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Sports in The 1950s: The Best of The Decade

Updated on August 28, 2016

Sports in The 50s

Sports really began to explode during the 1950s because of television sets. Below are the top sports in the United States during the 50s. Many other sports and hobbies were around but these sports were the most popular by far during this time frame.

Take a journey with me back in time and get a glimpse of sporting events back in the day. This is a condensed account of the decade as a whole and is meant to cover just the main events from the sports.

Rocky Marciano vs. Ezzard Charles

Rocky Marciano, right, seen here beating Ezzard Charles is the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history.
Rocky Marciano, right, seen here beating Ezzard Charles is the only undefeated heavyweight champion in history. | Source

Boxing

As heavyweights go so goes boxing. Rocky Marciano ruled the heavyweights and went undefeated and retired as champion with a mark of 49-0 with 43 knockouts. Also, After Marciano retired Floyd Patterson became an admired champion.

The best boxers were Sugar Ray Robinson (welterweight, middleweight), Archie Moore (Light heavyweight, heavyweight), Kid Gavilan (welterweight), Ezzard Charles (Light heavyweight, heavyweight) and Sandy Saddler (Featherweight, jr. Lightweight).

Boxing is a dangerous sport and always has been. In the fifties title bouts were 15 rounds but because of serious injuries over the years boxing has changed to 12 rounds Max in any fight since 1987.


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Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees is one of the best baseball players of all time. He was a fan favorite and beloved player.
Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees is one of the best baseball players of all time. He was a fan favorite and beloved player. | Source

Baseball

During this time period Baseball was the number one sport in America and it continued to rapidly grow in popularity. Some classic games and memorable moments have occurred in this era of baseball dominance.

Below is a list of Baseball's World Series winners from 1950-1959.


1950: New York Yankees

1951: New York Yankees

1952: New York Yankees

1953: New York Yankees

1954: New York Giants

1955: Brooklyn Dodgers

1956: New York Yankees

1957: Milwaukee Braves

1958: New York Yankees

1959: Los Angeles Dodgers

Some of the top baseball players of the 1950s are Yogi Berra (Yankees), Hank Aaron (Braves), Mickey Mantle (Yankees), Willie Mays (Giants) and Al Rosen (Indians) among many others.



Bill Russell

Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics is one the best NBA players in the history of the game. Whether it's a hook shot, rebound, dunk or block Russell was the go to guy.
Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics is one the best NBA players in the history of the game. Whether it's a hook shot, rebound, dunk or block Russell was the go to guy. | Source

Basketball

The list below shows you the NBA Champions from 1950-1959.

1950: Minneapolis Lakers

1951: Rochester Royals

1952: Minneapolis Lakers

1953: Minneapolis Lakers

1954: Minneapolis Lakers

1955: Fort Wayne Pistons

1956: Fort Wayne Pistons

1957: St. Louis Hawks

1958: St. Louis Hawks

1959: Minneapolis Lakers

Wilt Chamberlain (Warriors), Bill Russell (Celtics), Bob Pettit (Hawks), and Bob Cousy (Celtics) were the best players in the NBA during this timespan. Players were getting much taller which changed the dynamics of the sport and the way the game was played.


Otto Graham

Number 14 Otto Graham is seen here schooling the competition. He knew the game and was a true team leader.
Number 14 Otto Graham is seen here schooling the competition. He knew the game and was a true team leader. | Source

NFL Super Bowl Champions From 1950-1959

Cleveland Browns (1950)
L.A. Rams (1951)
Detroit Lions (1952)
Detroit Lions (1953)
Cleveland Browns (1954)
Cleveland Browns (1955)
New York Giants (1956)
Detroit Lions (1957)
Baltimore Colts(1958)
 
Baltimore Colts (1959)
 
The Lions and the Browns controlled the 1950's with Three NFL ChMpionships apiece.

Football

The NFL was just becoming a huge sport and names like Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Frank Gifford, Otto Graham, Lenny Moore and Raymond Berry were coming up and becoming living legends.

Some classic football games took place during the 1950s as well as several rules changes and equipment changes that were designed for safety purposes. Television becoming popular instead of radio helped pro football really take off in this era.

The Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns both won three Super Bowl titles in the 1950s and even when either team did not make it they almost did. Defense was the dominant theme of this decade in the National Football League.

The NFL was not the only popular football federation gaining steam in the 50s. College football which has always been popular reached new heights.

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Cleveland Browns (1950s)

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Horse Racing

Horse Racing began a decline after the war and even though it remained popular it never again regained the strength it had in the 30s and 40s.

Freebooter won the first race of the decade and his jockey was Jim Power. Hill Gail took the Kentucky Derby in 1952 with a great stretch run.

Even though Horse Racing was experiencing a slow decline in America it was still thriving around other parts of the world. A large amount of horse racing courses were constructed during this area of time.

Sports in The 1950s

Sporting Legends

Rod Laver is one of the top tennis players in PGA history. His speed, power and overall skill made him a tennis legend.
Rod Laver is one of the top tennis players in PGA history. His speed, power and overall skill made him a tennis legend. | Source
Ben Hogan was skilled in all aspects of the game of golf and it showed with some great performances on the greens.
Ben Hogan was skilled in all aspects of the game of golf and it showed with some great performances on the greens. | Source

Tennis and Golf

Tennis

The top Tennis players during the 1950s were: Pancho Gonzalez, Vic Seixas, Ken McGregor and of course the great Rod Laver.

Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgeman were the first ever Grand Slam Doubles winners taking the honor in 1951. Tennis which began in France soared in popularity during this period and women's tennis was finally gaining widespread attention as well.

Golf


Golf 's top stars during the fifties were: Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Tommy Bolt and Bobby Locoke among many others.

In 1950 the LPGA was formed as a company and it gave instant credibility to women's golf.

Sam Snead beat Ben Hogan 70-71 in a memorable golf outing which was a playoff match for The Masters.

Sugar Ray Robinson Highlights

Soccer

Brazil took the World Cup in 1950, Switzerland took it in 1954 and if 1958 Sweden took home the championship. During this period in time Soccer had lots of injuries and was considered a rough sport and to a degree it still is. In the United States Soccer is a top 5 or 6 ranked sport but worldwide soccer was and continues to be the number one sport in the world.

The best players of the decade in Soccer (Football) were: Alfredo Di Stefano, Joe Gaetjens among others.

Birthplace of Otto Graham (Waukegan, Illinois)

© 2014 Buster Johnson

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