Ernie Banks Sets a HR Record
Ernie Banks hit his first major league home run on September 23, 1953. Less than two years later, he became the first shortstop in history to slam 40 four-baggers in a season, nailing 44 round-trippers in 1955. Banks also was the first slugger to hit 500 or more home runs and never play on a pennant-winner.
Don Newcombe Emerges
Don Newcombe won 47 games and lost just 12 for the Dodgers in the 1955 and '56 seasons. In 1955, he topped the National League with his .800 winning percentage; in 1956, he led the circuit with his .794 winning percentage. In three World Series starts during those two seasons, however, Newcombe had two losses.
Yogi Berra Cops his Third MVP
Yogi Berra picked up his third MVP plaque in 1955 for a season performance that included 20 doubles, 27 home runs, and 108 RBI. Berra also finished second in the balloting in 1953 and again in 1956, third in 1950, and fourth in 1952. No other player has ever been so highly regarded by MVP voters for a seven-year span.
Ted Kluszewski Clubs 47 HRs
Over the four-year span between 1953 and 1956, Ted Kluszewski drilled 171 home runs while fanning just 140 times, about the same amount that the typical home run leader nowadays whiffs in a single season. In 1955, "Klu" led the National League in hits with 192, came in second in home runs with 47 and total bases with 358, tied for third in runs scored with 116, and placed fifth in RBI with 113.
Roy Campanella is National League MVP -- Again
Upon receiving his third Most Valuable Player Award in 1955, Roy Campanella (.318 average, 32 home runs, 107 RBI) said, "When you win the first award, you're happy. When you win the second, you're very happy. When you win the third, you're overwhelmed." Campanella and Yogi Berra are the only catchers to be honored as three-time MVPs.
Mickey Mantle Tops the 1955 American League in HRs, Triples
In 1955, Mickey Mantle led the American League in home runs with 37 and tied for first place in triples with 11. Although Mantle would have a few more seasons in which he would top the circuit in home runs, he never again hit more than six triples in a season. Following a serious knee injury in 1962, he hit just a half-dozen three-baggers in his last seven seasons. Mantle also collected remarkably few doubles during his career.
Check out more headlines from the 1955 baseball season on the next page.