The 1960 baseball season commenced 50 years ago this week. In honor of occasion, my conservative cousin from New York has collected some offbeat facts about that season:
– This was a year of salary cuts, Stan Musial requested a 20% decrease to $80,000 after he slumped to .254 in 59, Ted Williams volunteered to reduce his salary from $125,000 to $90,000 after he told his GM “I want to take the biggest pay cut ever.” Mickey Mantle held out from spring training after getting a new contract that contained a $17,000 pay cut to $55,000 a year. Mantle eventually signed for $65,000.
– On May 4th Lou Boudreau left the Cubs broadcasting booth to become their Manager. Charlie Grimm who got the team off to a 6-11 start replaces Boudreau behind the microphone.Think Rob Dibble could do a better job managing the Nats?
– Baltimore Orioles Catcher Clint Courtney comes out with an oversize mitt to handle knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm. The glove is 50% larger than the standard equipment. The mitt is later banned by the league. (Courtney was an early role model for me since he played wearing spectacles).
– In June the Senate fails to pass a bill by four votes than would make baseball subject to antitrust laws. The bill was sponsored by Estes Kefauver, a drunken demagogue, who [had been] a serious Democratic presidential candidate [and was the Democrats’ nominee for Vice President in 1956].
– The Continental League folded in August after getting an agreement ffrom the major leagues to expand. A major force behind the league was NYC Budget Commissioner & behind the scenes Tammany Hall power broker Bill Shea. The Mets recognized his role in bringing National League baseball back to NYC by naming their new stadium after him.
– Indians GM Frank “Trader” Lane & Tigers GM Bill DeWitt swap Managers. A Baseball first.Joe Gordon who was traded from the Indians to the Tigers was fired by them on Oct. 3rd.
– On September 16th Mickey Mantle hits arguably the longest home run in baseball history. The ball goes over the roof of Tigers Stadium & lands in a parking lot several blocks away from the stadium.
– The Negro American league, the last major black circuit, disbands.