1959 Milwaukee Braves season

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1959 Milwaukee Braves
Major League affiliations
Record 86–70 (.551)
League place 2nd
Other information
Owner(s) Louis R. Perini
General manager(s) John McHale
Manager(s) Fred Haney
Local television none
Local radio WEMP
(Earl Gillespie, Blaine Walsh)
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The 1959 Milwaukee Braves season was the seventh season for the franchise in Milwaukee and its 84th season overall. The Braves ended the National League regular season in a first-place tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. With both clubs finishing with records of 86–68, a special best-of-three tie-breaking series was played to decide the National League Championship for the World Series. The Braves lost this series to the Dodgers two games to none. That left the Braves record at 86–70, two games behind the Dodgers, who went on to win the 1959 World Series over the Chicago White Sox.


Front-office turnover[edit]

Three days after the conclusion of the 1958 World Series, 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.[3]

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.[4] Quinn would in turn be replaced in Milwaukee by Tebbetts' former teammate with the Detroit Tigers, 37-year-old John McHale, GM of the Tigers since 1957.[5] 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 in 1966.

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 290. 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.[6] Félix Mantilla broke up the perfect game in the 13th inning.[7] Braves pitcher Lew Burdette also pitched a shutout for all thirteen innings, giving up 12 hits and no walks.[6]

Season standings[edit]

National League W L GB Pct.
Los Angeles Dodgers 88 68 -- .564
Milwaukee Braves 86 70 2 .551
San Francisco Giants 83 71 4 .539
Pittsburgh Pirates 78 76 9 .506
Chicago Cubs 74 80 13 .481
Cincinnati Reds 74 80 13 .481
St. Louis Cardinals 71 83 16 .461
Philadelphia Phillies 64 90 23 .416

Record vs. opponents[edit]

1959 National League Records

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]


1959 Milwaukee Braves
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


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

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
3B Mathews, EddieEddie Mathews 148 594 182 .306 46 114
RF Aaron, HankHank Aaron 154 629 223 .355 39 123

Other batters[edit]

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

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Mantilla, FélixFélix Mantilla 103 251 54 .215 3 19
Maye, LeeLee Maye 51 140 42 .300 4 16
O'Brien, JohnnyJohnny O'Brien 44 116 23 .198 1 8
Lopata, StanStan Lopata 25 48 5 .104 0 4


Starting pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Burdette, LewLew Burdette 41 289.6 21 15 4.07 105
Spahn, WarrenWarren Spahn 40 292.0 21 15 2.96 111
Buhl, BobBob Buhl 31 198.0 15 9 2.86 105

Other pitchers[edit]

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers[edit]

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

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Giggie, BobBob Giggie 13 1 0 1 4.05 15
Hartman, BobBob Hartman 3 0 0 0 27.00 1

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Louisville Colonels American Association Ben Geraghty
AAA Sacramento Solons Pacific Coast League Bob Elliott
AA Atlanta Crackers Southern Association Bud Bates and Bob Montag
AA Austin Senators Texas League Ernie White
A Jacksonville Braves Sally League Sibby Sisti
B Cedar Rapids Braves Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League Alex Monchak
B Yakima Bears Northwest League Hub Kittle
C Eau Claire Braves Northern League Travis Jackson, Bobby Dudley
and Gordon Maltzberger
C Boise Braves Pioneer League Billy Smith
D McCook Braves Nebraska State League Bill Steinecke
D Wellsville Braves New York–Penn League Harry Minor
D Midland Braves Sophomore League Jimmy Brown

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Austin, Yakima, McCook, Wellsville