Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

1961 Baseball Season

1961 Baseball Season Highlights
Chicago Cub Billy Williams was named 1961 National League Rookie of the Year.See more baseball seasons pictures.

All eyes were on New York during the 1961 baseball season as the Yankees wowed audiences everywhere. The team won 109 games and had 240 home runs. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1961 baseball season:

  • The Reds triumph in the National League for first time since 1940 as they edge out the Dodgers by 4 games.
  • The Yanks win their second American League flag in a row.
  • The Yankees set a record for a 162-game season by winning 109.
  • Chicago Cub Billy Williams is named National League Rookie of the Year.
  • The Yanks rout the Reds in the 1961 World Series in five games.
  • New York's Bobby Richardson leads all 1961 World Series batters with nine hits and .391 BA.
  • Whitey Ford breaks Babe Ruth's record for consecutive scoreless innings hurled in World Series play.
  • The American League now has ten teams, becoming the first major league loop to have that many since 1899.
  • The American League plays a 162-game schedule.
  • Frank Robinson wins the 1961 National League MVP Award.
  • Roger Maris is the 1961 American League MVP.
  • Maris breaks Ruth's major league season record by hitting 61 homers.
  • Mickey Mantle hits 54 homers, giving Yankees teammate record of 115 four-baggers.
  • Cubs owner William Wrigley, tired of second-division finishes, decides the team will be managed by eight coaches.
  • Willie Mays hits four homers on April 30 vs. Braves.
  • Detroit's Norm Cash tops expanded American League in batting with .361 BA.
  • The Yankees hit 240 homers to set a new major league record.
  • Whitey Ford tops majors with 25 victories and wins the 1961 Cy Young Award.
  • The Phillies lose a major league record of 23 straight games.
  • Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente wins his first National League bat crown (.351).
  • Giant Orlando Cepeda tops National League with 46 homers and 142 RBI.
  • Warren Spahn tops National League in wins a major league record eighth time, as he and the Reds' Joey Jay win 21.
  • Joey Jay ties Spahn for National League top spot in shutouts with just four.
  • Spahn leads the National League in CGs (21) and ERA (3.01).
  • The National League wins first All-Star Game of the year, 5-4 in ten innings at San Francisco.
  • The second All-Star Game ends in 1-1 tie at Boston, as rain stops play after nine innings.
  • Boston's Don Schwall is selected the American League Rookie of the Year by one vote over KC's Dick Howser.
  • Ty Cobb dies.
  • On May 9, Jim Gentile hits grandslams in two consecutive innings for Baltimore.
  • The Braves hit four consecutive homers on June 8 vs. Reds.
  • Roger Maris hits his 61st homer in final game of season, Oct. 1, off Boston's Tracy Stallard.
  • The National League opts to expand to ten teams in 1962, placing franchises in New York and Houston.
  • Warren Spahn no-hits Giants on April 28.
  • Spahn wins his 300th game and is the first National League southpaw to do so.
  • Baltimore's Dave Philley sets a new major league record when he collects 24 pinch hits.
  • Luis Arroyo of the Yankees sets new major league record when he notches 29 saves.
  • Detroit rookie Jake Wood fans 141 times to set new major league record.
  • Milwaukee's Eddie Mathews hits 30 or more homers for a National League record ninth consecutive year.
  • The Yankees have a major league record six players who hit 20 or more homers.
  • Though the 1961 Yankees are widely acclaimed for their great offense, the Tigers actually score more runs (841-827).
  • Willie Mays leads National League in runs (129) and runs produced (212).
  • Roger Maris leads the American League in RBI (142) and total bases (366), and ties in runs (132).

Check out the next section for more highlights of the 1961 baseball season.

To learn more about baseball, see: