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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1964 Baseball Season Headlines

In 1964, third basemen Ken Boyer and Brooks Robinson found their stride to become MVPs for their respective leagues. Here are some of the headlines from the 1964 baseball season:

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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More 1964 Baseball Season Headlines

Below are more headlines from the 1964 baseball season, including Mickey Mantle's 1964 World Series triumph.

Speedy Ken Boyer Tops in RBI

Ken Boyer swiped 22 bases as a rookie in 1955, an astounding total in that era for a third baseman. He was so fleet afoot early in his career that in 1957 the Cardinals moved him to center field, where he led all National League gardeners in fielding average. In 1964, Boyer spearheaded the majors with 119 RBI.

Bob Gibson Earns Clutch Wins

Bob Gibson's career win percentage came in below .500 after his first four seasons in the majors. For the remaining 13 years of his career, it ranked above .600. In World Series action, Gibson holds virtually every significant career record for a pitcher who played for a team other than the Yankees. In 1964, the hurler posted a 19-12 record, yet was on the money when it counted, pitching to victories in games five and seven of the fall classic.

Roberto Clemente Takes 1964 National League Crown

Roberto Clemente claimed his second National League batting title in 1964, posting a .339 average. When he repeated the feat in 1965, it was the seventh year in a row that the National League batting king was righthanded. The period between 1959 and 1965 in the National League is the longest run of dominance in either loop by righty swingers since the end of the dead-ball era.

Gene Mauch Goes Down

The jury is still out on whether Gene Mauch was the victim of bad luck or his own panic-stricken managing in the collapse of the Phillies. In any event, his club won on the season's final day to knock the Reds out of a tie for the flag.

PH Carl Warwick Sets Marks

Cardinals outfielder Carl Warwick tied both a single and a career Series record when he garnered three pinch blows in the 1964 classic. For the remainder of his career, he batted just .140 as a pinch hitter.

Mel Stottlemyre Starts Three Games

Mel Stottlemyre began the 1964 season with Triple-A Richmond in the International League and was not called up by the Yankees until August. With Whitey Ford idled, manager Yogi Berra was forced to start Stottlemyre in three games of the 1964 World Series. The rookie won his first fall classic contest 8-3, then lost 5-2 and 7-5. Never again in his 11-year career did he pitch in postseason play.

Mickey Mantle Wins Game Three

In the bottom of the ninth of game three of the 1964 World Series, Mickey Mantle tagged Schultz's first pitch for a home run to win the contest 2-1. Schultz, the Cards' bullpen ace during the regular season, had little success in the 1964 World Series. He went 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA.

Jim Bouton Wins Two in 1964 World Series

Not yet a writer in 1964, Jim Bouton was still a pitcher -- and a good one. He topped the American League with 37 starts that season, posting 18 victories, then won games three and six in the 1964 World Series. Bouton nose-dived to a 4-15 record the following year, joining in the overall Yankees collapse.

Bob Gibson Beats the Yankees

Bob Gibson started three games in an eight-day period and was hit freely by the Yankees throughout. Only in Gibson's first outing, however, was New York able to administer a knockout punch.

You can find highlights from the 1964 baseball season on the next page.

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1964 Baseball Season Highlights

In the finale of the 1964 baseball season, the Yankees were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in a thrilling seven games. Below, you will find highlights from the 1964 baseball season:
  • The Yanks tie their own record by winning a fifth consecutive flag in American League.

  • The Cards emerge on top in the National League by a 1-game margin in a five-team race.

  • The Cards win the 1964 World Series in seven games -- it's the first time since 1921-1922 that the Yankees have been beaten twice in a row in fall play.

  • Tired Bob Gibson beats tired Mel Stottlemyre in game seven, as both start the third 1964 World Series game on only three days' rest.

  • Gibson fans 13 men in ten innings in game five of the 1964 World Series.

  • Tim McCarver of the Cards leads all World Series hitters with .478 BA.

    Mickey Mantle
    Mickey Mantle has three
    home runs in the
    1964 World Series.

  • Mickey Mantle has three homers and eight RBI in his last World Series.

  • Yankee Bobby Richardson sets a Series record with 13 hits.

  • Yogi Berra is fired as Yankees pilot after winning a flag as a rookie manager; Cards manager Johnny Keane is hired to replace him.

  • St. Louis's Ken Boyer wins the 1964 National League MVP Award.

  • Brooks Robinson of Baltimore is named 1964 American League MVP.

  • Tony Oliva of the Twins is named 1964 American League Rookie of the Year, as he wins bat title (.323).

  • Philly's Dick Allen is named 1964 National League Rookie of the Year, as he tops the National League in total bases (352) and runs (125), and ties in triples with 13.

  • The Phils lose the National League flag after leading by 6½ games with 12 to play as they lose ten straight games down the stretch.

  • Boston's Dick Radatz has 16 wins and major league-top 29 saves for a team that wins only 72 games.

  • On May 31, Mets and Giants play twinbill that lasts record 10½ hours; the Mets lose both games.

