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1953 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1953 throughout the world.
March 13 - Boston Braves owner, Lou Perini, announced he was moving the team to Milwaukee, where the Braves had their top farm club, in time for the 1953 season.
March 28 - Jim Thorpe, famed American Indian athlete considered by many as the greatest athlete in recorded history, died in Lomita, California at the age of 64. A native of Prague, Oklahoma, Thorpe played six seasons of Major League Baseball between 1913 and 1919, mostly for the New York Giants, in addition to his Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon competition, while playing and coaching for a long time in the National Football League.
April 13 - In Cincinnati over 30,000 see the Milwaukee Braves win their first game, 2-0, behind the pitching of Max Surkont
June 3 - Congress cites the research of New York City librarian Robert Henderson in proving that Alexander Cartwright "founded" baseball and not Abner Doubleday. His 1947 book Bat, Ball and Bishop documents Cartwright's contributions to the origins of the game of the baseball.
June 18 - In a 23-3 thrashing of the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox set a still-standing Major League record by scoring 17 runs in one inning. After scoring twice in the sixth to break a 3-3 tie, the Red Sox go on their record-breaking run-scoring output in the seventh. Eleven Boston players score in the inning, with Sammy White scoring three times and Gene Stephens (who also collects three hits in the inning, becoming the first Major Leaguer in modern history to do so), Tom Umphlett, Dick Gernert and winning pitcher Ellis Kinder scoring twice.
August 30 - In game one of a doubleheader, Jim Pendleton hit three home runs, as the Milwaukee Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field, 19-4, while tying a major league record for the most home runs in a single game with eight, held by the New York Yankees since 1939. Besides, Pendleton became only the second rookie in history to hit three home runs in one game, joining his teammate Eddie Mathews, who dit it just a year earlier. In the second of the twin bill, the Braves hit four more long balls and crushed again Pittsburgh, 11-5. Moreover, the 12 homers in a doubleheader shattered the previous mark of nine. This time, Mathews belted four dingers for the day, which gave him a National League-leading 43. Matthews would finish the season with 47 home runs, 30 of them on the road, setting also a major league record. Previously, only the New York Yankees had ever hit more home runs in consecutive games, or in a doubleheader. The Yankees hit eight home runs in a 23-2 victory in the first game of a doubleheader, and five homers in a 10-0 win in the second game, played on June 28, 1939 against the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park.
September 14 - The New York Yankees clinch their 5th straight pennant with an 8-5 win over the Cleveland Indians. Second baseman Billy Martin has 4 RBIs.
October 5 - The New York Yankees defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-3, in Game 6 of the World Series, to win their record-setting fifth consecutive World Championship and sixteenth overall, four games to two. Billy Martin was the star of the Series with a record-setting 12 hits, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the 9th of Game 6 to clinch the title.
October 7 - Bill Veeck, facing dwindling attendance and revenue, is forced to sell the St. Louis Browns to a Baltimore-based group led by attorney Clarence Miles and brewer Jerry Hoffberger. The Browns would move to Baltimore and be known as the Baltimore Orioles starting in the 1954 season.
October 28- After a dispute with Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, Dodgers announcer Red Barber resigns from his position and takes a job doing radio broadcast for the rival New York Yankees. Barber was upset that he could not get a higher fee from Gillette, who sponsored the T.V. broadcast of the 1953 World Series, and that O'Malley refused to support him.
November 9 - Reaffirming its earlier position, the United States Supreme Court rules, 7-2, that baseball is a sport and not a business and therefore not subject to antitrust laws. The ruling is made in a case involving New York Yankees minor league player George Toolson, who refused to move from Triple-A to Double-A.
November 10 - The New York Giants end their tour of Japan. It is reported that each Giants player received just $331 of the $3,000 they were promised.
November 24 - The Brooklyn Dodgers sign Walter Alston to a one-year pact as their manager for 1954. Alston will manage the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers over the next 23 seasons, winning 2,040 games and four World Championships.
December 1 - The Boston Red Sox trade for slugger Jackie Jensen, sending P Mickey McDermott and OF Tom Umphlett to the Washington Senators. Jensen will average 25 home runs a year for his seven seasons for Boston, lead the American League in RBI three times, and win the Most Valuable Player Award in 1958. A fear of flying will end his career prematurely.
January 11 - Doc Moskiman, 73, first baseman and right fielder for the Boston Red Sox in its 1910 season, who also spent parts of 13 seasons playing minor-league and independent-league ball, pitching more often than not and obtaining considerably good results.
January 21 - José Rodríguez, 58, Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame infielder whose 18-year career in professional baseball included a stint with the New York Giants of the National League from 1917 to 1918.
January 24 - Ben Taylor, 64, National Baseball Hall of Fame player, manager, coach and umpire, who played for 24 different teams in Negro League Baseball between 1908 and 1941, being considered the best first baseman in black baseball prior to the arrival of Buck Leonard and one of the most productive players offensively, while collecting a .334 lifetime batting average and hitting over .300 in fifteen of his first sixteen years in baseball.
January 27 - Merv Shea, 52, catcher who played for seven teams in a span of eleven seasons from 1927-1944, before becoming a long-time scout for the Chicago Cubs.
