Year In Review : 1948 National League
Off the field...
After supporting the idea of a Jewish independent state, the United States officially recognized Israel, as it's own entity. President Truman made a formal announcement fourteen minutes after the state had been declared in Tel Aviv. Shortly after, the surrounding Arab States attacked Israel sparking off a religious conflict that has lasted to this day.
Edwin Herbert, an American physicist and inventor, debuted the first instant camera that developed it's own photos on the spot. While a freshman at Harvard University in 1926, Herbert had become interested in polarized light (light oriented in a plane with respect to the source). After taking a leave of absence from the university, he spent several years developing a new kind of photographic technology that later evolved into the Polaroid Camera.
In the American League...
On March 29th in St. Petersburg Florida, the New York Yankees and rival Boston Red Sox went head-to-head for seventeen grueling innings only to have the contest called at a 2-2 tie after four hours and two minutes of play. It was the longest Spring Training game in Major League history.
The Cleveland Indians were accused of pulling a publicity stunt after signing the Negro League's greatest pitcher Satchel Paige to a Major League contract. The forty-two year-old veteran answered all of his critics after going on to post a 6-1 record as the oldest player ever to debut in the majors.
Chicago outfielder Pat Seerey hit four home runs (the last in the eleventh inning) to lead the White Sox to a 12-11 victory over the home team Athletics in Philadelphia. In doing so, he became only the fifth player ever to accomplish the feat. Seerey had also set the record for reaching fifteen or more total bases in a single game (1945) and would later set the Major League mark as the first player to strike out seven times in a doubleheader.
In the National League...
Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals put on a hitting clinic at Crosley Field during an April 30th outing against the Cincinnati Reds. "Stan The Man" totaled five hits in the first of four such performances during the season. Only Ty Cobb and Willie Keeler had accomplished the same feat while going 5+ at the plate on four separate occasions.
Ralph Kiner of the Pittsburgh Pirates startled pitchers across the league after hitting a home run every single Sunday for eight successive weeks in May and June. By the end of the season, he tallied seventee round trippers over thirty-eight Sunday outings.
At the end of the year, the Brooklyn Dodgers traded the extremely talented, but even more accident prone Pete Reiser to the Boston Braves for Mike McCormick. Reiser had become one of the top outfielders of his time, but had damaged his reputation after being carried off the field on a stretcher eleven times throughout the season after crashing into the outfield walls.
Around the league...
Major League Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler fined the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies $500 each after it was discovered that they were attempting to sign high school players for the upcoming season.
Herb Pennock, the fifty-three-year-old general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed in a New York hotel lobby on January 30th and died a short time later at a local hospital. Ironically, one month later, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving ninety-four of the required ninety-one votes.
The New York Yankees retired Babe Ruth's No. 3 jersey on June 13th during a special pre-game ceremony that marked "The Bambino's" final appearance at Yankee Stadium, which was celebrating it's 25th anniversary. A perennial pinstripe legend, Ruth's astounding abilities at the plate and larger-than-life personality off the field had made him a tremendous drawing card throughout the league as well as the highest-paid player of his era.
On August 16th, baseball lost its greatest player after Babe Ruth succumbed to throat cancer at the age of fifty-three. Fittingly, his last public appearance had come three weeks earlier at the premier of a movie about his amazing life titled "The Babe Ruth Story". As an unprecedented tribute, his body lay in state at Yankee Stadium, also known as "The House That Ruth Built", and was viewed by more than 100,000 fans that lined up for miles just to pay their respects.