1950s Sports – 1959

by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

1950s sports


  • NFL Championship:
    (in a repeat of last year) Baltimore Colts again defeated the N.Y. Giants (31 – 16)
  • Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts wins the MVP for the second year
  • Bert Bell the NFL Commissioner suddenly dies of a heart attack in Philadelphia while watching an Eagles game
  • Chicago Cardinals relocate the franchise to St. Louis after the regular season
  • The American Football League (AFL) is formed and eight new teams receive paper franchises

1950s BaseballBASEBALL

  • World Series:
    (in 6 games)   Los Angeles Dodgers (4 games) over the Chicago White Sox (2 games)
  • The victory was a first for a west coast team it was also the first Series to have games played on the west coast
  • Ted Kluszewski drove in a record breaking ten runs, it didn’t help the White Sox win however
  • All Star Game(s):  Two games were played in 1959, the first in Pittsburgh where the National League topped the American League (5 – 4)
    and the second game in Los Angeles, the American League beat the National League (5 – 3)
  • A new league, Continental League is formed (on paper) only to be disbanded next year
    the Players Association agrees to add two more teams to each existing league in an accommodation to the Continental Leagues departure

1950s Basketball


  • NBA Championship:
    (in a sweep) Boston Celtics (4 games) handily defeated the Minneapolis Lakers (0 games)
  • Boston lost in the Final last year in 1958, they wouldn’t loose again until 1967
  • Chicago is granted an NBA expansion franchise naming the team the Packers they wouldn’t play until the 1961 season
  • Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors is definitely the standout of the year winning not only the MVP
    but also most points, most rebounds, most field goals as well as the highest player efficiency rating

1950s Tennis


  • Wimbleton:
  • Men’s Singles – (in straight sets) Alex Olmedo of America beat Rod Laver of Australia (6-4, 6-3, 6-4)
  • Womens Singles – Maria Bueno of Brazil won over Darlene Hard from America (6-4, 6-3)
  • US (Open) National Championship: Australian, Neale Fraser defeated Alex Olmedo of Peru (6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4)
  • French Open: Nicola Pietrangeli of Italy over Ian Vermaak of S. Africa (3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1)
  • Davis Cup : Australia defeated last years winner the United States in the Challenge Round

1950s Golf


  • The Masters:  Art Wall Jr. who shot a (284) at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
  • Wall had to birdie five of the last six holes to beat Cary Middlecoff by a stroke
  • The 1959 Masters Tournament was the first appearance of a 19 year old Jack Nicklaus who played as an amateur but missed the cut
  • U.S. Open:  Billy Casper shot a (282) at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York
  • PGA Championship:  Bob Rosburg shot a (277) coming from six strokes down in the final round to win at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio
  • U.S. Women’s Open:  Mickey Wright shot a seven over (277) at the Churchill Valley Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1950s Hockey


  • Stanley Cup:  (in 5 games) The Montreal Canadiens (4 games) continued their streak by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs (1 game)
  • This marks the Canadiens fourth consecutive Stanley Cup win
  • Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks led the league in scoring but got shut out in the playoffs by the Canadiens
  • Jacques Plante is the first goalie to wear a face mask,
    he is wearing it because of an asthma condition but because he wins ten straight games with the mask it gains some popularity in the league

1950S Boxing


  • World Heavyweight Championship: Floyd Patterson had two Title bouts in 1959,
    the first against Englishman, Brian London which he won by knockout in the eleventh round
    the second Title defense was lost to Ingemar Johansson of Goteborg, Sweden in a third round knockout
    Patterson was knocked to the mat seven times before the referee stopped the fight
  • Middleweight Championship: Sugar Ray Robinson couldn’t come to terms with Carmen Basilio for a fight to give Basilio a chance to win the Title back
    so the National Boxing Association stripped him of the crown and after an elimination fight Basilo was given the Title

1950s Nascar


  • Indianapolis 500:   Rodger Ward his average speed was 135.857, he led the race for 130 of the 200 laps
  • NASCAR Grand National Championship:   Lee Petty returned to win his second points race victory by having eleven wins out of forty two starts
  • The new 2.5 mile track in Daytona, FL was the site for the first ever Daytona 500 run in February of 1959
  • The new asphalt oval track generated lots of publicity for racing and also turned out the fastest speeds in stock car racing history
  • Johnny Beauchamp appears to have won the Daytona race but after reviewing the film, 60 hours later Lee petty is declared the winner
  • Lee Petty has to worry about yet another competitor, Richard his son ran his first race at Daytona as a rookie

1950s Horse Racing


  • Kentucky Derby:   Tomy Lee  ridden by Willie Shoemaker
  • Preakness Stakes:   Royal Orbit  Jockey – William Harmatz
  • Belmont Stakes:   Sword Dancer  ridden by Willie Shoemaker
  • Jockey Eddie Arcaro was thrown from his horse, Black Hills, in the final turn at the Belmont Stakes
    he landed face down in a mud puddle, unconscious, and almost drowned, a grounds keeper pulled him to safety

Leave a Comment