Look back at the 1953 MLB season.
By Glen Sparks
- The Braves depart Boston and head to Milwaukee. Future Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn arrive from New England. A young man named Hank Aaron gets ready in the minor leagues. The Braves, founded as the Boston Red Stockings in 1871, win a World Series in the upper Midwest in 1957 and leave for Atlanta following the 1965 campaign.
- Mathews enjoys his new home. The third baseman blasts 47 homers to lead the league in his second season. Mathews (born in Texas, raised in southern California) cracks 512 home runs during a Hall of Fame career. He is the only player to see action with the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.
- The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Carl Furillo, known as The Reading Rifle (for his Pennsylvania roots and strong throwing arm in right field) and Skoonj (for his Italian-American heritage), hits a career-high .344 to lead the National League. He adds 21 home runs and 92 RBI. Furillo finishes ninth in the N.L. MVP race.
- Harvey Kuenn enjoys a fine first year for the Detroit Tigers. He tops the A.L. with 209 hits and wins Rookie of the Year honors. Kuenn plays 15 years in the big leagues and retires with a .303 batting average. He makes eight All-Star teams.
- Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Robin Roberts finishes what he starts. He leads the N.L. with 33 complete games. The 26-year-old from Springfield, Ill., also tops the league in win (23), innings pitched (346.2) and strikeouts (198). The future Hall of Famer wins 286 games in a 19-year career.
- The O’Brien twins, Johnny and Eddie, both play 89 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Johnny, a second baseman, hits .247. He plays six seasons in the majors (’53, 1955-59). Eddie, an all-around utility man, bats .238. His big-league career lasts five years (’53, 1955-58). The O’Brien boys hail from South Amboy, N.J.
- Roy Campanella, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ vocal leader, wins his second N.L. MVP award. He belts 41 homers and drives in a league-leading 142 runs. The slugger from Philadelphia also bats .312 with a .395 on-base percentage (eighth in the league) and .611 slugging percentage (third in the N.L.). Campy hits 242 homers over a 10-year career that ends after a car accident leaves him paralyzed.
- The A.L. MVP goes to the Cleveland Indians’ Al Rosen. The 29-year-old third baseman enjoys his best season in the majors. He notches 43 homers and 145 RBI, leading the A.L. in both categories. Rosen nearly wins the Triple Crown. His .336 batting average is second to Mickey Vernon’s .337. The South Carolinian also paces the A.L. in slugging (.613) and OPS (1.034).
- No-no, Bobo Holloman. The St. Louis Browns pitcher throws a no-hitter on May 6 against the Philadelphia A’s. It is the first start of Holloman’s career. The right-hander makes 10 starts and pitches in 22 games in his entire career. He ends up 3-7 lifetime.
- Brooklyn finishes with the majors’ best record, 105-49, thanks to the slugging of Furillo, Campanella, Duke Snider and others. The New York Yankees, 99-52, take the A.L. pennant. They are the seeking their fifth straight World Series championship. This is a repeat of the 1952 World Series and the fourth match-up between the teams in the last seven seasons. Will Brooklyn finally win its first World Series title? Alas, Mickey Mantle drives in eight runs for the Yankees and Billy Martin brings home seven. New York wins in six games. The Dodgers bat .300 as a team.