1965 Baseball Season

The seeds of parity were sown in the 1965 baseball season, as the collapse of the Yankees after decades of domination was followed by the first-ever rookie draft (Rick Monday was the No. 1 pick of the Kansas City A's). After a one-year hiatus, the Dodgers again won the 1965 World Series, establishing themselves as potential heirs to the Yankee throne.

Sandy Koufax had another dominating year, leading the National League in wins (26), strikeouts (382 -- a major league record), and ERA (2.04), and winning his second Cy Young Award. His perfect game against the Cubs in September was the fourth no-hitter of his career. With the aid of Don Drysdale's 23 wins, Los Angeles' pitching was strong enough to offset its weak offense -- which fourth-place Cincinnati outscored 825-608 while finishing 8 games back. (Los Angeles second baseman Jim Lefebvre seized the league's Rookie of the Year Award with a .250 BA, 12 home runs, and 69 RBI.)

The broad-based attack of the Reds included league RBI champ Deron Johnson (.287 average, 32 homers, 130 RBI) and Frank Robinson (whose season of a .296 average, 33 homers, and 113 RBI earned him a trade to the Orioles).

Willie Mays took MVP honors for batting .317 with a league-leading 52 home runs (including a record-breaking 17 round-trippers in August) and Willie McCovey knocked in a second-best 39 homers as San Francisco finished 2 games behind Los Angeles. Roberto Clemente won his second straight batting title and third overall with a .329 average. The Houston Astrodome opened with much fanfare -- but the hometown fans had little to cheer as their team lost 97 games to finish ninth.

Wresting the American League crown from the Yankees (who finished sixth) were the Twins. Minnesota won 102 games with the help of batting champion Tony Oliva (.321 average-his second title in two years in the majors), MVP Zoilo Versalles (.273 average, 19 homers, 77 RBI), and Jim Grant (a league-high 21 victories).

Curt Blefary of Baltimore took top rookie honors with a .260 average, 22 homers, and 70 RBI. Ninth-place Boston hit the most homers in the league, courtesy of home run king Tony Conigliaro, who hammered 32.
Rocky Colavito's league-best 108 RBI and Sam McDowell's circuit-leading 2.18 ERA got Cleveland to fifth place.

Jim Maloney of the Reds nearly pitched two no-hitters: On June 14, the 25-year-old righty struck out 18 Mets (tying a league record) then gave up a homer in the ll th to lose 1-0. On August 19, he set down the Cubs in ten innings to win it 1-0.

Although San Francisco's Juan Marichal won 22 games with a 2.14 ERA, the pennant race headlines concentrated on Marichal's encounter with Dodgers catcher John Roseboro. Marichal clobbered Roseboro in the head with his bat after Roseboro returned a pitch to the mound close to the pitcher's head. The Giants won that day, beating Koufax. Although the Giants led the Dodgers and Reds by 3½ games on September 17, they finished 2 games behind LA. The Dodgers had their third pennant in seven years.

The Los Angeles hitters came alive in the 1965 World Series after Minnesota took the first two games at home. Koufax and Claude Osteen hurled shutouts as LA swept the Twins at home, 4-0, 7-2, and 7-0. After Minnesota won game six behind Grant, Koufax returned to shut out the Twins 2-0, the only game of the 1965 World Series won by the visiting team.

The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 1965 baseball season.

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The biggest news of the year was the toppling of the Yankee dynasty along with shining individual performances across both leagues. Here are some of the headlines from the 1965 baseball season:

Carl Yastrzemski Paces Sox Attack

In 1965, Carl Yastrzemski led a Red Sox team that paced the American League in home runs and slugging average and was second only to the Twins in batting. He hit .312 with 45 doubles (tied for the league lead), 20 home runs, and 72 RBI. Boston nevertheless narrowly escaped finishing in the American League cellar when its hurlers were tagged for a circuit-high 791 runs.