  • The Yankees are sold to CBS.

  • Wally Bunker, age 19, wins 19 games for Orioles -- the most in the 20th Century by a teenage pitcher.

  • New York's Shea Stadium opens on April 17 as the Mets host Pittsburgh.

  • The National League wins the All-Star Game 7-4 at Shea Stadium.

  • Jim Bunning pitches a perfect game vs. the Mets on June 21 -- it's the first perfect game in the National League during the 20th Century.

  • Houston's Ken Johnson becomes the lone Major League hurler to lose a CG no-hitter in nine innings, as the Reds beat him 1-0 on April 23.

  • Sandy Koufax no-hits Philadelphia on June 4.

  • Koufax Ks 18 Cubs on April 24.

  • Koufax is held to 223 innings by arm trouble, but still leads the National League in shutouts (seven), win pct. (.792), and ERA (1.74).

  • Mickey Mantle receives his first $100,000 contract.

  • Boston's Tony Conigliaro, age 19, hits 24 homers and has .530 SA -- both records for a teenage player.

  • Baltimore's Luis Aparicio leads American League in steals (57) for a record ninth consecutive year.

  • Don Drysdale tops the majors in innings pitched (321).

  • Johnny Wyatt of KC is the first pitcher in Major League history to appear in at least half of his team's games (81 of 162).

  • Pedro Oliva leads the majors in hits (217) and total bases (374), and the American League in runs (109) and doubles (43).

  • Oliva sets American League rookie record for hits.

  • Oliva ties Major League rookie record with 374 total bases.
For more highlights of the 1964 baseball season, continue to the next page.

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More 1964 Baseball Season Highlights

Below are more highlights of the 1964 baseball season, including first-ever MVP wins by third basemen in both leagues.

  • Dick Allen sets National League rookie record with 352 total bases.
  • The Mets finish last for the third consecutive year under Casey Stengel, losing a major league record 340 games over a three-year period.

  • Willie Mays tops the National League in homers (47) and SA (.607).

  • Dean Chance of the Angels wins the Cy Young Award.

  • Chance tops the American League in ERA (1.65), shutouts (11), innings (278), and CGs (15).
  • Larry Jackson of the Cubs tops the majors with 24 wins.

  • The Cubs trade Lou Brock and two other players to the Cards for Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Luke Appling, Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Miller Huggins, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, and Monte Ward.

  • Bobby Shantz wins the last of eight consecutive Gold Gloves.

  • Catchers Elston Howard of the Yankees and Johnny Edwards of the Reds both win second consecutive Gold Gloves.

  • Vic Power wins the last of seven straight Gold Gloves as an American League first baseman.

  • Chicago's Ron Santo replaces Ken Boyer as National League Gold Glove champ at third base; Santo will win five Gold Gloves in a row.

  • Ruben Amaro takes Bobby Wine's job as Phils shortstop and also replaces him as reigning National League Gold Glove champ.

  • Chicago's Jim Landis wins his last of five consecutive Gold Gloves given to American League outfielders.

  • Jesus Alou of the Giants goes 6-for-6 on July 10.

  • Oriole Jerry Adair's .994 FA sets a new major league record for second basemen.

  • For the first time in major league history, third basemen win both MVP Awards.

  • On Sept. 21, the Reds beat the Phils on a steal of home by Chico Ruiz; the game starts the Phils' incredible slide from the top.

  • Joe Stanka is selected the MVP of Japan's Pacific League, the first American player to be so honored.

  • Masanori Murakami of the Giants becomes the first Japanese-born player to play in the majors.

  • The White Sox give up an American League record-low 2.63 runs per game at home.

  • Cleveland deals Mudcat Grant to the Twins for George Banks and Lee Stange.

  • LA sends Frank Howard and four others to Washington for Claude Osteen, John Kennedy, and cash.

  • Milwaukee deals Roy McMillan to the Mets for Jay Hook and Adrian Garrett.

  • Houston pitcher Jim Umbricht dies of cancer.

  • Ken Hubbs of the Cubs dies in a private plane crash prior to the season.

  • Reds manager Fred Hutchinson dies of cancer.

  • Brooks Robinson leads the American League in games played for the fourth consecutive year to tie the loop record.

  • The Twins tie the record of 1961 Yankees when six of their players hit 20 or more homers.

  • The Reds blow their chance to win the National League flag by losing the last two games of the season to Phils.

  • The Cards nearly blow their pennant race by losing their next-to-last game to the Mets.

  • Jim Ray Hart sets a Giants franchise rookie record with 31 homers.

  • Roberto Clemente tops the National League in batting (.339), and ties St. Louis's Curt Flood for lead in hits (211).

  • Ken Boyer is the National League RBI leader (119) and is tops in runs produced (195).

  • Maury Wills cops his fourth National League steals crown in a row (53).

  • Ron Santo leads the National League in walks (86) and OBP (.401), and ties in triples (13).

  • Lee Maye of the Braves tops the majors with 44 doubles.

  • Juan Marichal tops the majors with 22 complete games.

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