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Series Wrapup

Story

After waiting until the season’s final day to clinch the American League pennant the previous year, the Yankees didn’t wait quite as long to lay claim to the league championship in 1950.  Nevertheless, it took a five-game winning streak at the end of the year for them to separate themselves somewhat from three other teams in the hotly-contested junior circuit.  New York finished the regular season with a record of 98-56, just three games ahead of the runner-up Detroit Tigers.  The Red Sox finished third, only four games back, while the Indians came in fourth, six games off the pace.  The strong showings by all four clubs marked the first time during the pre-expansion era that four teams in one league surpassed 90 victories.  

Fourth-place Cleveland was actually in the process of assembling a team that proved to be New York's primary nemesis over the next several seasons.  Featuring a strong pitching staff and a potent lineup, the Indians had already formed much of the nucleus of the team that ended up dominating the American League in 1954.  Bob Lemon served as the ace of their pitching staff, finishing the campaign with a league-leading 23 wins, 170 strikeouts, 288 innings pitched, and 22 complete games.  Centerfielder Larry Doby and young third baseman Al Rosen comprised the middle of the Cleveland lineup.  Doby, who integrated the American League three years earlier, hit 25 home runs, knocked in 102 runs, batted .326, and scored 110 runs.  Rosen led the league with 37 home runs, drove in 116 runs, batted .287, and scored 100 runs.

Although the second-place Tigers and third-place Red Sox finished extremely close to the Yankees in the standings, both clubs might well have beaten out New York for the top spot had they not been compromised somewhat by injuries.  A sore arm limited staff ace Virgil Trucks to only seven starts for Detroit.  Meanwhile, Boston had to do without the services of Ted Williams for most of the season’s second half after he fractured his left elbow making a leaping, off-the-wall catch of a Ralph Kiner drive in the first inning of the All-Star Game.  

Even without Williams, the Red Sox still boasted the league’s best offense, topping the circuit with 1,027 runs scored.  Dom DiMaggio batted .328 and led the league with 131 runs scored, 11 triples, and 15 stolen bases.  Johnny Pesky batted .312 and scored 112 runs.  Bobby Doerr hit .294, slugged 27 homers, drove in 120 runs, and scored 103 others.  Walt Dropo won A.L. Rookie of the Year honors by batting .322, hitting 34 home runs, scoring 101 runs, and topping the circuit with 144 runs batted in.  Vern Stephens batted .295, hit 30 homers, scored 125 runs, and drove in 144 others, to tie Dropo for the league lead in RBIs.  Yet, with Williams unable to play for most of the season’s second half (he hit 28 home runs and knocked in 97 runs in only 89 games), Boston fell just short of advancing to the World Series for the third straight year.  

Instead, the Yankees ended up representing the American League in the Fall Classic for the second year in a row under manager Casey Stengel.  Although the Red Sox had the most potent offense in the junior circuit and the Indians featured the league’s best pitching staff, the Yankees were the circuit’s most well-balanced ball club, placing second in both runs scored (914) and fewest runs allowed (691).  New York’s deep starting rotation included Vic Raschi, Eddie Lopat, Allie Reynolds, and Tommy Byrne.  Raschi led the staff with 21 victories, 17 complete games, and 257 innings pitched.  Lopat placed second to Raschi on the team with 18 wins and 15 complete games.  Reynolds won 16 games, while Byrne added another 15 victories.  The arrival of Whitey Ford at mid-season further enhanced the Yankee rotation.  The 21-year-old left-hander compiled a record of 9-1 over the season’s final three months, along with a team-leading 2.81 ERA.  

Manager Stengel enjoyed manipulating his team’s roster, platooning players at most positions.  However, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto found their names written on Stengel’s lineup card virtually every day.  After missing more than half of the previous season with injuries, DiMaggio had his last big year, batting .301 and placing among the league leaders with 32 home runs, 122 runs batted in, and 114 runs scored.  Berra had his breakout season, hitting 28 home runs and finishing near the top of the league rankings with 124 runs batted in, 116 runs scored, and a .322 batting average.  Rizzuto had easily his finest season, batting .324, compiling a .418 on-base percentage, and placing among the league leaders with 125 runs scored, 200 hits, and 36 doubles.  The Yankee shortstop earned A.L. MVP honors for his exceptional performance.  Berra finished third in the balloting, while DiMaggio came in ninth

After finishing the regular season strong, the Yankees swept Philadelphia’s “Whiz Kids” in four straight games in the World Series.  Nevertheless, the Series remained competitive throughout, with the outcomes of three of the four contests not being determined until the final inning.  In the end, New York’s superior pitching proved to be the difference, as the Yankees outscored their National League counterparts by a combined margin of 11-5.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• February 7 - Ted Williams became the highest paid player in major league history by signing a contract for $125‚000.

