1957 Baseball Season

In 1957 the world discovered Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves. Prior to the 1957 baseball season -- with the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers claiming every flag in sight thus far in the 1950s -- fans had felt that baseball existed only in New York.

Hank Aaron
In 1957 the world
discovered the great
Hank Aaron.

After managing the Pirates to three straight last-place finishes, Fred Haney took over as the Braves skipper midway through the 1956 season. The Braves found the aging Dodgers ripe for the picking in '57. In another of his many magnificent years, Aaron earned the Most Valuable Player Award on his league-leading 44 homers and 132 RBI and his .322 average. Eddie Mathews contributed 32 homers and Red Schoendienst, picked up in a trade, hit .310. Although the Braves lost Bill Bruton and Joe Adcock to injury, they did have Wes Covington (21 homers) and Bob Hazle (.403 in 134 at-bats).

The Braves' pitching staff was strong as well, paced by the Big Three of Cy Young Award-winner Warren Spahn (21-11, 2.69 ERA), Lew Burdette (17-9, 3.71 ERA), and Bob Buhl (18-7, 2.74 ERA). When help was needed in the bullpen, Haney brought out Don McMahon (nine saves, 1.53 ERA).

Milwaukee took the flag at 95-59, 8 games ahead of the Cardinals (who had batting champ Stan Musial with a .351 average) and 11 ahead of the Dodgers (who had the top two ERA men in Johnny Podres and Don Drysdale).

Although superstar Willie Mays hit 35 homers and led the league in steals with 3-8, New York finished 26 games behind. Last-place Chicago had its own hitting sensation in Ernie Banks, who smacked 43 homers.

In the American League, the White Sox took an early lead, thanks to Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, and Minnie Minoso. The Yankee bats then took over, and New York breezed to the pennant. Mickey Mantle won another MVP title with a .365 average and 34 home runs. Yogi Berra went downtown 24 times, while Bill Skowron (.304) and Rookie of the Year Tony Kubek (.297) were reliable bats.

With Whitey Ford having a sub-par year on the hill, manager Casey Stengel needed steady hurling from Tom Sturdivant (16-6, 2.54 ERA), a strong comeback of Bob Turley (13-6, 2.71 ERA), and the acquisition of Kansas City's Bobby Shantz (11-5, a league-best 2.45 ERA). The Yankees, 98-56 on the season, took the flag from the White Sox-and 20-game winner Billy Pierce, who tied with Detroit's Jim Bunning for the lead in victories -- by 8 games.

Although Boston finished a distant third, 39-year-old Ted Williams hit a loop-high .388 with 38 home runs to become the oldest batting champion ever. Cleveland, which had lost Al Rosen and Bob Feller to retirement, lost southpaw phenom Herb Score on May 7 when he was hit in the face by Gil McDougald's line drive. Although Washington's Roy Sievers led the league with 42 homers and 114 RBI, the Senators brought up the rear.

The 1957 World Series opened in New York, with Ford tossing a five-hitter and the Yankees winning 34. The Braves took the second game in Yankee Stadium behind Burdette's 4-2 complete game triumph. Kubek hit two homers as the Yanks romped to a 12-3 score in game three, and the Braves took game four 7-5 on Mathews's three-run homer in the tenth inning.

Although Burdette out-dueled Ford by one in game five, the Yanks evened the 1957 World Series with a 3-2 win in game six. Burdette pitched his third complete game of the Series in game seven, as the Braves won 5-0 to take the Championship flag out of the Big Apple for the first time since 1948.

The title was not all that New York lost that year. Citing inefficient ballparks and a lack of parking facilities, the owners of the Dodgers and Giants ballclubs moved their teams to California at season's end.

The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 1962 baseball season.

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1957 Baseball Season Headlines

In 1957, Hank Aaron was named the National League's MVP and Mickey Mantle was playing at his best. Here are some of the headlines from the 1957 baseball season:

Tony Kubek Earns Job at Shortstop

Like Mickey Mantle, Tony Kubek was a shortstop during his minor league apprenticeship. Unwilling to trust such an important job to a recruit, Casey Stengel stationed Gil McDougald at short in 1957 and used Kubek in utility roles. Kubek hit .297 as a rookie, making the shortstop post his in 1958. Despite hitting a light .266 in his nine-year career, Kubek was an excellent defensive shortstop who helped New York to six World Series. In game seven of the 1960 Series, he was struck in the throat by a bad-hop grounder, which opened the gates for a Pittsburgh victory.

Bob Turley, 13-6, Finally Blooms

Once the most promising prospect in the Browns' farm system, Bob Turley still had not begun to realize his vast potential in 1957 (he finished the year at 13-6). The following season, almost magically, it all came together for him. He went 21-7 and won the Cy Young Award. It would be his only great season.

Hank Aaron is Named 1957 MVP

Hank Aaron was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1957, winning by a nine-vote margin over Stan Musial. Aaron hit .322 that year, racking up a league-leading 44 home runs, 132 RBI, and 118 runs scored. Two other Braves, Warren Spahn and Red Schoendienst, also finished among the top five in the balloting. The Dodgers, who had dominated the MVP voting for the past decade, placed only one player -- Gil Hodges -- among the top 15.

Micky Mantle Hits Peak at .365

Mickey Mantle was at his peak in 1957. He led the American League in runs scored with 121, placed second in batting with a .365 average and in total bases with 315, and came in third in home runs with 34. Just 25 years of age, he seemed destined to shatter records for years to come. Casey Stengel called Mantle the purest talent he ever saw: "He had it in his body to be great." By 1957, however, Mantle's body had already taken so much abuse that the predicted records never materialized.

Stan Musial Captures 1957 BA Title

Stan Musial wins his seventh and final batting award thanks to his .351 average in 1957. Musial played until 1963, hitting above .288 just once in his last five seasons. As a result, his career average dropped from .340 to .331.

Check out more headlines from the 1957 baseball season on the next page.

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More 1957 Baseball Season Headlines

Below are more headlines from the 1957 baseball season, including the rise of the Chicago White Sox and Roy Sievers' 42 home runs.

Frank Malzone: Good as Gold

Although Frank Malzone began his pro career at age 18, he did not stick with the Red Sox until he was past 27. With such a lengthy maturation, many thought he would be, at best, a marginal big leaguer. They undersold him. For nearly a decade, Malzone was one of the finest third basemen in the game. In 1957, he won the Gold Glove Award.

Gil McDougald Bats .289

Gil McDougald showcases the odd batting stance that many teenage players tried to emulate during the 1950s, much to the horror of their coaches. Apart from McDougald, few hitters who cocked their bats below shoulder level have been successful at the major league level. McDougald hit .289 in 1957, collecting nine triples (tried for tops in the league) and 13 home runs.

Roy Sievers Adds Dimensions

Part of the reason the Senators (the slowest team in the majors) tinkered with Griffith Stadium, shortening its dimensions, was the acquisition of slugger Roy Sievers. In 1957, Sievers became the first Washington player to lead the American League in home runs, clubbing 42 round-trippers. He also led the loop in RBI that year with 114.

Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio Light Up Sox

Minnie Minoso and Luis Aparicio were instrumental in the rise of the White Sox to second place in 1957-their highest finish since 1920. Minoso hit .310 that year, with 36 doubles (tied for tops in the American League) and 103 RBI, while Aparicio stole 28 bases (the circuit-high) in his second season. The ballclub also got help from Nellie Fox, the first White Sox player to lead the loop in hits (196), and southpaw Billy Pierce (20 wins, 3.26 ERA).

Casey Stengel Mulls Over Loss

A master at assembling teams that were better than the sum of their parts, Casey Stengel saw his patchwork 1957 crew out-hit and out-pitch the Braves, yet falter because they could only score two runs in 27 innings against Lew Burdette.

Covington Nails Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra is nailed at the plate by Braves catcher Del Rice while trying to score on Jerry Lumpe's fly out to Wes Covington during the 1957 World Series. An injury to center fielder Bill Bruton forced the Braves to play Covington, who had been platooned during the regular season, in all seven games of the fall classic.

The next page highlights key events and details from the 1957 baseball season.

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1957 Baseball Season Highlights

The 1957 baseball season took the wind out of New York baseball as Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Brewers became powerhouses. Not only does New York suffer a loss in the 1957 World Series, it also loses the Giants and Dodgers. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1957 baseball season:
  • The 1957 Braves win National League flag.

  • The Yanks take third in row in American League.

  • The Braves triumph in the 1957 World Series in seven games.

  • Brave Lew Burdette has three CG 1957 World Series wins, including two shutouts.

  • Gold Gloves go to White Sox Nellie Fox (second base), Red Sox Frank Malzone (third), and Red Roy McMillan (short).

