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1946 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!

1946: The Boys Are Back in Town

by Steve Ehresman

In 1946, Winston Churchill gave his famous Iron Curtain Speech; Nazi war criminals were sentenced to death by the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg; the General Assembly of the United Nation met for the first time; and—for Major League Baseball—the stars returned from the War to treat America to a new era of seasons in the sun.

Despite the challenge posed by Jorge Pascual’s Mexican League, Major League Baseball, under the leadership of Commissioner Albert “Happy” Chandler, experienced a record-breaking year, as turnstiles clicked at nearly double their 1945 rate, which happened to be the old record for putting fannies in the seats.  All sixteen teams enjoyed an increase in attendance.  Even the lowly Washington Senators and Philadelphia Phillies surpassed the magic million mark.  In all, five teams drew over a million fans for the first time, and the New York Yankees became the first team to attract two million customers.

These fans were rewarded with a baseball season that historians still celebrate.  In Boston, the Red Sox put together a 15-game winning streak in May and captured their first pennant in 28 years, winning 104 games and breezing past the defending World Series champs, the Detroit Tigers, by 12 games.    

Despite the “Williams Shift,” devised by Cleveland Indian player-manager Lou Boudreau, “Teddy Ballgame”, 27-years-old and hungry after serving as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, won the MVP,  compiling a .342 batting average, walloping 38 home runs, drawing a major league-leading 156 walks, and driving in 123 runs.  Williams was not alone in his offensive exploits, as Rudy York (30 2B, 17 HR, 119 RBI), Bobby Doerr (34 2B, 18 HR, 116 RBI), and Johnny Pesky (208 hits, 43 2B, .335) came through with seasons that put the Red Sox atop the American League in runs (792), hits (1441), doubles (268), RBI (736), walks (687), and batting average (.271). 

“The Sawx” also possessed one the most effective pitching staffs in the American League.  Featuring Boo Ferris (40 G, 35 GS, 26 CG, 274 IP, 25-6, 3.25), Tex Hughson (20-11, 39 G, 35 GS, 21 CG, 278 IP, 20-11, 2.75), and Mickey Harris (17-9, 34 G, 30 GS, 15 CG, 236 IP, 17-9, 3.63), Boston pitching was both talented and deep. 

The American League could boast of a Herculean performance by the Detroit Tigers’ Hank Greenberg in his first full season after the War.  Smashing 44 home runs and recording 127 RBI, both major league highs, Greenberg enjoyed one of his most productive seasons.  Hal Newhouser, the ace of Detroit’s 1945 champs, put together a stellar season against much tougher competition.  “Prince Hal” dominated with a 25-9 record, along with 37 G, 34 GS, 29 CG, 293 IP, 275 K, and a major league-leading 1.94 ERA.

The New York Yankees featured a comeback by “The Yankee Clipper” Joe DiMaggio (20 2B, 3 3B, 25 HR, 95 RBI, .290), a fine all-around performance by teammate Charlie “King Kong” Keller (29 2B, 10 3B, 30 HR, 113 BB, 101 RBI), and a superior season on the hill by Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (20-8, 34 G, 32 GS, 20 CG, 257 IP, 138 K, 2.10).     

 James “Mickey” Vernon of the Washington Senators captured the American League batting title with a.353 average. slamming 51 doubles to lead the Majors   Bob “Rapid Robert” Feller of the Cleveland Indians enjoyed one of his best seasons (48 G, 42 GS, 36 CG, 371 IP, 26-15, 348 K, 10 SHO, 2.18).  Nevertheless, their teams finished fourth (76-78) and sixth (68-86), respectively.  Far below the .500 mark were Connie Mack’s cellar-dwelling Philadelphia Athletics (49-105), a whopping 55 games behind the Red Sox.       

The National League provided drama for baseball fans, with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers slugging it out in a pennant race that might not have happened.  Not only did the Red Birds lose two stalwart pitchers—Mort Cooper to the Boston Braves and Max Lanier to the Mexican League--but manager Billy Southworth, who had led St. Louis to two World Series championships during the War (1942 and 1944), flew the coup to join Cooper in Beantown.  Further, Whitey Kurowski, Enos Slaughter, and Stan Musial were close to joining Max Lanier South of the Border before they backed off and remained in St. Louis. 

