Below are more headlines for the 1966 baseball season, including Frank Robinson's record-setting 122 scores.
Tommy John Finds Home in Chicago
Tommy John was part of the price the Indians had to pay in order to reobtain slugger Rocky Colavito following the 1964 season. With Cleveland, John was 2-11 and looked to be another in a long line of promising young Tribe hurlers who ultimately flopped. With the White Sox in 1966, he was 14-11 and tied for the American League-lead in shutouts with five. Some 20 years later, he had 286 career wins.
Roberto Clemente Nearly Perfect
Roger Angell wrote that Roberto Clemente performed "at close to the level of absolute perfection, playing to win but also playing the game almost as if it were a form of punishment for everyone else on the field." Clemente sparked the Pirates to a near pennant in 1966, hitting .317 with 29 home runs and 119 RBI.
Sandy Koufax Bids Farewell
A tearful Sandy Koufax announced his retirement from baseball on November 18, 1966, in Beverly Hills, California. In his last major league appearance -- game two of the 1966 World Series -- the Dodgers were blanked 6-0 and made six errors, three of them in one inning by center fielder Willie Davis. Koufax posted a 1.50 ERA for the game.
Paul Blair Blossoms
Paul Blair was one of three standout rookie outfielders the Orioles came up with in the mid-1960s. But unlike Sam Bowens and Curt Blefary, who arrived in 1964 and 1965, Blair did not regress after his rookie campaign in 1964. In 1966, he batted .277, scored 35 runs, and nailed a dinger to win game three of the fall classic.
Red Barber Axed for Telling the Truth
For years the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Red Barber joined the Yankees' broadcasting team after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. However, when he told it like it was as a television camera panned the empty seats in Yankee Stadium late in the 1966 season, he was swiftly axed.
Wally Bunker Blanks LA
Wally Bunker unleashed the first pitch of game three of the 1966 World Series to Dodgers leadoff hitter Maury Wills. Andy Etchebarren was the Baltimore catcher and Chris Pelekoudas was the plate umpire. Bunker, who logged just three complete games and no shutouts during the regular season, checkmated the Dodgers 1-0 that day.
Jim Kaat Sets Twins Mark
Jim Kaat was an atypical southpaw -- he had excellent control -- in addition to being an extraordinary fielder and a decent hitter. He topped American League hurlers in several departments in 1966, including complete games (19) and fewest walks per game (1.62). His circuit-high 25 victories that season are still a record for the Twins.
Frank Robinson Scores 122 Times
Frank Robinson was nearly as fine a baserunner as he was a hitter. He ranks tenth on the all-time list in runs, topping the National League in tallies twice before coming to the Orioles in 1966. When Robinson crossed the plate 122 times in his first year with the Birds, he set a new club record that still stands. He also topped the American League that season in slugging average (.637), on-base percentage (.415), and total bases (367).
You can find additional highlights from the 1966 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1965 Baseball Season
- 1967 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth