1951 in baseball
Headline Event of the Year
Although the Negro American League would last until 1960, 1951 was, notably, the last season in which the Negro American League was considered major-league caliber, which was itself the last major Negro league baseball organization.
Major League Baseball
- World Series: New York Yankees over New York Giants (4-2)
- All-Star Game, July 10 at Briggs Stadium: National League, 8-3
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: South Bend Blue Sox
- College World Series: Oklahoma
- Japan Series: Yomiuri Giants over Nankai Hawks (4–2)
- Little League World Series: Stamford, Connecticut
- 1951 Caribbean Series: Cangrejeros de Santurce
- Cuban League: Leones del Habana
- Mexican Pacific League: Tacuarineros de Culiacán
- Panamanian League: Spur Cola Colonites
- Puerto Rican League: Cangrejeros de Santurce
- Venezuelan League: Navegantes del Magallanes
Awards and honors
- MLB Most Valuable Player Award
- MLB Rookie of the Year Award
- The Sporting News Player of the Year Award
- The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award
|American League||National League|
|AVG||Ferris Fain PHA||.344||Stan Musial SLC||.355|
|HR||Gus Zernial PHA||33||Ralph Kiner PIT||42|
|RBI||Gus Zernial PHA||129||Monte Irvin NYG||121|
|Wins||Bob Feller CLE||22|| Larry Jansen NYG |
& Sal Maglie NYG
|ERA||Saul Rogovin CHW||2.78||Chet Nichols BSB||2.88|
|Ks||Vic Raschi NYY||164|| Don Newcombe BKN & |
Warren Spahn BSB
Major league baseball final standings
American League final standings
National League final standings
- January 23 – Guido Rugo sells his interest in the Boston Braves to copartners Lou Perini and treasurer Joe Maney.
- January 26 – The baseball writers vote Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx into the Hall Of Fame.
- March 10 – The St. Louis Browns reveal plans to move the club to Milwaukee because of poor attendance.
- March 21 – Pittsburgh Pirates' lefty first baseman Dale Long makes his first appearance as a catcher in an exhibition game against San Diego.
- May 2 – A Special Pinch Hit Home Run: The Batter, Pitcher, and Catcher Were Jewish
On May 2, 1951, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Philadelphia A's pinch hitter Lou Limmer stepped into the batters box to face the Tigers' Saul Rogovin. The 6'2" right-hander peered in to get the signal from catcher Joe Ginsberg, nodded assent, and went into the windup. Around came the arm, in came the pitch and Limmer swung, sending a drive to deep right that cleared the fence for a home run. Now, pinch hit home runs are not unique, but what is unique is that the pitcher, the catcher, and the hitter were all Jewish. It is the only known time in major league baseball that has occurred.
- May 6 – In the second game of a doubleheader, Cliff Chambers pitches a no-hitter, as the Pittsburgh Pirates top the Boston Braves, 3-0.
- July 1 – In the first game of a doubleheader, Bob Feller tosses the third no-hitter of his career for the Cleveland Indians in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers.
- July 10 – Exploding for a record four home runs, the National League trounces the American League, 8-3, at the annual All-Star Game, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. Pittsburgh Pirates' slugger Ralph Kiner hits a home run for the 3rd year in a row.
- July 12 – New York Yankees hurler Allie Reynolds pitches a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in a 1-0 win.
- July 17 – After pitching for Bill Veeck in Cleveland in 1948, Satchel Paige rejoins him with the St. Louis Browns.
- July 28 – Clyde Vollmer, who started the month on the bench, continues his explosive fireworks against the Indians. Vollmer singles in the tying run in the 15th inning and then in the 16th hits a grand slam off reliever Bob Feller for an 8-4 Red Sox win. The grand slam is the latest hit in a game in major-league history. Mickey McDermott pitches all 16 innings for the Sox, striking out 15 and walking one.
- August 11 – Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Giants, 4-0, dropping the Giants 13.5 games behind the first-place Brooklyn Dodgers.
- August 19 – Bill Veeck, the showman and maverick owner of the St. Louis Browns, pulls off one of the greatest stunts in baseball history. In the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, Veeck sends Eddie Gaedel to the plate as a pinch-hitter for leadoff batter Frank Saucier. At 3 feet 7 inches (1.09 m) tall, Gaedel became the shortest player in baseball history. Due to his extremely small strike zone, Gaedel walked on four consecutive pitches and was immediately pulled for a pinch-runner. American League president Will Harridge, saying Veeck was making a mockery of the game, voided Gaedel's contract the next day. Detroit went on to win the game, 6-2.
- September 14 – Bob Nieman of the St. Louis Browns became the first player in Major League history to hit two home runs in his debut. Nieman will be joined by Bert Campaneris (1964) and Mark Quinn (1999) in the select group.
- September 28 – Allie Reynolds turns in the second no-hitter of his career, and his second this season, as the New York Yankees blank the Boston Red Sox, 8-0.
