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Power surge
The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the untainted athletes were impressive.
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INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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Power

brokers

of the

1950s

AARON

BANKS

BELL

CRANDALL

DARK

ENNIS


HODGES

FURILLO

JACKSON

JONES

KINER

KLUSZWESKI

LOGAN

MATHEWS

SNIDER

REESE





THE PLAYERS who wielded the Booming Bats of the '50s derived their prowess from natural ability, determination and guts. Can we really say the same thing about the “stars” of the '90s and the New Millennium who are assaulting and insulting our most hallowed sports milestones?
>SEE WIWAG's EDITORIAL<

Few decades before and no decade since has seen the prolific talent represented by the 'Booming Bats' of the 50s

The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the physically (chemically) untainted athletes of this era are impressive

SAY HEY! The Booming Bats of the 50's includes a 1954 Willie Mays Louisville Slugger.

Discovering a true treasure of game-used bats that had not seen the light of day for 40 years has led to a labor of love involving many hours of research on each player represented in the collection.

Few decades before and no decade since has seen the prolific talent represented by the Booming Bats of the 50s. It was the decade of POWER, and the numbers put up by the physically (chemically) untainted athletes of this era are impressive.

The offensive statistics are dominated by not only the seven Hall of Famers in the Booming Bats of the '50s collection, but also by stars of the era such as Gil Hodges, Al Dark, Del Ennis, Gus Bell and Ted Kluszewski.

Baseball is a unique pastime from which we derive as much pleasure from recalling and reliving the time when we may have been in the stands for Thomson’s blast in the 1951 play-off, Yogi jumping into Don Larsen’s arms after the 1956 World Series perfect game or Willie’s catch off of Wertz in the 1954 Series, as we do from actually being there or watching on the tube. Baseball “talk,” always embellished by and often mediated by statistical recall, affords connoisseurs of the game a perpetual forum to compare decades, eras and generations of players.

MUSIAL IN TOP FOUR OF EVERY OFFENSIVE CATEGORY

In the statistics below, we see the appearance in the record books of the first great National League black players such as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks and Roberto Clemente; the home run, RBI and slugging percentage dominance of the Dodger teammates, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges; and the all around hitting supremacy of Stan Musial who is in the top four of every offensive category of the decade.

The numbers that appear beside the names of Puddin’ Head Jones, Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn and Granny Hamner recall the 1950 “Whiz Kids.”

The “Miracle” year of 1951 and Coogan’s Bluff’s World Champs of 1954 are represented by the Giants’ Al Dark, Willie Mays, Don Mueller, Whitey Lockman and Bobby Thomson.

The 1957 World Series champions and 1958 National League pennant winning Braves were anchored by Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Johnny Logan, Andy Pafco and Joe Adcock.

Gus Bell and Ted Kluszewski were premeire members of the Reds’ powerful lineup that throughout the '50s could never find consistent enough pitching to bring home a flag.

Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner played out his last six years in the '50s, but averaged over 30 home runs a year for the Pirates and Cubs.

Winning four pennants in Brooklyn, and one in Los Angeles during the decade, the Dodgers’ “Boys of Summer,” Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Campanella and Robinson, were the dominant force in the National League.

Players from the Booming Bat of the '50s Commemorative Collection account for:

15 of the top 20 National League and five of the top 10 overall Major League leaders in hits;

15 of the top 20 National League and four of the top 10 Major League leaders in doubles; 11 of the top 20 NL and 5 of the top 10 ML leaders in triples;



15 of the top 20 National League and six of the top 10 Major League leaders in home runs (pictured above);

14 of the top 20 National League and six of the top 10 Major League leaders in RBIs;

10 to the top 13 National League and four of the top 10 Major League leaders in average;

10 of the top 13 National League and five of the top 10 Major League leaders in slugging percentage; 10 of the top 13 NL leaders in on-base-average;

10 of the top 13 National League and five of the top 10 Major League leaders in OPS (on base average, plus slugging percentage);

14 of the top 20 National League and eight of the top 11 Major League leaders in total bases;

14 of the top 20 National League and eight of the top 11 Major League leaders in extra base hits.


"...baseball has never before or since been more purely American, or more perfectly congruent with an era."

Baseball’s personality in the '50s reflected the heart and soul of American culture. George Will, in his indomitable style, captures the essence of the time in the following passage:

It is arguable that baseball has been better — more multidimensional, nuanced, and surprising — since the fifties. But baseball has never before or since been more purely American, or more perfectly congruent with an era. With its relentless emphasis on the "big bang" style of offense, baseball was brimming over with energy. And nothing is more characteristic of this ax-swinging, forest-clearing, prairie-breaking, concrete-pouring, skyscraper-raising nation than the exuberant belief that energy, sheer straight-ahead power, is an unmixed blessing and the right approach to most things.

