Year In Review : 1959 National League

Off the field...

The United States expanded its borders as both Alaska and Hawaii were officially admitted to the Union. Despite an overwhelming vote by Alaskans in 1956, it took more than two years for the Senate to finally agree to make Alaska the forty-ninth state. On March 18, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower added Hawaii, the Aloha State, and commissioned a new fifty star U.S. Flag.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson), and Ritchie Valens died when their Beechcraft plane crashed just outside Clear Lake, Iowa, during a stormy winter night. Holly was famous for many hits including "Peggy Sue." The Big Bopper had one big hit, "Chantilly Lace." And Valens was best known for his hit, "La Bamba." The tragic accident was penned in the papers as "The Day the Music Died".

Scandal rocked America's most popular Game Show "Twenty-One" after former champion Herbert Stempel confessed to being given the answers to questions, told which questions to miss, and coached in presentation. After he blew the whistle, public outrage was so great that in 1959 Congress opened hearings on the great American quiz show fix and later formally outlawed all future quiz show deceptions.

In the American League...

The Boston Red Sox remained as the only Major League team not to include minority players in its line-up. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed a grievance against the franchise charging them with racial discrimination and calling for an official investigation into the team's signing policies.

Chicago White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox managed five hits in seven at bats on Opening Day (including a two-run home run off pitcher Don Mossi to win the game) during a fourteen-inning, 9-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers. His five hits in a season opener tied a Major League record that would not be matched for forty years.

Cleveland's Rocky Colavito hit four consecutive home runs at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium en route to an 11-8 victory over the home team Orioles. The Indian slugger joined Lou Gehrig and Bobby Lowe as the only Major League players ever to hit four consecutive round-trippers.

In the National League...

On May 26, Pirates ace Harvey Haddix pitched a perfect game against Milwaukee for twelve innings, only to lose in the 13 th . After Felix Mantilla managed to reach base on a fielding error, Hank Aaron was intentionally walked. Pittsburgh's strategy proved meaningless though as Joe Adcock maintained the Braves newfound momentum with a three-run blast for the comeback win. The following day National League President Warren Giles ruled that the final score should be amended to 1-0, since both runners Henry Aaron and Joe Adcock were both ruled out. (Aaron had been called for leaving the field during play, and Adcock had passed him in the base path.)

Seven pitchers combined to tie a National League record with twenty-three strikeouts during a May 31 outing between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Sandy Koufax led the effort with nine "K's" for the 5-3 win.

The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs set a new record for the longest nine-inning game in history after playing for three hours and fifty minutes. The home team finally won the "marathon at Wrigley" with a score of 20-9 after tallying nineteen hits and five home runs.

Around the League...

The Rules Committee finally permitted inter-league trading for a limited, three-and-a-half-week period during Major League Baseball's winter meetings.

The Players Association fired lawyer J. Norman Lewis and replaced him with Judge Robert C. Cannon, the son of Wisconsin Congressman Raymond J. Cannon, who had attempted to unionize the players during the 1920 season.

Controversy erupted over the American League batting title as the Cleveland Indians' Tito Francona finished the season with a league leading .363 average, but fell one at-bat short (three-hundred ninety-nine) of the required total (four-hundred). As a result, Harvey Kuenn of the Detroit Tigers was crowned the American League batting champion.

Washington D.C. Senator Estes Kefauver warned Major League Baseball that they were closely monitoring the "attitudes of organized baseball" toward the Continental League in an effort to prevent any antitrust issues.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"Harvey Kuenn gave it an honest pursuit, but the only center fielder in baseball who could have caught it hit it." - Bob Stevens in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 8, 1959)

1959 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Los Angeles
96
Batting Average
Milwaukee
.355
Doubles
Cincinnati
47
Hits
Milwaukee
223
Home Runs
Milwaukee
46
On Base Percentage
St. Louis
.453
RBI
Chicago
143
Runs
Cincinnati
131
Slugging Average
Milwaukee
.636
Stolen Bases
San Francisco
27
Total Bases
Milwaukee
400
Triples
Los Angeles
11
Los Angeles

1959 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Milwaukee
21
ERA
San Francisco
2.83
Games
Chicago
65
Chicago
Saves
St. Louis
15
Milwaukee
Shutouts
San Francisco
4
Milwaukee
Milwaukee
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Milwaukee
Strikeouts
Los Angeles
242
Winning Percentage
Pittsburgh
.947
Wins
Milwaukee
21
San Francisco
Milwaukee