In a season similar to 1942, the Dodgers charged into the lead, only to see the Cardinals mount a late stretch-run to end the season in a flat-footed tie with Brooklyn (each team finishing at 96-58), forcing an unprecedented three-game playoff to determine the National League’s representative in the World Series.  The Cards took two straight games from the Bums to claim the pennant.  

MVP Stan “The Man” Musial put together an historic season, as he scored 124 runs, recorded 228 hits, slammed 50 doubles, legged-out 20 triples, blasted 16 home runs, and knocked in 103 runs, while batting .365 to lead the Major Leagues and slugging .587 to lead the National League.  Assisting Musial were George “Whitey” Kurowski (32 2B, 14 HR, 89 RBI, .301) and Enos “Country” Slaughter (30 2B, 18 HR, 130 RBI, .300).  Musial’s 366 total bases were 83 more than National League runner-up Slaughter collected.

On the hill, the Red Birds were powered by a three-pronged attack comprised of Howie Pollet (40 G, 32 GS, 22 CG, 266 IP, 21-10, 2.10), Murray Dickson (47 G, 19 GS, 12 CG, 184 IP, 15-6, 2.89), and Harry “The Cat” Brecheen (36 G, 30 GS, 14 CG, 231 IP, 2.49).  The depth of the Cardinals’ pitching staff was underscored by contributions from Al Brazle (37 G, 15 GS, 6 CG, 153 IP, 3.29) and Ted Wilks (40 G, 95 IP, 3.41)

Despite their falling in a play-off to the Cardinals, the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the Ebbets Field faithful much to cheer.  Harold “Pee Wee” Reese (16 2B, 10 3B, 10 SB, 60 RBI, .284), Carl Furillo (335 AB, 18 2B, 6 3B, .284), and Fred “Dixie” Walker (29 2B, 116 RBI, 14 SB, .319) steadied the Dodgers all season and might have parlayed their leadership into a pennant, had it not been for Pete Reiser’s broken ankle.  Without Reiser (21 2B, 73 RBI, 34 SB), Brooklyn experienced the first of many seasons that ended in disappointment.  Perhaps it was here that the cry “Wait till Next Year!” was born.     

Like their rivals in St. Louis, the Dodgers featured an outstanding pitching staff:  Kirby Higbe (42 G, 29 GS, 11 CG, 211 IP, 17-8, 3.03), Joe Hatten (42 C, 30 GS, 13 CG, 222 IP, 14-11, 2.84), and Vic Lombardi (41 G, 25 GS, 13 CG, 193 IP, 13-10, 2.89).  Swing man Hank Behrman (47 G, 11 GS, 151 IP, 11-5, 2.92) and relief ace Hugh Casey (46 G, 100 IP, 11-5, 1.98) were also valuable members of Brooklyn’s mound crew.   

Plagued by injuries to Don Johnson, Stan Hack, Mickey Livingston, and Andy Pafko, as well as by slumps, the Chicago Cubs, defending National League champions, dropped to third place (82-71).  No one in “The Windy City “could have foreseen that the Cubs would wait 71 years before appearing in another Fall Classic, redeeming themselves by breaking a 108-year drought to become World Series Champions.                                

Although Ralph Kiner’s Pittsburgh Pirates finished a dismal 7th (63-91), the twenty-three-year-old rookie slugger blasted a league-leading 23 home runs to tie Pittsburgh’s team record set by another rookie, Johnny Rizzo in 1938.  In addition, Kiner drove in 109 runs.  Before the 1946 season, Pirate manager Billy Herman and principal owner John Galbreath possessed the foresight to bring in the left field wall at Forbes Field.  The close-in seats of left field were dubbed “Greenberg’s Gardens” when the Pirates acquired “Hammerin’ Hank” in 1947.  After Greenberg’s retirement, this homer-friendly territory, 340 feet from home plate, earned a new and enduring nickname, “Kiner’s Korner.”           

Back from the War but suffering a broken bone in his hand, Johnny Mize of the New York Giants made the most of his opportunities (377 AB), as he slammed 18 2B, blasted 22 HR, and drove in 70 runs, while batting .337 and slugging .576.  Nevertheless, “Big Jawn’s” team plummeted to the cellar (61-93), as Sal Maglie, Harry Feldman, Ace Adams, and Danny Gardella jumped ship to join the Mexican League.  Frustrated by his having to manage a Swiss cheese roster depleted by defections, manager Mel Ott was ejected from both games of a doubleheader when his Giants dropped a twin-bill to the Pirates on June 9.

