Baseball-Almanac.com's World Series section
Chapter 6: The 1960's
1960: Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs. New York Yankees (3)
After a 35-year hiatus, baseball's first modern National League champions (1901), the Pittsburgh Pirates finally returned to the Fall Classic. Their opponent, the American League's New York Yankees had participated in 8 of the last 10 contests and only had to wait 1 year to get back to the big show. Pittsburgh had no problem knocking off their "postseason cobwebs" and started strong with an opening 6-4 lead against the perennial champs in Game 1 at Forbes Field. However, their initial momentum was cut short as the Yanks dominated Games 2 and 3. Mickey Mantle did more than his share (2 homers and 5 RBIs) and his teammates followed close behind totaling 19 hits off of 6 different Pirate pitchers. The result was a 16-3 victory in the Steel City and a 10-0 shutout back home in the Bronx. Bobby Richardson took Mantle's example in the opener and added a grand slam off of reliever Clem Labine in the 3rd and a 2-run single giving him a record 6 RBIs. "The Mick" responded with 2 more home runs of his own and 3 other hits, while Whitey Ford tossed his usual 4-hitter.
A determined Pirate team went back to the basics and gave the ball to first-game winner Vern Law for Game 4. The NL's Cy Young Award winner, combined with relief ace Roy Face to beat back the Yankees, 3-2 in an outing that was decided on Bill Virdon's single in the 5th that scored 2 of Pittsburgh runs. Attempting to avoid a comeback, New York made a controversial decision and decided to go with Game 1 loser, Art Ditmar, who had only lasted 1/3 of an inning. Some believed (in retrospect) that Stengel had thought the "Bucs" would underestimate the young pitcher, giving him the advantage. Unfortunately the Yankees skipper was wrong as Bill Mazeroski took him for a key-double in the Pirate's 3-run, 2nd inning. Face returned with 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief after replacing starter and winner Harvey Haddix to nail down the 5-2 triumph which put Pittsburgh in the lead.
It was a completely different story in Game 6 as the day belonged to the "Bronx Bombers". Richardson had 2 triples, Johnny Blanchard added 2 doubles, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra (and Blanchard) all collected 3-hits each and before it over, the Yankees finished with 17-hits and 12 runs. Whitey Ford added to the "Buccos" embarrassment by shutting them out again and many felt that it was all but over. Despite forcing another opportunity at their own Forbes Field, Pittsburgh had clearly been dominated by New York who outscored them a staggering 38-3 in the Series. However, Game 7 would erase those numbers and leave fans in both agony and ecstasy.
Vern Law and the rest of the Pirates showed why they were still there by rolling over New York to take an early 4-0 lead. However, the Yankees came back with key performances at the plate by Bill Skowron, Mantle and Yogi Berra who shot to a 5-4 lead going into the 8th-inning. They continued to lead 7-5 and looked to be in great shape as reliever Bobby Shantz appeared at the top of his game. Fortunately for the Pirates, appearances can sometimes be deceiving.
Gino Cimoli led off the Pittsburgh 8th with a pinch-single and Bill Virdon hit a sharp grounder toward Yankees' shortstop, Tony Kubek. After the speeding ball took a bad hop and struck Kubek in the throat (resulting in a single) Joe DeMaestri was summoned to replace him as both Pirates remained on base. Dick Groat followed with another single cutting the lead to 7-5 and Roberto Clemente kept the rally going with an infield hit that scored Virdon and advanced Groat to 3rd. Now trailing 7-6, Pittsburgh had two runners on base and Hal Smith at the plate. Smith, who entered the game in the top of the 8th after Pirates catcher Smoky Burgess had left for a pinch-runner in the previous inning, sent shock waves through the Pittsburgh crowd by blasting a timely home run over the left-field wall.
Bob Friend, an 18-game winner for the Pirates and the "Bucs" starter in Games 2 and 6, came on in the 9th to try to protect the 9-7 lead. The Yankees Bobby Richardson and pinch-hitter Dale Long both greeted Friend with singles and Pirates manager, Danny Murtaugh was forced to lift the veteran pitcher in favor of Harvey Haddix. Although he forced Roger Maris to foul out, Haddix gave up a key single to Mantle that scored Richardson and moved Long to 3rd. Berra followed suite hitting short grounder to first, with Rocky Nelson stepping on the base for the second out. In what, at the time, stood as a monumental play, Mantle, seeing he had no chance to beat a play at second, scurried back to first and avoided Nelson's tag (which would have been the 3rd out) as McDougald raced home to tie the score, 9-9. The Yankees were still alive.
Ralph Terry, who had gotten the final out in the Pirates' 8th, returned to the mound in the bottom of the 9th to finish the job. The first man he faced was Bill Mazeroski. With a count of 1 ball and no strikes, the Pirates' second baseman smashed a historical long drive over the wall in left ending the contest and crowning the National League as champions. As the Pirates erupted in a wild celebration, the Yankees stood in disbelief knowing that they had clearly dominated the series, but were unable to finish the task. The improbable champions were outscored, 55-27, and out-hit, 91-60, but in the end the home team prevailed. Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 series was the biggest disappointment of his career. For Bill Mazeroski, it was the highlight.
