The following are the baseball events of the year 1968 throughout the world.
This article is currently under construction.
The Year of the PitcherEdit
In Major League Baseball, the trend throughout the 1960s was of increased pitching dominance, caused by enforcing a larger strike zone (top of armpit to bottom of knee) beginning in 1963. The delicate balance of power between offense and defense reached its greatest tilt in favor of the pitcher by 1968.
Individually, Bob Gibson set a modern Earned Run Average record of 1.12 and a World Series record of 17 strikeouts in Game 1, while Series opponent Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers won 31 regular season games, the only player to reach the 30 win milestone since Dizzy Dean in 1934. Mickey Lolich won three complete games in the World Series, the last player as of 2006 to do so. Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians had the American League's lowest ERA at 1.60 and allowed a batting average of only .168, a major league record.
Hitting was anemic. Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox had the lowest batting average of any league champion when his .3005 was good enough for the American League batting title. The AL's collective slugging average of .340 remains the lowest since 1915 in the dead-ball era, while the collective batting average of .231 is the all-time lowest.
After the season, the Rules Committee, seeking to restore balance, restored the pre-1963 strike zone and lowered the height of the pitching mound from 18 to 16 inches. Four expansion teams joined the majors. 1969 batting averages zoomed back to their historical averages and never again would pitching have as large a statistical average over batting in the major leagues.
Major League BaseballEdit
- World Series: Detroit Tigers over St. Louis Cardinals (4-3); Mickey Lolich, MVP
- All-Star Game, July 9 at the Astrodome: National League, 1-0; Willie Mays, MVP
- College World Series: USC
- Japan Series: Yomiuri Giants over Hankyu Braves (4-2)
- Little League World Series: Wakayama, Osaka, Japan
Awards and honorsEdit
- Most Valuable Player
- Cy Young Award
- Denny McLain (AL)
- Bob Gibson (NL)
- Rookie of the Year
MLB Statistical LeadersEdit
Major League Baseball final standingsEdit
American League final standingsEdit
National League final standingsEdit
- January 23 - Joe Medwick is voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- January 28 - Goose Goslin and Kiki Cuyler are admitted into the Hall of Fame by unanimous vote of the Special Veterans Committee.
- April 9 - Opening Day is postponed because of the funeral for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated on April 4.
- April 14 - Jim Bunning's first win with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-0 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, is his 40th career shutout and includes his 1,000th National League strikeout, making him the first pitcher since Cy Young with 1,000 in each league.
- April 19 - Nolan Ryan of the New York Mets becomes the 6th pitcher in National League history to strike out the side on nine pitches. But Los Angeles wins 3-2 at New York's Shea Stadium.
- April 27 - Tom Phoebus, the Baltimore Orioles' top pitcher in 1967, throws a 6-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Brooks Robinson drives in three runs and makes a great stab to rob Rico Petrocelli of a hit in the 8th. Converted outfielder Curt Blefary catches the game.
- June 1 - St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Hoerner ties a National League record for relievers with 6 consecutive strikeouts vs. the New York Mets.
- June 3 - Cleveland Indians outfielder José Vidal hits a walk-off home run against Jack Fisher of the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the 14th inning for a 3-2 win.
- July 9 - At the Houston Astrodome, in the first All-Star Game ever to be played in an indoor arena and on artificial turf, the National League defeats the American League 1–0. Appropriately, pitching dominates the game. Willie Mays, playing in place of injured Pete Rose, tallies an unearned run in the first inning against American League starter Luis Tiant. Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Ron Reed and Jerry Koosman hold the AL to three hits, as Mays is named MVP.
- September 14 - Denny McLain becomes the first 30-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934 as the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. Reggie Jackson's homer in the 4th puts the A's ahead 2-0, but Norm Cash answers with a 3-run shot. Reggie hits another in the 6th, but the Tigers push across two in the 9th to win. Al Kaline, pinch hitting for McLain, walks and scores the tying run. Denny (30-5) gives up six hits and strikes out 10.
- September 15 - The St. Louis Cardinals clinch the National League pennant with a 7-4 win at the Astrodome over the Houston Astros. Roger Maris hits his 275th, and last, regular-season home run off Don Wilson in the 3rd, and Curt Flood racks up five hits.
