1963 Baseball Season Headlines
1963 Mets Bad All Over
Rookie shortstop Al Moran batted .193 in 119 games. Choo Choo Coleman held the club's first-string catching job despite batting .178 with just nine RBI. With that kind of supporting cast, Roger Craig could do no better than a 5-22 record.
Casey Stengel's Wisdom Can't Help
Under Casey Stengel the Mets won 11 more games in 1963 than they had in their initial season. They still finished last in the standings (posting a .315 winning percentage) and in hitting, pitching, and fielding.
Carl Yastrzemski Takes Five American League Titles
Remembering the first time he saw Carl Yastrzemski (the heir to his left-field post with the Red Sox) in the batting cage, Ted Williams said, "He positively quivered waiting for the next pitch." Yastrzemski collected the most hits of any American League player during the 1960s. In 1963, Yaz led the circuit with 183 hits, a .321 batting average, a .419 on-base percentage, 40 doubles, and 95 walks.
Vada Pinson: Reds' One-Man Gang
Although Vada Pinson stood high in many National League offensive departments in 1963 (204 hits, 14 triples, 106 RBI), he received little help from his teammates. One exception was righthander Jim Maloney, who fireballed his way to 23 wins and 265 strikeouts that season, still a Reds record.
Pete Rose: 101 Runs, 41 RBI
As a rookie in 1963, Pete Rose led the Reds with 101 runs scored yet netted just 41 RBI. It was a pattern that would continue all during his career. No player who collected 3,000 hits -- let alone 4,000 -- had fewer career RBI than Rose. Only in 1986, his final season, did Rose knock in more runs than he scored.
Juan Marichal Kicks In 25 Wins
In 1963, Juan Marichal tied Sandy Koufax for the most wins in the majors (25). Marichal ranked high in virtually every National League pitching department -- 321 innings pitched, 248 strikeouts, a 2.41 ERA.
Ralph Houk Moves Upstairs
Ralph Houk moved up to the Yankees' front office after 1963. Had he remained there, he would have been the only manager to win three flags in his only three years as a helmsman.
Luis Aparicio Sparkles at Short
Luis Aparicio never got the kind of attention in his time that Ozzie Smith currently enjoys, but he was every bit as good a shortstop. Aparicio either holds or shares almost every major career fielding record for American League shortstops, as well as the major league mark for most games by a shortstop (2,599). In 1963, Aparicio topped the circuit with 40 stolen bases.
Elston Howard Catches 1963 American League MVP Award
Elston Howard was voted the Most Valuable Player in the American League in 1963. He batted .287 that year with 28 home runs and 85 RBI. Neither Mickey Mantle, who was hurt much of the season, nor Roger Maris got a single vote that year. Howard also finished third in the balloting in 1964, yet only in tenth place in 1961 (his best season).
Helpless Roger Craig Goes 5-22
Owing to a poor year in 1961, Roger Craig was left unprotected by the Dodgers and claimed by the Mets from the pool of players designed to stock the two new National League expansion teams. Consequently, he became the last pitcher in major league history to lose 20 or more games in two consecutive seasons. Craig posted a .185 winning percentage in 1963, going 5-22.
Steady Whitey Ford Wins 24
Whitey Ford has the top career ERA -- 2.74 -- of any pitcher active exclusively since the end of the dead-ball era for ten or more seasons. He was so consistently effective that his highest ERA in the 16 seasons he pitched was 3.24 in 1965. His lowest, a 1.64 mark, came in his final season. In 1963, Ford led the American League with 24 wins and a .774 winning percentage.
You can find even more headlines from the 1963 baseball season on the next page.
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