1961: Cincinnati Reds (1) vs. New York Yankees (4)
1961 was a season that witnessed one of the most amazing performances in all of baseball as Yankees teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris went head-to-head for the all-time, single-season homerun record set by another slugger in pinstripes named Ruth. Both men were extremely gifted athletes on both sides of the ball and their friendship and competitiveness was second to none. The press had dubbed them "The M&M Boys" and their story is an incredible example of what impact sports can have when 2 teammates who are as opposite as can be, come together to create something special. In the previous season, in his first game in Yankee pinstripes, Maris singled, doubled, and smacked 2 home runs. His MVP numbers included a league leading 112 RBIs and 39 home runs, only one behind league-leader Mantle although he missed 18 games with injuries. However, in 1961, Maris stayed healthy and played in 161 games, (his career high). As he and Mantle made their charge at Babe Ruth's home run record, the Yankees considered switching Maris (who batted 3rd) and Mantle (4th), to give "The Mick" (clearly the fan favorite) a better shot. Many experts feel that if the switch had been made, Maris almost certainly would not have broken the record.
Regardless of the decision, Mantle fell back in the middle of September when he suffered a serious infection in his hip. Maris kept it up and went into the 154th game of the season in Baltimore with 58 homers. He gave it his best shot that night, hitting No. 59 and then launched a long foul on his second-to-last at bat. Unfortunately, in his last at-bat (against Hoyt Wilhelm) he hit a disappointing, checked-swing grounder. Despite the setback, Maris remained determined and finally passed "The Bambino" on the last day of the season against the Red Sox's Tracy Stallard. Fittingly, it went about 340 feet into Yankee Stadium's right field porch. Maris also finished the regular season with back-to-back MVP honors, driving in a league leading 142 runs. As expected Ford C. Frick ruled that since Maris had played in a 162-game schedule (as opposed to Ruth's 154 one), his record would be listed officially with a qualifying asterisk; this decision stood until 1991. Although, he never experienced the same hitting streak, his consistency as a power hitter continued and he hit 275 home runs during his 12-year career.
As expected, the rest of the '61Yankees were at the top of their game (winning 109) while attempting to forget the devastating loss in the previous years Series after the Pirates Bill Mazeroski hit "the shot heard round the world" in Game 7. New York, which had surprisingly dismissed Casey Stengel after the '60 Series, was now under the guidance of Ralph Houk. The new skipper was a former reserve catcher and coach for the Yanks who practiced a slightly more modern philosophy than his long-time predecessor. Whitey Ford continued to dominate on the mound and finished with an amazing 25-4 record and relief ace Luis Arroyo had a masterful season going 15-5, with a 2.19 ERA.
Their rivals, the Cincinnati Reds had climbed to the top of the National League on the solid arm of Joey Jay (a .500 career pitcher in Milwaukee but a 21-game winner in Cincinnati). Many fans felt that it would be a showdown between pitchers and did not anticipate any high-scoring events despite the lumber wielding line-ups. Ford proved the predictions right in the first game while holding the Reds to 2 measly singles for a 2-0 victory at home in the Bronx. Jim O'Toole had pitched extremely well throughout the opener, but fell victim to the '61 Yankees signature otherwise known as the home run. After all, they had belted 240 during the regular season and boasted the newly crowned "King of Swing" in Maris. The Red's newest ace, Jay was given the start for Game 2 and promptly answered back with a 6-2 masterpiece of his own. After trading runs early on, the Reds pulled ahead on catcher Elston Howard's passed ball, which followed singles by Elio Chacon and Eddie Kasko. Johnny Edwards extended the lead to 4-2 with a run-scoring single in the 6th and a throwing error by Yankees reliever Luis Arroyo as well as an RBI double by Edwards netted the Reds their final 2 runs in the 8th.
Game 3 returned the contest to Cincinnati for the first time in 21 years and the home team looked to maintain their momentum with a 2-1 lead going into the 8th-inning. Bob Purkey had tossed an impressive 4-hitter, but was nailed by John Blanchard, who had contributed mightily to the Yanks long-ball rally with 21 homers (in only 243 at-bats) during the regular season. The pinch-hitter/reserve catcher/outfielder stepped up in place of Bud Daley and belted his 22nd home run deep into the right-field bleachers. Maris, who was hitless in 10 Series at-bats led off the 9th and hammered his 62nd of the year into the same seats as Blanchard. As the Reds took their turn, Arroyo was sent in to finish the job and induced pinch-hitters Dick Gernert and Gus Bell to ground out, ending the game.
Whitey Ford returned in Game 4 to build on his Series scoreless-inning streak of 27 and eyed up another one of Babe Ruth's records of 29. The Yankees veteran had no problem adding 5 more innings before leaving in the 6th with an ankle problem. By then his team had a 4-run lead thanks to Clete Boyer's 2-run double in the 6th. Jim Coates who had replaced the "The Chairman" tossed 4-innings of 1-hit relief while Mantle, who was limited to 6 Series at-bats, was replaced by Hector Lopez, who hammered a 2-run single in the 7th on the way to a 7-0 final. In Game 5, the "Bronx Bombers" picked right up where they had left off scoring 5 runs in the 1st-inning. In the 4th, they added 5 more and steamrolled over the Reds 13-5 for the closing win and the title.
Although the "The M&M Boys" had managed only 3 hits and 2 RBIs in 25 at-bats, Blanchard and Lopez compensated with 10 runs while going 7-19. Lopez had even gone further with an amazing 7 RBIs in 9 at-bats. As predicted originally, pitching was the determining factor in the '61 Series as Ford, Coates and Daley went 25-innings without surrendering a single earned-run.
1962: San Francisco Giants (3) vs. New York Yankees (4)
Over the last few decades, the defending champion New York Yankees had made an art out of dominating the American League on the way to their 25th Fall Classic. It was becoming all-to-predictable and the early 1960's were looking a lot like the 50's when the "Pinstripes" played in 8 out of the 10 world championships. On the other side of the ball, the National League's representatives were a familiar opponent to the Yanks as well as former "roommates". The Giants had finally recaptured the NL pennant for the first time since moving across the country to San Francisco (after the 1957 season) and it seemed fitting that the preclude to this "Subway Series" revival was a playoff between the Los Angeles Dodgers who used to call Brooklyn their home.