The players who wielded the Booming Bats of the '50s derived their prowess from natural ability, determination and guts. Can we really say the same thing about the “stars” of the '90s and the New Millennium who are assaulting and insulting our most hallowed sports milestones? Do you remember when it was a game?

OFFENSIVE LEADERS OF THE DECADE OF THE '50S
(Members of the BOOMING BATS Collection are in CAPS and RED)

DUKE SNIDER lead the National League during the '50s in home runs (326) and RBIs (1031).

1950s HOME RUNS LEADERS
1. DUKE SNIDER, 326
2. GIL HODGES, 310
3. EDDIE MATHEWS, 299
4. STAN MUSIAL, 266
5. WILLIE MAYS, 250
6. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 237

7. Ernie Banks, 228
8. HANK SAUER, 215
9. Roy Campanella, 211
10. DEL ENNIS, 202
11. Bobby Thomson, 185
11. GUS BELL, 185
13. RALPH KINER, 183

14. Joe Adcock, 181
15. HANK AARON, 179
16. FRANK THOMAS, 175
17. WILLIE JONES, 166
18. CARL FURILLO, 159

19. Wally Post, 152
20. DEL CRANDELL, 136

STAN MUSIAL is in the top four of every offensive category of the'50s.

1950s RBI LEADERS
1. DUKE SNIDER, 1031
2. GIL HODGES, 1001
3. STAN MUSIAL, 972
4. DEL ENNIS, 918
5. GUS BELL, 817
6. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 813
7. CARL FURILLO, 784

8. EDDIE MATHEWS, 777
9. Bobby Thomson, 740
10. Roy Campanella, 729
11. WILLIE MAYS, 709
12. WILLE JONES, 688

13. Ernie Banks, 661
14. HANK SAUER, 651
15. Joe Adcock, 637
16. AL DARK, 623
17. HANK AARON, 617
18. FRANK THOMAS, 609

19. Granny Hamner, 593
20. Wally Post, 523

TED KLUSZEWSKI: The Red's sleeveless uniforms of the '50s were designed for "Big Klu’s" bulging muscles room to move.

1950s HITS LEADERS
1. Richie Ashburn, 1875
2. STAN MUSIAL, 1771
3. AL DARK, 1675
4. DUKE SNIDER, 1605
5. GUS BELL, 1551

6. Red Schoendienst, 1517
7. GIL HODGES, 1491
8. CARL FURILLO, 1399
9. DEL ENNIS, 1369
10. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 1350
11. WILLE JONES, 1294
12. WILLIE MAYS, 1291

13. Whitey Lockman, 1243
14. EDDIE MATHEWS, 1221
15. JOHNNY LOGAN, 1209
16. DON MUELLER, 1206

17. Granny Hamner, 1199
18. PEE WEE REESE, 1189
20. HANK AARON, 1137


ALVIN DARK was selected by the fans as the top shortstop in Giants' history.

1950s AVERAGE LEADERS
1. STAN MUSIAL, .330
2. Richie Ashburn, .313
3. DUKE SNIDER, .308
4. CARL FURILLO, .299

5. Red Schoendienst, .297
6. AL DARK, .289
7. GUS BELL, .287

8. EDDIE MATHEWS, .281
9. DEL ENNIS, .281
10. GIL HODGES, .281

11. Whitey Lockman, .274
12. PEE WEE REESE, .271
13. WILLIE JONES, .259


1950s SLUGGING LEADERS
1. DUKE SNIDER, .569
2. STAN MUSIAL, .568
3. EDDIE MATHEWS, .548
4. GIL HODGES, .514
5. DEL ENNIS, .467
6. CARL FURILLO, .463
7. GUS BELL, .460
8. AL DARK, .418

9. Red Schoendienst, .413
10. WILLIE JONES, .412
11. Richie Ashburn, .392
12. PEE WEE REESE, .383
13. Whitey Lockman, .376

GIL HODGES drove in more than 100 runs seven consecutive years — 1949 through 1955 — and hit 22 or more home runs 11 seasons in a row.

