Year In Review : 1960 National League
Off the field…
The fifty-star Flag of the United States was officially dedicated on July 4. The newly expanded banner had been modified following the admission of the 50th state, Hawaii, on August 21, 1959 with an Executive Order filed by President Eisenhower providing the arrangement of nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows staggered vertically.
President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960 enabling federal judges to appoint referees to hear persons claiming that state election officials had denied minorities the right to register and vote. Though well intended, the statute proved ineffective, making it necessary for President Lyndon B. Johnson to persuade Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
John F. Kennedy, a first-ballot nominee, defeated Richard Nixon to become the youngest President ever elected in the United States. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President and immediately set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II.
In the American League…
On Opening Day, "Teddy Baseball" (Ted Williams) tied the "Iron Horse" (Lou Gehrig) with the 493rd home run of his career. The 500' blast in his first at-bat remained the only bright moment for Boston as the Washington Senators' Camilo Pascual struck out 11 Red Sox batters on the way to a 10-1 victory. Williams hit number 500 later that season with a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on June 17.
American League Most Valuable Player Roger Maris debuted as a New York Yankee against the Boston Red Sox with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs en route to an 8-4 win at Fenway Park.
Baltimore Orioles catcher Clint Courtney became the first at his position to complete 2 career unassisted double plays during a 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
In the National League…
George Crowe of the St. Louis Cardinals hit four-pinch homers for a Major League career record of fourteen.
Baseball's greatest defensive player became baseball's greatest offensive player with a single at-bat during the Pittsburgh Pirates versus New York Yankees World Series. After being statistically dominated by their American League rivals for six outings, the National League champions found themselves with their backs against the wall at Forbes Field for Game 7. Stats mattered little in the end though as second baseman Bill Mazeroski stepped up to the plate (in the bottom of the ninth) and delivered a desperate, bases-empty home run for the 10-9 victory and the first Pirates World Championship in thirty-five years.
The Los Angeles Dodgers set an all-time National League record for attendance with 2,253,887 coming out to the Coliseum.
Around the League…
Bill Veeck became the first to break uniform tradition after putting the names of his players on the backs of their Chicago White Sox jerseys. In reaction, the rest of the league's teams sent formal protests to the commissioner's office demanding that the names be removed. After hearing both sides, it was determined that each team would have the option to add their names or stay with the traditional number only.
Television icon Gene Autry attended the annual American League owners meeting while investigating possible broadcasting opportunities. After realizing Autry's true respect for the game of baseball as well as his political connections in California, American League President Joe Cronin nominated him for ownership. The result was the birth of the California Angels expansion franchise.
The Sporting News named Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams as their "Player of the Decade" for the 1950s.
The last remaining chapter in the Negro Leagues disbanded after a steady decline in talent due to the inclusion and rapid growth of African-American players in the Major Leagues.