Willie Mays Tallies 1965 Giant Stats

Willie Mays racked up 52 home runs and a mammoth .645 slugging average in 1965, keeping the Giants in the National League race until the final weekend of the season. Between them, Mays and Willie McCovey tallied 91 round-trippers, 13 more than the first-place Dodgers.

Mickey Mantle Is Honored

Robert Kennedy was just one of the luminaries to take part in Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium in 1965. The Yankees' tumble to sixth place that year was caused in small part by an off year for some stars (including Mantle, who posted a .255 average, 19 home runs, and 46 RBI) and in large part by the club's failure to keep pace with other teams in developing talented young black players.

Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax Win 49

Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax won 49 games between them for the 1965 Dodgers -- the most victories by any mound duo since the beginning of the expansion era in 1961. The American League postexpansion record is 48 triumphs, held by Denny McLain and Mickey Lolich of the 1968 Tigers and Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally of the 1970 Orioles.

Workhorse Mel Stottlemyre Leads Yanks

Mel Stottlemyre is the only pitcher since 1920 to win 20 or more games three times for the Yankees without notching 20 victories on a pennant-winning team. After copping the American League flag in 1964, Stottlemyre's rookie season, the New York ballclub went a dozen years before claiming another. The hurler's rotator cuff had given out by then.

Bert Campaneris Shines for 1965 A's

Bert Campaneris was virtually the lone bright spot for the last-place A's in 1965. In topping the American League in steals with 51 and tying for the lead in triples with 12 that year, he became the only player in the club's history to pace the loop in more than one major offensive department.

Champion Twins Soft at Second

Rookie Frank Quilici, a .208 hitter during the regular season and later a Twins manager, played every inning of the 1965 World Series at second base. He replaced Jerry Kindall, a .196 hitter that season who retired to become a high school teacher.

Soph Tony Oliva Nabs Second BA Crown

Tony Oliva is the only player in major league history to win a batting title in each of his first two seasons, hitting .323 in 1964 and .321. in 1965. Although some sources credit Paul Waner with the same feat, most still give the National League hitting title in 1926, Waner's rookie year, to Bubbles Hargrave.

You can find more headlines from the 1965 baseball season on the next page.

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Below are more headlines from the 1965 baseball season, including the oldest man to pitch in a major-league game, and Sandy Koufax's masterful performance to win game seven of the World Series.

Zoilo Versalles Cops MVP in American League

The lone shortstop between 1950 and 1982 to win the MVP Award in the American League, Zoilo Versalles was just 25 years of age in 1965. He spearheaded the loop in runs scored (126) and tied for the lead in doubles (45) and triples (12) that year. When he hit .249 the following season and again topped the circuit in errors, it was attributed to an off year. As it turned out, 1966 was his last decent season.

Maury Wills Off and Running

Maury Wills committed 94 thefts in 1965, the second-most number of swipes in modern National League history at the time. He was caught a career-high 31 times that season.

Willie Horton Nets 104 RBI

Had Willie Horton not narrowly missed qualifying as a rookie in 1965, he would have been the hands-down winner of the American League frosh award. His 104 RBI ranked second and his 29 home runs placed third in the loop. In his 18-year career, Horton never led the junior loop in a single major offensive department.

Phenom Tony Conigliaro Clubs 32 HRs

In 1964, Tony Conigliaro set three major league batting records for teenage players and, in addition, five American League marks. When he became the youngest home run leader in history in 1965 with 32 dingers, he seemed destined to be one of the supreme sluggers of all time. Conigliaro instead joined Pete Reiser and Herb Score, two other potential greats who were cut down young by devastating injuries.

Satchel Paige
Satchel Paige is the oldest
man to ever pitch in a
major league game.

Satchel Paige sets age record

Setting a record for the oldest man ever to pitch in a major league game, at age 60 Satchel Paige held the Red Sox to one hit and no runs in a three-inning relief stint on September 25, 1965.

Jim Kaat Dips to 18-11 Mark

The Twins won the American League pennant easily in 1965, even though Jim Kaat and Camilo Pascual, its two best pitchers the previous year, won fewer games between them in '65. Kaat posted an 18-11 record with a 2.83 ERA; Pascual went 9-3 with a 3.35 ERA. Several other regulars had mediocre years.