1950s RUNS LEADERS
1. DUKE SNIDER, 970
2. Richie Ashburn, 952
3. STAN MUSIAL, 948
4. GIL HODGES, 890
5. AL DARK, 860
6. EDDIE MATHEWS, 821
7. WILLIE MAYS, 777
8. GUS BELL, 737

9. Red Schoendienst, 732
10. PEE WEE REESE, 729
11. Jim Gilliam, 705
12. WILLIE JONES, 683
13. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 672
14. DEL ENNIS, 656
15. CARL FURILLO, 654
16. HANK AARON, 612

17. Bobby Thomson, 604
18. Whitey Lockman, 593
19. Jackie Robinson, 592
20. Ernie Banks, 582

FRANK THOMAS: A strapping, 6-3, 210-lb slugger, Thomas hit 30 home runs in 1953 for the Pirates. In 1962 he led the expansion Mets with 34 home runs and 94 RBIs

1950s DOUBLES LEADERS
1. STAN MUSIAL, 356
2. Red Schoendienst, 284
3. AL DARK, 282
4. DUKE SNIDER, 274
5. GUS BELL, 269

6. Richie Ashburn, 252
7. GIL HODGES, 238
8. CARL FURILLO, 235
9. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 218
9. DEL ENNIS, 218

11. Granny Hamner, 215
12. WILLIE JONES, 207
13. HANK AARON, 205
14. WILLIE MAYS, 204

15. Joe Adcock, 198
16. JOHNNY LOGAN, 192
17. EDDIE MATHEWS, 181

18. Bobby Thomson, 179
19. FRANK THOMAS, 177
19. PEE WEE REESE, 177


THIS QUINTETTE of Braves who produced the biggest power show of the 1953 season. On Aug. 30 the group racked up eight home runs in the first game of a double-header in Pittsburg to set a new National League record. The Braves then added four more round-trippers in the nightcap for a day's total of 12 to smash the senior loop records for a double-header and the total for two successive games. The Braves' record-tying home run parade in the first game, above left to right, included Jack Dittmer, Johhny Logan, Edddie Mathews (who socked a pair), Jim Pendleton (who hit three) and Del Crandall. Mathews and Logan also had circuit clouts in the nightcap.

DEL ENNIS drove in more than 100 runs seven times, peaking with a league-leading 126 RBIs for the pennant-winning 1950 Phillies' "Whiz Kids."

1950s TRIPLES LEADERS
1. Richie Ashburn, 82
2. WILLIE MAYS, 79
3. Bill Bruton, 66
4. STAN MUSIAL, 61
5. AL DARK, 58
6. GUS BELL, 57
6. DUKE SNIDER, 57

8. Bobby Thomson, 56
9. Jim Gilliam, 54
10. Granny Hamner, 51
10. Red Schoendienst, 51
12. Ernie Banks, 48
13. WALLY MOON, 47
13. Dee Fondy, 47
15. HANK AARON, 46
16. PEE WEE REESE, 45
17. RANDY JACKSON, 43

18. Roberto Clemente, 42
18. DEL ENNIS, 42
18. EDDIE MATHEWS, 42


WILLIE JONES: A clutch, long-ball hitter, "Puddin' Head" was the top fielding third baseman during the 1950s.

1950s OBA LEADERS
1. STAN MUSIAL, .421
2. RICHIE ASHBURN, .399
3. DUKE SNIDER, .390
4. EDDIE MATHEWS, .383
5. GIL HODGES, .369
6. PEE WEE REESE, .363
7. CARL FURILLO, .353
8. Red Schoendienst, .347
9. WILLIE JONES, .344
10. GUS BELL, .337
11. DEL ENNIS, .336

12. Whitey Lockman, .334
13. AL DARK, .333

GUS BELL had a .281 lifetime average, 1,823 hits, 311 doubles, 66 triples and 942 RBIs.

1950s OPS LEADERS
(On base average, plus slugging percentage)
1. STAN MUSIAL, .989
2. DUKE SNIDER, .959
3. EDDIE MATHEWS, .931
4. GIL HODGES, .884
5. CARL FURILLO, .816
6. DEL ENNIS, .803
7. GUS BELL, .797

8. Richie Ashburn, .790
9. Red Schoendienst, .760
10. WILLIE JONES, .756

ANDY PAFKO was a five-time all-star outfielder, hitting .285 lifetime, with 213 home runs and 976 RBIs.

1950s GAMES LEADERS
1. Richie Ashburn, 1523
2. GIL HODGES, 1477
3. STAN MUSIAL, 1456
4. AL DARK, 1441
5. DUKE SNIDER, 1418
6. WILLE JONES, 1408
7. GUS BELL, 1380
8. CARL FURILLO, 1307
9. DEL ENNIS, 1291
10. Bobby Thomson, 1286
11. Whitey Lockman, 1276
12. Red Schoendienst, 1272
13. TED KLUSZEWSKI, 1241
14. Roy McMillan, 1224
15. JOHNNY LOGAN, 1197
16. PEE WEE REESE, 1179
18. EDDIE MATHEWS, 1177

19. Joe Adcock, 1128
20.  ANDY PAFKO, 1087