While no one major league batter appears in every important batting category during the “Cold War” years of the 1950s, there were plenty who appear in many categories. The 1950s were also dominated by New York teams, one of which (the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants) appear in every World Series from 1950 to 1958. In 1959, the transplanted Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the White Sox in the 1959 World Classic.
The important batting statistics are based on data contained in Baseball Digest (May/June 2010, Vol. 69, No.3).
During the decade, New York baseball teams were known for their three outstanding center fielders.
New York team members on the top 10 lists include Mickey Mantle, who led the decade in runs scored with 994. He was also second in on base percentage (.425), fourth in home runs (280) and tied for third in slugging percentage (.569), seventh in runs batted in (RBI) with 841 and batting average (.311).
The Brooklyn Dodgers’ center fielder, Duke Snider, led the decade in home runs with 326, and RBI with 1,031. He was second in runs scored (970), tied for third with Mantle in slugging percentage (.569), fourth in doubles (274), fifth in hits (1,605), tied for eighth in triples (57), and was eighth in batting average (.308) and on base percentage (.390)
Last, but certainly not least, is Willie Mays, who led the decade in stolen bases with 179.He was second in slugging percentage (.590), third in triples (79), fourth in batting average (.317), and seventh in home runs (250) and on-base percentage (.391).
Other New Yorkers making their mark were the Yankees Yogi Berra, who was third in RBI (997), sixth in home runs (256), ninth in hits (1,499), and 10th in runs scored (848).
Dodger Gil Hodges was second in home runs (310) and RBI (1,001), right behind teammate Snider, eighth in runs scored (890), ninth in slugging percentage (.514) and 10th in hits (1,491).
The Dodgers also had speed on the bases, with Jim Gilliam (132), coming in sixth in this category, teammate Pee Wee Reese coming in seventh (124), and Jackie Robinson coming in ninth (109).
The Giants’ Alvin Dark was third in doubles (282), fourth in hits (1,675), seventh in triples (58), and eighth in runs scored (860).
But New York wasn’t the only town boasting great baseball players.
In his second decade, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial “bombed” the pitching competition. He was first in batting average (.330) and doubles (356), third in hits (1,771) and on base percentage (.421), fourth in runs scored (948) and RBI (972), and slugging percentage (.568) and fifth in triples (61) and home runs (266).
The only category Stan “The Man” doesn’t appear in is stolen bases.
Ted Williams was still going strong in the 1950s coming in first in slugging percentage (.622) and on base percentage (.480). He was second to Musial in batting average (.329), and 11th in home runs (227).
The Philadelphia Phillies’ Richie Ashburn led the decade in hits with 1,875 and was tied for triples with 82. He was third in runs scored (952) and stolen bases (158), sixth in batting average (.313) and on base percentage (.399) and eighth in doubles (252).
Playing primarily for the Chicago White Sox (and also the Cleveland Indians), Minnie Minoso was second in stolen bases (167), third in triples (74), fifth in on base percentage (.400), sixth in runs scored (898) and doubles (259), seventh in hits (1,526), and ninth in batting average (.306).
Minoso’s teammate for many years, Nellie Fox, was tied for first in triples (82) second in hits (1,837), fifth in runs scored (902), and seventh in doubles (254)
Baseball Digest (May/June 2010, Vol. 69, No.3).