- October 3 – The New York Giants had been thirteen and one-half games behind the National League leading Brooklyn Dodgers in August, but under Leo Durocher's guidance and with the aid of a sixteen-game winning streak, caught the Dodgers to tie for the lead with two days left in the season. As both teams won their last two games, they ended up tied. The two teams play a best-of three playoff. In Game 3 with one out in the ninth inning and runners on second and third, the Giants were down 4-2 to the Dodgers when Bobby Thomson hit a home run to win the game 5-4. The "Shot heard 'round the world" clinched the National League pennant for the Giants, and WMCA-AM radio announcer Russ Hodges' frantic "The Giants win the pennant!", said four times consecutively, is one of the most famous home run calls in baseball history.
- October 10 – The New York Yankees defeat the New York Giants, 4-3, in Game 6 of the World Series to win their third consecutive World Championship, and fourteenth overall. Just before the game, Giants manager Leo Durocher turns over a letter he received to Ford Frick that offered the Giants manager a $15,000 bribe "if the Giants managed to lose the next 3 games".
- October 17 – The Yomiuri Giants win the Japan Series over the Nankai Hawks. The Giants went on to win the Central League pennant 19 times in the next 23 years, including nine in succession (1965–73).
- November 10 – In Tokyo, Japan 50,000 fans are on hand as an American All-Star team battles a Central League All-Star team. Joe DiMaggio hits a 400 foot home run in the eighth inning to tie the game at 1–1, then his younger brother Dom laces an RBI-triple in the ninth and later scores to give the Americans a 3–2 victory. The Americans have won 12 games and tied one.
- November 23 – The New York Yankees send young catcher Clint Courtney to the St. Louis Browns in exchange for pitcher Jim McDonald. Courtney, regarded as the first major league catcher to wear eyeglasses, had appeared in one game for New York.
- November 27 – In an eight-player trade, The St. Louis Browns send C Sherm Lollar, P Al Widmar and IF Tom Upton to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for C Gus Niarhos, P Dick Littlefield, 1B Gordon Goldsberry, SS Joe DeMaestri and OF Jim Rivera. Rivera, a favorite of Browns manager Rogers Hornsby, will return to the Sox in eight months.
- November 28 – The St. Louis Browns trade Niarhos, along with OF Ken Wood to the Boston Red Sox for C Les Moss and OF Tom Wright. The Browns also sign Marty Marion, former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop/manager.
- January 2 – Jim Essian
- January 2 – Bill Madlock
- January 2 – Royle Stillman
- January 5 – Bob Reece
- January 6 – Don Gullett
- January 6 – Joe Lovitto
- January 10 – Gary Martz
- January 14 – Derrel Thomas
- January 22 – Leon Roberts
- January 23 – Charlie Spikes
- January 25 – Balor Moore
- January 25 – Vern Ruhle
- January 27 – Mike Overy
- January 29 – Sergio Ferrer
- February 2 – Leo Foster
- February 3 – Mike Wallace
- February 4 – Stan Papi
- February 7 – Benny Ayala
- February 8 – Steve Dillard
- February 9 – Eddie Solomon
- February 12 – Don Stanhouse
- February 14 – Larry Milbourne
- February 15 – Tommy Cruz
- February 16 – Glenn Abbott
- February 17 – Mike Cosgrove
- February 17 – Dave Roberts
- February 24 – Frank Ortenzio
- February 25 – César Cedeño
- February 28 – Rufino Linares
- February 28 – Tom Spencer
- February 28 – Jim Wohlford
- March 2 – Mike Johnson
- March 4 – Sam Perlozzo
- March 7 – Jeff Burroughs
- March 20 – Terry McDermott
- March 27 – Dick Ruthven
- April 2 – Tom Johnson
- April 5 – Rennie Stennett
- April 6 – Bert Blyleven
- April 7 – Dave Cripe
- April 7 – Dave Oliver
- April 11 – Sid Monge
- April 18 – Doug Flynn
- April 21 – Randy Sterling
- April 29 – Rick Burleson
- May 1 – Rudy Meoli
- May 6 – Steve Staggs
- May 8 – Dennis Leonard
- May 9 – Dan Thomas
- May 12 – Joe Nolan
- May 16 – Mike Potter
- May 18 – Eric Gregg
- May 18 – Jim Sundberg
- May 24 – Dave Machemer
- June 5 – Randy Elliott
- June 5 – Darryl Jones
- June 9 – Billy Baldwin
- June 9 – Dave Parker
- June 12 – Dave Skaggs
- June 16 – Stan Wall
- June 22 – Mike Anderson
- June 24 – Mike Bruhert
- June 24 – Ken Reitz
- June 29 – Jimmy Freeman
- June 29 – Bruce Kimm
- July 1 – Jim Otten
- July 2 – Keith Marshall
- July 5 – Rich Gossage
- July 8 – Alan Ashby
- July 10 – Bob Bailor
