1968 in baseball


1968 in baseball

Year in baseball
this year = 1968

The Year of the Pitcher

In Major League Baseball, the trend throughout the 1960s was of increased pitching dominance, caused by enforcing a larger strike zone (top of armpit to bottom of knee) beginning in 1963. The delicate balance of power between offense and defense reached its greatest tilt in favor of the pitcher by 1968.

Individually, Bob Gibson set a modern earned run average record of 1.12 and a World Series record of 17 strikeouts in Game 1, while Series opponent Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers won 31 regular season games, the only player to reach the 30 win milestone since Dizzy Dean in 1934. Mickey Lolich won three complete games in the World Series, the last player as of 2006 to do so. Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians had the American League's lowest ERA at 1.60 and allowed a batting average of only .168, a major league record.

Hitting was anemic. Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox had the lowest batting average of any league champion when his .301 was good enough for the American League batting title. The AL's collective slugging average of .340 remains the lowest since 1915 (when the game was still in the so-called dead-ball era), while the collective batting average of .231 is the all-time lowest.

This was also the first season of the Athletics franchise played in Oakland, CA. After the season, the Rules Committee, seeking to restore balance, restored the pre-1963 strike zone and lowered the height of the pitching mound from 15 to 10 inches. Four expansion teams joined the majors for the 1969 season. 1969 batting averages zoomed back to their historical averages and never again would pitching have as large a statistical average over batting in the major leagues.

Champions

Major League Baseball

*World Series: Detroit Tigers over St. Louis Cardinals (4-3); Mickey Lolich, MVP
*All-Star Game, July 9 at the Astrodome: National League, 1-0; Willie Mays, MVP

Other champions

*College World Series: USC
*Japan Series: Yomiuri Giants over Hankyu Braves (4-2)
*Little League World Series: Wakayama, Osaka, Japan

Awards and honors

*Most Valuable Player
**Denny McLain, Detroit Tigers, P (AL)
**Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals, P (NL)
*Cy Young Award
**Denny McLain, Detroit Tigers (AL)
**Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
*Rookie of the Year
**Stan Bahnsen, New York Yankees, P (AL)
**Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds, C (NL)

MLB Statistical Leaders

Major League Baseball final standings

American League final standings

National League final standings

Events

*January 23 - Joe Medwick is voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

*January 28 - Goose Goslin and Kiki Cuyler are admitted into the Hall of Fame by unanimous vote of the Special Veterans Committee.

*February 13 - The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers execute a 4-player trade, with Tom Haller one of the two players going to Los Angeles and Ron Hunt one of the two going to San Francisco. The trade is the first between the two clubs since their move to the West Coast, and also the first since the one that would have sent Jackie Robinson from the Brooklyn Dodgers to the New York Giants after the by|1956 season; he retired rather than report with his new team.

*April 9 - Opening Day is postponed because of the funeral for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated on April 4.

*April 14 - Jim Bunning's first win with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, is his 40th career shutout and includes his 1,000th National League strikeout, making him the first pitcher since Cy Young with 1,000 in each league.

*April 19 - Nolan Ryan of the New York Mets becomes the 6th pitcher in National League history to strike out the side on nine pitches. But Los Angeles wins 3-2 at New York's Shea Stadium.

*April 27 - Tom Phoebus, the Baltimore Orioles' top pitcher in 1967, throws a 6-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Brooks Robinson drives in three runs and makes a great stab to rob Rico Petrocelli of a hit in the 8th. Converted outfielder Curt Blefary catches the game.

*June 1 - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Hoerner ties a National League record for relievers with 6 consecutive strikeouts vs. the New York Mets.

*July 1 - As a part of the season that will see him post a 1.12 ERA, Bob Gibson's streak of 47 and two-thirds inning of scoreless pitching is broken.

*July 3 - Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians strikes out 19 in a ten inning, 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.

*July 9 - At the Houston Astrodome, in the first All-Star Game ever to be played in an indoor arena and on artificial turf, the National League defeats the American League 1–0. Appropriately, pitching dominates the game. Willie Mays, playing in place of injured Pete Rose, tallies an unearned run in the first inning against American League starter Luis Tiant. Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Ron Reed and Jerry Koosman hold the AL to three hits, as Mays is named MVP.

*July 11 - The Baltimore Orioles promote first base coach Earl Weaver to manager, replacing Hank Bauer.

*July 14:
**Hank Aaron becomes the 8th player in major league history to reach 500 career homers.
**Don Wilson of the Houston Astros strikes out 18, including eight in a row at one point.

*July 24 - Hoyt Wilhelm appears in his 907th game as a pitcher, breaking Cy Young's long standing all-time record.

*July 29 - Washington Senators' shortstop Ron Hansen, playing in Cleveland, completes the eighth unassisted triple play in history, and the first since 1927.

*September 14 - Denny McLain becomes the first 30-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934 as the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. Reggie Jackson's homer in the 4th puts the A's ahead 2-0, but Norm Cash answers with a 3-run shot. Reggie hits another in the 6th, but the Tigers push across two in the 9th to win. Al Kaline, pinch hitting for McLain, walks and scores the tying run. Denny (30-5) gives up six hits and strikes out 10.

*September 15 - The St. Louis Cardinals clinch the National League pennant with a 7-4 win at the Astrodome over the Houston Astros. Roger Maris hits his 275th, and last, regular-season home run off Don Wilson in the 3rd, and Curt Flood racks up five hits.

*September 17 - Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants hurls a no-hitter at San Francisco's Candlestick Park as the Giants edge the Cardinals and Bob Gibson, 1-0. Ron Hunt's solo home run backs Perry, who evens his record at 14-14.

*September 18 - Sixteen hours after Perry's feat, Ray Washburn of the St. Louis Cardinals makes major league history by hurling a 2nd consecutive no-hitter in the same park. Run-scoring hits by Mike Shannon and Curt Flood at Candlestick down the Giants 2-0. This is the first time in history back-to-back no hitters have been pitched between the same two teams on two consecutive days.

*September 29 - Carl Yastrzemski goes 0-for-5 but maintains a .3005 batting average, to win his 2nd straight batting crown with the lowest winning average ever. Yaztrzemski is the American League's only .300 hitter. Oakland's Danny Cater is 2nd with .290.

*October 2 - For the first time in history, two soon-to-be-named MVPs oppose each other in Game One of the 1968 World Series. St. Louis Cardinals' Bob Gibson is nearly untouchable with a World Series-record 17 strikeouts and a 4-0 win over Denny McLain. Detroit Tigers manager Mayo Smith moves Gold Glove outfielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop, improving his offense by opening a spot for Al Kaline.

*October 10 - In Game Seven of the World Series, Mickey Lolich of the Tigers, pitching on two days rest, wins his third game of the series as he beats Bob Gibson of the Cardinals and brings Detroit its first World Championship since 1945. Lolich hurls a five-hitter, giving Detroit a 4–1 win, and is named Series MVP. Key moments came in the 6th inning when Lolich picked Lou Brock and Curt Flood off 1st base to keep the score 0-0. With the game scoreless in the 7th, the Tigers had two on and two out when Jim Northrup hit a line drive to center field. Gold glover Curt Flood misjudged the ball and started in, allowing the ball to sail over his head for a triple. Northrup then scored on Bill Freehan's double for a 3-0 lead. Each team added a 9th inning run to account for the 4-1 final. It was the first time the Cardinals had ever lost a 7th game of a World Series. The Tigers became only the 3rd team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the series 4 games to 3 (the 1925 Pirates and 1958 Yankees were the first two).

Births

January-March

*January 8 - Brian Johnson
*January 21 - Keith Shepherd
*January 27 - Eric Wedge
*January 29 - Kevin Roberson
*February 1 - Kent Mercker
*February 2 - Scott Erickson
*February 5 - Roberto Alomar
*February 10 - Ryan Bowen
*February 10 - Eddie Zosky
*February 13 - Matt Mieske
*February 22 - Kazuhiro Sasaki
*February 26 - J.T. Snow
*February 27 - Matt Stairs
*March 3 - Scott Radinsky
*March 4 - Giovanni Carrara
*March 7 - Jeff Kent
*March 8 - Jim Dougherty
*March 15 - Kim Batiste
*March 22 - Ramón Martínez
*March 26 - Shane Reynolds
*March 26 - José Vizcaíno
*March 29 - Juan Bell

April-June

*April 1 - Masumi Kuwata
*April 2 - Curt Leskanic
*April 3 - Mike Lansing
*April 19 - Brent Mayne
*April 24 - Todd Jones
*May 4 - Eddie Pérez
*May 12 - Mark Clark
*May 18 - Clemente Alvarez
*May 19 - Alan Zinter
*May 14 - Mark Dalesandro
*May 24 - Jerry Dipoto
*May 27 - Jeff Bagwell
*May 27 - Frank Thomas
*June 8 - Dave Mlicki
*June 12 - Scott Aldred

