1947 Baseball Season

Early Wynn won more than 300 games during his career.
Early Wynn won more than 300 games during his career.

The 1947 baseball season, the year of Jackie Robinson and the first televised World Series, began with another controversy -- the Leo Durocher affair. Although he was the fall guy in an ongoing feud between Dodgers GM Branch Rickey and Yankees executive Larry MacPhail, Durocher also got himself in trouble with the commissioner's office for associating with gamblers and unsavory types like actor George Raft and gangster Bugsy Siegel.

Durocher received a year's suspension for "an accumulation of unpleasant incidents." Burt Shotton took over as Brooklyn's manager for the 1947 baseball season, and Durocher's career as a Dodger came to an end in mid-1948, when he moved to New York as manager of the Giants.


All this momentarily distracted baseball fans from the Dodgers' purchase of first baseman Robinson from Montreal. Robinson opened the season as the first black major leaguer since the Walker brothers, Fleet and Welday, who played in the American Association in the 1880s. To add to the obvious pressure on Robinson, many of his teammates were initially malevolent.

After a group of them signed a protest petition during spring training -- to which Rickey and Durocher responded by offering to trade any player who wished to go -- the general attitude of the team mellowed to cold indifference. For weeks, none of them sat near Robinson; some refused even to speak to him. Things changed when Robinson's aggressive, running brand of baseball helped move Brooklyn into first.

Robinson hit .297, scored a team-high 125 runs, and led the National League in stolen bases with 29. He was voted 1947 Rookie of the Year. With Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and .300 hitters Dixie Walker and Pete Reiser -- and without a legitimate power threat -- the Dodgers led the league in stolen bases and on-base average on their way to a 94-60 record.

Philadelphia's Harry Walker (Dixie's brother) won the batting title at .363, and New York's Johnny Mize and Pittsburgh's Ralph Kiner shared the league lead in homers with 51. Boston third baseman Bob Elliott, who hit .317 and drove in 113 runs, was named National League MVP. A reunited Yankees team scored the most runs in the American League (794), allowed the fewest (568), and ran away with the flag by 12 games over Detroit.

While defending champion Boston stumbled due to injuries, New York tied an American League record with a 19-game winning streak and never looked back. MVP Joe DiMaggio hit .315 with 97 runs, 97 RBI, and 61 extra-base hits, and Tommy Henrich drove in 98 runs on 35 doubles and an American League-high 13 triples. Allie Reynolds went 19-8, and reliever Joe Page compiled a 2.49 ERA and 17 saves.

Another great Ted Williams season went for naught; he won the Triple Crown with a .343 average, 32 home runs, and 114 RBI. He also led in runs with 125 and drew the most walks, 162. Cleveland debuted the first black player in American League history, Larry Doby, on July 4, and the St. Louis Browns followed suit with Hank Thompson and Willard Brown.

Yankees pitcher Spud Chandler retired in 1947 with the highest winning percentage in history, .717. Also retiring were Mel Ott, who ranked among all-time leaders in homers (511), walks (1,708), runs (1,859), and RBI (1,860); and Hank Greenberg, who owned a career slugging mark of .605.

New York defeated Brooklyn in a seven-game World Series, as Spec Shea went 2-0 with an ERA of 2.35 and Johnny Lindell drove in seven runs. The highlight of the 1947 World Series was game four, when Bill Bevens took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. With two outs and two on, pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto doubled to win the game for Brooklyn, 3-2.

The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 1947 baseball season.

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1947 Baseball Season Headlines

In 1947, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams vied for the American League MVP Award, while National League players Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize competed on home runs. Here are some of the headlines from the 1947 baseball season:

Joe DiMaggio Named 1947 American League MVP

With .315, 20 home runs, and 97 RBI, Joe DiMaggio earned the 1947 American League MVP Award. Triple Crown-winner Ted Williams lost the plaque to DiMaggio by a single vote. Williams would have won the award had he not personally alienated many of the voters. In 1947, the Yankee Clipper became the first outfielder or first baseman to win the prize without leading his league in any of the Triple Crown departments.


Ewell Blackwell Triumphs in 22

Ewell "The Whip" Blackwell had a sidearm delivery so devastating that right-handed hitters begged out by the hordes on days he pitched. Blackwell went 22-8 in 1947. A kidney ailment sidelined him in 1948, and he was never the same. Like many former National League stars, he was acquired on waivers by the Yankees to aid them in a late-season pennant drive.

