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1954 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1954 throughout the world.
February 19 - The Brooklyn Dodgers signed 19-year-old Roberto Clemente to a one year deal with $5,000, including a $10,000 signing bonus. The Dodgers thus beat out a number of other clubs in the Clemente sweepstakes, as they outspent their cross-river rivals New York Giants and New York Yankees, who had already intention on inking Clemente. Besides, the Dodgers also beat the Milwaukee Braves to the punch, as they offered Clemente more money to sign there. He was assigned immediately to Triple A Montreal Royals. The future Hall of Famer put up decent but not spectacular numbers for them, posting a .257/.286/.372 batting line with ten extra base hits and one stolen base in 155 plate appearances. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Clemente would never play a game in the organization. At the end of the season, Brooklyn left him exposed to the Rule V Draft, where he was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente would never play another game in the Minor Leagues.
March 13 - Milwaukee Braves outfielder Bobby Thomson breaks his ankle while sliding into a base during a spring training game. Thomson, whose pennant-winning three-run home run for the New York Giants in 1951 is known as the ´´Shot Heard 'Round the World´´, will be out until July 14. In between, he is immediately replaced by a promising prospect named Hank Aaron.
March 29 - Chicago CubsmanagerPhil Cavarretta gives team owner Phil Wrigley an honest assessment of the chances for the Cubs during the season, and is then dismissed for his defeatist attitude. As a result, Cavarreta became the first manager ever to be given the gate during spring training. Stan Hack replaces him, even though Cavarretta is right: the Cubs will finish in seventh place this year.
May 2 - At Sportsman's Park, Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals hits five home runs in a doubleheader against the New York Giants. He hits three in the first game, won by the Cardinals 10-6, and adds two in the nightcap, won by the Giants 9-7. Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres will tie Musial's record by hitting five home runs in a 1972 doubleheader; coincidentally, he had been in attendance to watch Musial's feat.
September 29 - In Game One of the 1954 World Series, with the score tied 2-2 and two base runners in the 8th inning, New York Giants center fielderWillie Mays makes one of the greatest catches in series history, when he races back in the Polo Grounds to make an over-the-head catch of Vic Wertz' 462-foot drive. Wertz, who had driven in the Cleveland Indians' two runs in the first inning, would finish the day 4-for-5, including a double and a triple. The Giants went on to win the game in extra innings, 5-2, thanks to a pinch-hit three-run home run by Dusty Rhodes off Bob Lemon in the bottom of the 11th inning. Since then, The Catch is a term used to refer to the memorable defensive play executed by Mays.
October 2 - The New York Giants defeat the Cleveland Indians, 7-4, in Game 4 of the 1954 World Series to win their fifth World Championship, four games to none. Cleveland finished the season with an American League record 111 wins which they will hold for 44 years, but failed to win a Series game. This is the first title for the Giants in 21 years. They would not win another World Series until 2010, more than 50 years after they moved to San Francisco.
January 11 - Sumner Bowman, 86, pitcher who played from 1890 to 1891 for the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Alleghenys and Philadelphia Athletics.
January 16 - Clay Perry, 72, third baseman for the Detroit Tigers in their 1908 season.
January 16 - Fred Payne, 73, catcher who played from 1906 through 1911 for the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox.
January 20 - Bunny Madden, 71, catcher for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies between 1909 and 1911.
February 1 - Norman Plitt, 60, pitcher who played with the Brooklyn Robins and New York Giants in part of two seasons spanning 1918-1927.
February 4 - Ollie Smith, 88, outfielder who played for the Louisville Colonels in the 1894 season.
February 5 - Ed Warner, 64, pitcher for the 1912 Pittsburgh Pirates.
February 10 - Heinie Berger, 72, one of the many German baseball players in the early part of the 20th century, who pitched from 1905 through 1910 for the Cleveland Naps of the American League.
February 13 - Walter Ancker, 60, pitcher who played briefly for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1915 season.
February 15 - John Callahan, 79, pitcher for the St. Louis Browns of the National League in the 1898 season.
February 15 - John Gillespie, 53, pitcher who appeared in 31 games for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1922 season.
February 16 - Red Parnell, 48, All-Star left fielder and manager in the Negro Leagues, most notably for the Philadelphia Stars club from 1936 to 1943.
February 20 - Sadie McMahon, 86, 19th century pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Athletics, Baltimore Orioles and Brooklyn Bridegrooms in a span of nine seasons from 1889 through 1897, sporting a 173-127 record and a 3.51 ERA in 351 games, while leading the American Association in wins (36), strikeouts (291), games pitched (60) and innings (509) during the 1890 season.
March 12 - Bob Quinn, 84, executive who owned the Boston Red Sox from 1923 to 1933 and also ran three other franchises.
March 16 - George Grantham, 53, second baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants in a span of 13 seasons from 1922-1934, who hit over .300 every season from 1924 to 1931, and also was a member of the Pirates teams that won the National League pennant in 1925 and the World Series in 1925.
March 19 - Charlie Babb, 81, shortstop who played from 1903 through 1905 for the New York Giants and Brooklyn Superbas, managing later in the Minor Leagues from 1906 to 1913.