1959 National League

Team Standings

Los Angeles Dodgers 88 68 .654 0
Milwaukee Braves 86 70 .551 1
San Francisco Giants 83 71 .539 4
Pittsburgh Pirates 78 76 .506 9
Chicago Cubs 74 80 .481 13
Cincinnati Reds 74 80 .481 13
St. Louis Cardinals 71 83 .461 16
Philadelphia Phillies 64 90 .416 23

1959 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Los Angeles
591
Batting Average
Cincinnati
.274
Doubles
Cincinnati
258
Hits
Cincinnati
1,448
Home Runs
Milwaukee
177
On Base Percentage
Cincinnati
.340
Runs
Cincinnati
764
Slugging Average
Cincinnati
.427
Stolen Bases
Los Angeles
84
Triples
St. Louis
49

1959 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Milwaukee
69
ERA
San Francisco
3.47
Fewest Hits Allowed
San Francisco
1,279
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Milwaukee
128
Fewest Walks Allowed
Pittsburgh
418
Saves
Cincinnati
26
Los Angeles
Shutouts
Milwaukee
18
Strikeouts
Los Angeles
1,077
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On May 7, 1959, Roy Campanella delivered a stirring speech before 93,103 fans at Los Angeles Coliseum. While crying he told those gathered on Campanella Night , "This is something I will never forget. I thank God I'm here living to be able to see it. It's a wonderful thing."

On May 26, 1959 , Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates tossed 12 perfect innings in a game which many historians believe is the finest ever pitched! Review the box score and decide for yourself then share your opinion on our baseball message boards .

On August 2, 1959, future 500 Home Runs Club member Willie McCovey hit his first Major League home run against Ron Kline of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac4h
These five pitchers each tied #MLB record [baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_ba…] for Most Balks in an Inning (3). See who they a… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac20h
RIP Al Kaline (😢). The youngest batting champion in baseball history has passed away. Go beyond his stats on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Apr
@Dylan_716 During that exact moment, I was literally getting an "attack" to a script. My host shut down my servers,… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Apr
@tgpschmenk 🤓 - the update took me a little more than an hour, and after I literally confirmed every single one of… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Apr
@paddy0_bronx We do sir. Scroll down a bit. We go pitching stats, hitting stats, fielding stats, then have base run… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Apr
JayGlenda Glenn asked on FB, "were are all these picthers or were any of these position players coming in to finish… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Apr
1️⃣6️⃣ innings - most played during an #OpeningDay game! A Plain Dealer photographer took this photo OTD2012, at Pr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Apr
Updated: Adrián Zabala. #LHP with #NewYork #Giants in 1945 & 1949. Born in #Cuba. Suspended for playing the Mexican… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Apr
UPDATED: Masahiro Tanaka, OTD2014, surrendered HR to 1st batter [baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats23.…], during debut. Today, I a… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac03 Apr
UPDATED: We discovered 38 players who STOLE HOME TEN-OR-MORE TIMES in their CAREER [baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_st…]. We re… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac02 Apr
Was it cork? (🤨) Was it a Wham-O-Ball? (🤣) Here at #BaseballAlmanac, we simply miss watching #baseball games. Image… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac02 Apr
RIP 😢: Bob Lee [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. RHP (1964-1968) with #Angels, #Dodgers, #Reds. Updated: Added died on dat… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac02 Apr
Baseball Almanac Player of the Day: Don Sutton [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. Born OTD1945. Did you know "The Mechanic"… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac02 Apr
UPDATED: You know Pudge. The Big Hurt. Junior. Dozens more we imagine. But, have you ever wanted to see every #HOFtwitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac02 Apr
A fellow SABR (@sabr) researcher recently asked what players have worn #69 in a regular season game. Here is that l… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Mar
Mark McGwire, OTD1998, hit a HR. That historic HR ended up being the 1st-of-70 dingers Big Mac hit that year [… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac31 Mar
UPDATED: Steve Yeager. New home address. Integrated a #TuesdayTrivia question on #BaseballAlmanac, about the no-hit… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac30 Mar
OTD2000: Rey Ordonez committed an error (😲) ending #MLB record. Rickey Henderson stole a base, in 4th different dec… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac30 Mar
Updated. ART HOUTTEMAN. Received cemetery update from Dr. Fred Worth. Added a trivia question about Detroit Catholi… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac30 Mar
Updated. BASEBALL MOVIE CHECKLIST. Shoutout to @seamus1942 for finding the omission (The Perfect Game / True Story… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Desktop Version