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1964 Baseball Season


Down 6½ games to the White Sox, the Yankees won 30 of their last 40 to earn their fifth straight World Series appearance during the 1964 baseball season. They propelled themselves without any pitcher winning more than 18 games, leading the league in hits (1,442), and tying with Chicago for most saves at 45. Falling 1 game short to New York , the Sox led in ERA at 2.72. Their 41-year-old ace reliever Hoyt Wilhelm posted a 12-9 record with 27 saves and a 1.99 ERA.

Also in contention the final weekend were the Orioles, whose third baseman Brooks Robinson (.317 average, 28 homers, 118 RBI) led the league in four fielding categories and was named its MVP. Minnesota led in home runs and runs scored, courtesy of Harmon Killebrew (49 homers) and Rookie of the Year and batting champion Tony Oliva (.323 average). Dean Chance of the Los Angeles Angels grabbed the Cy Young Award with 20 wins (tied for first place in the league with Chicago's Gary Peters) and a circuit-best 1.65 ERA.

Even the wild American League finish was outdone by the National League. Gene Mauch's Phillies, with help from Rookie of the Year third baseman Dick Allen (.318 average, 29 homers, 91 RBI) and pitcher Jim Running, whose 19 wins included a perfect game against the Mets, led the pack by 6½ games with two weeks to go. They lost ten straight to hand the pennant to the Cardinals.

Four teams still had a chance to win going into the final weekend, but San Francisco and then Cincinnati (which lost to the Phillies on the second-to-last day of the season) were eliminated. Needing to win only one of three games from the Mets (who christened their brand-new field, Shea Stadium, by losing 109 games), the Cardinals lost the first two 1-0 and 15-5 then trailed on the final Sunday. They rallied to beat the Mets for their first pennant since 1946. St. Louis was led by league MVP third baseman Ken Boyer, who topped the league with 119 RBI, and Lou Brock, a midseason pickup who batted .315 and was second in the National League in stolen bases.

Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson wins
game seven of the
1964 World Series
for the Cardinals.

Willie Mays of San Francisco took the home run crown with 47 and Roberto Clemente of Pittsburgh won the batting title with a .339 average. Los Angeles lefthander Sandy Koufax went 19-5 with a league-best 1.74 ERA. Chicago's Larry Jackson topped the circuit with 24 wins.

Though they outslugged and outpitched their rivals, the Yankees lost the 1964 World Series in seven games to the Cardinals. Bob Gibson won two out of three games, including the clincher, while the sore-armed Yankee ace Whitey Ford was uncharacteristically hit hard in game one and did not appear again in the 1964 World Series.

Twenty-two-year-old Mel Stottlemyre, who was called up in August and went 9-3, beat Gibson in game two to even the 1964 World Series; Jim Bouton won game three.

St. Louis won with timely hitting and stout pitching. Boyer's grandslam won game four 4-3 and Gibson completed the ten-inning, 5-2 fifth game, won on Tim McCarver's three-run homer. Bouton squared the 1964 World Series in game six, but Gibson proved worthy to the end, beating the Yankees 7-5 in the finale. Bobby Richardson of New York set a Series record with 13 hits before making the last out.

The day after the 1964 World Series ended, St. Louis manager Johnny Keane resigned and replaced fired Yankee manager Yogi Berra.

Check out the next page for the headlines and summaries of the year's most exciting baseball stories.

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