March 19 - Frank Fahey, 58, left fielder and pitcher for the 1918 Philadelphia Athletics.
March 22 - Harry LaRoss, 66, outfielder who played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1914.
March 24 - Chubby Snyder, 63, Danish and German American catcher who appeared in just one game in 1914 with the Buffalo Buffeds of the Federal League.
April 15 - Chick Holmes, 58, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1918 season.
April 19 - Red Gunkel, 60, pitcher who played in 1916 for the Cleveland Indians.
May 4 - Otto McIvor, 69, outfielder for the 1911 St. Louis Cardinals.
May 7 - Les Channell, 68, backup outfielder who played with the New York Highlanders in the 1910 season and for the New York Yankees in 1914.
May 10 - Eddie Files, 70, pitcher who played with the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1908 season.
July 15 - Chris Mahoney, 69, pitcher and outfielder for the 1910 Boston Red Sox.
July 16 - Jack Bracken, 73, pitcher who played for the Cleveland Blues in 1901.
July 28 - Jim Bagby, 64, Cleveland Indians star pitcher who led the American League with 31 victories in 1920, defeating the Detroit Tigers, 10-1, in a clinching game for the pennant, then defeating the Brooklyn Robins in the 1920 World Series, 8-1, while hitting the first home run by a pitcher in World Series history, en route to a world championship for the Indians.
July 29 - Babe Borton, 65, first baseman who played for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Terriers and St. Louis Browns in part of four seasons between 1912 and 1916.
August 3 - Art Hoelskoetter, 71, utility man who played all nine positions in his four seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1905-1908, though he played at least 15 games at all the positions, except only one game in left field.
September 23 - John Wilson, 64, who pitched in three games for the Washington Senators during its 1913 season.
October 5 - Oscar Charleston, 57, Hall of Fame Negro Leagues outfielder and manager, a powerful hitter who could hit to all fields and bunt, steal a hundred bases a year, hit over .300 consistently, and cover center field as well as anyone.
October 6 - Josh Devore, 66, outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants and Boston Braves during seven season from 1908 to 1914, who arrived in time for the Miracle Braves stretch run which saw them win the National League pennant and the 1914 World Series.
October 12 - Walter Holke, 61, first baseman for the New York Giants, Boston Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds in part of 11 seasons spanning 1914-1925, who holds the record for the most fielding chances by a player in a game with 43, 42 put-outs and one assist during a 26-inning, 1-1 tie game between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins on May 1, 1920.
October 14 - Bill Swanson, 66, backup infielder for the 1914 Boston Red Sox.
October 19 - Hugh Duffy, 87, Hall of Fame center fielder who batted a record .438 average in 1894, one of the top hitters of the 1890s that recorded more hits, home runs and runs batted in than any other player in the game, while also teaming with fellow Hall of Famer Tommy McCarthy to form the called Heavenly Twins outfield tandem for the Boston Beaneaters, which captured two National League pennants and a pre-modern World Series Championship in 1892 and 1893.
October 21 - Art Gardiner, 54, pitcher who appeared in just one game with the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1923 season.
October 22 - Earl Whitehill, 54, dominant left-handed pitcher with four teams from 1923 to 1939, while helping the Washington Senators win the American League pennant in 1933, whose 218 career wins ranks him 79th in Major League history.
November 7 - Art Bues, 66, third baseman who played with the Boston Braves in the 1913 season and for the Chicago Cubs in 1914.
November 7 - Charlie Frisbee, 80, backup outfielder for the Boston Beaneaters and New York Giants between 1899 and 1900.
November 20 - Hod Fenner, 57, pitcher who played for the Chicago White Sox in the 1921 season.
November 21 - Uel Eubanks, 51, pitcher for the 1922 Chicago Cubs.
November 22 - Charlie Gibson, 75, catcher who played in 1905 for the Philadelphia Athletics.
November 26 - Bill Doak, 63, pitcher for three different clubs in a span of sixteen seasons from 1912-1929, eleven of them with the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 20 games in 1920 and twice led the National League in ERA in 1914 and 1921.
November 27 - Nick Maddox, 68, pitcher who posted a 43-20 record and 2.29 earned run average from 1907-1910 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who threw a two-hit, 14-strikeout 4-0 shutout in his debut against the St. Louis Cardinals, and later in the season hurled a 2-1 no-hitter against the Brooklyn Superbas, becoming the youngest pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in Major League history at the age of 20 years and ten months, which was also the first no-hit game ever thrown by a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher.
November 29 - Al Lawson, 85, pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters and Pittsburgh Alleghenys during the 1890 season, who later went on to play a pioneering role in the U.S. aircraft industry.
December 1 - Kid O'Hara, 78, outfielder for the Boston Beaneaters in the 1904 season.
December 4 - Tony Madigan, 86, pitcher for the 1886 Washington Nationals of the National League.
December 9 - Bill McGowan, 58, Hall of Fame American League umpire who officiated over 30 years and worked in eight World Series, including a string of 2,541 consecutive games in which he did not miss a single inning between 1925 and 1942.
December 11 - Harry Courtney, 56, who pitched from 1919 to 1922 for the Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox.
December 17 - Red Proctor, 54, pitcher who saw action in two games with the Chicago White Sox in 1923.