1962 Baseball Season


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
Don Drysdale won the
Cy Young award in 1962.

The Dodgers picked up several awards in their quest for the National League pennant. Maury Wills broke Ty Cobb's record of 96 stolen bases in 1915 with 104 swipes and was voted MVP. Tommy Davis topped the circuit with his .346 average and 153 RBI. Don Drysdale won a league-high 25 games and the Cy Young Award; Sandy Koufax, who pitched a no-hitter against the Mets on June 30, was the ERA champ at 2.54. All this talent made for an exciting first season at the new Chevez Ravine stadium. The Los Angeles fans responded with a record-setting attendance of 2,755,184.

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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1962 Baseball Season Headlines

In 1962, Sandy Koufax threw his first no-hitter and Bobby Richardson set a Yankees club record. Here are some of the headlines from the 1962 baseball season:

Harmon Killebrew Leads American League in HRs, RBI

Harmon Killebrew paced the American League in major slugging departments in 1962 with 48 home runs and 126 RBI. He led the league in home runs while playing each of the three different positions he served at as a regular for at least one full season.

Speedy Willie Davis Ties for National League Lead in Triples

Willie Davis tied with three other players for the title of triples king in the National League in 1962; all four had ten apiece. Davis was also the circuit's second-best base thief that year, swiping 32 cushions (72 less than teammate Maury Wills). After 17 years in the majors, Davis left after the 1976 season to play in Japan.

Sandy Koufax No-Hits Hapless Mets

Sandy Koufax threw his first no-hitter on June 30, 1962. His victims, the Mets, were everyone's patsies that year. New York's five main starters had a combined 30-92 record. Reliever Ken MacKenzie somehow managed to collect five wins and just four losses for the Mets.

Veteran Bob Friend Wins 18 Games

Although he was just age 31 at the end of the 1962 season, Bob Friend had already put in 12 full years in the majors. He debuted with the 1951 Pirates, who finished in next-to-last place, then pitched for five cellar-dwellers in the next six seasons, thus accounting for his poor career-win percentage. He had an 18-14 season in 1962, tying for the league-lead with five shutouts.

Elroy Face Posts National League-High 28 Saves

Elroy Face topped the National League in saves for the third and final time in 1962, tallying 28. His work helped the Pirates triumph in 93 games. In 1962, however, with the circuit so unbalanced by expansion that seven teams finished above .500, 93 victories was good only for a fourth-place spot.

Don Drysdale Goes 25-9

Don Drysdale was the National League's top pitcher in 1962, posting a 25-9 record. He led a mound staff that, for the sixth year in a row, topped the majors in strikeouts (1,104 that season). The Dodgers' skein was ended at seven seasons in 1964 by the Reds. Drysdale's personal high of 251 Ks came in 1963.

Bobby Richardson Bats 692 Times

Bobby Richardson set a Yankees club record in 1962 by collecting 692 at-bats. Most Bomber fans will be hard-pressed, though, to recall even one of his plate appearances that season. What Yankees fans remember is the moment, forever frozen in time, when he snagged the 1962 World Series-ending line drive.

Elston Howard, 33, Finally Starts

In 1962, for the first time in his major league career, Elston Howard played just one position -- catcher. He was already 33 years of age then, and on the downside of the hill (.279 average, 21 home runs, 91 RBI). With any team other than the Yankees (who were led for years by All-Star backstop Yogi Berra), Howard would probably have been a full-time regular ten years sooner. He would not, however, have cashed ten World Series checks. Howard played in 54 Series games in his career-third most in history.

Check out more headlines from the 1962 baseball season on the next page.

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More 1962 Baseball Season Headlines

Below are more headlines from the 1962 baseball season, including the induction of the first black player in the Hall of Fame and Chuck Hiller's World Series grandslam.

Jackie Robinson: First Black Player in Hall of Fame

Jackie Robinson was the first black player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Robinson trailed only Bob Feller in the 1962 voting. Between 1956 and 1966, the balloting for selection was conducted every other year rather than each winter.

Jim Bunning Wins 19 Games

Jim Bunning spearheaded the fourth-place Tigers and placed among the American League's top five leaders with 19 victories in 1962. In December of the following year, he was traded to the Phils in one of the first big interleague deals. Interleague trading, which for years had been prohibited except via the waiver route, was kicked off by a 1959 swap between the Giants and Orioles.

