Year In Review : 1947 National League
Off the field...
Captain Chuck Yaeger, an American test pilot, became the first to break the sound barrier after he accelerated his X-1 test plane to six-hundred seventy miles per hour, at an altitude of 42,000 feet. The specially designed aircraft was dropped from a modified B-29 bomber leftover from World War II.
Secretary of State George C. Marshall announced the goals of his Economic Recovery Plan, otherwise known as "The Marshall Plan" which stated that "the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world". The idea of providing aid in the reconstruction of war torn nations provided markets for American goods, created reliable trading partners, and supported the development of stable democratic governments in Western Europe. Congress's approval of the Marshall Plan signaled an extension of the bipartisanship of World War II into the postwar years.
In the American League...
Philadelphia Athletics catcher Buddy Rosar finally dropped a pop-up on May 20th for his first recorded error in one-hundred forty-seven games and seven-hundred fifty-six chances. New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra went on to extend the Major League record to one-hundred forty-eight and nine-hundred fifty from 1957 to 1959, but Rosar's single-season record of one-hundred fifteen games and six-hundred five errorless chances stood unchallenged for fifty years until Charles Johnson of the Florida Marlins topped it in 1997.
Larry Doby became the first African-American to play in the American League after appearing as a pinch-hitter for the Cleveland Indians on July 5th during a 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The following day he started at first base and went one-for-five at the plate.
On August 13th, Willard Brown of the St. Louis Browns became the first African-American player to homer in the American League after hitting a pinch inside-the-park home run for a 6-5 victory over pitcher Hal Newhouser and the Detroit Tigers.
In the National League...
On April 17th, the Brooklyn Dodgers topped the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field 12-6, as baseball's first African-American player; Jackie Robinson tallied his first Major League hit (a bunt single). Robinson would go on to perfect the "squeeze play" while bunting forty-two times throughout the season.
Johnny Mize of the New York Giants set a Major League record after hitting three successive home runs (for the fifth time in his career) during a 14-5 loss to the Boston Braves. Mize would later go on to add a sixth, three-homer performance while playing with the New York Yankees in 1950.
After several St. Louis Cardinal players were rumored to initiate a strike as a sign of protest against playing with Jackie Robinson, National League President Ford Frick and team owner Sam Breadon both announced that any player directly involved in any acts of racial prejudice or disobedience would be suspended indefinitely. Cardinal manager Eddie Dyer wholeheartedly denied the allegations and his "Redbirds" went on to play (and beat) the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-1.
Around the league...
Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler announced the development of the first official pension plan for major leaguers. The plan stated that any player with five years experience would receive a check for $50 a month at age fifty, and $10 a month over the next five years. The pension fund was initially set up for $650,000, with teams providing 80% and the players investing the remaining 20%.
April 27th was declared as "Babe Ruth Day" at all Major League ballparks. During a special pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium, a frail looking Ruth, who was battling the effects of throat cancer, struggled through a short speech thanking the fans for their continued support. The emotional program was broadcast nationwide on television, radio and over the loudspeakers at every stadium as "The Bambino" was presented with a bronze plaque with his likeness from the American League and a leather-bound book with signatures of every player from the National League.
Tragedy struck the Minor League system as standout Jimmy Davis (Longhorn League) died after being hit in the head with a pitched ball. The promising twenty-year old outfielder was hitting .333 at the time and had tallied nineteen home runs in forty-eight games.
New York Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio was named the American League's MVP by a single point over the Boston Red Sox' Ted Williams. Williams, the Triple Crown winner, received two-hundred one points, but was completely left off one writer's ballot igniting a major controversy. It was later determined that a single, tenth-place vote (or better) would have granted him the two points that were necessary to top DiMaggio.