The fifty-star Flag of the United States was officially dedicated on July 4. The newly expanded banner had been modified following the admission of the 50th state, Hawaii, on August 21, 1959 with an Executive Order filed by President Eisenhower providing the arrangement of nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows staggered vertically.
President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960 enabling federal judges to appoint referees to hear persons claiming that state election officials had denied minorities the right to register and vote. Though well intended, the statute proved ineffective, making it necessary for President Lyndon B. Johnson to persuade Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
John F. Kennedy, a first-ballot nominee, defeated Richard Nixon to become the youngest President ever elected in the United States. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President and immediately set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II.
On Opening Day, "Teddy Baseball" (Ted Williams) tied the "Iron Horse" (Lou Gehrig) with the 493rd home run of his career. The 500' blast in his first at-bat remained the only bright moment for Boston as the Washington Senators' Camilo Pascual struck out 11 Red Sox batters on the way to a 10-1 victory. Williams hit number 500 later that season with a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on June 17.
American League Most Valuable Player Roger Maris debuted as a New York Yankee against the Boston Red Sox with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs en route to an 8-4 win at Fenway Park.
Baltimore Orioles catcher Clint Courtney became the first at his position to complete 2 career unassisted double plays during a 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
George Crowe of the St. Louis Cardinals hit four-pinch homers for a Major League career record of fourteen.
Baseball's greatest defensive player became baseball's greatest offensive player with a single at-bat during the Pittsburgh Pirates versus New York Yankees World Series. After being statistically dominated by their American League rivals for six outings, the National League champions found themselves with their backs against the wall at Forbes Field for Game 7. Stats mattered little in the end though as second baseman Bill Mazeroski stepped up to the plate (in the bottom of the ninth) and delivered a desperate, bases-empty home run for the 10-9 victory and the first Pirates World Championship in thirty-five years.
The Los Angeles Dodgers set an all-time National League record for attendance with 2,253,887 coming out to the Coliseum.
Bill Veeck became the first to break uniform tradition after putting the names of his players on the backs of their Chicago White Sox jerseys. In reaction, the rest of the league's teams sent formal protests to the commissioner's office demanding that the names be removed. After hearing both sides, it was determined that each team would have the option to add their names or stay with the traditional number only.
Television icon Gene Autry attended the annual American League owners meeting while investigating possible broadcasting opportunities. After realizing Autry's true respect for the game of baseball as well as his political connections in California, American League President Joe Cronin nominated him for ownership. The result was the birth of the California Angels expansion franchise.
The Sporting News named Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams as their "Player of the Decade" for the 1950s.
The last remaining chapter in the Negro Leagues disbanded after a steady decline in talent due to the inclusion and rapid growth of African-American players in the Major Leagues.
"They examined all my organs. Some of them are quite remarkable and others are not so good. A lot of museums are bidding for them." - Casey Stengel
Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard
Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard
Ted Williams hit some interesting home runs in 1960 including: June 17, when he joined the 500 Home Runs Club ; September 2, when he hit a home run off Don Lee - the son of pitcher Thornton Lee who Williams hit a home run off of twenty years earlier; and September 26, when Williams hit a home run in his final major league at-bat .
After a slow start following their dismal 1959, there was speculation that the Yankee dynasty of the fifties was finally over. At the end of May, Baltimore and Chicago were fighting it out for the lead with the New Yorkers a distant third. But as the weather warmed so did the Bronx Bombers. Their offense could not be matched. They had added Roger Maris in a trade with KC and it brought immediate results. By the end of August, it was a three team race and then in true Yankee fashion of yesteryear, the Yanks broke the race wide open with a fifteen game winning streak. The youthful Orioles and the aging White Sox could not keep pace. The year ended in Fenway Park with the retiring Ted Williams hitting a home run in his final at bat.
#1 New York Yankees (97-57) . The impact of the Maris arrival was immediate. In his first year in pinstripes, he slugged 39 home runs, one short of Mickey Mantle’s 40, and drove in 112 runs to win the AL MVP award. The short, 301 foot right field fence of Yankee Stadium was perfect for the left-handed slugger. First baseman Bill Skowron added 29 home runs and 91 RBIs along with .305 batting average. The team broke the AL home run record with 193. The power was needed as this Yankee team did not come equipped with an overpowering pitching staff. Art Ditmar led the starters with 15 wins. Bobby Shantz came out of the bullpen to record 11 saves.
#2 Baltimore Orioles (89-65) . The Orioles were starting to put together a “Kiddie Corp” of a pitching staff. Milt Pappas, Chuck Estrade, Jack Fisher and Steve Barber, all 22-years-old or younger, accumulated 55 wins. First baseman Jim Gentile took over 1B and led the team in home runs with 21 and 98 RBIs. (HOF) Third baseman Brooks Robinson showed he could hit as well as field with a .294 BA.
#3 Chicago White Sox (87-67) . The Go Go Sox of 1959 were not able to perform another miracle season. They still led the league in steals and team batting average. Shortstop Luis Aparicio stole 51 and OF Jim Landis 23. They added some power by picking up 1B Roy Sievers, 28 hrs and 93 RBIs, but the pitching faltered. Billy Pierce resumed his ace role, but could only win 14 games. Early Wynn’s 1959 surprise turnaround could not be repeated as he came back to earth winning only 12 games.
#4 Cleveland Indians (76-78) . The biggest trade of the off season was the Indians trading slugging OF Rocky Colavito in exchange for the 1959 AL leading hitter SS Harvey Kuenn. They moved Kuenn to the outfield and although he batted a respectable .306, it did not make for losing Colavito’s homerun power. Nor did an offseason trade that sent Minnie Minoso back to the White Sox. The pitching staff was not without some strong arms. It was anchored by twenty-four-year old pitchers Jim Perry and Mudcat Grant.
#5 Washington Senators (73-81) . In what would be their last season in the nation’s capital, the Senators unveiled some future all star talent. Harmon Killebrew teamed up with OF Bob Lemon to hit 69 home runs and drive in 180 runs. The pitching did show some consistency with Chuck Stobbs, Camilio Pascual and Pedro Ramos winning 35 games. OF Bob Allison (15 home runs) was named Rookie of the Year.
#6 Detroit Tigers (71-83) . Despite trades that brought them Rocky Colavito (35 home runs) and young future star 1B Norm Cash, they won 5 games less than ’59. They were undone by poor pitching. Pitcher Frank Lary won 15, but also lost 15 while (HOF) Jim Bunning was still finding his way (11-14).
#7 Boston Red Sox (64-89) . At age 41, Ted Williams came back for his final year to prove the 1959 poor season was a fluke. He did so by hitting .316 with 29 home runs but that did not help the BoSox. Former MVP Jackie Jensen left the team out of fear of flying which resulted in a lack of power. The off season acquisition of SS Pete Runnels from the Senators provided some consistency with his league leading batting average of .320. Outside of Bill Mombouquette’s 14 wins, the pitching staff was dismal.
#8 Kansas City Athletics (58-96) . In trading away Roger Maris for 1B Norm Siebern and some Yankee castaways, the A’s fell to the bottom. No hitting, no pitching, and no fans, there appeared to be little hope. Following the season Charles O. Finley purchased the struggling Athletics believing he could turn the franchise around.
On April 19, 1960, Roger Maris made his debut in a New York Yankees uniform and responded in style with four hits, four runs batted in, and two home runs.
On September 10, 1960, Mickey Mantle hit a home run over the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium. Did you know that this was the third time during his career where he cleared the roof at Tiger Stadium and the first time the ball cleared Trumbull Avenue?