At the end of the 1958 season, Sandy Koufax had pitched four seasons in the Major League, and had compiled a 20-21 record. He was known for his blazing speed and his mediocre control.
1959 was a transition year for Koufax. He started to find the strike zone, and still had velocity to spare. Koufax came one shy of tying Dizzy Dean’s National League single game strikeout record when he struck out 16 Philadelphia Phillies in Los Angeles on June 22. On August 31, in the midst of a tight pennant race with San Francisco and Milwaukee, Koufax broke Dean’s record and tied Bob Feller’s Major League record, when he recorded 18 strikeouts against the Giants. The game was played at the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of 82,794 fans.
If you wanted to give it a touch of Hollywood coloration—and to do so proved irresistible to a large number of the spectators gathered for the event at the Country Club of Detroit—the final match of the 54th annual United States Amateur championship was a scenario writer’s dream come true: it brought together “a graying millionaire playboy who is a celebrity on two continents” and a “tanned, muscular young salesman from Cleveland who literally grew up on a golf course” and pitted them against each other in a “battle of the classes.” read more SI.com
On August 19, 1957, Horace Stoneham, president of the New York Giants, announced that his board of directors had voted in favor of the Giants moving the team to San Francisco. A few weeks later the Brooklyn Dodgers also announced that they would be following the Giants to the west coast and would set up shop in Los Angeles. The announcement marked the end of the Giants run in New York, which lasted for 74 years.
Stoneham cited “lack of attendance” as the primary reason for the move. The Giants lost money in all but two of their last eight years in New York.
1883 was the first year that New York City had a National League team. They were known as the New York Gothams. In 1885 they became the Giants. They won their first pennant in 1888. In 1954, after won their 16th and last pennant in New York. They also won their fifth World Series that year.
The first issue of Sports Illustrated was dated August 16, 1954. However, as is the case with most magazines, the August 16 edition hit the newsstands a few days earlier, on August 12. On August 2, 1954, The Wall Street Journal reported that “More than 300,000 persons to date have subscribed for Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine’s new weekly magazine, President Roy E. Larsen announced. The sport magazine will be on sale on newsstands on August 12. Mr. Larsen said some $1,250,000 worth of advertising space, with rates based on an average net paid circulation of 450,000, has been sold.”
On September 12, 1954 Orville Hopkins in the Washington Post wrote:
You’d have to say I guess, that the new Luce book, Sports Illustrated, is a pretty hot, item. They could have christened it, judging from this week’s issue, Sports Spectacular. You never saw so many high-class color photos, dynamic action shots (including one of a a party in short, pants grappling with a big fish under water), detailed diagrams and big name writers in your natural life. Red Smith writes—I guess it was inevitable—the piece about Walter Alston, the Brooklyn manager. (And, for Red, it isn’t much good.) Budd Schulberg writes about Marciano and Charles, who are having a fight this week. Philip Wylie pens a complaint about spear-fishermen. And Herman Hickman selects Maryland as one of his “eleven best elevens” for this season. Altogether, big.
In 1997 Michael MacCambridge wrote “The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine”.
This is an exhaustively researched and detailed tell-all chronicle of Sports Illustrated’s first 43 years. As such it is also the story of the rise of big-time sports in the latter third of this century from Balkanized rinky-dinkdom to today’s megabillion-dollar industry, second in Americans’ affection only to sex. So intertwined are the two tales that it is impossible to say precisely how much S.I. did to fuel the boom and how much the boom did to fuel S.I., but the evidence as presented here suggests that the one probably couldn’t have reached its staggering success without the other.
Read the Whole NY Times Review
There’s his line for the game – – 12 innings pitched (When’s the last time you saw a pitcher go 12?), no earned runs, 7 hits, 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Not a bad outing for any pitcher, but this one, Satchel Paige, was at least 46 years old.
The thing is, nobody knew how old Satchel Paige really was. Many people were convinced that Paige himself did not know his actual birth date. Try googling Satchel Paige Age, and you’ll get about 23,000 hits.
One of those hits is the official Satchel Paige website, Satchelpaige.com (Well, it’s official to the extent that they claim be the exclusive licensing agent for Satchel Paige.) Satchelpaige.com says, “It is estimated that Leroy “Satchel” Paige was born on July 7, 1906. The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides perfect evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige”.
One thing that is certainly known, is that Paige made his Major League pitching debut on July 9, 1948, and that he was and still is, the oldest rookie in Major League history. Of course the reason why Paige did not start pitching in The Majors until he reached the age when most players are well into their retirement, is because he was denied that right; for being black.
On the other hand, not being allowed to pitch in The Majors did not keep Paige from being widely recognized as not only a great Negro League pitcher, but as one of the greatest pitchers ever, period.
In addition to being the oldest rookie in Major League history, Paige was also probably the most famous.
From 1927 to 1948 Satchel Paige was the baseball equivalent of a hired gun: He pitched for any team in the United States or abroad that could afford him. He was the highest paid pitcher of his time, and he wowed crowds with the speed of his fastball, his trick pitches and his considerable bravado. History.com
Technicaly speaking, in 1947, the year before Satchel Paige’s “rookie season”, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but
The truth is that Satchel Paige had been hacking away at baseball’s color bar decades before the world got to know Jackie Robinson. Satchel laid the groundwork for Jackie the way A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. DuBois, and other early Civil Rights leaders did for Martin Luther King Jr. Paige was as much a poster boy for black baseball as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was for black music and Paul Robeson was for the black stage – and much as those two became symbols of their art in addition to their race, so Satchel was known not as a great black pitcher but a great pitcher. In the process Satchel Paige, more than anyone, opened to blacks the national pastime and forever changed his sport and this nation. Read more, sabr.org