Series veteran Whitey Ford was given his usual Game 1 start by the Yanks sophomore manager Ralph Houk and extended his World Series consecutive-innings scoreless streak to 33 before San Francisco got on the scoreboard in the 2nd-inning. The Giants Billy O'Dell kept pace with "The Chairman" through 6-innings, but finally surrendered to Clete Boyer and his fellow "Bombers" in the closing innings for a 6-2 loss. Jack Sanford got revenge the following day though with a 3-hit, 2-0 shutout that evened the contest at a game a piece. Billy Pierce continued the cycle in Game 3, blanking the Yankees through 6-innings until the newly crowned single-season homerun leader, Roger Maris, broke through the deadlock with a 2-run single in the 7th and eventually scored on a force-out grounder. Yankees closer Bill Stafford almost blew it in the 9th after giving up a 2-run blast of his own to Ed Bailey, but managed to pull it together for the 3-2 victory.
Game 4 featured a rare break-out performance at the plate by the Giants' Chuck Hiller. An unlikely threat to the Yankees power pitching, the 2nd baseman had hit only 20 home runs in his 8-year major-league career. Those numbers didn't matter though as he nailed a bases-loaded homer off of Yankees reliever Marshall Bridges in the 7th. It was the first grand-slam ever in a World Series outing by a National Leaguer and snapped the 2-all tie that resulted in a San Francisco victory at Yankees Stadium. In a strange twist the winning Giants reliever was none other than Don Larsen who (exactly 6 years earlier to the day) pitched his record-setting perfect game for the home team against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ralph Terry, who had gone 0-4 in Series outings finally managed to cross over in Game 5. As with the rest of the outings, both teams were locked in a tie late in the game. This time, it was Tom Tesh's turn to take the lead. The New York rookie hammered a 3-run, 8th-inning homer off Sanford who lost the game despite putting up 10-K's in 7 1/3 innings. After a 5 day absence (due to travel and 3 rain delays) the Series returned with the Giants well rested and ready to even the score. Billy Pierce's 3-hitter and Cepeda's 3 hits and 2 RBIs netted San Francisco's the crucial 5-2 triumph that held the Fall Classic at a 3-3 standoff.
Terry, who had given up the deciding blast to Bill Mazeroski in the 1960 heart-breaker, returned for the start in Game 7 and responded by holding the Giants to just 2-hits (and a 1-0 lead) going into the 9th. The Yankees pitcher had found some redemption winning 23 games during the regular season in '62 and was on his way to a complete-game victory. Pinch-hitter Matty Alou led off the inning with a perfect bunt for base 1, but Terry answered back by striking out both Felipe Alou and Hiller. Willie Mays, who had just completed a phenomenal 49-homer, 141-RBI season, rose to the occasion and blasted a double to right field. Maris made a sprinting grab and managed to reach cutoff man Bobby Richardson to hold Alou at 3rd. Despite the great defensive stand by the Yankees, clean-up man, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda were due up next. During the regular season, McCovey had tallied 20-home runs and 54 RBIs while Cepeda added 35 homers and 144 runs batted in. Houk elected to keep Terry in, believing the right-hander would handle the Giants lefty. With a 1-ball, 1-strike count on McCovey, Terry brought the heat, but the Giants slugger sent the offering toward right field. 2nd baseman Richardson moved slightly to his left and desperately reached up with his glove snagging the ball and another World Series title.
Once again, the mighty Yanks had been able to hold off a worthy opponent despite failing to win consecutive games at any point in the Series and getting .174 and .120 batting marks from two of their biggest threats, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Their less-than stellar stats were certainly a compliment to the Giants pitching staff as the "The M&M Boys" had posted 178 homeruns combined in the last 2 seasons. It mattered little though as the American League's dynasty had proven that they were back and ready for more.
1963: Los Angeles Dodgers (4) vs. New York Yankees (0)
The National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers had rebounded from a late-season collapse in 1962 and went on to win the NL pennant with a 6-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. The biggest factor in the team's comeback was an all-star pitching combination featuring a young lefty named Sandy Koufax and a right-hander named Don Drysdale. Koufax had struck out a staggering 306 batters in 311 innings and his counterpart had won 19 games with a 2.63 ERA. Veteran Johnny Podres had added 14 wins of his own (5 shutouts) and ace reliever Ron Perranoski made 69 appearances while going 16-3 with a 1.67 ERA. Their opponents, to no surprise, were their long-time rivals the New York Yankees, who in classic "Bomber style", boasted 4 sluggers with 20+ homers and an equally qualified pitching rotation. Whitey Ford had 24 victories and Jim Bouton, Ralph Terry and Al Downing prospered as well winning the AL pennant by 10 1/2 games. It was the 7th meeting in the Fall Classic between the 2 ball clubs with the American Leaguers leading the marathon 6-1.