Lou Boudreau Leads American League With 45 Doubles

Thirty-year-old Lou Boudreau, completing his sixth year as Cleveland's player/manager, led the American League in doubles with 45 in 1947. After buying the Indians in '46, Bill Veeck had planned to fire Boudreau as manager, but public sentiment changed his mind. It's a good thing. Boudreau led the Tribe to a flag in 1948.

Ralph Kiner, Johnny Mize Hit 51 HRs

In 1947, both Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize made a run at Hack Wilson's National League home run record of 56 dingers before ending in a tie for the crown with 51 four-baggers apiece. Three of Mize's New York Giants teammates -- Willard Marshall, Walker Cooper, and rookie Bobby Thomson -- rounded out the top five finishers.

Harry Walker Takes the 1947 National League Bat Title

After hitting .237 in 1946, the Cardinals were looking to dump Harry Walker. And on May 3, 1947, they shipped him and Freddy Schmidt to the Phillies for Ron Northey. Walker's bat caught fire in Philly and he ended up leading the National League in batting (.363). It was the only time in his career that he hit above .318.

Check out more headlines from the 1947 baseball season on the next page.

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More 1947 Baseball Season Headlines

Below are more headlines from the 1947 baseball season, including Bob Elliot being named the National League MVP -- in spite of Hugh Casey's efforts.

1947 New York Yankees Win in Seven

During the 1947 World Series, Yankees players raced for the dugout as ushers set up a protective cordon after the last out of the Series. Despite the see-saw quality of the World Series and its many memorable moments, the crowd at Yankee Stadium for the seventh game fell several thousand short of being a sellout.


Early Wynn Just Breaks Even

Early Wynn managed a 17-15 record on a Washington team that went 64-90 in 1947. For-the most part, Wynn pitched well for his six-plus seasons with the Senators, though he fell apart in 1948 (8-19, 5.82 ERA).

Bob Elliott is Named 1947 National League MVP

In 1947, Bob Elliott of the Braves became the first third sacker in history to win an MVP Award. He hit .317 with 22 homers and 113 RBI that year. Elliott was a right fielder until 1942 when the Pirates needed a replacement for Jeep Handley, who had been drafted.

Hugh Casey Alone Can't Stop the 1947 New York Yankees

Reliever Hugh Casey worked in six of the seven games in the 1947 World Series and tallied a 0.87 ERA. The other Dodger hurlers were not nearly so baffling to the Yankees. Joe DiMaggio, George McQuinn, and the other Yankees combed the rest of the Brooklyn staff for 6.52 earned runs per game.

Yogi Berra Miffed in Series

During the 1947 World Series, Dodger Hugh Casey watched impassively as Yogi Berra heatedly argued with umpire Ed Rommel. Rommel ruled that Casey did not interfere with the Yankee catcher's effort to catch his pop fly bunt in game three of the 1947 World Series.

New York skipper Bucky Harris added his two cents worth. Berra had a frustrating Series, as he batted a mere .158 (3-for-19) with two RBI. This was the first of a record 14 fall classics in which Berra participated. He hit just .150 in his first three Series, but .306 in his last 11. He holds the all-time Series records for games played (75), at-bats (71), hits (71), and doubles (ten).

The next page highlights key events and details from the 1947 baseball season.

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1947 Baseball Season Highlights

From the first televised World Series to New York's 19-game winning streak that tied the American League record -- the 1947 baseball season saw many firsts and numerous records. Below you will find the highlights from the 1947 baseball season:

