1946-1960 – The Golden Years
The landscape of baseball changed forever during this era. Black athletes were no longer kept off the field. They were allowed to become Major League players thanks to Jackie Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey.
In 1947, Rickey’s Dodgers brought Jackie Robinson, 28, up from Montreal to join the Major League squad. What happened after that was a flood of new players into the game and an increase in the talent pool.
In terms of game play, stolen bases were on the outs and home runs were suddenly in fashion. Batters rarely choked up on the bat anymore and pitchers face aggressive hitters intent on hitting the long ball.
With the exception of the Chicago Cubs, baseball ventured into a new area — night baseball. Lights at parks allowed the games to become more accessible to those working during the day. Baseball also started to make its way into homes by the radio and later by the television. Countless fans, young and old, could now listen to the exploits of their baseball heroes through game broadcasts.
The period also brought shifts in a number of franchises as teams moved into new areas and new markets. Baseball moved west as the Dodgers and Giants found new life on the West Coast. The Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee and then to Atlanta. The Browns moved from St. Louis to Baltimore. The Athletics moved to Kansas City and then, eventually, to Oakland.
Baseball was now set up for what would become one of its most profitable and popular times, the Baseball Boom.