Carl Yastrzemski made the Red Sox's impossible dream a reality during the 1967 baseball season. Ninth-place finishers a year earlier, the Sox owed their success in 1967 to a midseason transformation that brought them pitcher Gary Bell, infielder Jerry Adair, catcher Elston Howard, and outfielder Ken Harrelson. It was, however, Yaz who defined the team. His .326 season with 44 home runs and 121 RBI led the American League, and he took both the Triple Crown and the 1966 American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Though Yaz and company pushed the 1967 World Series to the full seven games, they couldn't beat the Cardinals' ace, Bob Gibson, in the biggest game.
Gibson had to overcome adversity to even get to the Series that year, missing the second half of the season after having his leg broken by a Roberto Clemente line drive. In his absence, San Francisco journeyman Mike McCormick (22-10, 2.85 ERA) won the National League's Cy Young Award.
St. Louis had an award-winner in MVP Orlando Cepeda (.325 average, 25 homers, a league-high 111 RBI). Pittsburgh's Clemente led batting with a .357 average. Hank Aaron topped the league with 39 homers. Phil Niekro of Atlanta led the circuit with his 1.87 ERA. Houston's Don Wilson pitched a no-hitter against Atlanta on June 18. The league's top rookie was the Mets' Tom Seaver (16-13, 2.76 ERA).
Tom Seaver was the
1967 National League
Rookie of the Year.
With the collapse of the Orioles, four teams in the American League battled in a close pennant race. Boston's Jim Lonborg won the Cy Young Award with a 22-9 record and a 3.16 ERA. The Twins had Harmon Killebrew (.269 average, a league-leading 44 homers, 113 RBI), Dean Chance (20-14, 2.73 ERA, a no-hitter in August), and Rookie of the Year Rod Carew (.292 average, eight homers, 51 RBI).
The Tigers were spearheaded by Al Kaline (.308 average, 25 homers, 78 RBI) and Earl Wilson (tied for the circuit-lead in wins with Lonborg at 22).
ERA champ Joe Horlen (19-7, 2.06 ERA) led the White Sox to a league-low 2.45 team mark. Meanwhile, Mickey Mantle of New York hit his 500th homer on May 14.
Down the stretch went the four teams. On September 7, there was a four-way tie for first. The White Sox fell from the race while the Red Sox, who had lost right fielder Tony Conigliaro to a near-fatal beaning in August, could have been eliminated by losing either of its two games to the Twins. Yastrzemski went 7-for-8 in those games, executing a game-winning homer and a game-saving throw, and the Red Sox won both. Yaz clinched the 1967 MVP Award by going 23-for-46 with five homers and 16 RBI down the stretch. Detroit could still have tied by sweeping California in a doubleheader. The Tigers won the first game but lost the second, 8-5. The Red Sox won the 1967 pennant by one game over Detroit and Minnesota.
The 1967 Series unexpectedly went the full seven, though the Cards, winners of 101 games during the season, clearly were superior. In the end, Gibson was the difference, winning three complete games 2-1, 6-0, and 7-2, striking out 26 and walking only five. Lonborg won his first two games 5-0 and 3-1, but could not beat Gibson in the 7-2 seventh game.
Lou Brock (.414 average) and Roger Maris (.385 average, seven RBI) were the hitting stars for St. Louis; Brock stole a Series-record seven bases and scored eight runs. Yastrzemski, not surprisingly, led the Red Sox with a .400 average, three homers, and five RBI.
You can read headlines of the 1967 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1966 Baseball Season
- 1968 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth