Ron Santo Slugs in Vain
In 1964, Ron Santo placed second in the National League in RBI (114) and slugging average (.564). Although he may have been the most valuable player in the National League that year, the standings did not reflect it. After breaking .500 in 1963 for the first time since 1946, the Cubs dropped back into the pack again the following season, finishing eighth.
Brooks Robinson Hits and Fields
Brooks Robinson once said, "I could field as long as I can remember. But hitting has been a struggle all my life." In 1964, Robinson posted career-highs in home runs (28), RBI (118), and batting average (.317). Although he played 14 additional years, he never again hit .300.
Hoyt Wilhelm, 41, Saves 27
Turning 41 years old in 1964, Hoyt Wilhelm seemed only to improve with age as he notched 27 saves for the White Sox on a 1.99 ERA. In the five-year span between 1964 and 1968, Wilhelm's saves totaled 77 and his ERA stayed under 2.00 each season, with a personal career-low of 1.31 in 1967.
Pedro Oliva Takes Five Titles
Pedro Oliva used his brother's birth certificate when he applied for a passport to enter the United States, and thereafter kept the name of his sibling Tony. In 1964, he set several American League rookie records and topped the circuit in runs scored (109), hits (217), doubles (43), total bases (374), and batting average (.323). Until suffering a crippling knee injury in 1972, Oliva was almost unquestionably bound for the Hall of Fame.
Gary Peters Wins 20 Games
Gary Peters struggled for seven years in the minors before earning a permanent spot on the White Sox roster in 1963. For the next nine seasons, he was one of the top southpaws in the American League. In 1964, he tied for the league-lead in wins with 20. Peters was also frequently utilized in a pinch-hitting capacity.
Bobby Richardson Nets 13 Hits
Bobby Richardson played in five World Series between 1960 and 1964. He was the top RBI man in the 1960 Series and the leading hitter in the 1961 affair. In 1964, he set a Series record with 13 hits. Only once during the period did he hit above .267 or total more than 50 RBI in the season.
Jim Bunning Perfect on Father's Day
Jim Bunning retires pinch hitter Johnny Stephenson of the Mets to nail down his perfect game on Father's Day in 1964. That season, Bunning posted a 19-8 record and Stephenson, a rookie, hit .158. The rest of the Mets lineup was not as inept as before and even had two .300 hitters -- Ron Hunt and Joe Christopher.
Curt Flood Finds His Niche
In 1957, Curt Flood was a scatter-armed third baseman in the Reds farm system who was not about to supplant Don Hoak, the hot corner man on the parent club. Acquired over the winter by the Cardinals for three pitchers of limited worth, Flood was installed in center field and remained there for 12 years. In 1964, he batted .311 and posted 211 hits (tied for the lead in the National League).
You can find more headlines from the 1964 baseball season on the next page.
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