In 1959, Ernie Banks won his second MVP award, and Johnny Podres made a come-back. Here are some of the headlines from the 1959 baseball season:
Jim Bunning: Ace of Star Staff
The Tigers had the best four-man starting rotation in the American League in 1959. Staff leader Jim Bunning, Frank Lary, Paul Foytack, and Don Mossi had a composite 65-46 record (Bunning contributed a 17-13 mark). Detroit nevertheless finished below .500, as the club's second-line pitchers contributed only 11 wins.
Pumpsie Green: First Black BoSox
Pumpsie Green was the first black player to wear a Red Sox uniform. In 1959, Green was only a utility infielder for the Red Sox, the last major league team to break the color line. Boston's first black regular was Willie Tasby, who joined the club in 1960.
Ernie Banks Wins Second MVP
An erratic fielder early in his career, Ernie Banks had become an excellent shortstop by the close of the 1950s. In 1959, he took his second MVP Award, setting shortstop records with a .985 fielding average and 143 RBI. Banks later made himself into a more than adequate first baseman.
Eddie Mathews Blasts 46 HRs
In Eddie Mathews the Braves had the best third baseman in the majors in 1959. Mathews's 46 home runs snared the crown that year. The Braves also had the top right fielder in Hank Aaron and, indeed, were solid at every position but second base. The Braves experimented with Felix Mantilla, then Johnny O'Brien, and finally Bobby Avila at second. All flopped.
Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox Keys for 1959 Sox
Luis Aparicio played 152 games at short for the White Sox in 1959. His keystone partner, Nellie Fox, was at second for 156 games. They made the difference. Chicago finished the year 94-60. Down the stretch, the second-place Indians had to go with career minor leaguer Jim Baxes at second and Woodie Held, a converted outfielder, at short.
Johnny Podres Finally Back in Shape
Johnny Podres's career was interrupted by a military call-up in 1956, and it took him awhile to get back on track. "I'd been 4-F until I won the seventh game of the World Series in 1955," Podres said later. "They reclassified me 1-A that winter." In 1958, he went 13-15 and posted a 3.73 ERA. In 1959, he had a 14-9 season.
Check out more headlines from the 1959 baseball season on the next page.