Major League Baseball Season Recap 1959

World Series – Los Angeles Dodgers NL over Chicago White Sox AL 4 games to 2

World Series MVP – Larry Sherry
Babe Ruth Award – Larry Sherry

Awards –
Major League Cy Young Award Early Wynn
MVP Awards –

NL Ernie Banks

AL Nellie Fox

NL Rookie of The Year – Bob Allison

AL Rookie of The Year – Willie McCovey

All-Star Game – July 7th – N.L. 5 over A.L. 4, played at Forbes Field (NL)
AL Starter E. Wynn+ NL Starter D. Drysdale+ MVP

All Star Game 2 August 3rd A.L. 5 over N.L. 3 played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (NL)

 

“It takes all winter to train them (the insects which caused a 28 minute delay on June 2, 1959) and now, poof, on lousy bomb (fireworks) and they’re all blown-up.” – White Sox owner Bill Veeck

1959 Baseball Season Recap

Luis Aparicio was a key player for the White Sox.
The Bronx Bombers, winners of nine American League flags in ten years, were in last place on May 20. New York’s pitching woes weighed the team down and it was never able to join the race, which the White Sox eventually won by 5 games over the Indians.

Detroit placed fourth despite the efforts of Harvey Kuenn and Al Kaline, the top two batting men with averages of .353 and .327. Boston and Jackie Jensen, the RBI leader at 112, came in fifth. The ERA champ couldn’t do it on his own, as Hoyt Wilhelm (a 2.19 mark) and Baltimore finished sixth. Harmon Killebrew’s league-leading 42 home runs were for naught as Washington finished last.

The National League pennant race was far more dramatic. San Francisco appeared to have the flag locked up with a 2-game lead over the Dodgers and Braves and one week to play. The Dodgers then came into town and swept San Francisco in three games.

The Giants never recovered, dropping four of their last five to the Cubs and Cards. San Fran came in third, despite great years from Willie Mays (.313 average, 34 homers, and 104 RBI) and Orlando Cepeda (.317 average, 27 homers, and 105 RBI) and a solid performance from Sam Jones (who posted the best ERA in the league at 2.82 and tied with Milwaukee’s Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette for the lead with 21 wins).

The Dodgers and the Braves ended up tied for first place, as both teams won on the last Sunday. In a best-of-three playoff, the Dodgers, swept Eddie Mathews (who led the league with 46 homers), Hank Aaron (who launched 39 and led the circuit with a .355 average), and the rest of the Braves.

Los Angeles boasted a balanced attack which combined experience and youth. Duke Snider and Gil Hodges combined for 48 homers, while ex-Cardinal Wally Moon hit .302. Speedy Maury Wills took over at shortstop, and 23-year-old Don Drysdale won 17 games to anchor the pitching staff.

Ernie Banks won his second-straight MVP with 45 homers (second in the circuit) and 143 RBI (tops in the league) for the fifth-place Cubs. His American League MVP counterpart, Nellie Fox, led the White Sox to a first-place finish with his .306 batting average.

The Go-Go Sox also featured catcher Sherm Lollar (22 homers, 84 RBI) and shortstop Luis Aparicio (the stolen base leader with 56). Cy Young Award-winner Early Wynn, age 39, was 22-10 while Bob Shaw went 18-6 to stabilize the starting pitching. Gerry Staley and Turk Lown were solid out of the pen.

In the first game of the 1959 World Series, Ted Kluszewski belted a pair of two-run homers to lead Chicago to an 11-0 victory over Los Angeles. The Dodgers came back behind Johnny Podres, taking game two 4-3 and sending a tied 1959 World Series to Los Angeles.

Although the Sox stroked 12 hits in game three, they lost to Los Angeles 3-1. The Dodgers then took game four 5-4 on Hodges’s eighth-inning home run.

A record crowd of 92,706 showed up in the Coliseum the next day with hopes of seeing California’s first World Series winner, but Chicago spoiled the party with a 1-0 win. The Dodgers then took game six 9-3 in Chicago for their first of many World Series crowns.