Yankees Lead American League in Runs

The Yankees again led the American League in runs (817). This marked the 37th straight year in which they ranked in the top half of the American League in runs.

Ralph Terry in Another Close World Series

Ralph Terry is the only pitcher to throw the last pitch in two World Series, both of which ended dramatically. In each instance, Terry's delivery was hit hard. On the second occasion, however, he was lucky. Had Willie McCovey's line drive escaped Bobby Richardson in the 1962 Series finale, Terry would have lost the game 2-1.

Roberto Clemente Hits .312

Perhaps the closest parallel Roberto Clemente had in terms of hitting was Harry Heilmann, who also started extremely slowly. Clemente had a .282 career average after his first five seasons. In 1962, he hit .312 with ten home runs and 74 RBI. When he died in 1972, his average was up to .317.

Dick Radatz Hot in Relief

Dick Radatz made 62 relief appearances as a rookie with the 1962 Red Sox and notched 24 saves on a 2.24 ERA. For three years, he was nearly untouchable, registering well over a strikeout an inning. Then in 1965, his fastball lost a little of its kick and he began to get blasted.

Jim Kaat, Camilo Pascual Pump Up Twins

Twins teammates Jim Kaat and Camilo Pascual won 38 games between them that year, the most of any American League mound duo except Ralph Terry and Whitey Ford of the Yankees. Kaat and Pascual also tied with Cleveland's Dick Donovan for the lead in shutouts with five apiece.

Chuck Hiller Cracks 1962 World Series Slam

Chuck Hiller's grandslam breaks a two-all tie in the seventh inning of game four of the 1962 World Series. Nicknamed "Iron Hands" for his shaky fielding, Hiller lost his second base job the following year when his average dipped to .223. He never again played regularly.

Tommy Davis: National League's Toughest Out

In addition to leading the circuit with 153 RBI and 230 hits. Tommy Davis was the 1962 National League batting champ with a .346 average. He won a repeat hitting crown in 1963, had an off year in 1964, then broke an ankle the following spring. Soon after returning to full-time action, Davis was traded to the Mets, beginning a ten-year stretch in which he played for nine different teams.

The next page highlights key events and details from the 1962 baseball season.

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1962 Baseball Season Highlights

The 1962 baseball season saw the addition of two teams to the National League -- the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s. New York got another addition as well as it racked up another World Series win for the Yankees. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1962 baseball season:
  • The Yankees go off on another run, taking a third consecutive American League flag.

  • The Giants win the 1962 National League pennant in playoff.

  • The Dodgers are involved in the fourth pennant playoff since 1946 and lose for third time.

  • The Yankees eke out a 1962 World Series win in seven games.

    Sandy Koufax
    Sandy Koufax pitches a
    no-hitter on
    June 30, 1962.

  • Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers no-hits the Mets on June 30.

  • New York's Ralph Terry wins 1-0 over Jack Sanford in game seven of the World Series.

  • Bobby Richardson ends the World Series by spearing Willie McCovey's line drive, leaving the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

  • The Yankees win their 20th World Series in the past 40 years.

  • The Yankees hit just .199, the lowest batting average by a winning team in a seven-game World Series.

  • Dodger Maury Wills is the 1962 National League MVP, edging out Willie Mays.

  • Mickey Mantle is named the American League MVP.

  • Dodger Don Drysdale tops the majors with 25 wins and captures the Cy Young Award.

  • Tommy Davis of the Dodgers wins the 1962 National League batting crown (.346) and knocks home 153 runs, most by anyone in majors since 1949.

  • Wills steals a major league record 104 bases.

  • Mays leads the majors with 49 homers and 382 total bases.

  • The expansion New York Mets lose a modern major league record 120 games.

  • Jackie Robinson becomes the first black player inducted into the Hall of Fame.

  • Sanford wins 16 straight games.

  • The expansion Los Angeles Angels finish third in American League and lead the loop as late as July 4.

  • The National League wins the first All-Star Game of year, 3-1 at Washington.

  • The American League wins the year's second All-Star Game, played almost three weeks after the first one, 9-4 at Wrigley Field.

  • On September 12, Washington's Tom Cheney Ks 21 Orioles in a 16-inning game, winning 2-1.

  • Bo Belinsky of the Angels no-hits Baltimore on May 5.

  • Earl Wilson of the Red Sox no-hits the Angels on June 26.