July-September

*July 7 - Chuck Knoblauch
*July 14 - Derrick May
*July 18 - Rolando Arrojo
*July 27 - Tom Goodwin
*August 1 - Shigetoshi Hasegawa
*August 2 - Dae-Sung Koo
*August 3 - Rod Beck
*August 5 - John Olerud
*August 7- Stan Spencer
*August 12 - Reggie Harris
*August 21 - Karl Rhodes
*August 24 - Tim Salmon
*August 31 - Hideo Nomo
*September 4 - Mike Piazza
*September 6 - Pat Meares
*September 13 - Denny Neagle
*September 13 - Bernie Williams
*September 25 - Reggie Jefferson

October-December

*October 3 - Jim Byrd
*October 7 - Milt Cuyler
*October 20 - Rudy Seanez
*October 31 - Eddie Taubensee
*November 3 - Paul Quantrill
*November 4 - Carlos Baerga
*November 4 - Osvaldo Fernández
*November 6 - Chad Curtis
*November 12 - Randy Knorr
*November 12 - Sammy Sosa
*November 13 - Pat Hentgen
*November 14 - Kent Bottenfield
*November 16 - Chris Haney
*November 18 - Clay Bellinger
*November 18 - José Offerman
*November 18 - Gary Sheffield
*November 18 - Darrell Whitmore
*November 24 - Dave Hansen
*November 25 - Shingo Takatsu
*November 28 - Scott Sheldon
*December 2 - Darryl Kile
*December 8 - Mike Mussina
*December 11 - Derek Bell
*December 17 - Curtis Pride
*December 19 - James Mouton
*December 22 - David Nied
*December 23 - Rick White
*December 27 - Dean Palmer

Deaths

January-March

*January 26 - Eddie Phillips, 66, catcher for the Boston Braves, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Washington Senators, and Cleveland Indians between 1924 and 1935
*February 7 - Ollie Marquardt, 65, second baseman for the 1931 Boston Red Sox; later a successfully minor league manager
*February 26 - Rip Collins, 72, a four-sport star at Texas A&M University, who pitched in the American League for the New Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns from 1920-31, and also was a member of the 1921 AL champion Yankees team
*February 29 - Lena Blackburne, 81, infielder, manager and coach in almost a 30-year baseball career, who also originated the idea of rubing mud on new baseballs to remove their slippery finish
*March 30 - Bernie Hungling, 72, catcher for the Brooklyn Robins and St. Louis Browns between 1922 and 1930

April-June

*April 19 - Tommy Bridges, 61, 6-time All-Star pitcher who won 194 games for the Detroit Tigers, including three 20-win seasons and a 4-1 World Series record
*April 26 - John Kroner, 57, second baseman for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians in the 1930s
*May 26 - Doc Ayers, 78, spitball pitcher for the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers
*June 11 - Dan Boone, 73, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians from 1920 through 1923
*June 11 - Bill Regan, 69, second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, who became the first player in the team's history to hit two home runs in the same inning (by|1928), a mark only matched by Ellis Burks 62 years later
*June 15 - Sam Crawford, 88, Hall of Fame right fielder for the Tigers, a lifetime .309 hitter who hit a record 312 triples, led both leagues in home runs, and retired with the 5th-most RBI in history

July-September

*July 3 - Pat Simmons, 59, pitcher who played from 1928 to 1929 for the Boston Red Sox
*July 8 - Dusty Boggess, 64, NL umpire for 18 seasons from 1944 to 1962 who worked in four World Series
*July 27 - Babe Adams, 86, pitcher who won 194 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates; the only member of their championship teams in both 1909 and 1925, he won three games in the 1909 World Series
*August 22 - Heinie Groh, 78, third baseman for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds who led the NL in hits, runs and walks once each and in doubles twice, widely known for his "bottle bat"
*August 29 - Paul Howard, 84, outfielder for the 1909 Boston Red Sox
*September 14 - Hans Lobert, 68, third baseman for five National League clubs from 1903 to 1917, and later a coach, manager and scout between 1920 and 1944
*September 25 - Ken Holloway, 71, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees between 1922 and 1930
*September 26 - Bud Clancy, 68, first baseman who played from 1924 through 1934 for the Chicago White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies

October-December

*October 21 - Jack Killilay, 81, pitcher for the 1911 Boston Red Sox
*November 3 - Vern Stephens, 48, 8-time All-Star shortstop who led the AL in RBI three times and in home runs once
*November 17 - Earl Hamilton, 77, pitcher with the St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates, later a minor league team owner
*December 6 - Fats Jenkins, 70, All-Star left fielder of the Negro Leagues
*December 8 - Benn Karr, 75, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians in the 1920s
*December 17 - Hank Severeid, 77, catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators and New York Yankees between 1911 and 1926, hitting .289 in 1,390 games
*December 24 - Johnnie Heving, 72, a catcher for the St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics between 1920 and 1932


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