This week in baseball history

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.

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