Following the American League's lead, the National League expanded to ten teams in the 1962 baseball season, adding the New York Mets -- thus returning National League baseball to the Big Apple and the Polo Grounds after a four-year absence -- and the Houston Colt .45s. Houston won a respectable 64 games to finish in eighth place; the Casey Stengel-led "Amazin' Mets" lost a record 120 contests.
Don Drysdale won the
Cy Young award in 1962.
With Koufax sidelined with an injury, however, the Dodgers won just three of their last 13 games. The Giants -- led by Willie Mays's league-high 49 homers and second-best 141 RBI -- forced a three-game tie-breaking playoff. As in 1951, the Giants beat the Dodgers in come-from-behind style, overcoming a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning of game three to win the pennant.
The Indians led the American League at the All-Star break, then fell to sixth place by season's end as the Yankees took first again. Mickey Mantle missed 39 contests, yet still belted 30 homers and seized the MVP title. Roger Maris followed his 61-homer season with 33 round-trippers and 100 RBI.
Shortstop/outfielder Tom Tresh hit 20 homers and won Rookie of the Year honors (Chicago's Ken Hubbs was the National League's Rookie of the Year with a .260 average). Ralph Terry led the circuit with 23 wins; Whitey Ford won 17.
The Twins made a pennant run behind Harmon Killebrew's league-leading 48 homers and 126 RBI, Camilo Pascual's 20 wins, and Jack Kralick's no-hitter against Kansas City on August 26; they ended the season five games back. In third place, the second-year Angels surprisingly won 86 games on the strength of Leon Wagner's 37 homers and 107 RBI and the pitching of youngsters Dean Chance (14-10, 2.96 ERA) and Bo Belinsky (10-11, 3.56 ERA, a no-hitter against Baltimore on May 5).
The most that Boston could do with batting champ Pete Runnels (.326) and a pair of no-hitters -- Earl Wilson no-hit Los Angeles on June 26 and Bill Monbouquette no-hit Chicago on August 1 -- was tie with Baltimore for seventh place. Detroit, ranked fourth, had the ERA champ in Hank Aguirre (2.21).
Ford took the first game of the 1962 World Series 6-2, although his scoreless-innings 1962 World Series streak was stopped at 33-2/3 when the Giants scored in the second. The teams traded victories before ex-Yankee Don Larsen won game four. New York went up three games to two behind Ralph Terry's 5-3 victory.
When play resumed after three straight days of rain, the Giants and their 16-game winner Billy Pierce finally pinned a Series loss on Ford, winning 5-2.
In the tense seventh game at San Francisco, Terry and 24-game winner Jack Sanford locked in a pitcher's duel that had the Yankees up 1-0 after seven innings. Billy O'Dell, San Fran's 19-game winner, took over in the eighth and held the Yankees down until his team had one last shot in the ninth. A Mays double gave the Giants runners at second and third and two outs. Willie McCovey then hit a scorching line drive and second baseman Bobby Richardson snagged it for another Yankee World Championship.
The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 1962 baseball season.
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