March 3 - Clyde Milan, 65, speedy outfielder and solid line drive hitter who batted .285 for the Washington Senators over the course of 16 seasons from 1907-1922, collecting 2,100 hits, 1,004 runs and 495 stolen bases, and leading the American League by stealing 88 bases in 1912 and 75 in 1913, while setting a modern-rules MLB season record for steals in 1912, a mark surpassed three years later by Ty Cobb.
April 11 - Kid Nichols, Hall of Famepitcher who posted 361 victories for the seventh most wins in Major League Baseball history, died in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 79. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Nichols anchored the pitching staff of the Boston Beaneaters between 1890 and 1901, guiding Boston to five National League championships in his first nine seasons with the club. He surpassed the 30-victory plateau seven times from 1891-1894 and 1896-1898, as his career record shows that he hurled 20 or more wins in ten consecutive seasons from 1891-1994 and in 1904. In addition, he remains as the youngest pitcher to reach the illustrious 300-win milestone, getting there months before his 31st birthday. His most productive season came in 1892, when he had a 35-16 record and won two games in the league's Championship Series as the Beaneaters defeated Cy Young and the Cleveland Spiders. Nichols remained with Boston through 1901, when the team let him go in an effort to save money. After a two-year lapse, he returned to the majors as manager and pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1904 to 1905 and ended his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1905. Overall, Nichols posted a 2.96 ERA, led the National league in wins for three straight years from 1896 to 1898, pitched more than 300 innings in every season but three and more than 400 five times while pitching 532 complete games and 48 shutouts in 562 starts, and was never removed from a game for a relief hurler. Besides, his record of seven seasons with 30 or more victories is a mark that is likely to stand forever, since the implementation of five-man rotations, pitch count and inning limits in modern baseball.
April 16 - Sam Gray, 55, pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Browns over ten seasons from 1924 to 1933.
April 18 - Harry Niles, 72, outfielder and second baseman who played from 1906 through 1910 for the St. Louis Browns, New York Highlanders, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Naps.
April 18 - Cotton Tierney, 59, second baseman and third baseman who played from 1920 to 1925 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers, being honored by his great-great-nephew Jeff Euston, who created in 2005 a website named Cot's Baseball Contracts, which track all salaries of MLB players, contracts, bonuses, service time and franchise values.
April 26 - Don Brennan, 49, who played for the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants in a span of five seasons from 1933-1937.
May 12 - Ed Summers, 68, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers over five seasons from 1908 to 1912, who posted a 24-12 record and 1.64 ERA in 301 innings of work in his rookie season, including two complete game victories over the Philadelphia Athletics in a doubleheader, finishing with a two-hit, 1-0 shutout in ten innings in the second game, becoming the only pitcher in major league history to throw two complete game victories and more than eighteen innings in both games of a doubleheader, a record that remain intact.
May 19 - Sam Leever, 81, pitcher who spent his 13-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1898 to 1910, compiling a 194-100 record for a .660 W-L percentage, the ninth highest in MLB baseball history, leading the National League with a 2.06 ERA and seven shutouts in 1903 and in W-L% three times, while amassing 20 or more wins in four seasons.
June 7 - Bill Burns, 73, left handed pitcher for five Major League Baseball teams in five seasons from 1908 to 1912, who infamously returned to the majors as one of the conspirators in the famous Black Sox Scandal.
September 4 - Buck Herzog, 53, versatile infielder who played from 1908 through 1920 with four National League teams and also managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1914-1916, winning four NL pennants, while collecting 12 hits in the 1912 World Series to set a series record since then tied and broken.
October 17 - Jim Delahanty, 74, one of five Delahanty brothers to play in the majors, a fine defensive second baseman who had a 13-year career with eight teams spanning 1901-1915, while batting a solid .283/.357/.373/.730 line and 1,159 hits in 1,186 career games.
November 6 - Tom Dougherty, 72, pitcher who made one-game relief appearance for the Chicago White Sox in 1904, who is probably unique in Major League Baseball history for his perfect 1-0 winning record in a game where he faced the minimum six batters over two innings, without giving up a run, hit or walk in his immaculate work.
December 15 - Ed Barrow, 85, Hall of Fame executive and notable judge of talent, who discovered Honus Wagner 1896 and later converted Babe Ruth from pitcher to outfielder, also signing contracts with Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri and Red Ruffing, before converting the New York Yankees dynasty whose clubs captured 14 American League pennants and 10 World Series championships from 1920 to 1945, including five Series sweeps.
December 24 - Pinch Thomas, 65, backup catcher whose nickname reflects his pinch-hitting abilities, as he posted a batting average of .419 (13-for-31) for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians from 1912 to 1921, while earning four World Series titles with Boston (1912; 1915-16) and Cleveland (1920).
December 25 - Patsy Donovan, 88, Irish-American right fielder and manager who played for several teams over 17 years spanning 1890-1907, while managing five teams in 11 seasons from 1897-1911, collecting a .301 batting career average of .301 with 2,253 hits and 518 stolen bases, and a managerial record of 684-879 (.438).