Koufax went against Ford in the opener and quickly set the pace by striking out his first 5 batters including Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Before the Yankees had a single hit off the rising left-hander, his team was up 4-0. Former Yankee Bill Skowron (who had been obtained after the '62 Series) singled home a Dodger run in the top of the 2nd and John Roseboro cracked a 3-run homer later that inning. He added another run in the 3rd and Koufax continued to dominate at the mound. After 4-innings, the Yankees were still waiting for their first base runner and things would not get much better. After sitting down Mantle, the Dodger ace forced Maris to foul out, but allowed the "Pinstripes" to load the bases on consecutive singles by Elston Howard, Joe Pepitone and Clete Boyer. The threat quickly disappeared though as Hector Lopez (batting for Ford) became the 11th K victim. After striking out pinch-hitter Phil Lint in the 8th, Koufax had moved 1-K within Carl Erskine's single Series game strikeout record of 14. The record would have to wait though as a late-inning homer by Tresh stalled the impending celebration, but it was only a matter of time. The first 3 of New York's final 4 outs in Koufax's 5-2 triumph came on a grounder, a liner and a fly ball. The last out of the game was record-breaking strikeout No. 15, with pinch-hitter Harry Bright submitting the score.
Podres attempted to keep LA's momentum alive in Game 2 and combined with 2-out relief from Perranoski to beat the Yankees, 4-1. Willie Davis set the pace at the plate with a 2-run double in the 1st and was followed by Skowron's homer in the 4th. Adding to the Yankees frustration was the Series-ending injury to outfielder Roger Maris who was hurt running into a rail in pursuit of a Tommy Davis triple. With a 2-games-to-none lead, the Dodgers returned to their newly christened west coast palace known as Dodger Stadium. Don Drysdale made the homecoming even sweeter with a 3-hit, 1-0 victory that ended with 9 more strikeouts for the Yankees. Bouton had completed the outing while holding his own, but surrendered the critical game-winning run in the 1st on Jim Gilliam's walk, a wild pitch and a single by Tommy Davis, who had just captured his second straight NL batting championship.
In a classic rematch of the Series opener, Ford and Koufax went at it again as one pitcher tried to complete a sweep and the other attempted to keep his team alive. Both adversaries held each other scoreless until the 5th-inning when the Dodger's Frank Howard launched a rocket homer to left. Mantle evened the score with a blast of his own in the 7th after going a miserable 1 for 13 in Series at bats. Maury Wills, known primarily for his speed (104 steals in '62) regained the lead for the Dodgers in the bottom of the inning and from there on it was all LA. First, Gilliam led off the 8th with a high-bouncer that resulted in a critical Yankees infield error between Pepitone and Boyer who had missed to connect on the throw. Then, Willie Davis came in with a sacrifice fly to deep center field that scored his leadoff man. Finally, Koufax stayed in to finish the job and went on for the 6-hit, 8-K, 2-1 triumph that not only swept the Yankees, but also ended their latest consecutive Series winning streak at 2.
1964: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. New York Yankees (3)
After another devastating loss in the previous year's Classic, a different New York Yankees team returned to represent the American League in 1964. Yogi Berra had replaced Ralph Houk at the helm and under his guidance, the Yanks managed to barely win the AL pennant by a single game over the Chicago White Sox. It was the 15th World Series for the former Yankee catcher as Berra had first appeared in the contest in 1947 and went on play in a record 75 games before his last outing in 1963. Many of his former teammates had remained in New York as Mickey Mantle prepared to play in his 12th postseason exhibition, Whitey Ford entered his 11th and Bobby Richardson posted his 9th appearance. Roger Maris, who was only in his 5th season as a Yankee, had never missed the World Series since donning the blue pinstripes. Their opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals had just missed the previous year's contest by finishing 6-games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (who had dethroned the once-mighty Yankees in a 4-game sweep) and were determined to follow suite. Much like their American League rivals though, the Cards had a lot of luck to thank for their latest post-season opportunity. First the Nationals lost their General Manager in mid-August, but managed to climb from 5th to 1st (with considerable help from the Philadelphia Phillies, who blew a 6 1/2-game league lead with 12 games to play).
Whitey Ford, always a postseason standout, held onto a 4-2 lead going into the 6th-inning of the opener, but St. Louis right fielder Mike Shannon hammered a long 2-run homer off the veteran lefty and when catcher Tim McCarver followed with a double, the 35-year-old Ford was through for the day, and (because of arm problems) the Series. The 9-5 loss of Game 1 as well as their #1 ace should have been a sign for what was to come as the Yanks were now experiencing a new kind of streaků a losing one. The opening fiasco was their 5th consecutive loss in World Series play and for the first time (in a long time) the Yankees were the underdogs.
In an attempt to jumpstart his team, Berra gave the Game 2 ball to an up-and-coming rookie named Mel Stottlemyre who went against Cardinal ace Bob Gibson. Stottlemyre had thrown strong down the home stretch (after getting called up from Richmond in August) and was a deciding factor for New York in the close AL pennant race. Both pitchers stood firm until Gibson left the game and his relief surrendered 4 9th-inning runs for an 8-3 loss that put the "Bombers" back in the race. Game 3 followed the same script as veteran Curt Simmons and the Yankees' Jim Bouton were locked in a 1-1 tie through 8 innings. Manager Johnny Keane used a pinch-hitter for Simmons in the 9th as the Cards threatened, but failed, to score. Barney Schultz, a clutch reliever for St. Louis, entered the game in the bottom of the 9th and threw 1 pitch, which Mantle promptly launched into the right-field stands for the 2-1 win. Ray Sadecki started Game 4 against the Yanks Al Downing, but was taken for 3 quick 1st-inning runs. Downing faired better and protected the lead going into the 5th, but the lefty was nailed by Ken Boyer for a grand-slam in the following inning. With relievers Roger Craig and Ron Taylor combining for 8 2/3 innings of 2-hit, scoreless relief, St. Louis went on to even the Series with a 4-3 victory.
Bob Gibson returned for Game 5 and was one out away from a 2-0 victory when the Yanks' Tom Tresh ripped a 2-run homer that tied it up. Gibson prevailed however, after Tim McCarver came up huge with a 3-run blast off of Yanks reliever Pete Mikkelsen for the 5-3 victory. Game 6 witnessed yet another nail-biter as the contest remained tied 1-1 going into the 6th. This time it was the Yankees coming up big with 2 consecutive homeruns by Mantle and Maris and a grand slam by Joe Pepitone off reliever Gordon Richardson in the 8th. When it was over, New York had won 8-3 while staying alive and forcing a final Game 7.
Stottlemyre and Gibson both returned for the climatic finale and held each other scoreless through 3-innings. Then the Cardinals broke loose for 3 runs in the 4th and 3 more in the 5th, touched off by a home run by Lou Brock. Brock (a mid-June acquisition from the Cubs) proved to be a brilliant investment during the regular season after stealing 33 bases and batting .348 in 103 games. Mantle responded with a 3-run homer in the 6th and Clete Boyer and Phil Linz both followed "The Mick's" lead in the 9th. Despite their efforts, Gibson stood tall and finished the complete-game with a 7-5 Cardinal triumph.
The Boyer brothers had both come up big for their respective teams and set a record as the first set of brothers to hit home runs in the same Series. Ken had contributed 2 for St. Louis and Clete added 1 for New York (with 1 for each coming in the same game). For the Cardinals, it was the end of a long postseason drought as they had not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1946. For the Yankees, it was the end of an era as the perennial champions were about to start a drought of their own. Within 2 years, the American League dynasty would fall from first to last and it would be several years before returning to their former glory (12 years). It was the last World Series appearance for many regulars including Mantle (who set the all-time Series HR record at 18), Ford, Richardson, Kubek and Boyer. Howard would appear in the Classic once more (with the Boston Red Sox) and Maris was destined to play in 2 more with the Cardinals. Both managers were also fired after the Series, but in a strange twist, it would be the unemployed Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane who resurfaced in a Yankees uniform as Yogi Berra's replacement.
1965: Los Angeles Dodgers (0) vs. Minnesota Twins (3)
After a short, 1-year absence, the Los Angeles Dodgers returned to the Fall Classic on the arm of '63 Series winner Sandy Koufax. The postseason-proven lefty had just finished the regular season with a 26-8 record, a 2.04 ERA and a perfect game to boot (his 4th no-hitter in 4 seasons). Their American League rivals, the Minnesota Twins, were making their World Series debut and many felt that the National Leaguers would have their work cut out for them thanks to the hitting of Harmon Killebrew and Zoilo Versalles. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Game 1 fell on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur rendering Koufax ineligible for the opening start due to religious obligations. Don Drysdale was selected in his place and underestimated the inexperienced Twins. The LA ace only lasted for 2 2/3 innings at Metropolitan Stadium as he surrendered a base-empty homer off of Don Mincher in the 2nd and a 3-run homer in Minnesota's 3-run, 3rd. Relief would not matter either as the devastating inning lasted so long, some players in the line-up batted twice. Frank Quilici for instance, rounded the bases after he singled and doubled before giving the Dodgers their next at-bat. Minnesota went on to win the 8-2 opening shocker behind Mudcat Grant.
A frustrated Koufax returned to the mound the next day determined to put his Dodgers back in stride. Jim Kaat drew the Twins start and matched the lefty sensation pitch-for-pitch through the 5th-inning. Then, after an early error by the Dodgers 3rd baseman Jim Gilliam, Minnesota pulled ahead in the 6th on Tony Oliva's run-scoring double and Killebrew's RBI single. As a desperate measure, Koufax was pulled, but the Twins continued to rough up reliever Ron Perranoski for 3 runs in the next 2 innings for a 5-1 final. Not only had the "rookie" Twins beaten the "veteran" Dodgers in their first 2 outings, they had done so by beating their best 2 pitchers. Having shown that they could beat the best that LA had to offer, the AL champs took their 2 games-to-none lead to Dodger Stadium. Unfortunately, they couldn't beat the Dodgers "3rd-best" as Claude Osteen (15 wins, 2.79 ERA) got payback with a 5-hit, 4-0 triumph. John Roseboro backed the lefthander up with a 2-run single in the 4th off Twins starter Camilo Pascual, who had labored long and hard for his Washington Senators-turned-Minnesota Twins franchise since 1954.
Drysdale returned for redemption in Game 4 and found it after striking out 11 Twins on the way to a 7-2, Series tying victory. Ron Fairly who contributed 3 RBIs and Wes Parker and Lou Johnson (who both added home runs of their own) backed up the "rejuvenated-righty" at the plate. The next day, Koufax followed his counterpart's lead and got his own payback after yielding only 4 hits (all singles) and striking out 10 batters in Game 5. The rest of the Dodgers had stepped up as well with an 11-single, 3 double, 4 stolen base effort on the bases and a errorless, 3-double-play effort in the field. It all added up to a 7-0 victory, in which Maury Wills totaled 4-hits and Willie Davis snatched 3 bags. As the contest returned to Metropolitan Stadium, Manager Sam Mele sent 21-game winner Grant back to the mound after only 2 days of rest. The veteran pitcher seemed no worse for wear and maintained a 2-0 lead going into the 5th. Then he put all doubt aside with a 3-run blast of his own off of Howie Reed, who was working in relief of Osteen. The Twins held on for the 5-1, Game 6 triumph (that tied the Series up at 3 games apiece), but now were faced with the riddle of beating one of the Dodgers' 2 pitching greats for a second time.