- September 17 - Gaylord Perry of the San Francisco Giants hurls a no-hitter at San Francisco's Candlestick Park as the Giants edge the Cardinals and Bob Gibson, 1-0. Ron Hunt's solo home run backs Perry, who evens his record at 14-14.
- September 18 - Sixteen hours after Perry's feat, Ray Washburn of the St. Louis cardinals makes major league history by hurling a 2nd consecutive no-hitter in the same park. Run-scoring hits by Mike Shannon and Curt Flood at Candlestick down the Giants 2-0.
- September 29 - Carl Yastrzemski goes 0-for-5 but maintains a .3005 batting average, to win his 2nd straight batting crown with the lowest winning average ever. Yaztrzemski is the American League's only .300 hitter. Oakland's Danny Cater is 2nd with .290.
- September 29 - Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Wilbur Wood ends his season with a 7-6 win over the California Angels and a major league record 88 appearances.
- October 2 - For the first time in history, two soon-to-be-named MVPs oppose each other in Game One of the 1968 World Series. St. Louis Cardinals' Bob Gibson is nearly untouchable with a World Series-record 17 strikeouts and a 4-0 win over Denny McLain. Detroit Tigers manager Mayo Smith moves Gold Glove outfielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop, improving his offense by opening a spot for Al Kaline.
- October 10 - In Game Seven of the World Series, Mickey Lolich of the Tigers, pitching on two days rest, wins his third game of the series as he beats Bob Gibson of the Cardinals and brings Detroit its first World Championship since 1945. Lolich hurls a five-hitter, giving Detroit a 4–1 win, and is named Series MVP. Key moments came in the 6th inning when Lolich picked Lou Brock and Curt Flood off 1st base to keep the score 0-0. With the game scoreless in the 7th, the Tigers had two on and two out when Jim Northrup hit a line drive to center field. Gold glover Curt Flood misjudged the ball and started in, allowing the ball to sail over his head for a triple. Northrup then scored on Bill Freehan's double for a 3-0 lead. Each team added a 9th inning run to account for the 4-1 final. It was the first time the Cardinals had ever lost a 7th game of a World Series. The Tigers became only the 3rd team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the series 4 games to 3 (the 1925 Pirates and 1958 Yankees were the first two).
- February 5 - Roberto Alomar
- February 26 - J.T. Snow
- March 7 - Jeff Kent
- May 27 - Jeff Bagwell
- May 27 - Frank E. Thomas
- July 7 - Chuck Knoblauch
- July 14 - Derrick May
- August 3 - Rod Beck (d. 2007)
- August 5 - John Olerud
- August 24 - Tim Salmon
- August 31 - Hideo Nomo
- September 4 - Mike Piazza
- September 13 - Bernie Williams
- November 12 - Sammy Sosa
- November 18 - Gary Sheffield
- December 2 - Darryl Kile (d. 2002)
- December 8 - Mike Mussina
- April 19 - Tommy Bridges, 61, 6-time All-Star pitcher who won 194 games for the Detroit Tigers, including three 20-win seasons. Was 1 out short of perfect game in 1932.
- May 26 - Doc Ayers, 78, spitball pitcher for the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers
- June 15 - Sam Crawford, 88, Hall of Fame right fielder for the Tigers, a lifetime .309 hitter who hit a record 312 triples, led both leagues in home runs, and retired with the 5th-most RBI in history
- July 8 - Dusty Boggess, 64, NL umpire for 18 seasons from 1944 to 1962 who worked in four World Series
- July 27 - Babe Adams, 86, pitcher who won 194 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates; the only member of their championship teams in both 1909 and 1925, he won three games in the 1909 World Series
- August 22 - Heinie Groh, 78, third baseman for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds who led the NL in hits, runs and walks once each and in doubles twice, widely known for his "bottle bat"
- November 3 - Vern Stephens, 48, 8-time All-Star shortstop who led the AL in RBI three times and in home runs once
- November 17 - Earl Hamilton, 77, pitcher with the St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates, later a minor league team owner
- December 6 - Fats Jenkins, 70, All-Star left fielder of the Negro Leagues