Houston Astrodome Opens

The first stadium to feature artificial surface and sky cost $31.6 million to build. The coliseum was inaugurated on April 9, 1965, in an exhibition game between the Astros and the Yankees.

Maury Wills Scores in Dodger Blowout

The contest, a 7-0 Los Angeles victory, marked the third straight one-sided Dodger triumph in the Coliseum. Back at Metropolitan Stadium two days later, Los Angeles lost 5-1 to the Twins.

Sandy Koufax Stymies 1965 Twins

Sandy Koufax held the Twins to three hits in the seventh game of the 1965 World Series to bring the Dodgers the World Title. Koufax struck out ten hitters in his second Series shutout. No. 24 is Los Angeles manager Walter Alston.

To find more 1965 season highlights, continue on to the next page.

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The 1965 baseball season featured the Los Angeles Dodgers reviving their victories of 1963 while the Yankees virtually fall off the map. The Dodgers eventually took the 1965 World Series against the Twins in seven games. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1965 baseball season:
  • The Dodgers win the 1965 National League flag by 2 games over Giants.

  • The Twins take the franchise's first American League flag since 1933.

  • LA wins the 1965 World Series in seven games after dropping first two contests in Minnesota.

  • Sandy Koufax wins two CG shutouts in the 1965 World Series, including a crucial seventh game 2-0 over Jim Kaat.

    Walter Alston
    Walter Alston, manager
    of the LA Dodgers, wins
    his fourth World Series.

  • LA manager Walter Alston wins a National League record fourth World Series.

  • Sandy Koufax fans 29 Twins in three games of the 1965 World Series.

  • Ron Fairly of LA leads all 1965 World Series hitters with .379 BA, 11 hits, and six RBI.

  • Mudcat Grant wins two games for the Twins in the 1965 World Series.

  • Willie Mays is named 1965 National League MVP.

  • Minnesota's Zoilo Versalles is chosen as the 1965 American League MVP over teammate Tony Oliva.

  • Willy Mays leads the majors in homers (52), total bases (360), SA (.645), and OBP (.399).

  • For the second time, Sandy Koufax is the unanimous choice for Cy Young, as he Ks 382 to set a new major league record.

  • Koufax tops the majors with 26 wins, 336 innings, 27 CGs, and 2.04 ERA.

  • The majors adopt an annual free agent (rookie) draft.

  • Minnesota wins 102 games after winning 79 the year before.

  • Jim Maloney of the Reds pitches a no-hitter for ten innings over the Mets on June 14, but loses in 14 innings.

  • Pittsburgh's Bob Veale tops the majors with 250 Ks.

  • Jim Maloney has to go ten hitless innings to win a no-hitter, 1-0 over Chicago on August 19.

  • The National League wins the All-Star Game 6-5 in Minnesota, and for the first time takes the lead in All-Star victories.

  • At 60, Satchel Paige becomes the oldest man to play in a major league game when he hurls three scoreless innings for KC vs. Boston on Sept. 25.

  • Sandy Koufax pitches a perfect game and his major league record fourth no-hitter in four years, beating Chicago 1-0 on Sept. 9.

  • The first indoor stadium, the Astrodome, opens on April 9 -- Houston vs. Yankees in an exhibition game.

  • The Mets lose 112 games for a four-year major league record of 452 losses.

  • Bert Campaneris plays all nine positions for the A's on Sept. 8.

  • Spike Eckert replaces Ford Frick as baseball's commissioner.

  • Jerry Kindall leaves the majors with a .213 career BA, the lowest in the 20th Century by an infielder or outfielder.

  • Ted Abernathy's 31 saves for Cubs set a new major league record.

  • Dave Morehead of Boston no-hits Cleveland on September 16.

  • Tony Oliva again leads the American League in batting (.321), and also leads in hits (185) and runs produced (189).

