Baseball struggled to get its bearings through the first half of the 20th century. Early in the century there were allegations of fixed games (the Black Sox Scandal). Then there were issues like racism, and World War II that had massive impacts on the game. But the baseball legends of the 1950s allowed the sport to hit its stride and develop into the league we know today.
5 Baseball Legends of the 1950s
Even with several injuries and absences throughout the 1950s (he joined the Navy during the Korean war), he managed to put up high numbers. He hit .336 for the decade and won back-to-back batting titles in 1957 and 1958 with a .388 average and a .328 average respectively. He also managed to get on base significantly, racking up 100-plus walk seasons four times during the decade.
The switch-hitting Micky Mantle anchored a Yankees team that dominated throughout the entire decade. He extended the lineage of greats that started with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. In 1956, Mantle won the triple crown with a .353 average, 52 home runs, and 130 RBIs. He was a patient hitter that could either hit for average or power.
Willie Mays walked away with a batting title in 1954, boasting a .345 average and 41 home runs. He followed suit in 1955 with a 51 home-run campaign. In 1957, he became one of only a handful of players to collect at least 20 doubles, triples, and home runs in the same season. During this era, he blossomed into one of the best all-around players to play the game.
This Cuban-native Indians and White Sox star hit for a solid average while raking in a fair share of doubles and triples. He became a master at getting on base however he could, with frequent walks, and often led the league in getting hit by pitches. In 1954, he sported a .320 average with 182 hits.
This soft-spoken athlete quietly proved on the field that he belonged. His best year of the decade came in 1959, when he hit a solid .355 average, with 223 hits, including 39 home runs. He also won the National League MVP in 1959, and of course went on to claim the home run record until it was broken by Mark McGwire.