- July 11 – Ed Ott
- July 29 – Dan Driessen
- July 29 – Ken Kravec
- July 29 – Greg Minton
- July 29 – Gary Thomasson
- August 1 – Pete Mackanin
- August 4 – Joe McIntosh
- August 5 – Mardie Cornejo
- August 7 – Charlie Chant
- August 7 – Jim Sadowski
- August 9 – Steve Swisher
- August 11 – Jim Hughes
- August 19 – Luis Gómez
- August 19 – Butch Hobson
- August 21 – John Stearns
- August 22 – John Doherty
- August 22 – Ike Hampton
- August 27 – Buddy Bell
- August 28 – Joel Youngblood
- September 2 – Dave Criscione
- September 3 – Alan Bannister
- September 3 – Dave Campbell
- September 8 – Steve Barr
- September 10 – Randy Wiles
- September 13 – Tom McMillan
- September 18 – Tony Scott
- September 19 – Nardi Contreras
- September 27 – Doug Konieczny
- September 28 – Dave Rajsich
- October 1 – Ken Pape
- October 2 – Bob Coluccio
- October 3 – Dave Winfield
- October 4 – Horace Speed
- October 9 – Derek Bryant
- October 13 – Frank LaCorte
- October 15 – Mitchell Page
- October 15 – Tommy Toms
- October 18 – Andy Hassler
- October 18 – Rudy Hernández
- October 21 – Ron Pruitt
- October 25 – Al Cowens
- October 25 – John LaRose
- October 26 – Steve Ontiveros
- October 30 – Tom Poquette
- October 31 – Dave Freisleben
- October 31 – Dave Trembley
- November 1 – Eric Raich
- November 1 – Chico Ruiz
- November 3 – Dwight Evans
- November 7 – John Tamargo
- November 10 – Mike Vail
- November 13 – Larry Harlow
- November 15 – Orlando González
- November 16 – Herb Washington
- November 20 – Jackson Todd
- November 23 – Wayne Cage
- November 25 – Bucky Dent
- November 27 – Dan Spillner
- November 29 – Gary Wheelock
- December 2 – Adrian Devine
- December 3 – Lafayette Currence
- December 7 – Paul Dade
- December 12 – Tim McClelland
- December 15 – Jimmy Sexton
- December 16 – Mike Flanagan
- December 18 – Orlando Ramírez
- December 20 – Mike Hart
- December 24 – John D'Acquisto
- December 25 – Luis Quintana
- December 31 – Joe Simpson
- January 26 – Bill Barrett, 50, outfielder for the Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators between 1921 and 1930.
- February 2 – Bill Sowders, 86, pitcher for three seasons from 1888 to 1890.
- February 6 – Gabby Street, 68, manager of the Cardinals' 1931 World Series champions, previously a catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.
- February 20 – Marty Shay, 54, infielder who played for the Chicago Cubs (1916) and the Boston Braves (1924).
- February 25 – Smokey Joe Williams, 64, fireballing Negro Leagues pitcher.
- March 20 – Roscoe Coughlin, 83, pitcher for two seasons in the NL, 1890–1891.
- March 25 – Eddie Collins, 63, Hall of Fame second baseman and a career .333 hitter for the Athletics and White Sox, the 1914 AL MVP, the sixth player to make 3000 hits, and second to Ty Cobb in career stolen bases.
- May 26 – George Winter, 73, pitcher who won 82 games for the Boston Americans/Red Sox from 1901 to 1908, and the only member both of the original 1901 and 1908 teams.
- July 9 – Harry Heilmann, 56, right fielder and four-time American League batting champion who hit .342 in his career, primarily with the Detroit Tigers.
- August 1 – Harry Curtis, 68, catcher for the 1907 New York Giants.
- August 2 – Guy Cooper, 68, pitcher for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the 1910s.
- August 4 – Tony Tonneman, 69, catcher who played briefly for the 1911 Boston Red Sox.
- August 10 – Win Kellum, 75, who in 1901 became the first Opening Day starting pitcher in Boston American League franchise's history.
- September 16 – Bill Klem, 77, named "father of baseball umpires", who worked in a record 18 World Series during a 37-year career, and introduced the inside chest protector.
- October 27 – John Brock, 55, backup catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1917 and 1918 seasons.
- November 18 – Wally Mayer, 61, catcher who played from 1911 through 1919 for the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns.
- November 19 – Marty Griffin, 50, pitcher for the 1928 Boston Red Sox.
- November 26 – Pete Hill, 71, baseball's first great African American outfielder.
- December 5 – Shoeless Joe Jackson, 63, a career .356 hitter who was the most prominent of the eight players banned from baseball after the Black Sox scandal. He is the first of those eight to die.
- December 8 – Bobby Lowe, 86, second baseman for multiple Boston champions in the 1890s.