1956 Leaders & Numbers

Duke Snider took public heat for telling a magazine that he only played baseball for money, but the Dodgers weren’t complaining; to them, he was worth every penny. The year Mickey Mantle would call his greatest represented the only triple crown triumph by a switch-hitter. Still yet to be feared as a big-time power threat, Hank Aaron momentarily settled for the stigma of being one of the game’s most complete players. Charlie Maxwell couldn’t squeeze into a Boston monopolized outfield of Ted Williams, Jackie Jensen and Jimmy Piersall, but his first-year effort in Detroit elated a Tiger team that gave plenty of outfield room. After barely making it through Class A ball the year before with an ailing arm, a healthy Frank Robinson busted out as an instant star in Cincinnati. Don Newcombe became the first player to win the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP awards. Whitey Ford continued to be the AL’s toughest nut to crack for both hitters and baserunners (12 of whom were picked off base). Early Wynn continued to win early, late and almost every time in between. Aging but hardly fading, Warren Spahn embarked on a six-year run of 20-win campaigns. Middle-of-the-road starter Tom Brewer slowed up his curve and quickly elevated his game to all-star status. Don’t blame Bob Buhl for Brooklyn’s return to the World Series; eight of his 18 wins came against the Dodgers. Five years after he slugged 47 homers in the minors, Jack Harshman realized success at the major league level as a pitcher. Brooks Lawrence claimed his manager, Birdie Tebbets, denied him a shot at 20 wins because he didn’t want to see a black pitcher get there.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1956
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Duke Snider Brooklyn 151 .292 542 112 158 33 2 43 101 73 26 1 3 3 16
2. Willie Mays New York 152 .296 578 101 171 27 8 36 84 48 20 1 40 10 16
3. Frank Robinson Cincinnati 152 .290 572 122 166 27 6 38 83 57 7 20 8 4 14
4. Hank Aaron Milwaukee 153 .328 609 106 200 34 14 26 92 31 6 2 2 4 21
5. Eddie Mathews Milwaukee 151 .272 552 103 150 21 2 37 95 74 17 1 6 0 4
6. Joe Adcock Milwaukee 137 .291 454 76 132 23 1 38 103 26 6 1 1 0 11
7. Stan Musial St. Louis 156 .310 594 87 184 33 6 27 109 60 15 3 2 0 19
8. Ted Kluszewski Cincinnati 138 .302 517 91 156 14 1 35 102 27 22 3 1 0 11
9. Stan Lopata Philadelphia 146 .267 535 96 143 33 7 32 95 65 10 1 5 2 17
10. Ken Boyer St. Louis 150 .306 595 91 182 30 2 26 98 31 7 1 8 3 18
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1956
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Mickey Mantle New York 150 .353 533 132 188 22 5 52 130 106 6 2 10 1 4
2. Minnie Minoso Chicago 151 .316 545 106 172 29 11 21 88 82 4 23 12 6 10
3. Al Kaline Detroit 153 .314 617 96 194 32 10 27 128 66 4 1 7 1 10
4. Ted Williams Boston 136 .345 400 71 138 28 2 24 82 91 11 1 0 0 13
5. Yogi Berra New York 140 .298 521 93 155 29 2 30 105 58 7 5 3 2 8
6. Charlie Maxwell Detroit 141 .326 500 96 163 14 3 28 87 78 1 2 1 1 5
7. Jackie Jensen Boston 151 .315 578 80 182 23 11 20 97 84 5 1 11 3 23
8. Harvey Kuenn Detroit 146 .332 591 96 196 32 7 12 88 52 3 3 9 5 11
9. Larry Doby Chicago 140 .268 504 89 135 22 3 24 102 96 6 4 0 1 7
10. Mickey Vernon Washington 119 .310 403 67 125 28 4 15 84 51 6 7 1 0 12
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1956
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Warren Spahn Milwaukee 2.78 20 11 .645 3 39 35 281.1 352 87 40 12 7 3 0 2 2 19
2. Lew Burdette Milwaukee 2.70 19 10 .655 1 39 35 256.1 334 77 45 7 2 3 0 2 2 16
3. Don Newcombe Brooklyn 3.06 27 7 .794 0 38 36 268 373 91 38 8 4 3 0 5 5 21
4. Johnny Antonelli New York 2.86 20 13 .606 1 41 36 258.1 325 82 65 10 6 3 0 1 2 19
5. Bob Friend Pittsburgh 3.46 17 17 .500 3 49 42 314.1 418 121 67 18 5 2 0 2 2 25
6. Bob Buhl Milwaukee 3.32 18 8 .692 0 38 33 216.2 266 80 98 7 3 2 1 2 5 18
7. Sal Maglie Brooklyn 2.87 13 5 .722 0 28 26 191 247 61 51 1 1 5 0 4 2 21
8. Hersh Freeman Cincinnati 3.40 14 5 .737 18 64 0 108.2 147 41 23 11 3 1 1 5 1 10
9. Brooks Lawrence Cincinnati 3.99 19 10 .655 0 49 30 218.2 333 97 67 4 0 2 0 3 10 20
10. Gene Conley Milwaukee 3.13 8 9 .471 3 31 19 158.1 229 55 42 10 3 2 0 3 3 15
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1956
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Whitey Ford New York 2.47 19 6 .760 1 31 30 225.2 264 62 81 3 6 4 0 1 13 31
2. Herb Score Cleveland 2.53 20 9 .690 0 35 33 249.1 246 70 127 2 11 2 0 7 4 17
3. Early Wynn Cleveland 2.72 20 9 .690 2 38 35 277.2 331 84 84 7 5 5 0 4 4 20
4. Bob Lemon Cleveland 3.03 20 14 .588 3 39 35 255.1 341 86 87 2 4 6 0 5 4 28
5. Frank Lary Detroit 3.15 21 13 .618 1 41 38 294 398 103 112 4 3 12 1 3 8 26
6. Tom Brewer Boston 3.50 19 9 .679 0 32 32 244.1 280 95 106 6 5 5 0 8 5 23
7. Jack Harshman Chicago 3.10 15 11 .577 0 34 30 226.2 267 78 98 4 7 3 0 3 6 18
8. Billy Pierce Chicago 3.32 20 9 .690 1 35 33 276.1 388 102 93 7 6 3 1 3 8 18
9. Tom Sturdivant New York 3.30 16 8 .667 5 32 17 158.1 209 58 48 4 2 4 0 5 4 10
10. Johnny Kucks New York 3.85 18 9 .667 0 34 31 224.1 322 96 72 0 3 10 1 5 2 33

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1956 Awards


NL MVP
Don Newcombe, Brooklyn

AL MVP
Mickey Mantle, New York


Cy Young Award
Don Newcombe, Brooklyn


NL Rookie of the Year
Frank Robinson, Cincinnati

AL Rookie of the Year
Luis Aparicio, Chicago