In a surprise move by manager Walter Alston, Koufax was selected for the final outing (over Drysdale) despite having only 2-days of rest. Once again Kaat, who had 18 wins during the regular season, would be his opponent for the 3rd time in the tournament. The Dodger ace showed no signs of fatigue as he tossed a 3-hit shutout and struck-out 10 Twins. His rival did not fare as well and was removed in the 4th after giving up a leadoff home run to Lou Johnson, a double to Ron Fairly and a run-scoring single to Wes Parker. While Minnesota relievers Al Worthington, Johnny Klippstein, Jim Merritt and Jim Ferry shut down Los Angeles the rest of the way, the Twins could not break through and went down to a 2-0 defeat. Despite being outnumbered 5-1 on the mound, Sandy Koufax had done it again and his Dodgers found themselves baseball's World Champions for the 2nd time in 3 years.
1966: Los Angeles Dodgers (0) vs. Baltimore Orioles (4)
By the mid-'60's the Los Angeles Dodgers had replaced the perennial champion New York Yankees as baseball's premiere dynasty after winning the World Series for the 2nd time in 3 years. After holding the "Bronx Bombers" to 4 total runs in their 4-game sweep in '63 and limiting the Minnesota Twins to 7 runs over the last 5 games of the '65 Series, the Dodgers had proven that great pitching can silence almost any line-up. Their American League rivals, the Baltimore Orioles also boasted a strong rotation featuring Jim Palmer (who had 15 victories) and the '66 Triple Crown winner, Frank Robinson. Robinson had finished the regular season with a league-high 49 home runs, 122 RBIs and a .316 batting average. Both teams seemed to match up well, although no one in a Baltimore uniform had numbers even close to Koufax, who had risen to the top step of major-league pitchers in a few short seasons.
As the Series got underway in Dodger Stadium, the Orioles' star left-hander, Dave McNally held an early 4-1 lead in the third. Frank Robinson had started things off for "the Birds" with a two run homer in the first and Brooks Robinson matched the effort in the next at-bat. Years later, Brooks stated that hitting a "back-to-back" homer in the World Series was his biggest thrill in baseball, even topping his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. McNally retired the first Dodger batter in the third, but then allowed three consecutive bases on balls. Orioles Manager Hank Bauer exhibited a quick hook and replaced the twenty-three year-old with Moe Drabowsky. The veteran reliever struck out Wes Parker, but then yielded a walk to Jim Gilliam that resulted in Johnson crossing home. Drabowsky maintained his composure though and induced John Roseboro to foul out. It would be LA's last scoring opportunity for the rest of the day. The thirty-one year-old reliever went on to sit down the Dodgers' sides in the fourth and fifth innings while tying the Fall Classic record of six consecutive strikeouts. In the end, he totaled eleven strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit on the way to a 5-2 opening lead.
For Game 2, the Orioles' Jim Palmer was given the monumental task of keeping pace with Sandy Koufax. The Dodger veteran had just finished another all-star season with 27 wins and an ERA of 1.73 and many felt that it would be no contest. Palmer surprised everyone though, by matching the LA ace pitch-for-pitch for a scoreless outing that lasted into the 5th. The Orioles were the first to break through with 3 unearned runs in a terrible inning for the Dodgers' Willie Davis. First, the centerfielder dropped consecutive fly balls (after losing both in the sun). Then he threw a wild ball past 3rd base after the second drop. Luis Aparicio added the only RBI of the inning and before the Dodgers knew what had hit them, they were down 3-0. Koufax, who was suffering from an arthritic elbow, stumbled again in the 6th after yielding an earned run when Frank Robinson tripled and Boog Powell singled him home. Before a total disaster, Koufax managed to work his way out of a bases-loaded jam, getting Andy Etchebarren to ground into a double play. However, it was an unfortunate end to Koufax's play in the Series and ultimately, his career. He announced his retirement the following November in an effort to prevent permanent damage to his arm. Silencing his critics, Baltimore's 20 year-old "underdog" finished on top by allowing only 4 hits for the 6-0 win.
As the Series moved to Baltimore for the first time in it's 63-year history, another young pitcher named Wally Bunker stepped up to the mound and delivered a 6-hitter for a clutch 1-0 victory. Although the home team managed a meager 3-hits off of the Dodger's rotation, 1 was a monster 430-foot homer by Paul Blair off Claude Osteen in the 5th. McNally returned to save face in Game 4 against Drysdale and both pitchers allowed only 4-hits. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, one of theirs was a 4th-inning blast by Frank Robinson that landed in the left-field bleachers. The result was another Baltimore 1-0 victory and a World Series title. The Orioles had defeated baseball's newest dynasty and they had done it with less-than-spectacular stats. In the end, their scorecards totaled a meager 24 hits and 10 earned runs in 4 games. However, the Dodger's boasted an even lower total (setting an all-time record) with 2 runs, 17 hits, a .142 batting average and pathetic 33 consecutive scoreless innings.
1967: St. Louis Cardinals (4) vs. Boston Red Sox (3)
As The Boston Red Sox finally returned to the "Big Show" after a grueling 21-year absence to face a much more experienced Cardinals team. The NL champions had steamrolled over their competition and finished with an impressive 10 1/2 game margin over the rest of the National League. Ending up 9th in '66, the American Leaguers finished in first after a close 4-team pennant chase. Despite the neck-and-neck marathon, rookie manager Dick Williams' team held on to complete the season 1 game ahead of both the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins and 3 games in front of the Chicago White Sox.
