Saturday, 1 August 2009

Best Baseball Players of the 1950s

The 1950s were a great time for Major League baseball. The game was just starting to become properly integrated, fan interest was high, and there were a lot of stars playing the game. Free from a lot of the scandal that hangs around the game in the modern era, baseball was truly America's sport, and the stars of the game were loved.

One of the biggest stars of the 1950s was Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees, one of the most famous players in baseball history.
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He won 3 MVP Awards in his career (including back-to-back awards in 1956 and 1957), and is one of the most talented players in ever step on the diamond. He struggled with some durability issues for most of his career, but when he was on the field he was a terror. His OPS+ ranks him 6th all-time, and with over 500 homeruns in his career he is one of the best power hitters ever.

Depending on who you ask, some people consider Willie Mays the best CF of all-time and one of the 5 greatest players of all-time. Defensively, he may have been the best to ever roam CF, as we all remember his over-the-shoulder catch at the Polo Grounds in the World Series. He was also a very dangerous hitter, and his 660 HRs are currently 4th in the history of MLB. He was definitely one of the most complete players in the history of the game, and perhaps the best of the 1950s.

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, was one of the best SS's in baseball history, and he was at his peak during the 1950s, winning 2 NL MVP awards. Twice he led the league in HR, and was one of the best power hitters of the decade, especially impressive as a SS. He finished his career with 512 HR and over 1600 RBI, which again are especially great numbers coming from a shortstop, historically more of a defensive position.

Then there was Yogi Berra, a 3-time MVP winner and one of the most colorful characters in baseball history. Playing for the New York Yankees, he is probably one of the 3 best catchers to ever play in the MLB. In addition to his 3 MVPs, he placed in the top 10 four other times in his career, a testament to what the media and fans thought of him during his playing career. Any look at the best players of the 1950s has to include him.

So there were a lot of stars during the 1950s... these are just a few of the best players of the decade, one of baseball's most interesting eras.