Nellie Fox wins 1959 Most Valuable Player Award
Chicago White Sox Baseball History
Manager Al Lopez guides team to first pennant in 40-years. A former big-league catcher Lopez relied on the hustling of team leader, Nellie Fox, to break the 'damn Yanks' streak of four straight pennants and nine of last ten AL pennants - 1949-1958, 1955-1958. The 5-ft, 9-inch, 150-pound Nelson Fox, was rightly nicknamed 'the Mighty Mite.' A 12-time American League All-Star second baseman, he led the league in fewest strikeouts 11 times and helped the Sox finished first or second highest in fielding percentage in ten consecutive seasons. A sure-handed fielder, he finished first in fielding percentage six times, was first in assists for AL second basemen six times, first in double plays four times and collected an amazing streak of ten successive putout titles - and the durable keystoner led or tied in games played eight straight seasons - 1952-1959 - all while playing for the White Sox.
A member of baseball's Hall of Fame, Fox led or tied for the league lead in hits four times, hit better than .300 six-times and posted a .288 lifetime batting mark. However, what stands out the most in minds of fans during this era was 'Little Nellie's' never-ending hustling. His winning-style of play, rubbed off on his teammates and certainly played a major role in the White Sox success in capturing the 1959 American League pennant.
Fox teamed up with shortstop Louie Aparicio, who was second in the MVP balloting, to form one of the best middle infields in baseball history. Aparicio, who's also in the Hall of Fame, won eight straight fielding percentage titles at short - 1959-1966.
A ballhawk in center-field was Jim Landis, one of the top fielders in White Sox history. He led all AL center-fielders with 420 putouts in '59.
Catcher, Sherm Lollar won three AL double play titles for backstops and finished first in catcher fielding percentage in five different seasons.
In 1959 Lopez's pitching corps, aided by the perhaps the best defense in the last 90-odd years, posted the lowest earned run average in the majors - 3.29 - while finishing with a 94-60 record, a full five games ahead of second-place Cleveland. And, although the team hustled throughout the World Series, they came up short - losing to the LA Dodgers 4-games to 2.
Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn, finished third in the MVP balloting and was the only AL pitcher to win over 20 games in '59. He led the league in innings with 255 2/3 and posted a 22-10 record - the fifth time he won 20 or more, including four times while a member of Cleveland's famed 'Big Four'.
1959 Chicago White Sox Lineup
Luis Aparicio, Shortstop... Nelson Fox, 2nd Base... Al Smith, LF... Earl Torgeson, 1st Base... Sherman Lollar, Catcher... Jim Rivera, RF... Jim Landis, CF... John 'Bubba' Phillips, 3rd Base... Billy Goodman, 3B/1B... Ted Kluszewski, 1B... Sammy Esposito, 3B... John Romano, Catcher... Norm Cash, OF... Jim McAnany, OF... Harry 'Suitcase' Simpson, OF... Don Mueller, OF/1B... Earl Battey, Catcher... Johnny Callison, OF... Del Ennis, OF... Ray Boone, IF... Larry Doby, OF... Cam Carreon, Catcher... Joe Hicks, Joe Hicks, OF... Ron Jackson, 1st Base... J.C. Martin, Catcher... Lou Skizas, OF... Pitchers: Early Wynn, 22-10... Billy Pierce 14-15... Bob Shaw 18-6... Turk Lown 9-2... Dick Donovan 9-10... Barry Latman 8-5... Gerald Staley 8-5... Rudy Arias 2-0... Ken McBride 0-1... Ray Moore 3-6... Gary Peters 0-0... Claude Raymond 0-0... Don Rudolph 0-0... Joe Stanka 1-0... baseballhistorian.com - Archives - Instant on-line access to baseball history