  • The Yankees take the American League flag by 12 games.
  • The Dodgers win the National League pennant.
  • Yanks win an exciting, but erratically played, 1947 World Series in seven games.
  • Yankee Bill Bevens comes within one out of a no-hitter in game four of the Series, and loses the game on a two-run double by Cookie Lavagetto.
  • Dodger Al Gionfriddo makes a great catch to rob Joe DiMaggio of a homer in game five of the 1947 World Series.
  • Reliever Hugh Casey wins two games in the 1947 World Series for the Dodgers, and saves their third win.
  • Johnny Lindell leads the Yankees in the 1947 World Series with a .500 average and seven RBI.
  • On October 2, Yankee Yogi Berra hits the first pinch homer in World Series history.
  • DiMaggio wins the American League MVP by one vote over Ted Williams, 202 to 201.
  • Bob Elliott wins the National League MVP -- the first Brave to do so since 1914.
  • Williams again wins the Triple Crown, batting .343 with 32 homers and 114 RBI.
  • Williams leads the American League in runs (125), total bases (335), runs produced (207), walks (162), OBP(.499), and slugging (.634).
  • The Yanks tie the American League record by winning 19 straight games.
  • Brooklyn's Jackie Robinson, the first black American to play in a major league game in this century, goes 0-for-3 in his debut.
  • Robinson wins the Baseball Writers Association of America's first Rookie of the Year Award, as he posts a .297 average.
  • Harry Walker of the Phils, sent to them by the Cards, becomes the first player traded in Mid-season to win a National League bat crown (.363).
  • Cincinnati's Ewell Blackwell no-hits the Braves on June 18, and pitches eight hitless innings in his next start.
  • Kiner hits a record eight home runs in a four-game stretch.
  • Mize scores at least one run in a National League record 16 straight games.
  • Walker Cooper hits 35 homers for the Giants.
  • Bobby Thomson chips in 29 homers for the Giants, a new club rookie record.
  • The Giants hit 221 homers, a new major league record (since broken).
  • Giants' rookie Larry Jansen goes 21-5, topping the National League in win pct. (.808).

Take a look at the next section for more highlights from the 1947 baseball season.


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More 1947 Baseball Season Highlights

Al Lopez played his final game September 16, 1947.
Al Lopez played his final game September 16, 1947.

Check out more 1947 baseball season highlights, including recordsetting attendance and lots of trades between teams:

  • Larry Doby debuts with Cleveland on July 5 to break the color line in the American League.
  • The Dodgers set a new National League attendance record.
  • Attendance everywhere is at an all-time high as the post-war baseball boom is in full swing.
  • The American League wins the All-Star Game 2-1 at Wrigley Field.
  • Hank Greenberg, the American League reigning homer and RBI king, is sold prior to the 1947 baseball season to Pittsburgh for $75,000.
  • Greenberg ties for the National League lead in walks (104) in his final season.
  • Greenberg persuades Pittsburgh brass to shorten the fences in Forbes Field, which boosts Kiner's career.
  • The Red Sox get Vern Stephens and Jack Kramer from the Browns for six players and $310,000.
  • Spud Chandler retires holding a major league record for the highest career win pct. (.717) -- minimum 100 career wins.
  • Don Black of Cleveland no-hits the A's on July 10.
  • Bill McCahan of the A's no-hits Washington on Sept. 3.
  • Dan Bankhead of the Dodgers is the first black to pitch in major league.
  • Ewell Blackwell wins 16 straight games, a Cincinnati club record.
  • A Las Vegas team in the Sunset League hits an OB record 270 home runs.
  • Johnny Mize tops the National League in RBI (138), runs (137), and runs produced (224).
  • Blackwell leads National League in wins (22), CGs (23), and Ks (193).
  • Warren Spahn tops the National League in ERA (2.33), innings (290), and shutouts (seven), and posts 21 wins.
  • Athletic Hank Majeski's .988 FA is a new major league record for third basemen.
  • The Phils trade Ken Raffensberger and Hugh Poland to the Reds for Al Lakeman.
  • The Phils trade Ron Northey to the Cards for Harry Walker and Freddy Schmidt.
  • The Red Sox swap Rudy York to the White Sox for Jake Jones.
  • Prior to the season, the Dodgers send five players to Pittsburgh for Al Gionfriddo and cash.
  • The Pirates send Billy Cox, Preacher Roe, and Gene Mauch to Brooklyn for Dixie Walker and two pitchers.
  • In the spring of 1947, the Dodgers train in Cuba for the last time.
  • After the 1947 World Series, GM Larry MacPhail is fired by the Yankees for brawling in public.
  • Al Lopez retires holding the record for most games at catcher -- 1,918 (since broken).
  • Bob Feller tops the American League in wins (20), Ks (196), innings (299), and shutouts (five).
  • Detroit's Roy Cullenbine walks in a major league record 22 straight games.

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