
Hits
Detroit
196
Home Runs
New York
52
On Base Percentage
Boston
.479
RBI
New York
130
Runs
New York
132
Slugging Average
New York
.705
Stolen Bases
Chicago
21
Total Bases
New York
376
Triples
Boston
11
Washington
Chicago
Kansas City

1956 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cleveland
21
Chicago
ERA
New York
2.47
Games
Baltimore
62
Saves
Baltmore
16
Shutouts
Cleveland
5
Strikeouts
Cleveland
263
Winning Percentage
New York
.760
Wins
Detroit
21

1956 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees 97 57 .630 0
Cleveland Indians 88 66 .571 9
Chicago White Sox 85 69 .552 12
Boston Red Sox 84 70 .545 13
Detroit Tigers 82 72 .532 15
Baltimore Orioles 69 85 .448 28
Washington Senators 59 95 .383 38
Kansas City Athletics 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."

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.

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