In the "Year of the Pitcher," Bob Gibson was a standout performer. Follow this and more headlines from the 1968 baseball season below.
Ernie Banks Regains Old Stroke
Ernie Banks clouted 32 home runs in 1968, the third-highest round-tripper total in the National League. It was the first time since 1962 that he finished among the loop's top five in slugging. Although Banks retired with a .500 career slugging average, he never topped the .469 mark in his last nine seasons.
Bob Gibson: 1.12 ERA, 268 Ks
Although Bob Gibson was only the second pitcher in history to strike out more than 3,000 batters in his career, he topped the National League in Ks just once (268 in 1968). Gibson registered personal high marks in every major pitching department in 1968 except for wins and strikeouts, as he set a post dead-ball ERA record of 1.12 for the season.
Willie McCovey Slugs .545
In 1968, Willie McCovey paced the National League in slugging average for the first of three successive seasons, posting a .545 mark. That same season, his strikeout total dropped to 71 (from 110 the previous year). He collected 100 or more Ks four times in the five seasons prior to 1968 and only once thereafter.
Frank Howard Clouts 44 Homers
The Senators, the worst team in the majors in 1968, were made semi-respectable by slugger Frank Howard. Howard not only topped the American League by a wide margin in home runs (he had 44) and total bases (he had 330), he also hit .274, the eighth-highest average in the loop. Between 1968 and 1970, he collected 136 home runs.
Dick McAuliffe Snuffs Out Cards
Before being dumped by a sliding Orlando Cepeda, Tigers second baseman Dick McAuliffe fired to first to nip Mike Shannon and complete a double play. The action occurred in the sixth inning of game two of the 1968 World Series and terminated the sole Cardinals scoring outburst in the contest.
Dave McNally Wins 22 Games
Dave McNally's big year -- his 22 wins placed second in the American League in 1968 -- was even more of a surprise than that of Denny McLain. Prior to that season, McNally had hurled only 22 complete games in 128 starts; in 1968, however, he went all the way 18 times in 35 outings.
Tigers Party on the Road
When the Tigers took the 1968 World Series, it was the their first World Title since 1945 and only their third in history. The Tigers were the fourth team in th 1960s to win the crucial seventh game of a World Series on the road. Only Pittsburgh and St. Louis prevailed on their home turf in a seven-day fray during the 1960s.
Ken Harrelson Tops American League with 109 RBI
Not only was Ken Harrelson the leader in the American League in 1968 with 109 RBI, he also was the circuit's seventh-best hitter at .275. Averages everywhere, not only in the majors, neared all-time lows in 1968. Tony Torchia, the Eastern League's top hitter, batted just .294 to finish 24 points ahead of runner-up Carmen Fanzone.
Mickey Lolich's Day Finally Comes
In 1968, Mickey Lolich placed second among Tigers pitchers in wins with 17 and third in starts with 32. Following his three victories in the 1968 World Series, he said, "All my life somebody else has been the big star and Lolich was No. 2. I figured my day would come."
To find more highlights from the 1968 baseball season, continue on to the next section.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1967 Baseball Season
- 1969 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth