1968 World Series

1968 World Series

Infobox World Series Expanded

year = 1968
champion = Detroit Tigers (4)
champion_manager = Mayo Smith
champion_games = 103-59, .636, GA: 12
runnerup = St. Louis Cardinals (3)
runnerup_manager = Red Schoendienst
runnerup_games = 97-65, .599, GA: 9
date = October 2October 10
MVP = Mickey Lolich
television = NBC
announcers = Curt Gowdy, Harry Caray (Game 1-2, 6-7), and George Kell (Game 3-5)
radio_network = NBC
radio_announcers = Pee Wee Reese, Ernie Harwell (Game 1-2, 6-7), and Jack Buck (Game 3-5).
umpires = Tom Gorman (NL), Jim Honochick (AL), Stan Landes (NL), Bill Kinnamon (AL), Doug Harvey (NL), Bill Haller (AL)
HOFers = Tigers: Al Kaline, Eddie Mathews.
Cardinals: Red Schoendienst‡ (mgr.), Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson.

‡ elected as a player.

The 1968 World Series featured the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals against the Detroit Tigers, with the Tigers winning in 7 games for their first championship since 1945, and the third in their history. The Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win three in a row, largely on the arm of MVP Mickey Lolich, who won three complete games in a single World Series, a feat that has not been duplicated since, as of 2007. In his third appearance in the Series, Lolich had to pitch after only two days' rest in the deciding Game 7, because regular-season 31-game winner Denny McLain had proven ineffective in the postseason. In Game 5, the Tigers' hopes for the title would have been very much in jeopardy had Bill Freehan not tagged out Lou Brock in a home plate collision when Brock mistakenly elected not to slide and went in standing up.

The narrow win for the Tigers was due, in small part, to a bold gamble by Manager Mayo Smith. The Tigers rotated 4 good hitting outfielders during the season (Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, Al Kaline, and Jim Northrup); in an effort to get all four into the lineup in the World Series, Smith moved center fielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop (replacing Ray Oyler, who batted .135 during the season) even though he had never played there in his minor or major league career. The gamble paid off as Al Kaline batted .379 with 11 hits including 2 home runs and 8 RBIs, Jim Northrup knocked in 8 runs to go along with his 2 home runs, and Willie Horton hit .304 with a home run and 6 runs scored while Stanley made only 2 insignificant errors.

1968 was tagged "The Year of the Pitcher", and the Series featured dominant performances from Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, MVP of the 1964 World Series and 1967 World Series. Gibson came into the Series with a stunning regular-season Earned Run Average of just 1.12, and he would pitch complete games in Games 1, 4, and 7. He was the winning pitcher in Games 1 and 4. In Game 1, he threw a shutout, striking out 17 batters, besting Sandy Koufax's 1963 record by 2, and which still stands as the World Series record as of 2006. In Game 4, a solo home run by Jim Northrup was the only offense the Tigers were able to muster, as Gibson struck out 10 batters. In Game 7, Gibson was defeated by series MVP Mickey Lolich, allowing three runs on four straight hits in the decisive 7th inning, although the key play was a triple that was seemingly misplayed by Flood in center field which could have been the third out with no runs scoring.

The Series saw the Cardinals lose a Game 7 for the first time in their history. The Tigers were the third team to come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win a best of 7 World Series, the first two being the 1925 Pirates and the 1958 Yankees. Later, the 1979 Pirates, and 1985 Royals would accomplish this feat.

The two teams met again in the 2006 World Series. The Cardinals once again raced to a 3 games to 1 lead, but didn't relinquish it as they captured the championship in five games. That would give the Cardinals the "rubber match" of their other two encounters in 1934 and 1968.

This was the last World Series before Divisional Play. In his book about the history of the World Series, historian Lee Allen made the point that it was the last "pure" Series in the sense that divisional play would raise the possibility that the team with the best record from one or both leagues might not get into the Series, which has proven to be an accurate prediction (both teams in 2006, for example).


AL Detroit Tigers (4) vs NL St. Louis Cardinals (3)


Game 1

Wednesday, October 2, 1968 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Bob Gibson (1-0)|LP=Denny McLain (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Lou Brock (1)|

No adjective could describe Bob Gibson's performance in Game 1. The menacing right-hander shut out the Tigers on five hits and struck out a World Series-record 17.

The Cardinals broke through with three in the fourth off Denny McLain. After walks to Roger Maris and Tim McCarver, Mike Shannon singled home Maris and went to second when Tigers' center fielder Jim Northrup misplayed the ball. McCarver pulled in at third. Julian Javier followed by singling in both runners to make it 3-0. Lou Brock added a solo homer in the seventh for good measure.

Game 2

Thursday, October 3, 1968 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Mickey Lolich (1-0)|LP=Nelson Briles (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Norm Cash (1), Willie Horton (1), Mickey Lolich (1)|HomeHR=|

Mickey Lolich wasn't as dominating for the Tigers as Gibson in Game 1, striking out "only" nine, but the result was the same as the Tigers evened the Series.

Willie Horton homered in the second and Lolich helped his own cause with a solo homer in the third off Nelson Briles. The Tigers broke it open in the sixth when Norm Cash led off with another solo homer and Dick McAuliffe had a two-run single.

Orlando Cepeda put the Cardinals on the board with an RBI single in the sixth, but that would be all. Jim Northrup drove in Al Kaline with a double play in the seventh, and the Tigers got their last two runs on bases loaded walks to Don Wert and Lolich.

Game 3

Saturday, October 5, 1968 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, MichiganLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Ray Washburn (1-0)|LP=Earl Wilson (0-1)|SV= [http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hoernjo01.shtml Joe Hoerner] (1)
RoadHR=Orlando Cepeda (1), Tim McCarver (1)|HomeHR=Dick McAuliffe (1), Al Kaline (1)|

Al Kaline started the scoring with a two-run homer in the third, but the Cards came back in the fifth on an RBI double by Curt Flood and a three-run homer by Tim McCarver off Pat Dobson. The Tigers cut the deficit to one on a Dick McAuliffe solo shot, but Orlando Cepeda put the game out of reach in the seventh by belting a three-run shot.

Game 4

Sunday, October 6, 1968 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, MichiganLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Bob Gibson (2-0)|LP=Denny McLain (0-2)|SV=
RoadHR=Lou Brock (2), Bob Gibson (1)|HomeHR=Jim Northrup (1)|

Denny McLain, a 31-game winner in the regular season, wasn't proving to be much in this World Series, as this one-sided matchup with Bob Gibson proved. Lou Brock led the game off with a homer and Mike Shannon added an RBI single in the first. Two more runs came home in the third on a Tim McCarver RBI triple and a Mike Shannon RBI double. Gibson would help his cause and add to the damage by homering off McLain in the fourth, after which Brock tripled and scored on a groundout by Roger Maris.

The Cards' final runs came in the eighth when Gibson walked with the bases loaded, forcing in a run, and Brock cleared the bases with a double. Brock missed hitting for the cycle by a single. The Tigers' only run came in the fourth when Jim Northrup homered off Gibson.

Other than that, Gibson was near-perfect, pitching his second complete game with 10 strikeouts. The Cards now had a commanding 3-1 lead.

Game 5

Monday, October 7, 1968 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, MichiganLinescore
Road=St. Louis|RoadAbr=STL
WP=Mickey Lolich (2-0)|LP= [http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hoernjo01.shtml Joe Hoerner] (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Orlando Cepeda (2)|HomeHR=|

With the season on the line, the Tigers trotted out Game 2 winner Mickey Lolich. Lolich's start in this game was not too promising, as he surrendered an RBI single to Curt Flood and two-run homer to Orlando Cepeda. But, Lolich would settle into a groove, striking out eight, and the Cardinals would score no more.

Norm Cash began the comeback with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, followed by a Jim Northrup RBI single. In the fifth, the Cardinals had a chance to go up by two when Lou Brock doubled with one out. After Flood was retired for the second out, Julian Javier lined a base-hit to right. Willie Horton came up with the ball and fired home. Surprisingly, instead of sliding, Brock tried to bowl over Detroit catcher Bill Freehan. Freehan held onto the ball, Brock was retired, and the last Card threat was squelched.

Cardinals starter Nelson Briles left the game in the seventh with a man on in favor of Joe Hoerner. The Tigers would stage their game-winning rally off Hoerner as Al Kaline plated two runs with a single and Cash drove home the final run with a single.