  • Carl Yastrzemski tops the American League in OBP (.398) and SA (.536), and ties for the lead in doubles (45).

  • Boston's Tony Conigliaro leads the American League with 32 homers, and at 20 is the youngest ever to win a league homer crown.

  • Zolio Versalles tops the American League in runs (126) and total bases (308), and ties for the lead in doubles (45) and triples (12).

  • Cleveland's Sam McDowell leads the American League in ERA (2.18) and sets a new American League southpaw record for Ks (325).
Find more 1965 baseball season highlights in the next section.

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Check out more 1965 baseball season highlights below, including a stellar hitting performance by Roberto Clemente and the year's big trades.

  • Willie Mays hits National League record 17 homers in a month en route to setting Giants club record with 52 homers.

  • Ted Abernathy appears in new major league record 84 games as a pitcher.

  • Yankees finish in second division for first time since 1925.

  • Emmett Ashford, the first black ump in major league history, debuts in the American League.

  • Leo Durocher is hired to manage the Cubs, ending Wrigley's college of coaches scheme and four years of chaos.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Pud Galvin.

  • Jim Lefebvre of LA is the 1965 National League Rookie of the Year.

  • Curt Blefary of Baltimore is named the 1965 American League Rookie of the Year, as he hits 22 home runs.

  • Bob Gibson wins the first of nine consecutive Gold Gloves given to National League pitchers.

  • Detroit catcher Bill Freehan wins the first of five consecutive Gold Gloves.

  • Bobby Richardson wins the last of five straight Gold Gloves given to American League second basemen.

  • Yankee Joe Pepitone wins the first of three career Gold Gloves at first base.

  • Branch Rickey dies.

  • Bill McKechnie dies.

  • The Cards send Ken Boyer to the Mets for Al Jackson and Charley Smith.

  • The Giants deal Randy Hundley and Bill Hands to the Cubs for Lindy McDaniel, Don Landrum, and Jim Rittwage.

  • The Cards swap Dick Groat, Bill White, and Bob Uecker to the Phils for Alex Johnson, Art Mahaffey, and Pat Corrales.

  • The Indians send Tommie Agee, John Romano, and Tommy John to the White Sox; the tribe gets Rocky Colavito and Cam Carreon in a three-way deal with Kansas City.

  • Zoilo Versalles sets a major league record for shortstops when he strikes out 122 times.

  • Versalles ties the American League record by leading the loop in triples for third consecutive year, as he ties for the lead with 12.

  • The Braves have a National League record six players with 20 or more homers.

  • J.C. Martin sets the 20th Century record for catchers with 33 passed balls for White Sox.

  • The average major leaguer's salary in 1965 is around $17,000.

  • The Dodgers feature the first all-switch-hitting infield in major league history: Wes Parker, Lefebvre, Maury Wills, and Jim Gilliam.

  • Yankees legend Yogi Berra plays four games for the Mets.

  • Washington's Eddie Brinkman hits .185, tying Johnny Gochnauer's American League record for lowest BA by shortstop with a minimum of 400 at-bats.

  • Gus Triandos retires with a major league record 1,206 consecutive games without being caught stealing -- though he stole only one base.

  • Joe Morgan of Houston goes 6-for-6 on July 8.

  • After the season, the Reds deal Frank Robinson to Baltimore for Milt Pappas and two other players.

  • On September 3, the Dodgers use four pitchers to shut out the Astros the day after they used three pitchers to shut them out.

  • Bert Campaneris ends Luis Aparicio's reign as American League theft king, as he swipes 51.

  • Cleveland's Colavito tops the American League in RBI (108) and walks (93).

  • Mudcat Grant leads the American League in wins (21), shutouts (six), and win pct. (.750).

  • Mel Stottlemyre tops the American League in innings (291) and CGs (18).

  • Ron Kline of Washington tops the American League with 29 saves.

  • Roberto Clemente repeats as National League batting leader (.329).

  • Pete Rose tops the majors with 209 hits.

  • Cincinnati's Tommy Harper leads the National League in runs (126).

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