Individual Performances. Both the American League and the National league battles for hitting honors waged until the final day of the season. In the American league, James (Mickey) Vernon of the Washington Senators nosed out Albert (Flip) Rosen of the Cleveland Indians. Vernon hit .337 (unofficial), while Rosen hit .336 (unofficial). In the National league, Carl Furillo of the Brooklyn Dodgers edged Albert (Red) Schoendienst of the St. Louis Cardinals by hitting .344 (unofficial). Schoendienst hit .342 (unofficial). Rosen led the American league with his 43 (unofficial) home runs, while the National league leader in that department was Ed Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves who hit 47 (unofficial) homers. Rosen also led his league in runs-batted-in with 145 (unofficial), while Roy Campanella of the Brooklyn Dodgers was tops in the National league with 142 (unofficial) runs-batted-in. The New York Yankees’ Ed Lopat was the earned-run-average title holder in the American League with a mark of 2.43 (unofficial). The earned-run-average leader in the National league was Warren Spahn who posted an earned-run-average of 2.10 (unofficial). There were eight pitchers who won 20 games in the majors, four in each league. Those winning 20 games in the American league were: Erwin (Bob) Porterfield of Washington (22), Bob Lemon of Cleveland (2I), Mel Parnell of Boston (21), and Virgil Trucks of Chicago (20). National league 20-game winners were: Warren Spahn of Milwaukee (23). Robin Roberts of Philadelphia (23), Carl Erskine of Brooklyn (20) and Harvey Haddix of St. Louis (20). Alva (Bobo) Holloman of the St. Louis Browns registered the only no-hit game of the season as he held the Philadelphia Athletics hitless on May 6. It was the first time in modern major league baseball history that a pitcher had thrown a no-hitter in his first starting role.
All-Star Game. The National League All-Stars scored their fourth straight victory in the 20th annual All-Star game as they defeated the American league representatives. A capacity crowd of 30,846 was on hand for the battle held at Crosley Field, Cincinnati. The victory was the eighth for the National leaguers, while their American league counterparts held the series edge with twelve decisions.
Major League Races. The American league campaign followed the pattern predicted by most. The Yankees took over permanent possession of first place on May 11, holding the top spot for the final 139 days of the season. While only two of the team regulars, Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer, hit .300 or more, the other members of the lineup continually came through with hits at the right time to pace the club to the pennant. On the pitching side, veteran Eddie Lopat had a great year posting 16 victories against only 4 defeats. Another left-handed pitcher, Edward (Whitey) Ford, returned to the club after missing the two previous seasons while in military service to turn in a record of 18 victories and 6 setbacks. Three veterans, Vic Raschi, Allie Reynolds and John Sain, also played important roles in the success of the Yankee pitching staff. The Cleveland Indians, after a good early start, lagged in the middle of the campaign. and then staged a last-month drive but fell short of their first-place goal. The third-place Chicago White Sox were threats to the Yankees during most of the season but fell into a slump in September. In the National league race, the Brooklyn Dodgers, with five regulars hitting over .300-Roy Campanella, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Edwin (Duke) Snider—and pitcher Carl Erskine winning 20 games, took over first place permanently on June 2S. The big surprise of the race was the play of the Milwaukee Braves. Off-season deals had bolstered the Braves roster. but the record-breaking almost fanatical backing of the club by Milwaukee fans was credited as being a big factor in the rise of the team. The Dodgers and Braves made it a two-team race most of the way, with the Phillies and Cardinals keeping in the thick of it until the end of June, after which they fell behind and finished in a tie for third place.