It’s hard to believe, but Kiner and Mize were the only National Leaguers to reach or exceed 20 home runs.  For the season, the National League hit 562 homers, while the American League, bolstered by Hank Greenberg (44), Ted Williams (38), Charlie Keller (30), Joe DiMaggio (25), Pat Seerey (26), and Sam Chapman (20), launched 653.      

Quietly putting together a solid pitching staff, the Boston Braves featured Johnny Sain (37 G, 34 GS, 24 CG, 265 IP, 20-14, 129 K, 2.21) and a southpaw who had barely had a cup of coffee in the Big Leagues before going to war.  This twenty-five-year-old, Warren Spahn (24 G, 16 GS, 8 CG, 128 IP, 8-5, 2.93), showed promise that he had a bright future.  In 1947, he would begin to fulfill that promise.       

The 1946 World Series, a seven-game struggle between Williams’ Red Sox and Musial’s Cardinals, featured clutch performances by Harry Brecheen, who picked up three victories, and Enos Slaughter, who, despite a painful elbow, starred in one of Major League Baseball’s iconic October moments.  On first base with two outs, Slaughter took off when Cardinal left fielder Harry Walker hit a line drive over the head of Boston shortstop Johnny Pesky.  When Len Culberson fielded the ball and relayed it to the infield, Slaughter, ignoring a stop sign from third base coach Mike Gonzalez, slid safely into home, putting St. Louis ahead 4-3 with what proved to be the winning run in the decisive seventh game. Red Sox nation is still replaying “Slaughter’s Mad Dash” in their nightmares. 

Diamond Mind Baseball presents the 1946 season, the first of the post-War era.  In a year when bikinis went on sale in Paris, Tupperware appeared in department and hardware stores, and Dean Martin, Bill Haley, and B. B. King began their musical careers, Major League Baseball ruled the sporting world.  With the Greatest Generation back home, America could take a long, deep breath.  Unforeseen challenges lay ahead, but for one summer, the summer of 1946, we could relax and enjoy our freedom.


The 1946 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1946 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 1946 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to dmb_info@imaginesports.com 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.

1961 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!

1961:  Baseball and the New Frontier

by Steve Ehresman

In 1961, America shook off the 1950s and embraced the future with great vigor.  On January 20, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States.  In the freezing cold, Kennedy, hatless and youthful, addressed the nation and the world, proclaiming that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”  In the coming months, Kennedy steered our nation into the future, promising to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.  In May 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space-- NASA’s baby steps that would ultimately lead to Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” on July 20, 1969.

Even in the traditional world of Major League Baseball, change was in the air.  In 1961, the American League expanded from eight to ten teams, adding a franchise in California and creating a new team in Washington, D. C., while relocating the original Senators to Minnesota.  As a result, the Junior Circuit adopted a 162-game schedule, replacing the traditional 154-game schedule.   

As fans know, no sport is more connected to its history than Major League Baseball.  Each generation of players is measured against its predecessors, some of whom had become legends, whose records were regarded as inviolate.

No legend was bigger than Babe Ruth.

No record was more sacrosanct than the Babe’s 60 homers in 1927.

Until 1961 . . .

Not only was the Babe’s record challenged, but it was challenged in the Babe’s own house, Yankee Stadium, by two New York Yankee sluggers.  Mickey Mantle (54 HR, 128 RBI, 126 BB, .317) and MVP Roger Maris (61 HR, 142 RBI) not only tore the cover off the ball, they tore the cover off history, chasing the Babe all summer, until Maris caught him on the final day of the regular season, sending a Tracy Stallard fastball over the right field wall of Yankee Stadium and putting home run 61 into the record books.  Despite Ford Frick’s protestations that Maris needed to break the Babe’s record in 154 games, rather than in 162 games, 61 home runs remains in the books as an example of athletic grace under pressure.

