Year In Review : 1953 American League
Off the field...
After three bloody years, one month, and two days of fighting, the Korean War officially ended. In the end the United States suffered 33,327 deaths and 102,000 wounded at a cost of $18 billion dollars. Under the terms of the cease-fire, Korea was re-divided at the 38th parallel (as it was the day the Communists had first attacked). Agreement was quickly reached in almost all areas, with the exception of a prisoner-exchange compromise. The United Nations forces refused to return prisoners who did not want to be repatriated and as a result, sporadic fighting continued over a two-year period until President Eisenhower threatened the use of nuclear weapons to achieve peace.
American Communist Party members turned spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were executed on June 19th after being convicted of espionage for selling the formula for the atomic bomb to the Soviets. They were the first civilians put to death under the Espionage Act of 1917.
In the American League...
Boston Red Sox slugger turned combat ace Ted Williams safely crash-landed his damaged Panther fighter plane after being hit by enemy fire while flying a combat mission in Korea on February 19th. He later returned home from active-duty in August and finished the season with thirteen home runs and an incredible .407 batting average.
New York Yankee Mickey Mantle hit the longest home run in Griffith Stadium history with a five-hundred sixty-five foot "tape-measure" blast off pitcher Chuck Stobbs for a 7-3 victory over the Washington Senators on April 17th.
The St. Louis Browns set the Major League mark for most consecutive home defeats, after losing their 20th game in succession, 6-3 to the visiting Cleveland Indians.
In the National League...
Roy Campanella set the Major League record for most runs batted in by a catcher after smacking a three run home run in a 6-3 Brooklyn Dodgers win over the Philadelphia Phillies on September 7th. Campanella's total of one-hundred twenty-five runs batted in topped New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra's mark of one-hundred twenty-four set in 1950. The perennial All-Star had also set the National League mark for most home runs by a catcher the previous day after topping the Chicago Cubs' Gabby Hartnett who hit thirty-seven in 1930.
Cincinnati's ball club officially changed its name from the "Reds" to the "Redlegs", in response to the McCarthy era pressure of anti-communism. They later reverted back to the Reds in 1959.
Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Boyd Tepler was denied in the U.S. Court of Appeals after filing a $450,000 grievance against Major League Baseball and owner William Wrigley. The lawsuit, filed in 1951, accused his coaching staff of negligence that led to a premature career-ending arm injury in 1944.
Around the league...
United States Immigration Commissioner Mackey warned that all Major League alien ballplayers who jumped U.S. pro-contracts faced deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act.
After seventy-seven years, the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves in the first franchise shift in baseball since 1903 when Baltimore moved to New York (Yankees). As a result, Milwaukee assumed Pittsburgh's place in the Western Division for scheduling purposes and the Brewers were moved to Toledo.
In an effort to prevent the decline of baseball in small towns and cities throughout the country, Senator Edwin C. Johnson offered a bill to give all ball clubs the sole right to ban radio and/or television broadcasts of major league games in their own territories. The bill was intended to restore the equity between large communities and the small areas and was in direct response to the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department who had prohibited teams from banning any broadcasts in 1949.
On June 3rd, U.S. Congress officially cited the research of New York City librarian Robert Henderson that clearly proved Alexander Cartwright had "founded" the game of baseball and not Abner Doubleday. Henderson's book "Bat, Ball and Bishop", which was published in 1947, documented Cartwright's contribution to the origins of the game.