1950 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!
1950: Baseball Enters a New Era
by Steve Ehresman
When the 1950s dawned, our nation was on the cusp of dramatic changes in life-style, popular culture, sporting events, and world affairs--all of which would lay the foundation for the world we live in today. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (the G.I. Bill) had helped to create a post-World War II era in which more Americans could enjoy a standard of living undreamt of in the 1930s and 1940s. Big gas-guzzling cars, suburban houses, consumer goods, and—of course—babies were booming, as Americans felt confident that the future held nothing but peace and prosperity.
The 1950s were characterized by burgeoning industry, increased take-home pay, and a national mania to own the best gadgets our new-found expendable income could buy. Television signals could reach almost anywhere in America, creating a shared national experience. Celebrities such as Bob Hope made appearances on television, thus adding luster to America’s latest entertainment medium. Soon, sporting events would follow, with Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘round the World” becoming the first coast-to-coast television broadcast of a baseball game on October 3, 1951.
In addition to the rise of television, 1950 was the year Charles Schultz published a new comic strip in nine newspapers, introducing America to Charlie Brown in “Li’l Folks” (later “Peanuts”). Rogers and Hammerstein lit up “The Great White Way” of Broadway, winning the Pulitzer Prize for “South Pacific.” Building on the success of “Snow White” and “Pinocchio,” Walt Disney debuted another animated feature-length film, “Cinderella.”
Although their impact was still in the future, professional football and basketball had begun jostling for positions in America’s sporting universe. The National-American Football League decided to shorten its somewhat unwieldy moniker to the more manageable National Football League (NFL). Thanks to rule changes implemented in January, the NFL opened the way for the 2-platoon system. Chuck Cooper (the man who integrated professional basketball), Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, and Earl Lloyd became the first black players in the National Basketball Association.
In the face of this all-American optimism, ominous forces were stirring in the world, setting the stage for conflicts that still resonate in the American consciousness. Despite grave misgivings by no less a personage than Albert Einstein, President Harry Truman supported development of the hydrogen bomb. The Israeli Knesset decided that Jerusalem was the capital of the newly-formed State of Israel. Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed to have a list of 205 communist government employees. Vietnamese forces led by Ho Chi Minh threatened peace in Southeast Asia. And, the United States committed combat troops to Korea, as Curt Simmons (17-8, 214.2 innings, 3.40), ace left-hander for the Philadelphia Phillies, was called to active military service in September 1950.
In the volatile world of 1950, baseball promised its own innovations and surprises. Jackie Robinson signed the highest contract in Brooklyn Dodger history (a whopping $35,000). On April 18, the first opening night game was played, with the St. Louis Cardinals downing the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2. Also on April 18, Sam Jethro (18 home runs, 35 SB, .273), the National League Rookie of the Year, became the first black ball player for the Boston Braves, and the New York Yankees roared from behind, overcoming a 9-0 deficit in the sixth inning, to defeat the Boston Red Sox 15-10, presaging a year of good old-fashioned slugging in the major leagues.
To use an anachronistic term, batters in 1950 simply “raked.” Billy Goodman of the Boston Red Sox led the American League with a batting average of .354, while Stan “The Man” Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals (41 2B, 28 HR, .346 BA, .596 SLG) paced the National League. George Kell of the Detroit Tigers compiled the best season of his Hall of Fame career, batting .340 with 218 hits and 56 doubles.
Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians paced the Junior Circuit with 37 homers, while American League Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo slammed 34 long balls on his way to a .322 average and a league-leading 144 RBI to tie Vern Stephens of the Boston Red Sox. Over in the National League, Ralph Kiner launched 47 home runs, while Del Ennis of the surprising “Whiz Kid” Philadelphia Phillies accumulated 126 RBI.
Nevertheless, the 1950 American League season belonged to the Yankees beloved Phil Rizzuto, “The Scooter.” Outpacing a host of sluggers, including teammate Joe DiMaggio (32 home runs, .301 BA, 122 RBI, .585 SLG), Rizzuto made 735 plate appearances, batted .324, and played a nearly flawless shortstop.
Rizzuto’s MVP counter-part in the National League did not slam long balls. Rather Jim Konstanty of the Philadelphia closed out games for the pennant-winners. Combining with Robin Roberts (20-11, 39 starts, 304.1 IP, 21 CG, 5 SHO), Konstanty appeared in a record 74 games, finished 62, saved 22, and posted a sparkling 2.66 ERA in 152 innings, setting the Phillies up to clinch the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 1 at Ebbets Field, thanks to a tenth inning 3-run home run by Philadelphia outfielder Dick Sisler. Konstanty’s year brought national attention to the value of relief pitchers to deliver pennants to their teams.
Although the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies were swept 4-0 in the World Series by the powerful New York Yankees, the grit shown by this version of “The Fightin’ Phils” belongs on the short list of Cinderella teams who made baseball history.
The 1950 baseball season was characterized by superb individual performances. On the mound, Bob Lemon (23-11, 37 starts, 22 CG, 288 IP) and Early Wynn (18-8, 213.2 IP, 3.20) of the Cleveland Indians, as well as Warren Spahn (21-17, 39 starts, 25 CG, 3.16) of the Boston Braves, added superlatives to their Hall of Fame careers. At the plate, Larry Doby (25 home runs, .326 BA, .442 OBP) of the Cleveland Indians, Andy Pafko (36 home runs, .304 BA, .591 SLG) of the Chicago Cubs, and Yogi Berra (28 home runs, .322 BA, 124 RBI, .533 SLG) of the New York Yankees supplied fire-power for their respective teams.
This list would not be complete without Ned Garver, toiling in near anonymity with the hapless St. Louis Browns. Garver (31 GS, 22 CG, 260 IP, 3.39) deserves more than a footnote when one remembers the stars of 1950.
In the new decade, three baseball teams--the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants, and the New York Yankees--would make New York “The Capital of Baseball.” For years, their exploits would be celebrated, and the names of their players would read like a “Who’s Who” of Olympians: Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider of the Dodgers; Al Dark, Monte Irvin, Sal Maglie, Eddie Stanky, and Bobby Thompson of the Giants; Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Vic Raschi, and Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees. If the 1950s started great for baseball, it would only get better when a young slugger from Spavinaw, Oklahoma and a Negro League star from Westfield, Alabama arrived in 1951 to elevate our national game to even greater heights.
For Major League Baseball and its millions of fans, the 1950 season supplied countless thrills and indelible memories. It showcased peak seasons by players who have long been forgotten. It highlighted all-star performances by players whose stars have only grown brighter as the years have passed.
As Roger Kahn says in The Era, the 1950s were “the most exciting time for baseball. You should have been there.” Now, with Diamond Mind’s updated 1950 season, you CAN be there to celebrate one of the greatest seasons and one of the greatest eras in the annals of our national pastime.
The 1950 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1950 season -- a full set of ratings and statistics for every player who appeared in the big leagues that year, plus team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark ratings and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals with left/right splits for all batters and pitchers.
Also included is a complete set of real-life player transactions -- trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions, and more -- plus the actual starting lineups for every regular season game played.
If you are a registered owner of the 1950 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request your discount promotion code.
Note: This season database is a companion product for the Diamond Mind Baseball version 11 game. To use this database, you must also have Diamond Mind Baseball version 11. The game software provides you with all of the tools you need to play simulated games, make roster moves, produce dozens of statistical reports, generate league schedules, and more.
- David Pyke