Through the summer, Mantle and Maris’s home run duel established the 1961 Yankees as one of the greatest teams of all-time.  Led not only by the M&M Boys, but also by hard-hitting catcher Elston Howard (21 HR, .348), slugging first sacker Moose Skowron (28 HRI), and left fielder Yogi Berra (22 HR), the Pinstripes compiled an impressive 109-53 record, while scoring 827 runs and slamming 240 homers.  Oh yeah . . .  the Yanks also featured the Cy Young Award winner, Whitey Ford (39 GS, 11 CG, 283 IP, 25-4, 209 K, 3.21).  Supporting Ford were Ralph Terry (31 G, 27 GS, 9 CG, 188 IP, 16-3, 3.16) and closer Luis Arroyo (65 G, 119 IP, 15-5, 29 SV, 2.19).   

Amid all the hubbub in Gotham, did anyone notice that the second-place Detroit Tigers were really good?  Although they fell short to the juggernaut Yanks, the Bengals finished with a 101-61 record and clobbered 180 home runs.  Any other year, those numbers might have been overwhelming.  With sluggers Rocky Colavito (45 HR, 140 RBI, 113 BB), Norm Cash (41 HR, 132 RBI, 124 BB, .361), and Al Kaline (19, 82 RBI, .324) leading the attack, the Tigers plated 841 runs, outscoring the indomitable Bronx Bombers.  On the mound, Frank Lary (36 GS, 22 CG, 275.1 IP, 23-9, 3.24) was a good match for the Yankees’ Whitey Ford.  Jim Bunning (38 G, 37 GS, 12 CG, 268 IP, 17-11, 3.19) and Don Mossi (35 G, 34 GS, 12 CG, 240 IP, 15-7, 2.96) rounded out an excellent pitching staff.  Without a doubt, the 1961 Detroit Tigers were one of the greatest second-place teams in baseball history.       

The entire American League bristled with impressive offensive performances, as Jim Gentile of Baltimore (46 HR, 141 RBI, .302), Harmon Killebrew (46 HR, 122 RBI) and Bob Allison (29 HR, 105 RBI) of Minnesota, Al Smith (28 HRI) and Roy Sievers (27 HRI) of Chicago, Leon Wagner (28 HR) and Ken Hunt (25 HR) of Los Angeles, and Willie Kirkland (27 HRI) and Woodie Held (23 HR) of Cleveland were among the heavy hitters who supplied enough fire-power for the American League launch 1,534 balls into outer space in the summer of 1961.

On the mound, Dick Donovan of the expansion Washington Senators led the American League in earned run average (2.40), and Camilo Pascual of the Minnesota Twins, once the original Washington Senators, paced the Junior Circuit in strikeouts (221 K).   

The National League, despite playing a 154-game schedule, posted numbers as impressive as any in the Junior Circuit.  The pennant-winning Cincinnati Reds, years before the Big Red Machine, featured the hitting prowess of MVP Frank Robinson (37 HR, 124 RBI ,.323), Vada Pinson (16 HR, 87 RBI, .343), and Gordy Coleman (26 HR, 87 RBI) and the strong pitching of Joey Jay (34 GS, 14 CG, 247.1 IP, 21-10, 3.53), Jim O’Toole (39 G, 35 GS, 11 CG, 252.2, 21-10), and Bob Purkey (36 G, 34 GS, 13 CG, 246 IP, 18-12, 3.73) to compile a 93-61 record.         

The Los Angeles Dodgers relied on a superb four-man rotation to claim second place.  Sandy Koufax, emerging as a bona fide star, paced the Dodgers staff (42 G, 35 GS, 15 CG, 255.2 IP, 18-13, 269 K, 3.52).  He was ably supported by Don Drysdale (40 G, 37 GS, 10 CG, 244 IP, 13-10, 3.69), Johnny Podres (32 G, 29 GS, 6 CG, 182.2 IP, 18-5, 3.74), and Stan Williams (41 G, 35 GS, 6 CG, 235.1 IP, 15-12, 3.90).  A star from the 1959 World Champions, Wally Moon led the Bums’ offense with 17 homers, 89 RBI, and a .328 batting average.           

