Year In Review : 1956 National League

O

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.

I n 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.

I n 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.

A round 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.

"Close don't count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." - Reds outfielder Frank Robinson on finishing two games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers
1956 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

99

Batting Average

Milwaukee

.328

Doubles

Milwaukee

34

Hits

Milwaukee

200

Home Runs

Brooklyn

43

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.402

RBI

St. Louis

109

Runs

Cincinnati

122

Slugging Average

Brooklyn

.598

Stolen Bases

New York

40

Total Bases

Milwaukee

340

Triples

Milwaukee

15

1956 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Philadelphia

22

ERA

Milwaukee

2.70

Games

Pittsburgh

68

Saves

Brooklyn

19

Shutouts

Milwaukee

6

Strikeouts

Chicago

176

Winning Percentage

Brooklyn

.794

Wins

Brooklyn

27

1956 National League

Team Standings

Brooklyn Dodgers

93 61 .604 0

Milwaukee Braves

92 62 .597 1

Cincinnati Redlegs

91 63 .591 2

St. Louis Cardinals

76 78 .494 17

Philadelphia Phillies

71 83 .461 22

New York Giants

67 87 .435 26

Pittsburgh Pirates

66 88 .429 27

Chicago Cubs

60 94 .390 33

1956 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Brooklyn

649

Batting Average

St. Louis

.268

Doubles

St. Louis

234

Hits

St. Louis

1,443

Home Runs

Cincinnati

221

On Base Percentage

Brooklyn

.344

Runs

Cincinnati

775

Slugging Average

Cincinnati

.441

Stolen Bases

New York

67

Triples

Pittsburgh

57

1956 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Milwaukee

64

ERA

Milwaukee

3.12

Fewest Hits Allowed

Brooklyn

1,251

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Milwaukee

133

Fewest Walks Allowed

Philadelphia

437

Saves

Brooklyn

30

St. Louis

Shutouts

Brooklyn

12

Milwaukee

St. Louis

Strikeouts

Brooklyn

772



On May 12, 1956, Jackie Robinson made headlines when he shoved a newspaper, which he had in his pocket during the entire game, in the face of scout Tom Sheehan after a game against the Giants. The article which upset Robinson said that Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine "was through"; however, on this particular date Erskine no-hit the Giants 3-0 at Ebbets Field.

Is it possible to strike out four batters during the same inning? Yes, and on August 11, 1956 Cubs' pitcher Jim Davis became only the third National League pitcher to join this unique "club."

On July 7, 1956, The Sporting News, in concert with 260 Major League players and journalists, held a poll and named Stan Musial the recipient of the Player of the Decade Award ! Finishing second was Joe DiMaggio and third was Ted Williams .

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