  • Bill Monbouquette of Boston no-hits Chicago on August 1.

  • Jack Kralick of Minnesota no-hits Kansas City on August 26.

  • The three Sadowskis -- Ted, Ed, and Bob -- are the last trio of brothers to all be active in the American League in same year.

  • Dodger Stadium opens on April 10.

  • Harmon Killebrew sets a major league record when he fans 142 times.

  • Pittsburgh reliever Diomedes Olivo, age 43, is the oldest rookie in major league history.

  • On October 2, the Dodgers and Giants play for four hours and 18 minutes, setting a major league record for the longest nine-inning game.

  • Cincinnati's Frank Robinson tops the majors in runs (134), doubles (51), and slugging average (.624), and leads the National League in on-base percentage (.424).

  • Davis leads the majors with 230 hits and 246 runs produced.

  • Pirate Elroy Face sets a new National League save record with 28.
Take a look at the next section for more highlights from the 1962 baseball season.

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More 1962 Baseball Season Highlights

Check out more 1962 baseball season highlights, including key moments in the baseball careers of Mickey Mantle and other amazing players.

  • Mantle tops the American League in on-base percentage (.488), slugging average (.605), and walks (122).

  • Boston's Pete Runnels wins his second American League batting crown (.326) and is the first to win batting titles at two positions -- second base and first base.

  • Ralph Terry tops the American League with 23 wins.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Bob Feller, Bill McKechnie, and Edd Roush.

  • Yankee Tom Tresh is the 1962 American League Rookie of the Year.

  • Cincinnati's Ken Hubbs is the 1962 National League Rookie of the Year.

  • Milwaukee's Del Crandall and Minnesota's Earl Battey win their final Gold Gloves at catcher.

  • Hubbs interrupts, for one year only, Bill Mazeroski's grip on the National League Gold Glove prize at second base.

  • Maury Wills wins his second Gold Glove for National League shortstops; Luis Aparicio continues to be the only American League shortstop to win a Gold Glove.

  • The Mets play their first game on April 11 and lose 11-4 to Cards.

  • The Mets get off to an 0-9 start and don't win their first game in franchise history until April 23, 9-1 over Pittsburgh.

  • Reliever Pete Richert of LA debuts in majors on April 12 by fanning the first six batters he faces.

  • Detroit's Rocky Colavito goes 7-for-10 in a 22-inning game on June 24.

  • Floyd Robinson of the White Sox goes 6-for-6 on July 22.

  • Bill Fischer of Kansas City pitches a major league record 84-1/3 consecutive innings without issuing a walk.

  • Detroit's Norm Cash sets a major league record that still stands for the largest drop in BA-118 points-by a previous year's bat crown winner.

  • Nellie Fox plays 150 or more games for an American League-record 11th consecutive season.

  • Eddie Yost retires with a record 28 homers as the leadoff batter in a game (since broken).

  • Hubbs sets a new major league record for second basemen by handling 418 consecutive errorless chances.

  • Paul Waner dies.

  • The majors adopt a Player Development Plan to address the problems of a shrinking talent pool and the collapse of the minor leagues.

  • At season's end, the Pirates trade Dick Groat and Olivo to the Cards for Don Cardwell and Julio Gotay.

  • Pittsburgh's Groat and Mazeroski participate in a combined National League keystone record 264 double plays (since broken).

  • At Candlestick Park, the Giants' Billy Pierce has a 12-0 record in 12 starts -- a major league record for most home wins without a loss in a season.

  • Craig Anderson loses 16 straight games for the Mets, setting a new major league post-dead-ball record.

  • The Yankees send Bill Skowron to Dodgers for Stan Williams.

  • Eddie Mathews leads National League again in walks (101).

  • Four players tie for the National League lead in triples (ten).

  • Kansas City's Gino Cimoli leads American League with 15 triples.

  • Bob Purkey has 23 wins for the Reds and tops the National League in winning percentage (.821).

  • Sandy Koufax leads the National League in ERA (2.54).

  • Don Drysdale tops the majors in innings (314) and Ks (232).

  • Warren Spahn leads the National League again in CGs with 22.

  • Rocky Colavito tops the American League in total bases (309).

  • Minnesota's Camilo Pascual again leads the American League in Ks (206) and also leads in complete games (18) and ties for lead in shutouts (five).

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