Roberto Clemente of the defending World Series Champion Pittsburg Pirates batted .351, while socking 23 homers and driving in 89 runs.  He was ably supported by slugging first baseman Dick “Doctor Strangeglove” Stuart (35 HR, 117 RBI, .301).  Perennial stars Orlando Cepeda (46 HR, 142 RBI, .311) and Willie Mays (40 HR, 123 RBI, .308) of the San Francisco Giants, and Hank Aaron (34 HR, 120 RBI, .327), Eddie Mathews (32 HR, 91 RBI, .306) and Joe Adcock (35 HR, 108 RBI) of the Milwaukee Braves did their part to help the Senior Circuit crush 1196 home runs.

Few pitchers in the Senior circuit rivaled the excellence of earned run average leader Warren Spahn in 1961 (38 G, 34 GS, 21 CG, 262.2 IP, 21-13, 3.01), as he celebrated his fortieth birthday on April 23 of the 1961 season.  

Establishing their bona fides in the major leagues, two fly-chasers, Carl Yastrzemski (31 2B, 11 HR, 80 RBI) of the Boston Red Sox and National League Rookie of the Year Billy Williams (25 HR, 86 RBI) of the Chicago Cubs held out the promise of future greatness for their fans.        

The 1961 season launched the beginning of a decade many consider a Golden Age.  Although tradition was respected, even celebrated, innovation was embraced.  The National League would catch up to the American League, expanding in 1962 to add the New York Metropolitans and the Houston Colt 45’s.  Before the end of the decade, both franchises would make history—one with a World Series championship, the other with the opening of a multi-purpose domed stadium.   In the final season of the 1960s, baseball would expand again, adding four new teams and instituting divisional play.  The 1961 season marked the beginning of a decade in which baseball reached for the moon, enduring through turbulence and tragedy and creating the game we know today.

As the years pass and the summer of 1961 recedes into memory and—finally-- into the pages of history, take a moment to celebrate those long-ago heroes and to remember an America that looked toward a New Frontier with youthful confidence and innocence that was all too quickly lost.                        


The 1961 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1961 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 1961 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to dmb_info@imaginesports.com 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.

1951 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!

1951:  The Bums and the Jints Collide, but the Bombers Rule

by Steve Ehresman

Baseball in the 1950s is celebrated as The ERA:  a time when three major league teams took the field in New York; when Willie, Mickey, and Duke were just embarking on their journeys to Cooperstown; when a western road trip meant games in Chicago and St. Louis; and when radio announcers brought baseball to life in America’s living rooms.  Broadcasters like Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Buck, Harry Cary, Bob Prince, Jack Quinlan, and Russ Hodges, thanks to their distinctive voices and styles, created a generation of fans who cherished the time they spent listening to the play-by-play incantations of their favorite radio uncles during those long-ago summers.

Never was this magic more evident than on October 3, 1951, when Russ Hodges was at the mike to make the most famous home run call of them all:  There’s a long drive . . . it’s gonna be .  . . I believe.   The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant!   The Giants win the pennant!

Hodges’ home run call summarized a season, galvanized a rivalry, and defined a decade. 

Not bad for an autumn afternoon.   

The Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff is a well-known baseball drama--part fact and part legend--replete with triumph, tragedy, and even a hint of scandal.  Did the Giants steal signs?  Did a stolen sign alert Bobby Thomson that Ralph Branca was about to deliver a second straight fast ball, this one high and inside? 

Did it matter?

 As both of the principal actors are deceased, we are left with a fact (The Giants won the 1951 pennant.) and a legend (The Shot Heard ‘Round the World).  As a character in the western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance advises, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Bobby Thomson (27 2B, 32 HR, 101 RBI, .293) was not the only legend playing for the New York Giants in 1951.  Five-time Negro League All-Star Monte Irvin was the big bat in New York’s line-up, as he scored 94 runs, collected 174 hits, swatted 24 home runs, drove in a league-leading 121 runs, swiped 12 bases, and led the Giants with a .312 batting average.  Twenty-year-old Willie Mays, a star for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Minneapolis Millers, established himself as a major league regular, compiling 22 doubles, 20 home runs, and 68 RBI in 464 ABs, while playing a stellar centerfield.  On the mound, the Giants relied, not on stolen signs, but on a trio of superb pitchers.  Sal Maglie “The Barber” Maglie (42 G, 37 GS, 22 CG, 298 IP, 23-6, 2.93), Larry Jansen (39 G, 34 GS, 18 CG, 279 IP, 23-11, 3.03), and Jim Hearn (34 G, 34 GS, 11 CG, 211 IP, 17-9, 3.63) provided stability throughout the season, allowing the Giants to overcome a horrendous 1-11 start and to overtake the Dodgers, despite their trailing Brooklyn by 13 ½ games on August 12. 

The star-crossed Dodgers led the National League in runs (855), hits (1511), doubles 249, home runs (184), runs batted in (794), batting average (.275), slugging average (.434), and even stolen bases (89).  Their play-off loss is the stuff of Greek tragedy:  larger-than-life heroes struggling against inexorable Fate (or Leo Durocher’s elaborate system for stealing signs).  In any case, Dem Bums crashed and burned again, one year after they lost the pennant to Philadelphia’s Whiz Kids in the tenth inning on the final day of the season. 

Nevertheless, the team identified as The Boys of Summer, thanks to Roger Kahn’s co-opting a line from Dylan Thomas (“I see the boys of summer in their ruin”), was largely intact in 1951.  Young stars Duke Snider (29 HR, 101 RBI) and Gil Hodges (40 HR, 103 RBI) led the high -powered Dodger offense, as they would for most of the coming decade.  Veterans Pee Wee Reese (94 R, 20 SB) and Jackie Robinson (106 R, 33 2B, 19 HR, 25 SB, .338) anchored the keystone with aplomb.  Most of all, National League Most Valuable Player Roy Campanella (99 R, 33 2B, 33 HR, 108 RBI, .325) enjoyed one of the greatest seasons a backstop has ever put in the books.  Led by two twenty-game winners, Preacher Roe (34 G, 33 GS, 19 CG, 258 IP, 22-3, 3.03) and Don Newcombe (40 G, 36 GS, 18 CG, 272 IP, a league-leading 164 K, 20-9, 3.28), the Dodgers looked like a team destined for greatness.  Unfortunately, the Borough of Brooklyn would have to wait a few more seasons for that greatness to be realized.   

The American League, almost eclipsed by the post-season play-off drama taking place in Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds, had much to offer baseball fans in 1951.  As usual, the New York Yankees, defending World Series Champions, put a great team on the field.  Anchored by The Big Three of Ed Lopat (31 G, 31 GS, 20 CG, 235 IP, 21-9, 2.91), Vic Raschi (35 G, 34 GS, 15 CG, 258 IP, a league-leading 164 K, 21-10, 3.28), and Allie Reynolds (40 G, 26 GS, 16 CG, 221 IP, 17-8, 2 no-hitters, 3.05), The Bronx Bombers withstood a stiff challenge from the Cleveland Indians to capture their fourth pennant in five years.  Standing tall at 5’ 7”, Yogi Berra, in his third season as a regular behind the plate, captured the American League Most Valuable Player (92 R, 27 HR, 88 RBI, .294), while handling the Yankees’ veteran pitchers.  Breaking into the Yankee line-up was nineteen-year-old Mickey Mantle (11 2B, 5 3B, 13 HR, 65 RBI in 341 AB), heir-apparent to Joe DiMaggio (22 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI).  With Mays, Mantle, and Snider finally ensconced as regulars in 1954, The ERA had its signature trio of Hall of Fame centerfielders: “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.”

If New York was the epicenter of baseball in 1951, it did not have a monopoly on excellence.  From New England to the Midwest, major league stars put up numbers that deserve recognition in any era.   

In baseball’s outpost on the Mississippi River, Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals won the batting title, while tearing up the National League (a league-leading 124 R, 205 H, 30 2B, 12 3B, 32 HR, 108 RBI, .355).  In Beantown, Warren Spahn (39 G, 36 GS, a league-leading 26 CG, 311 IP, a league-leading 164 K, 22-14, 2.98), Chet Nichols (33 G, 19 GS, 12 CG, a league-leading 2.88), and former Cleveland Buckeye Sam Jethro (29 2B, 10 3B, 18 HR, 35 SB) starred for the Boston Braves.  Robin Roberts (44 G, 39 GS, 22 CG, 315 IP, 21-15, 3.03) and Richie Ashburn (a league-leading 221 H, 29 SB, .344) set the pace in Philadelphia, The City of Brotherly Love.  Where the Ohio, the Monongahela, and the Allegheny rivers meet, Ralph Kiner crushed a major league-leading 42 home runs, while scoring 124 runs, swatting 31 doubles, driving in 109 runs, drawing a league-leading 137 walks, and batting .309.                    

