1959 Milwaukee Braves season – Wikipedia

Major League Baseball season

The 1959 Milwaukee Braves season was the seventh season for the franchise in Milwaukee and its 89th season overall. The season’s home attendance was 1,749,112,[1] second in the majors and the eight-team National League, but the lowest to date in Milwaukee and the last over 1.5 million.

The Braves ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers at 86–68 (.558), a special best-of-three tie-breaking series was played to decide the NL championship for the World Series.[2][3] The Braves lost both games by one run,[4][5] and finished at 86–70, two games behind the Dodgers,[6] who won the World Series in six games over the Chicago White Sox.


Front-office turnover[edit]

Three days after the conclusion of the World Series in 1958, which the Braves lost in seven games to the New York Yankees, the club announced a reorganization of its front office. Team president Joseph Cairnes stepped aside, and was succeeded by former Cincinnati Redlegs manager Birdie Tebbetts, 46. Named executive vice president, and ranked just below owner Louis Perini on the Braves’ organizational chart, Tebbetts had never before served in a front-office capacity in baseball.[9]

The repercussions of Tebbetts’ appointment to a senior management post were felt three months later when general manager John J. Quinn, 50, a member of the team’s front office since 1936 (as well as the son of former owner J. A. Robert Quinn) and the Braves’ GM since 1945, resigned on January 14, 1959, to take the reins of the Philadelphia Phillies.[10] Quinn was replaced in Milwaukee by Tebbetts’ former teammate with the Detroit Tigers, 37-year-old John McHale, GM of the Tigers since 1957.[11] McHale would serve as the Braves’ general manager and, later, team president, through the club’s final years in Milwaukee and its 1966 move to Atlanta, before his dismissal that year.

Regular season[edit]


Right fielder Hank Aaron won the National League batting championship with a career-high .355 batting average. He also led the league in hits with 223, total bases with 400—both also career highs—and slugging percentage at .636. Aaron finished third in the voting for the National League Most Valuable Player award. Aaron also led the Braves with 154 games played, 629 at bats, and 123 runs batted in.

Third baseman Eddie Mathews led the NL with 46 home runs and had a career-high 182 hits, and he led the National League. He also led the team with 118 runs scored, had 182 hits and drove in 114 runs. Mathews finished second to Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs in the voting for the league’s Most Valuable Player, who hit 47 home runs and lead the league in runs batted in. The choice was controversial, as the Cubs finished in last place, but Aaron and Mathews split the voting among Braves players, allowing Banks to claim the award.


Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette led the National League pitchers with 21 wins apiece, and they had identical 21–15 win–loss records in carrying the Braves on their backs for most of the season. Spahn, who was the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, pitched 292 innings, and Burdette pitched 289.2 innings. Third starter Bob Buhl returned from a season full of injuries to pitch 198 innings and finish with a good 15–9 record.

The star of the bullpen was relief pitcher Don McMahon, who pitched in 60 games (finishing 49), had a 5–3 record, a 2.57 earned run average, and saved 15 games. McMahon was also chosen for the All-Star Game.

Season highlights[edit]

On May 26, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a perfect game through 12 innings of a game against the Braves. Haddix retired the first 36 consecutive batters, but lost the game 1–0 in the 13th inning.[12]Félix Mantilla broke up the perfect game in the 13th inning.[13] Braves pitcher Lew Burdette also pitched a shutout for all thirteen innings, giving up 12 hits and no walks.[12]

Season standings[edit]

Record vs. opponents[edit]

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Chicago 9–13 11–11 10–12 10–12–1 12–10 12–10 10–12
Cincinnati 13–9 13–9 11–11 9–13 9–13 8–14 11–11
Los Angeles 11–11 9–13 14–10 17–5 11–11 14–8 12–10
Milwaukee 12–10 11–11 10–14 13–9 15–7–1 12–10 13–9
Philadelphia 12–10–1 13–9 5–17 9–13 9–13 9–13 7–15
Pittsburgh 10–12 13–9 11–11 7–15–1 13–9 10–12 14–8
San Francisco 10–12 14–8 8–14 10–12 13–9 12–10 16–6
St. Louis 12–10 11–11 10–12 9–13 15–7 8–14 6–16

Notable transactions[edit]


Player stats[edit]


Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in


Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Farm system[edit]

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Austin, Yakima, McCook, Wellsville

  1. ^ “Turnstile story”. Milwaukee Sentinel. September 28, 1959. p. 2, part 2.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Thisted, Red (September 28, 1959). “Braves tie for title”. Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ “Los Angeles, Milwaukee tie for National crown”. Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 28, 1959. p. 12.
  4. ^ Thisted, Red (September 30, 1959). ‘Comeback’ L.A. champ!”. Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 1.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ “Dodgers win National League flag in exciting, 6-5, 12-inning struggle”. Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 30, 1959.
  6. ^ “NL standings”. Milwaukee Sentinel. September 30, 1959. p. 2, part 2.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Claude Raymond page at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ Johnny O’Brien page at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ The Associated Press, Oct. 12, 1958
  10. ^ “Braves’ Quinn joins Phillies; Roy Haney goes to Yankees”. Victoria Advocate. (Texas). Associated Press. January 14, 1959. p. 7.
  11. ^ Wolf, Bob (January 26, 1959). “Braves name John McHale of Tigers general manager”. Milwaukee Journal. p. 9, part 2.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ a b Retrosheet Boxscore: Milwaukee Braves 1, Pittsburgh Pirates 0
  13. ^ Baseball’s Top 100: The Game’s Greatest Records, p.29, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7
  14. ^ Mickey Vernon page at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ Phil Roof page at Baseball Reference
  16. ^ Len Gabrielson page at Baseball Reference
  17. ^ Ray Boone page at Baseball Reference
  18. ^ Del Rice page at Baseball Reference
  19. ^ Enos Slaughter page at Baseball Reference
  20. ^ Rico Carty at Baseball Reference