Year In Review : 1950 American League
Off the field...
The Korean War began after North Korean forces known as the "Democratic People's Republic" crossed the 38th parallel dividing North and South Korea. The attack, aimed at reuniting the country under Communist rule from the North, took place on June 24th and was a complete surprise to the American administration. Many feared that this attack heralded the beginning of World War III. Under the flag of the United Nations, sixteen countries sent military forces to South Korea's defense, most coming from the United States. Many other countries contributed equipment, supplies, and other support. North Korea's main allies were the Soviet Union, which supplied it with arms, and China, which later sent many troops.
Two Puerto Rican nationalists, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, attempted to assassinate President Truman on November 1st. Both arrived in Washington D.C. the day before from the Bronx in New York City, where they were active in the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. Both felt the assassination would call attention to their home country and advance the cause of Puerto Rican independence. In the ensuing gun battle, both traded gunfire with White House policemen and several Secret Service Agents. Torresola was killed in the melee, but Collazo reached the steps of Blair House before collapsing with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was later sentenced to death. President Truman himself commuted the sentence to life imprisonment in 1952.
In June 1950, three former agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and television producer Vincent Harnett, published "Red Channels", a pamphlet listing the names of one-hundred fifty-one writers, directors and entertainers who they claimed had been members of subversive organizations (before World War II) but had not been blacklisted. The names had been compiled from FBI files and a detailed analysis of the "Daily Worker", an underground newspaper published by the American Communist Party.
In the American League...
On June 8th, the Red Sox recorded the most lopsided victory in baseball history after crushing the visiting St. Louis Browns 29-4. Boston also set several Major League records including most extra bases on long hits (thirty-two) in a game, and the most extra bases on long hits in consecutive games (fifty-one). Leadoff batter Clyde Vollmer set a Major League mark of his own as the only batter to go to the plate eight times in eight innings.
The Cleveland Indians came out swinging in the 2nd game of a June 18th doubleheader and set a modern Major League record by scoring fourteen runs in the first inning. The opening rally also tied the mark for most runs scored in a single inning. With the exception of pitcher Mike Garcia, all Tribe members batted twice en route to a 21-2 massacre.
The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers combined for a Major League record eleven home runs during a 10-9, June 23rd outing at Tiger Stadium. It was also the first time that nine different players connected for home runs in a single game. Detroit tallied four home runs in the 4th inning thanks to Dizzy Trout, Gerry Priddy, Vic Wertz, and Hoot Evers. New York's Hank Bauer connected for two while Joe DiMaggio, Jerry Coleman, Yogi Berra, and pinch hitter Tommy Henrich also belted round trippers. Home team slugger Evers finally won the contest with his second blast, an inside-the-park two-run game winner in the 9th.
In the National League...
Boston Braves slugger Sid Gordon tied the Major League record for most grand slams in a season after knocking his fourth of the year against the Philadelphia Phillies. His team dominated both games in a Fourth of July doubleheader and their 12-9 win in game two gave both teams a combined total of forty runs, fifty-five hits, and ninety total bases for the day.
On July 16th, players from around the league connected for thirty-seven combined home runs setting a new Major League record. Leading the home run derby was the Cincinnati Reds who posted two wins over the New York Giants, 16-4 and 11-10.
The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5 on July 26th as the Dodgers' Jim Russell went both ways for two home runs, making him the first switch-hitter in history to accomplish the feat more than once. On the other side of the plate, St. Louis' Stan Musial hit in his 30th straight game for the longest consecutive hitting streak of the decade.
Around the league...
Jackie Robinson, the man who broke baseball's color barrier signed a new contract for $35,000, making him the highest paid Brooklyn Dodger in the history of the franchise.
The Associated Press selected the "Miracle Braves" of 1914 as the greatest sports upset in the 20th century. Managed by George Stallings, Boston completed the season riding a 60-16 streak to go 94-59. Later, they went on to win the National League pennant by 10½ games over the heavily favored New York Giants in the post-season.
President Harry Truman tossed out two balls at the Washington opener (one left-handed and one right-handed) then sat through a driving rain to see his Senators beat the Philadelphia Athletics 8-7 at Griffith Stadium.
In an effort to discourage the continued Major League signing of black ball players, Dr. J.B. Martin, the president of the Chicago Giants of the Negro American League, ordered manager Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe to sign several white players. Radcliffe obliged his employer by signing three white teenagers immediately and adding at least two others later in the season.