On the shores of Lake Erie, where the Cuyahoga River flows, the Cleveland Indians pursued the New York Yankees (98-56) all summer, falling short of the American League pennant by 5 games (93-61).  Featuring one of the best starting staffs in the 1950s, The Tribe put a star on the hill almost every night:  Bob Feller (33 C, 32 GS, 16 CG, 250 IP, 22-8, 3.49), Mike Garcia (47 G, 30 GS, 15 CG, 254 IP, 20-13, 3.15), Early Wynn (37 G, 34 GS, 21 CG, 274 IP, 20-13, 3.02), and Bob Lemon (42 G, 34 GS, 17 CG, 263 IP, 17-14, 3.52).  In addition to Cleveland’s tough pitchers, former Homestead Gray Luke Easter (27 HR, 103 RBI), former Newark Eagle and American League trailblazer Larry Doby (27 2B, 20 HR, .295), and slugging third baseman Al Rosen (30 2B, 24 HR, 102 RBI) provided sock for the Indians in their heavy-weight fight with the Yankees.  In Boston, World War II veteran and soon-to-be Korean War fighter pilot, Ted Williams (109 R, 28 2B, 30 HR, 126 RBI, a league-leading 144 BB, .318) continued to make his case as “the greatest hitter who ever lived.”  On Chicago’s South Side, former New York Cuban Minnie Minoso electrified the Windy City with 32 doubles, 14 triples, 31 stolen bases, and a .326 batting average.  Sharing Shibe Park with the National League Phillies, the Athletics featured slugger Gus Zernial, who blasted 33 home runs to lead the American League and drove in 129 runs to lead all of baseball.  The Athletics also celebrated batting champion Ferris Fain (.344), although he was limited to 425 Abs because of a broken bone in his foot.  Pitching in obscurity, Ned Garver put together a fine year on the mound (33 G, 30 GS, a league-leading 24 complete games, 20-12, 3.73) for the St. Louis Browns, a team that finished with the worst record in baseball (52-102, 46 games behind the Yankees). 

The 1951 Fall Classic proved to be somewhat anti-climactic, as the Yankees captured their third consecutive championship, even though the scrappy Giants extended the Series to six games.  For the Yanks, Phil Rizzuto (.320) and Gil McDougald (7 RBI) stood out at the plate, and Ed Lopat was stellar on the mound (18 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2-0, 0.50).  For the Giants, Monte Irvin (.458) and Al Dark (.417) starred in a losing cause.  Shut out of the World Series again, the residents of Brooklyn consoled themselves with a familiar refrain:  Wait till next year.           

In 1951, a new home cost $9,000.  A new car was priced at $1,500.  Gas was 19 cents a gallon.  The average household made $3,700 a year.  Unemployment dropped to 3.3%.   In theaters, The Day the Earth Stood Still, directed by Robert Wise, debuted in September.  I Love Lucy premiered on America’s fastest growing home entertainment medium, television. 

In 1951, war loomed on the Korean peninsula.  The United States began testing nuclear bombs in Nevada.  The first commercial computer, UNIVAC, was dedicated for use at the United States Census Bureau.  The American experiment moved forward:  a half-step into the glow of Tomorrowland and a half-step into the chill of The Cold War.   

Baseball was entering one of its most celebrated decades.  New stars gathered backstage, awaiting their turn in the spot light.  Old stars took their bows, savoring their final moments on stage.   The 1951 season confirmed that baseball is a uniquely American drama that can change lives with one swing of the bat.   Just as it did for two proud men on an October afternoon long ago in the Polo Grounds.

In “The Echoing Green” of our collective memory, we can still hear Russ Hodges, struck with incredulity by the probable impossibilities inherent in Our National Pastime:

“I don’t believe it.  I don’t believe it.  I DO NOT believe it.” 

The next time a play on the diamond makes your jaw drop, the next time a play on the diamond takes your breath away, the next time a play on the diamond leaves you shaking your head, remember October 3, 1951, and BELIEVE IT.    


The 1951 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1951 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 1951 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to dmb_info@imaginesports.com 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.

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 dmb_info@imaginesports.com 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.