Bob Gibson remained the "Redbirds" biggest threat, winning 19, 20 and 21 games in the previous 3 years although he totaled a mere 14 regular-season victories in '67. The Cardinals, sparked by Orlando Cepeda (25 homers, 111 RBIs and a .325 batting mark) gave Red Schoendienst a pennant in his 3rd year as the St. Louis manager. Other key contributors included outfielders Curt Flood (a .335 hitter), Lou Brock (52 stolen bases), 29 year-old rookie righthander Dick Hughes (16 victories) and young pitchers Nelson Briles and Steve Carlton. On the Boston side, Carl Yastrzemski boasted the Triple Crown (44 homeruns, 121 RBIs and a .326 avg.) and was balanced by Jim Lonborg who won 22 games (10 more than any other pitcher in the rotation).
As Game 1 opened in the picturesque Fenway Park, Gibson went up against Jose Santiago in what would be a hitter's nightmare. The Cardinal ace struck out 10 batters and only allowed 6-hits all day in the 2-1 victory. Roger Maris, (obtained from the New York Yankees in December 1966) knocked in both of St. Louis' runs with 3rd and 7th-inning grounders. Game 2 however, belonged to the "Beantown Bombers" as Yastrzemski nailed 2 homers and Lonborg pitched no-hit ball for 7 2/3 innings before winding up with a 1-hit (Julian Javier's double), 5-0 masterpiece. As the Series shifted to St. Louis' Busch Memorial Stadium, the home team answered back with 5-2 and 6-0 victories. Game 3 foiled Boston's best efforts as Nelson Briles' 7-hitter and Mike Shannon's 2-run blast proved to be the decisive factors, while Gibson's 5-hit hurling and 2 RBIs apiece by Maris and Tim McCarver kept the "Redbirds" up in Game 4.
Lonborg returned for Game 5 after an outstanding effort in the 2nd outing and nothing changed as the 25-year-old righty tossed 2-hit, shutout ball over 8 2/3 innings, then settled for a 3-1 decision when Maris knocked a last-desperate homer to right. Going for the clincher, the visiting team took a 2-1 lead going into the 4th-inning when Dick Hughes (who led the NL with a .727 winning percentage) gave up a record 3 homers in a single inning. Yastrzemski led off the 4th with a long drive over the wall in left-center and, 2 outs later, rookie Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli both hammered consecutive shots. Brock managed to tie the game 4-all with a 2-run homer in the 7th, but Boston retaliated with 4 runs of their own and went on for the 8-4 triumph.
Game 7 promised to be a "gunslingers" shootout as Gibson and Lonborg met for the final duel. Both pitchers were 2-0 in the Series with Gibson giving up 4-hits in 18-innings and Lonborg surrendering a single run and 4-hits in his 18. Pitching on 3-days rest (to his rivals 2) the Cardinal ace clearly dominated the finale, permitting only 3 hits, striking out 10 batters and even adding a homerun blast of his own in the 5th. Julian Javier added a 3-run shot off Lonborg in the 6th and Gibson cruised to the decisive 7-2 victory. He now boasted a 5-1 record and a 2.00 ERA in World Series competition, with 57 strikeouts in 54 innings and only 37 hits allowed.
1968: St. Louis Cardinals (3) vs. Detroit Tigers (4)
The defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals once again dominated the National League on the way to their 2nd consecutive Fall Classic as Bob Gibson remained at the top of the list of NL pitchers. Along with his American League equal, the Detroit Tigers' Mike McLain, both had combined for 22 wins and 13 shutouts. As was becoming the standard, pitching dominated the World Series contest and nothing would change in 1968. Both aces met in Game 1 as Gibson threatened to break Sandy Koufax's Series record by striking out 13 Tiger batters through 7 innings. McLain did not fare as well and surrendered for 3, 4th-inning runs by the Cards, who got a run-scoring single from Mike Shannon and a 2-run single from Julian Javier (thanks to an error by Willie Horton). In the 7th, reliever Pat Dobson, working his 2nd inning, yielded a bases-empty home run to Lou Brock. Gibson remained in control with a 4-0 lead (while permitting 4 meaningless hits and no runs) and prepared to close the deal on Koufax's record. After sitting down pinch-hitter Eddie Mathews to open the 8th, the 32 year-old veteran made Al Kaline his record-equaling 15th strikeout victim, Norm Cash his record-breaking No. 16 and Horton his one-more-for-good-measure No. 17. Detroit bounced back in Game 2 thanks to 17-game winner Mickey Lolich who held the "Redbirds" to 6 singles and added the only home run of his major-league career for the 8-1 win.
Tim McCarver set the pace for the Cardinals in Game 3 and hammered a 3-run homer in the 5th to take a 4-2 lead. Orlando Cepeda followed suite with a 2-run shot in the 7th and Lou Brock stole 3 bases on the way to a Series-leading 7-3 triumph. Gibson returned for the 4th meeting and continued his unbeaten streak with a record 7th consecutive win in the Fall Classic. Embarrassing the Tigers 10-1, the right-hander aided his own cause with his 2nd career homer in Series play (a record for a pitcher) while Brock dominated at the plate with a double, triple, home run and 4 RBIs. The outfielder also recorded his 7th stolen base of this Series (tying a mark he had established in 1967). McLain was once again bested by his counterpart and was lifted after 2 2/3 innings to no avail.
Although Brock's base running had proven to be a definite advantage in the previous 4 outings, his carelessness cost the Cardinals dearly in Game 5. After doubling with one out in the 5th, Brock tried to score standing up on Javier's single to left, but Willie Horton threw him out with a laser to home plate. Detroit, trailing by a 3-2 score at the time, seemingly received a boost from the reprieve and broke loose for 3 runs in the 7th. Mickey Lolich, who was knocked for a 2-run homer by Cepeda (in a 3-run St. Louis 1st), pitched scoreless ball over the final 8 innings as Detroit stayed alive with a crucial 5-3 triumph. McLain returned for his 3rd appearance determined to get his first win over the Cardinals' Ray Washburn. Pitching his best game of the Series, the Tiger ace finished a 13-1 victor thanks to a rally sparked Jim Northrup, who slammed a bases-loaded homer in Detroit's 10-run blitz in the 3rd. The Tigers' spree matched the 1-inning Series scoring record set by the Philadelphia Athletics against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the 1929 Classic.