    Nellie Fox
    Nellie Fox gets a Gold Glove
    at second base.

  • Hank Aaron leads 1957 World Series batters with 11 hits, seven RBI, and .393 BA.

  • Fred Haney manages World Champs two years after piloting Pirates to third straight cellar finish.

  • Aaron named the National League MVP.

  • Mickey Mantle repeats as the American League MVP.

  • Ted Williams tops the American League with .388 BA, highest in major league since his own .406 in 1941.

  • For the second time in his career, Williams loses the MVP by one vote.

  • Aaron wins his first National League homer crown with 44.

  • Warren Spahn leads the majors with 21 wins.

  • Stan Musial wins his last bat crown (.351).

  • Musial bats over .300 for the 15th consecutive year.

  • Senators steal 13 bases -- the fewest ever by an major league team.

  • Herb Score is hit in eye by line drive, nearly killed, and never regains his overpowering fastball.

  • Brooklyn's Danny McDevitt shuts out Pirates 3-0 on Sept. 28 in last major league game at Ebbets Field.

  • The Giants and Dodgers play their final games as New York-based teams.

  • For first time in major league history, no pitcher in either league completes as many as 20 games.

  • American League wins the All-Star Game 6-5 at St. Louis.

  • Spahn wins the Cy Young Award.

  • Tony Kubek is the American League Rookie of the Year.

  • Jack Sanford of Phils is the National League ROTY.

  • Gold Glove Awards are originated, but only one is given at each position in 1957.

  • Willie Mays, Al Kaline, and White Sox Minnie Minoso win first three Gold Gloves for outfielders.

  • Gold Gloves go to Dodger Gil Hodges (first base), White Sox Sherm Lollar (catcher), and Yankee Bobby Shantz (pitcher).

  • Williams reaches base a record 16 times in 16 consecutive plate appearances.

  • Bob Keegan of the White Sox no-hits Washington on August 20.

  • Black infielder John Kennedy debuts with Phils -- the last National League team to break the color line.

For more 1957 baseball season highlights, see the next page.

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More 1957 Baseball Season Highlights

Check out more highlights of the 1957 baseball season below, including Hank Aaron topping the National League in several stats and Pete Ramos setting a new American League record:

  • Ernie Banks's record streak of 424 consecutive games played at start of career ends (record since broken).

  • Eddie Robinson leaves majors having played for every American League franchise except the Red Sox.

  • Aaron tops National League in runs (118), RBI (132), and total bases (369).

  • Willie Mays tops National League in triples (20) and steals (38).

  • Mickey Mantle leads American League in runs (121) and walks (146).

  • Ted Williams, at age 39, leads American League in SA (.731) and OBP (.528).

  • Minoso leads American League in doubles (36) and runs produced (187).

  • Washington's Roy Sievers leads American League in homers (42), RBI (114), and total bases (331).

  • Sievers sets Senators records for home runs and total bases.

  • The Braves hit a major league record 1.61 homers per game on the road.

  • The A's become the first team in major league history to have no pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Sam Crawford and Joe McCarthy.

  • Ted Kluszewski. is injured and is never again a top-notch slugger.

  • After the season, the Reds trade Kluszewski to Pittsburgh for Dee Fondy.

  • KC sends Art Ditmar, Clete Boyer, Shantz, and three others to the Yankees for Billy Hunter and five others.

  • The Giants trade Red Schoendienst to the Braves for three players.

  • The White Sox trade Minoso and Fred Hatfield to Cleveland for Al Smith and Early Wynn.

  • The Yankees ship Billy Martin and three other players to KC for Ryne Duren and three players.

  • KC sends Martin and five players to the Tigers for seven players.

  • Duke Snider is first major league player to post 40 homers and post less than 100 RBI.

  • A new rule states that a batter needs 3.1 plate appearances per scheduled game to qualify for the BA title.

  • Bob Riesener of Alexandria in the Evangeline League sets an OB record when he has a perfect 20-0 season.

  • Anthony Perkins stars as Jimmy Piersall in Fear Strikes Out.

  • Washington's Pete Ramos dishes up 43 homers, a new American League record.

  • The American League makes batting helmets mandatory for all players.

  • Fox leads the American League in hits (196).

  • Schoendienst, playing for two teams, leads the National League in hits with 200.

  • For the first time in history, no one in the American League reaches double figures in triples.

  • Brooklyn's Johnny Podres returns from the Navy to lead the National League in ERA (2.66) and shutouts (six).

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