Year In Review : 1958 American League

O

The United States launched its first satellite "Explorer I" into orbit around the earth. The launch was in response to the Soviets who had successfully launched their first satellite "Sputnik" one year earlier.

U.S. Troops landed in Lebanon for the first time after President Eisenhower ordered approximately five-thousand .S. Marines deployed to help maintain order after a revolt in Iraq resulted in the ouster of the pro-Western Lebanese government.

Pan Am introduced the first 707 trans-Atlantic jet service on October 27, when its first 707 airliner, christened the "Clipper America", took off for Paris, France from New York.

I n the American League

Cleveland Indian Vic Power became the first American League player since 1927 to steal home twice in the same game. The crafty first baseman first stole home in the eighth inning, then again in the tenth giving the Indians a 10-9 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Two walks and a hit batsman are all that Jim Bunning allowed as he won his sixth game in seven decisions and tossed the only American League no hitter of the season on July 20.

Boston's Ted Williams hit the 17 th grand slam of his career (along with a three-run home run) during an 11-8 win over the Detroit Tigers on July 29 th . The bases-loaded-round-tripper tied the Red Sox slugger for 2 nd place with Babe Ruth and moved him within six of the all-time leader, Lou Gehrig.

I n the National League

Tragedy struck the Los Angeles Dodgers after catcher Roy Campanella was involved in a serious auto accident on Long Island. Although he survived suffering a broken neck, his spinal column was nearly severed and his legs were permanently paralyzed.

On May 11 th , the St. Louis Cardinals set a National League record by using ten pinch hitters during a regulation double-header. Despite walking fourteen batters in game one, The "Redbirds" managed to top the Chicago Cubs 8-7 and followed in game two with another 6-5 win. Despite the lengthy line-up, Stan Musial remained the Cardinals biggest threat at the plate and posted a home run and four singles to come within two hits of three-thousand. Amazingly, the Cards would tie their own record two months later against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 13 th .

Milwaukee Braves ace Warren Spahn became the first lefty to win twenty or more games, nine times, after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on September 13 th . (Eddie Plank and Lefty Grove, each won twenty games, eight times).

A round the league

Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick announced that the players and coaches (rather than the fans) would elect their line-ups for the All-Star Game.

"Teddy Ballgame" aka Ted Williams, signed a whopping $135,000 contract extension with the Boston Red Sox making him the highest paid player (to date) in the history of Major League Baseball. Later that season he became only the 10 th player ever to get one-thousand extra-base hits.

Decades before the premiere of ESPN or the YES Network, the New York Yankees announced that they would televise an unprecedented one-hundred forty games during the 1958 season. The Philadelphia Phillies followed several days later agreeing to broadcast seventy-eight games in the New York City area.

Starting this season, all American League hitters were required to wear batting helmets.

"Do you have any observations with reference to the application of the antitrust laws to baseball?" - Senator Keauver "My views are just about the same as Casey's (Stengel)." - Mickey Mantle
1958 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

129

Batting Average

Boston

.328

Doubles

Detroit

39

Hits

Chicago

187

Home Runs

New York

42

On Base Percentage

Boston

.462

RBI

Boston

122

Runs

New York

127

Slugging Average

Cleveland

.620

Stolen Bases

Chicago

29

Total Bases

New York

307

Triples

Kansas City

10

Cleveland

1958 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

19

Chicago

New York

ERA

New York

2.01

Games

Washington

55

Saves

New York

20

Shutouts

New York

7

Strikeouts

Chicago

179

Winning Percentage

New York

.750

Wins

New York

21

1958 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

92 62 .597 0

Chicago White Sox

82 72 .532 10

Boston Red Sox

79 75 .513 13

Cleveland Indians

77 76 .503 14½

Detroit Tigers

77 77 .500 15

Baltimore Orioles

74 79 .484 17½

Kansas City Athletics

73 81 .474 19

Washington Senators

61 93 .396 31

1958 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

638

Batting Average

New York

.268

Doubles

Boston

229

Detroit

Hits

New York

1,418

Home Runs

New York

164

On Base Percentage

Boston

.340

Runs

New York

759

Slugging Average

New York

.416

Stolen Bases

Chicago

101

Triples

Kansas City

50

1958 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

59

ERA

New York

3.22

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,201

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Baltimore

106

Fewest Walks Allowed

Baltimore

403

Saves

New York

33

Shutouts

New York

21

Strikeouts

Detroit

797



On June 26, 1958, the Cleveland Indians fired manager Bobby Bragan for performance issues and replaced him at the helm with Joe Gordon . During the announcement the General Manager, Frank Lane, said to Bragan, "Bobby, I don't know how we're going to get along without you, but starting tomorrow we're going to try."

On July 9, 1958, Senator William Langer asked Casey Stengel if the New York Yankees were going to continue monopolizing the World Championship. The legendary response from Stengel was, "I got a little concern yesterday in the first three innings when I saw the three players I had gotten rid of and I said when I lost nine what am I going to do and when I had a couple of my players. I thought so great of that did not do so good up to the sixth inning I was more confused, but I finally had to go and call on a young man in Baltimore that we don't own and the Yankees don't own him, and he is doing pretty good, and I would actually have to tell you that I think we are more the Greta Garbo type no from success."

In 1958 Vic Power of the Cleveland Indians stole ONLY two bases. Both of those steals occurred on the 14th of August and both were from third to home plate including one during the tenth inning that scored the winning run versus the Detroit Tigers.

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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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