Bob Gibson was the obvious choice for St. Louis in Game 7 and Lolich was given the monumental task of beating him. Both pitchers went head-to-head for 6 scoreless innings, but the Tiger ace was first to blink after allowing 2 Cardinal runners on base. (Brock with his record-tying 13th hit of the Series and Curt Flood adding a single) Despite the mental setback, Lolich remained focused and struck out the following batters to snuff the Cards' first scoring opportunity. Then, with 2 out in the Detroit 7th, Norm Cash and Horton both singled. Northrup then hit a long rope to center field that Flood accidentally misjudged. The result was a 2-run triple and Bill Freehan made it 3 after doubling home Northrup. Not to be outdone, the Cardinals responded with a run in the 9th thanks to Mike Shannon, but it was too little too late and had been matched by Detroit in their half of the inning. In the end, Lolich had beaten the odds (and the mighty Bob Gibson) with a 5-hit, 4-1 victory that gave the Tigers their first championship crown since 1945. Detroit also became only the 3rd team in World Series history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win in Game 7.
1969: New York Mets (4) vs. Baltimore Orioles (4)
The Baltimore Orioles boasted some of the biggest guns in the American League and entered the '69 Series with a renewed confidence after dominating Sandy Koufax and his mighty Dodgers three years earlier. Among the American League champs "lumber company" was Boog Powell (thirty-seven home runs, one-hundred twenty-one runs batted in), Frank Robinson (thirty-two homers, one-hundred100 RBIs), Brooks Robinson (twenty-three homers, eighty-four RBIs) and Paul Blair (twenty-six homers, seventy-six RBIs). Their opponents, the New York Mets were still a young franchise and were making their first post-season appearance after topping the National League in only their eighth season.
Tom Seaver (a twenty-five game winner) was given the opening start for New York at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium and made it to his second pitch before surrendering the first "home team - home run". By the afternoon's end, Orioles' lefthander Mike Cuellar had given up only six hits and struck out eight. Baltimore was an easy winner (4-1) despite their standout line-up managing only four runs in thirty at-bats. The Mets' Jerry Koosman continued to silence the home team's big guns in Game 2 while holding their line-up to six hitless innings. Donn Clendenon backed up the twenty-six year-old lefty with a fourth inning homer off Dave McNally. Baltimore managed to tie it up in the seventh when Paul Blair led off with his team's first hit, then stole second and finally scored on Brooks Robinson's two out single. Not to be discouraged, the Mets rose to the occasion in the ninth and as Ed Charles, Jerry Grote and Al Weis all came through with two out singles. Koosman then got last-out relief help from Ron Taylor and emerged the 2-1 victor.
Game 3 debuted the first postseason outing at Shea Stadium and featured one of the greatest individual performances in the sixty-six year history of the Series, courtesy of the Mets' Tommie Agee. Agee started the contest off with a first inning homer off of Jim Palmer and continued to produce in the outfield for the remaining innings. With two out in the fourth and Oriole runners on first and third, the centerfielder raced to the 396-foot sign in left-center and made a phenomenal backhanded, catch of Elrod Hendricks' smash. Later in the seventh, the Orioles had loaded the bases with two out, but Agee came up clutch again making a headfirst diving grab of Blair's liner that sailed to right-center. Ed Kranepool added a homerun as the Mets came out on top, 5-0. On the mound, Gary Gentry and a young reliever named Nolan Ryan combined on a four hitter.
A determined Seaver returned for redemption in Game 4 and took a 1-0 edge going into the ninth. Clenderon had given the junior pitcher the lead after launching a rocket in the second off of Mike Cuellar, but Frank Robinson and Powell both responded with late-game singles with Brooks Robinson on deck. The Oriole slugger nailed a perfect line drive to center, but right-fielder Ron Swoboda mimicked Agee's performance in Game 3 and made a spectacular diving, one-handed catch. While Frank Robinson tagged up and scored from third, Swoboda had shortened a potential big inning. The deadlocked remained 1-1 through the bottom of the tenth when the Mets sealed the deal on Jerry Grote's double and Oriole reliever Pete Richert's errant throw on pinch-hitter J.C. Martin's bunt. Seizing the opportunity, Rod Gaspar (pinch running for Grote) sped home for the 2-1 win.
Now down three games to one, the stunned Orioles came out swinging in Game 5 as pitcher McNally, (thanks to his own two run homer and another by Frank Robinson) held a 3-0 lead after five tense innings. Earl Weaver's team seemed to finally be on the road to recovery, but the Mets struck again after Clean Jones led-off with a walk and Clenderon followed him home with a two run blast edging closer with only a 3-2 disadvantage. An unlikely hero named Al Weis (who had seven home runs in ten years) stepped up to the plate and tied the game with a leadoff homer in the sixth. Eddie Watt came in as relief for Baltimore in the eighth, but eventually lost 5-3 after surrendering a clutch double to Cleon Jones as well as Ron Swoboda who drove in the winning run.
In the end, New York had not only gone on to win their first World Championship (in their first appearance), they had also shut down the biggest line-up in all of baseball by holding the "Bird's Big Four" to a three for fifteen outing in Game 4 and a miserable two for fifteen showing in Game 5.
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