Jose Feliciano's unconventional pregame rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" aroused considerable controversy, with the Tigers and NBC fielding thousands of angry letters and telephone calls.

Game 6

Wednesday, October 9, 1968 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Denny McLain (1-2)|LP=Ray Washburn (1-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Al Kaline (2), Jim Northrup (2)|HomeHR=|

Needing two wins in the opposing ball park to win the Series, Tigers manager Mayo Smith went with Denny McLain, even though the 31-game winner hadn't been effective in his previous two Series starts. The gamble paid off as McLain gave the Tigers a complete game in a 13-1 rout.

The rout began innocently enough in the second on RBI hits by Willie Horton and Bill Freehan. In the third, however, the floodgates opened for the Tigers off three Cardinal pitchers. They batted around in a World Series-record 10-run inning that saw Jim Northrup hit a grand slam and Al Kaline and Norm Cash both collect a pair of RBI-producing hits (including a two-run single for Kaline). Horton had another RBI single in the rally. Kaline added a solo homer in the fifth as icing on the cake.

Game 7

Thursday, October 10, 1968 at Busch Stadium II in St. Louis, MissouriLinescore
Home=St. Louis|HomeAbr=STL
WP=Mickey Lolich (3-0)|LP=Bob Gibson (2-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Mike Shannon (1)|

In a fitting end to this Series, the two teams' hottest pitchers, Mickey Lolich and Bob Gibson squared off in what was almost a classic duel, but was broken on an untimely fielding error.

Lolich and Gibson matched zeros for six innings, but, in the top of the seventh, Gibson surrendered two-out hits to Norm Cash and Willie Horton. Jim Northrup then lifted what looked like a routine deep fly to center, but Curt Flood slipped down while chasing it. The ball fell harmlessly to the warning track, Northrup had a triple, and Lolich had all the runs he needed. Bill Freehan would double in Northrup and Don Wert would add an RBI single in the ninth.

The Cardinals would get a run in the ninth on a Mike Shannon homer, but that was all as Lolich would pitch his third complete game. Gibson struck out eight in the losing cause, giving him a World Series record of 35 strikeouts by one pitcher in a Series.

eries quotes

Composite Box

1968 World Series (4-3): Detroit Tigers (A.L.) over St. Louis Cardinals (N.L.)Linescore
Road=Detroit Tigers
Home=St. Louis Cardinals
H1=5|H2=0|H3=2|H4=5|H5=4|H6=1|H7=4|H8=4|H9=2|HR=27|HH=61|HE=2Total Attendance: 379,670 Average Attendance: 54,239Winning Player’s Share: – $10,937 Losing Player’s Share – $7,079cite web|url=http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/wsshares.shtml|title=World Series Gate Receipts and Player Shares|accessdate=2008-05-07|publisher=Baseball Almanac] |



*Cantor, George. (1997). "The Tigers of '68: Baseball's Last Real Champions." Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-878-33928-0.
*Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. (1990). "The World Series." 1st ed. New York: St Martins. ISBN 0-312-03960-3.
*Reichler, Joseph, ed. (1982). "The Baseball Encyclopedia" (5th ed.), p. 2176. MacMillian Publishing. ISBN 0-025-79010-2.
*cite web |author=Forman, Sean L. |title=1968 World Series |date= |work=Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. |url=http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1968_WS.shtml |accessdate=2007-12-09

External links

* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1968_WS.shtml 1968 World Series at Baseball-Reference.com]
* [http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/history/postseason/mlb_ws_recaps.jsp?feature=1968 1968 World Series at "WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)"]
* [http://www.baseball-almanac.com/ws/yr1968ws.shtml 1968 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com]
* [http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1968/YPS_1968.htm 1968 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org]
* [http://www.detroit-tigers-baseball-history.com Detroit Tigers History]
* [http://www.vendiamo.com/MileyCollection/promos/1968G1.mp3 Audio: Bob Gibson's record-setting 16th strikeout] of Norm Cash in Game 1
* [http://www.vendiamo.com/MileyCollection/promos/1968G5.mp3 Audio: Bill Freehan tags Lou Brock out at the plate] in the fifth inning of Game 5

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