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BASEBALL 1954
Roger Kahn
October 04, 1954
For the fans it was a season of vivid moments?while the impersonal scorebooks wrote a story of their own
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October 04, 1954

Baseball 1954

For the fans it was a season of vivid moments?while the impersonal scorebooks wrote a story of their own

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THE MOST VALUABLE MEN IN BASEBALL

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

THE BATTING LEADERS

AB

H

Pct.

AB

H

Pct.

MAYS , Giants

565

195

.345

MINOSO, White Sox

568

182

.320

MUELLER, Giants

619

212

.342

AVILA , Indians

555

189

.341

SNIDER , Dodgers

584

199

.341

FOX, White Sox

631

201

.319

MUSIAL, Cardinals

591

195

.330

NOREN, Yankees

426

136

.319

KLUSZEWSKI, Reds

573

187

.326

BERRA, Yankees

584

179

.307

THE HOME RUN LEADERS

HRs

ABs per HR

HRs

ABs per HR

KLUSZEWSKI, Reds

49

12

DOBY, Indians

32

18

HODGES, Dodgers

42

14

WILLIAMS . Red Sox

29

13

MAYS , Giants

41

14

MANTLE, Yankees

27

20

SAUER, Cubs

41

13

JENSEN, Red Sox

25

23

SNIDER , Dodgers

40

15

ROSEN, Indians

24

19

MATHEWS, Braves

40

12

SIEVERS, Senators

24

21

( HACK WILSON , 1930)

56

10

( BABE RUTH , 1927)

60

9

THE WINNING PITCHERS

IP

ERA

W & L

IP

ERA

W & L

ROBERTS , Phils

337

2.91

23-15

LEMON, Indians

258

2.72

23-7

ANTONELLI, Giants

258

2.30

21-7

WYNN , Indians

271

2.72

23-11

SPAHN, Braves

283

3.15

21-12

GRIM, Yankees

199

3.26

20-6

HADDIX, Cardinals

260

3.69

18-13

GARCIA , Indians

257

2.66

19-8

ERSKINE, Dodgers

260

4.15

18-15

TRUCKS, White Sox

265

2.78

19-12

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...

No one ever accused Charley Dickens of being a baseball writer but, give or take a few Victorian adjectives, Old Chuck might almost have been telling A Tale of Two Boroughs last week.

In darkest Brooklyn the New York Giants sent Sal Maglie, the blue-jowled right-hander, against the Dodgers. The Giants needed one game to win the National League pennant. Maglie, aging, backsore but courageous, had been winning needed games all season. This time he started slowly, walked two in the first inning. Then he threw a double-play ball to Duke Snider. Then he never gave the Dodgers another chance.

At Ebbets Field the fans of Brooklyn hooted Maglie. Sal had heard?and ignored?their hoots before. Between innings Maglie rushed to the Giant clubhouse so that a trainer could knead the twisted muscles in his back. On the field he relentlessly bent his curve ball past Dodger bats.

In the ninth inning Maglie snapped one final curve and Roy Campanella drove it slowly to the mound. Maglie clutched the ball, ran toward first base and tossed to Whitey Lockman. Lights went out all over Brooklyn. Manhattan, from Toots Shor's bar to Tallulah Bank-head's dressing room, rejoiced.

Lockman, ball in glove, jumped at Maglie and landed halfway up the tired pitcher's frame. It was a scene that will be remembered when baseball fans turn back their albums to the season of 1954.

In Milwaukee another picture will haunt memories: the brilliant Bobby Thomson stretched out in the sand of a training camp infield at St. Petersburg, Fla. (opposite page). Back there in March even the most sanguine of Milwaukee rooters suspected that their pennant chances lay with Thomson in the dust at second base. The Braves, without the slugging outfielder until August, finished third.

There were other scenes that will be remembered and embroidered during the chilly winter months by baseball fans who live to relive baseball. Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox broke a collarbone on his first spring training day and did not return until May. With a metal pin holding the broken bones together, Williams played both games of a double-header in Detroit and lashed eight hits, including two home runs, in nine turns at bat.

"It hurt like hell," Williams said.

"When they take that pin out," said the Yankees' Casey Stengel, "I want it. Wanna stick it into a coupla my guys."

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