1968 Major League Baseball season

The 1968 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 10 to October 10, 1968. It was the last year of baseball's pre-playoffs era, in which the teams that finished in first place in each league went directly to the World Series to face each other for the "World Championship." A playoff system was developed and debuted in 1969; with the addition of four expansion teams, both leagues were divided into two six-team divisions, with the winners competing in the League Championship Series. It featured the most dominant pitching year of the modern era, and the first season of the Oakland Athletics (having moved from Kansas City after the 1967 season).

1968 MLB season
LeagueMajor League Baseball
SportBaseball
DurationApril 10 – October 10, 1968
Number of games162
Number of teams20
Draft
Top draft pickTim Foli
Picked byNew York Mets
Regular season
Season MVPAL: Denny McLain (DET)
NL: Bob Gibson (STL)
AL championsDetroit Tigers
  AL runners-upBaltimore Orioles
NL championsSt. Louis Cardinals
  NL runners-upSan Francisco Giants
World Series
ChampionsDetroit Tigers
  Runners-upSt. Louis Cardinals
World Series MVPMickey Lolich (DET)
MLB seasons


The Year of the PitcherEdit

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.

During what later became known as "the year of the pitcher",[1] 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. Don Drysdale of the L.A. Dodgers pitched six consecutive shutout games in May and June, ending with 58⅜ scoreless innings. Mickey Lolich won three complete games in the World Series, the last player as of today 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 (since broken by Pedro Martínez in 2000).[2] Both MVPs for that year were pitchers.

339 shutouts were recorded in 1,619 regular-season games.[3][4] The St. Louis Cardinals alone pitched 30 shutouts, the most in the majors. The 472 runs they allowed remains the lowest total ever recorded by any major league team in a 162-game season.

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 .339[5] remains the lowest since 1915 (when the game was still in the so-called dead-ball era), while the collective batting average of .230 is the all-time lowest.[6] The Chicago White Sox scored only 463 runs during the regular season and were shut out a league-high 23 times. Both those totals are still all-time records in the era of the 162-game season.

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 (38 to 25 cm). Four expansion teams joined the majors, and batting averages in 1969 returned to their historical averages; never again would pitching have as large a statistical average over batting in the major leagues.

The rookie minimum salary, $7,000 in 1967, was increased to $10,000 in 1968.[7]

Awards and honorsEdit

Statistical leadersEdit

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Carl Yastrzemski BOS .301 Pete Rose CIN .335
HR Frank Howard WSH 44 Willie McCovey SF 36
RBI Ken Harrelson BOS 109 Willie McCovey SF 105
Wins Denny McLain DET 31 Juan Marichal SF 26
ERA Luis Tiant CLE 1.60 Bob Gibson STL 1.12
SO Sam McDowell CLE 283 Bob Gibson STL 268
SV Al Worthington MIN 18 Phil Regan LAD/CHC 25
SB Bert Campaneris OAK 62 Lou Brock STL 62

StandingsEdit

PostseasonEdit

BracketEdit

  World Series
       
  AL Detroit Tigers 4
  NL St. Louis Cardinals 3

Home Field AttendanceEdit

Team Name Wins Home attendance Per Game
Detroit Tigers[8] 103 13.2% 2,031,847 40.4% 25,085
St. Louis Cardinals[9] 97 -4.0% 2,011,167 -3.8% 24,829
Boston Red Sox[10] 86 -6.5% 1,940,788 12.3% 23,960
New York Mets[11] 73 19.7% 1,781,657 13.8% 21,728
Los Angeles Dodgers[12] 76 4.1% 1,581,093 -5.0% 19,520
Houston Astros[13] 72 4.3% 1,312,887 -2.6% 16,208
New York Yankees[14] 83 15.3% 1,185,666 -5.9% 14,459
Minnesota Twins[15] 79 -13.2% 1,143,257 -22.9% 14,114
Atlanta Braves[16] 81 5.2% 1,126,540 -18.9% 13,908
Chicago Cubs[17] 84 -3.4% 1,043,409 6.8% 12,725
California Angels[18] 67 -20.2% 1,025,956 -22.1% 12,666
Baltimore Orioles[19] 91 19.7% 943,977 -1.2% 11,800
Cleveland Indians[20] 86 14.7% 857,994 29.4% 10,593
Oakland Athletics[21] 82 32.3% 837,466 15.3% 10,090
San Francisco Giants[22] 88 -3.3% 837,220 -32.6% 10,336
Chicago White Sox[23] 67 -24.7% 803,775 -18.5% 9,923
Cincinnati Reds[24] 83 -4.6% 733,354 -23.5% 8,943
Pittsburgh Pirates[25] 80 -1.2% 693,485 -23.5% 8,562
Philadelphia Phillies[26] 76 -7.3% 664,546 -19.8% 8,204
Washington Senators[27] 65 -14.5% 546,661 -29.1% 6,749

EventsEdit

  • May 1 – Philadelphia Phillies pitcher John Boozer is ejected from a game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium without throwing a pitch. Boozer had put spit on his hand to clean his uniform, which was in contravention of the anti-spitball rule that had been introduced that year. After being called for that indiscretion and two further examples, umpire Ed Vargo ejected Boozer.[28]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1968 – The Year of the Pitcher" Sports Illustrated, August 4, 1998.
  2. ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp#elem=%5Bobject+Object%5D&tab_level=child&click_text=Sortable+Player+pitching&game_type='R'&season=&season_type=SINGLE&league_code='MLB'&sectionType=sp&statType=pitching&page=1&ts=1523801929736&sortColumn=avg&sortOrder='asc'&extended=0&split=&playerType=ALL&timeframe=
  3. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1968.shtml
  4. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1968.shtml
  5. ^ http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/sortable.jsp#elem=%5Bobject+Object%5D&tab_level=child&click_text=Sortable+Team+hitting&game_type='R'&season=1968&season_type=ANY&league_code='NL'&sectionType=st&statType=hitting&page=1&ts=1523801533612&playerType=QUALIFIER&sportCode='mlb'&split=&team_id=&active_sw=&position=&page_type=SortablePlayer&sortOrder='desc'&sortColumn=avg&results=&perPage=50&timeframe=&last_x_days=&extended=0
  6. ^ Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p.123, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8027-1745-0
  7. ^ "Majors raise pay for all rookies". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. February 22, 1968. p. 20.
  8. ^ "Detroit Tigers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Boston Red Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "New York Mets Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "New York Yankees Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Minnesota Twins Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Atlanta Braves Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Chicago Cubs Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Los Angeles Angels Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Baltimore Orioles Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "San Francisco Giants Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "Chicago White Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Cincinnati Reds Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  27. ^ "Texas Rangers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  28. ^ "Ejected While Warming Up". goldenrankings.com. Retrieved November 29, 2014.

External linksEdit