World Series. Yankee manager Stengel picked Allie Reynolds as the starting pitcher in the first game, while Charlie Dressen decided to start his 20-game winner, Carl Erskine. Neither pitcher was around when the game ended. Three-base hits by Hank Bauer and Alfred (Billy) Martin were the big contributions to a four-run first inning for the Yankees. New York held the lead until the top of the seventh inning when Brooklyn tied the score at 5-all. Joe Collins homered for New York in their half of the seventh inning to put the Yankees ahead for keeps. The blow came off a pitch by Clem Labine, who was charged with the loss as the Yankees won the opener. 9 to 5. John Sain, who relieved Reynolds for New York, was the winning pitcher. Game number two proved to be another setback for Brooklyn. It was Mickey Mantle’s two-run homer in the eighth inning that snapped a 2 to 2 tie and presented the Yankees with a 4 to 2 decision. New York started pitcher Ed Lopat, while Brooklyn’s choice was Elwin (Preacher) Roe. Both went the route, with Lopat receiving the win. The action moved from Yankee Stadium to Ebbets field for the third game, and the Dodgers won their first game, by a 3 to 2 score. As in the game the previous day, an eighth-inning homer decided the issue. This time it was Roy Campanella of Brooklyn who came through with the home run. Carl Erskine, a disappointment in the first game, came through with a great performance on the mound for the Dodgers as he struck out fourteen Yankee hitters to break by one the old mark set by Howard Ehmke of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929. Erskine went all the way to win the game. His mound opponent, Vic Raschi, also pitched the entire game for the Yankees as he was handed the defeat. The fourth game proved to be a demonstration of the Dodger power which had pulverized the National league in the 1953 campaign, as they drove out twelve hits, seven of them good for extra bases. Duke Snider’s home run was the highlight of the Dodger attack as Brooklyn evened the series with a 7 to 3 victory. Billy Loes was the starting and winning pitcher for the Dodgers. Loes was unable to complete the game, however, and Clem Labine was called on for a relief appearance after Loes had loaded the bases in the ninth inning. Edward (Whitey) Ford was the first of four Yankee pitchers and suffered the loss. New York regained its winning ways for the fifth battle. Six home runs were hammered out, four by New York, as the Yankees won, 11 to 7. The big blow of the day was Mickey Mantle’s bases-loaded homer in the third inning. Mantle became the fourth hitter in series history to hit a grand-slam homer. Brooklyn paraded four pitchers to the mound before the day was over. Starting and losing Brooklyn pitcher was John Podres. New York’s winning pitcher was starter Jimmie Mc-Donald. McDonald needed help, however, when he got into trouble in the eighth inning and Casey Stengel called upon Bob Kuzava and Allie Reynolds. Game number six marked the end of the line for the Brooklyn Dodgers as the Yankees won their record-breaking fifth straight world championship by scoring a 4 to 3 victory. Whitey Ford got the proceedings underway for New York while Carl Erskine was Brooklyn’s starting pitcher. Clem Labine was on hand to give up the final run to New York and to be dealt the defeat. Allie Reynolds, in relief for Ford, was the winner. Martin’s game-winning single in the ninth inning was his 12th hit of the series in 24 official times at bat, which tied an all-time series mark and established a record for a six-game series. The championship gave the Yankees a record of winning 16 world titles while participating in 20 world series. The paid attendance for the six games was 307,350, and the gross receipts were $2,136,056. The players’ pool totaled $691,-341.61. A record high was established when each Yankee full share of the total was worth $8,280.60, and each Dodger full share was worth $6,178.42.
Hall of Fame. Eight new members were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y. Jerome (Dizzy) Dean, who gained pitching fame with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Al Simmons, a legendary figure of the Philadelphia Athletics, were picked by the baseball writers. The other six were named by the new committee on veterans. They were: umpires William Klem and Thomas Connolly; managers Edward Barrow (Tigers, Red Sox and Yankees) and William Henry (Harry) Wright (Boston Red Stockings, Providence of the National league and Philadelphia Phillies), and players Charles (Chief) Bender (pitcher, Philadelphia Athletics) and Rhoderick J. (Bobby) Wallace (played 25 years in the majors, mostly with the American League’s St. Louis club.)
Rules Changes.- Major changes authorized by the baseball playing rules committee were: a batter hitting a fly ball whin permits a runner to score from 3rd base is now credited with sacrifice and not charged with an official time at bat; inserting the word “fair” in the rule which says a runner is out if hit b a batted ball; players cannot take a running start from a base when attempting to advance a base on fly balls; the team a bat is now given the option of accepting or declining a balk called against the pitcher; rewriting the rules to give three base to a batsman on a batted ball touched by equipment “detached from its proper position” and two bases to a runner on a throw ball under the same circumstances, to make the rule read that this will apply only if it is an intentional action and only if the balls are hit in fair territory (an advance is thus eliminated if a glove slips from a fielder’s hand or hits the ball after being knocked off); the 9o-day suspension for a manager who forfeits a game by taking his team off the field was suspended (henceforth punishment would be left to the discretion of league presidents) ; and official authorization was given to leagues pass rules permitting suspended games (already in effect ii several leagues).