Neal was one of the heroes of the 1959 World Series, hitting two home runs for the
Dodgers in Game Two at Comiskey Park and driving in the winning run with the second,
a two-run shot. For the Series, he hit .370 and slugged .667.
The versatile Neal
came up as a second baseman in 1956, was a shortstop and occasional third baseman
in 1957, and finally won the second-base job in 1958. He led NL second basemen in
double plays that year and the next, also leading in putouts and fielding average
in 1959. The Dodgers moved in 1958 to Los Angeles, where they played at the oddly
shaped Coliseum, and that stadium's 251' left-field line accounted for Neal's jump
from 12 HR in 1957 to 22 (in 473 at-bats) in 1958. His best season came in 1959,
when he made the All-Star team for the first time, hit 19 HR, and reached career
highs in triples (11, tied with teammate Wally Moon for the NL lead), doubles (30),
runs (103), RBI (83), steals (17), batting average (.287), and slugging average (.464).
His offense and playing time declined after that, and he was obtained by the expansion
Mets for the 1962 season, serving as their best infielder (no matter where he played)
until he was traded to the Reds in mid-1963, his last season.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 6, 1957:
Umpires wait in vain for fog-drenched Ebbets Field to clear. With the Dodgers ahead 1-0, Cubs LF Bob Speake loses sight of a fly ball, and batter Charlie Neal gets a double. After a delay of an hour and 26 minutes the game is called, the first time ever because of fog.
»May 13, 1958:
Willie Mays goes 5-for-5 against the Dodgers, as the Giants win 16–9. Mays has another two home runs, plus two triples, and four RBIs to compete with Daryl Spencer's two home runs, triple, double, and six RBIs. The Giants pound out 26 hits, while the Dodgers collect 11, the longest being Charlie Neal's home run over the distant RF fence at the Coliseum. The Giants set a ML-record when five players collect four hits apiece.
»December 15, 1961:
The Mets continue spending, sending Lee Walls and $100,000 to the Dodgers for Charlie Neal. Neal, the 5th ex-Dodger on the roster, was downed by the measles in the Spring and a knee spur later on.
»April 28, 1962: Consecutive home runs by Frank Thomas, Charlie Neal, and Gil Hodges in the 6th inning are among a club-record five hit by the Mets against Philadelphia. The Mets win 8–6 at the Polo Grounds. For Thomas, it is the fifth time in eight years he has combined with teammates for three consecutive home runs.