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Notable Events and Chronology 

Loudly echoing teammate Dick Stuart's May 1st moon shot, Roberto Clemente likewise sets off a two-out, 9th-inning bomb, which, like its predecessor, leaves Pittsburgh one run short while winning admirers in the opposing clubhouse. Unaided by wind, it performs the rare, perhaps unprecedented feat of clearing the diagonal fence behind the centerfield bleachers; in so doing, it barely misses becoming the only batted ball ever to strike Wrigley Field's distant right centerfield scoreboard, and will long be remembered in that light (along with HRs hit to the right field side by the Braves' Eddie Mathews and Chicago's Bill Nicholson.) What it does become is the longest Wrigley Field HR ever witnessed by several of those present: notably, future HOFer Ernie Banks — citing the consensus amongst Cubs players and coaches that the ball "must have traveled more than 500 feet on its trip into Waveland Avenue" — and longtime Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who rates this well above Dave Kingman's contrastingly wind-boosted rocket launched exactly 20 years later (see 1979 below). Moreover, Cubs skipper Bob Scheffing and batting coach Rogers Hornsby take it farther still, telling TSN that Clemente's is the longest they've ever seen, period. (For the record, Hornsby was present at Sportsman's Park on October 6, 1926 to witness two Babe Ruth blasts, estimated, respectively, at 515 and 530 feet by researcher Bill Jenkinson.) All this notwithstanding, there is one crucial caveat: not one of these witnesses can offer more than an educated guess as to this ball's distance. It is only by virtue of George Castle's 1998 Sammy Sosa biography, stating that Clemente's "missile left the ballpark to the left of the Wrigley Field scoreboard, landing in a gas station across the street", and of a December 2015 interview with the source of that assertion, Wrigley ballhawk Rich Buhrke (revealing that the ball did at least end up in that seemingly scoreboard-sheltered gas station via one quirky carom and two huge hops), that we will finally arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate: roughly 520-525 feet, making this one of the three or four longest home runs in Wrigley Field history (alongside both the aforementioned 1979 Kingman blast and one from April 14, 1976, as well as Sammy Sosa's GPS-measured 536-footer of June 26, 2003).

Loudly echoing teammate Dick Stuart’s May 1st moon shot, Roberto Clemente likewise sets off a two-out, 9th-inning bomb, which, like its predecessor, leaves Pittsburgh one run short while winning admirers in the opposing clubhouse. Unaided by wind, it performs the rare, perhaps unprecedented feat of clearing the diagonal fence behind the centerfield bleachers; in so doing, it barely misses becoming the only batted ball ever to strike Wrigley Field’s distant right centerfield scoreboard, and will long be remembered in that light (along with HRs hit to the right field side by the Braves’ Eddie Mathews and Chicago’s Bill Nicholson.) What it does become is the longest Wrigley Field HR ever witnessed by several of those present: notably, future HOFer Ernie Banks — citing the consensus amongst Cubs players and coaches that the ball “must have traveled more than 500 feet on its trip into Waveland Avenue” — and longtime Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who rates this well above Dave Kingman’s contrastingly wind-boosted rocket launched exactly 20 years later (see 1979 below). Moreover, Cubs skipper Bob Scheffing and batting coach Rogers Hornsby take it farther still, telling TSN that Clemente’s is the longest they’ve ever seen, period. (For the record, Hornsby was present at Sportsman’s Park on October 6, 1926 to witness two Babe Ruth blasts, estimated, respectively, at 515 and 530 feet by researcher Bill Jenkinson.) All this notwithstanding, there is one crucial caveat: not one of these witnesses can offer more than an educated guess as to this ball’s distance. It is only by virtue of George Castle’s 1998 Sammy Sosa biography, stating that Clemente’s “missile left the ballpark to the left of the Wrigley Field scoreboard, landing in a gas station across the street”, and of a December 2015 interview with the source of that assertion, Wrigley ballhawk Rich Buhrke (revealing that the ball did at least end up in that seemingly scoreboard-sheltered gas station via one quirky carom and two huge hops), that we will finally arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate: roughly 520-525 feet, making this one of the three or four longest home runs in Wrigley Field history (alongside both the aforementioned 1979 Kingman blast and one from April 14, 1976, as well as Sammy Sosa’s GPS-measured 536-footer of June 26, 2003).