• February 16 – Although such notables as Mel Ott and Bill Terry were on the list of eligible candidates, the BBWAA failed to name anyone to the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

• November 26 - The Gillette Safety Razor Co. signed a six-year deal, worth an estimated $6 million, with Major League Baseball for the television and radio rights for the World Series.

• Boston’s Billy Goodman won the American League batting title with a mark of .354, becoming in the process the only player ever to capture the batting crown without having a regular position.

• Cleveland’s Early Wynn led all A.L. hurlers with a 3.20 ERA – the highest mark ever posted by a league leader.

• Connie Mack retired after finishing last in his final season as manager of the A’s.

• On September 10, Joe DiMaggio became the first player to hit three homers in one game in Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

• On June 8, the Red Sox defeated the Browns 29-4 at Fenway Park, in the most lopsided game of the century.

• New York’s Vic Raschi set a major league record (since broken) by retiring 32 consecutive batters.

• Detroit’s George Kell batted .340, knocked in 101 runs, and led the American League with 218 hits and 56 doubles.

• Kell’s Tiger teammate Vic Wertz hit 27 home runs, drove in 123 runs, and batted .308.

• Chicago’s Luke Appling announced his retirement.

• The Red Sox scored a major league record 625 runs at home.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BOS 1728 5516 1027 1665 974 .225 287 61 161 32 17 2557 .408 .301 .750 153 0 62
CHA 1893 5260 625 1368 592 .211 172 47 93 19 22 1913 .340 .281 .652 156 0 106
CLE 1831 5263 806 1417 758 .215 222 46 164 40 34 2223 .362 .324 .709 146 86
DET 1799 5381 837 1518 788 .205 285 50 114 23 40 2245 .353 .294 .658 162 110
NYA 1875 5361 914 1511 860 .231 234 70 159 41 28 2362 .402 .328 .763 122 0 85
PHA 1721 5212 670 1361 627 .191 204 53 100 42 25 1971 .331 .262 .631 170 0 73
SLA 1896 5163 684 1269 642 .191 235 43 106 39 40 1908 .341 .264 .631 138 0 97
WS1 1784 5251 690 1365 659 .205 190 53 76 42 25 1889 .338 .267 .612 134 0 74

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BOS 337 94 60 1362 630 748 6085 1413 121 143.470 739 804 66 5 28 27 5
CHA 338 60 94 1364 566 734 6061 1370 107 130.770 669 749 62 7 9 27 2
CLE 339 92 62 1378 674 647 5948 1289 120 50.360 573 654 69 10 16 23 4
DET 310 95 59 1408 576 553 6076 1444 141 58.130 645 713 72 9 20 22 4
NYA 296 98 56 1373 712 708 6002 1322 118 79.830 633 691 66 11 31 20 14
PHA 307 52 102 1347 466 729 6168 1528 138 116.850 821 913 50 3 18 39 5
SLA 342 58 96 1367 448 651 6285 1629 129 113.120 789 916 56 7 14 28 6
WS1 311 67 87 1364 486 648 6110 1479 99 112.960 706 813 59 7 18 27 7

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BOS 1609 5933 4087 1735 111 .972 0 0 0 0 11
CHA 1686 5971 4100 1730 141 .968 0 0 0 0 9
CLE 1676 5882 4135 1618 129 .956 0 0 0 0 6
DET 1638 6211 4215 1876 120 .973 0 0 0 0 11
NYA 1718 5800 4108 1573 119 .959 0 0 0 0 7
PHA 1583 5920 4033 1732 155 .939 0 0 0 0 9
SLA 1696 5943 4090 1657 196 .925 0 0 0 0 9
WS1 1627 6027 4099 1761 167 .965 0 0 0 0 10

West

Central

East

Awards

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

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Tagged:
1950 World Series, Al Rosen, Allie Reynolds, American League, Billy Goodman, Bob Lemon, Bobby Doerr, Boston Red Sox, Casey Stengel, Cleveland Indians, Connie Mack, Detroit Tigers, Dom DiMaggio, Early Wynn, Ed Lopat, George Kell, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Larry Doby, Luke Appling, New York Yankees, Phil Rizzuto, Ted Williams, Tommy Byrne, Vern Stephens, Vic Raschi, Vic Wertz, Virgil Trucks, Walt Dropo, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra

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