1968 September

1st Denny McLain notches his 27th win of the season beating the Orioles 7–3. McLain helps the Tiger cause by starting a 3rd inning triple play.

2nd With Julian Javier hitting a homer in the 10th, the Cardinals defeat the Reds, 1–0. Bob Gibson picks up his 12th shutout and 20th win. Gary Nolan pitches the first 9 innings for the Reds, with Abernathy taking the loss in relief.

      In the last PCL game played in Seattle, Jim Bouton of the Seattle Angels (a combined PCL team of the Pilots and California Angels) tops Spokane, 4–1.

4th  The Dodgers Don Sutton allows just 3 hits and strikes out 12 to beat the Phils, 3–0.

      The Cardinals complete a stretch of 50 straight (one record book says 56) days of baseball with an 8-3 loss to the Reds. This equals the 1926 Reds as the second longest instance of originally scheduled consecutive days of play since 1901. The longest skein is 60 days in a row played by the 1930 Tigers.

5th  Gene Mauch is named manager of the new Montreal NL club, which is officially named the Expos.

6th  Denny McLain notches win number 28, beating the Twins, 8–3. The first-place Tigers score 4 runs off Jim Kaat before the first out is recorded. Minnesota rookie Graig Nettles hits his first homer, off Denny.

7th  Jim Nash and the Oakland A’s beat the Indians, 2-0.  Sam McDowell takes the loss but not before he strikes out 7 in 7 innings.  In Sudden Sam’s 53 innings against the A’s this year he has struck out 70 batters, a ML record against one team surpassing the 66 by Feller and Bunning (as noted by Pete Palmer).

9th  The Dodgers score 8 runs in the 2nd inning—4 on a grand slam by Bill Sudakis—to down the first place Cardinals, 10-1. St. Louis leads by 11.5 games.

      Joe Gordon is hired to manage the Royals.

10th  Billy Williams hits 3 HRs in a game for the first time in his career. It’s all the Cubs’ scoring, as they beat the Mets 3–1 behind Bill Hands. Added to two HRs on September 8th, Williams has a ML-record-tying 5 over two straight games.

      Don Wilson, who struck out 18 Reds on July 14, fans 16 Reds today while pitching the Astros to a 3–2 win in game 1. The Reds win the nightcap, 4–3.

11th  New York’s Jim McAndrew finally wins one, beating the Cubs, 1–0, on 2 hits. It is Fergie Jenkins’ (17-14) fifth 1–0 loss of the season, which ties a ML record. Despite the loss, Jenkins will win 20 for the 2nd straight year, using a club record-tying 40 starts to do it. Alexander, in 1920, had 40 starts.

13th  In Washington, the Yankees sweep two from the last-place Senators, winning 4-2 and 2-1. Mel Stottlemyre wins his 20th in the opener, besting Joe Coleman. Mantle and Frank Fernandez each drive in 2 runs.  Center fielder Del Unser has a triple and single and throws out Tresh at 2B in the 1st to complete his 10th double play of the year, tops in the AL. Stan Bahnsen wins his 16th in game 2, topping Jim Hannan.

14th  Denny McLain becomes the first 30-game winner since Dizzy Dean in 1934, as the Tigers beat the A’s 5–4.  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. Kaline, pinch hitting for McLain, walks and scores the tying run. Denny (30–5) gives up 6 hits and strikes out 10.

      Pittsburgh’s Bob Veale shuts out the Mets, 6–0, on 8 hits and is backed by two home runs from Roberto Clemente.

15th  The Cardinals clinch the NL pennant with a 7–4 win at Houston. Roger Maris hits his 275th, and last, regular-season HR, off Don Wilson in the 3rd, and Curt Flood racks up 5 hits.

16th  AL President Joe Cronin fires umpires Al Salerno, an 8-year veteran, and Bill Valentine, with 7 years. They say they have been fired for activities related to starting an umpires union.

      At Fenway, Don Buford belts a grand slam and Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell add homers as the Orioles are victorious over the Red Sox, 8-1. The O’s remain a distant 10.5 games in back of the Tigers.

17th  Gaylord Perry hurls a no-hitter at Candlestick, as the Giants edge the Cards and Bob Gibson, 1–0. Ron Hunt’s solo HR backs Perry, who evens his record at 14-14.

      Yankee SS Gene Michael polls a hidden ball trick on Tom Matchick in the 7th, but Detroit clinches the AL pennant with a 2–1 win. Detroit is ahead 1–0 when Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey phones Tiger GM Jim Campbell with the news that the Sox have beaten the Orioles, clinching the pennant for the Tigers. Campbell keeps the score off the radio and the scoreboard, fearing the news will send fans rampaging onto the field. Don Wert singles home the winner in the 9th and the fans tear down the left field screen.

18th  Sixteen hours after Perry’s feat, Ray Washburn of the Cards makes ML history by hurling a 2nd consecutive no-hitter in one park. Run-scoring hits by Mike Shannon and Curt Flood at Candlestick down the Giants, 2–0.

19th  Denny McLain’s 31st win is overshadowed by Mickey Mantle’s 535th homer in the 8th inning. McLain calls C Jim Price out and tells him to inform Mantle he’s throwing the slugger nothing but weak fastballs. The homer gives Mantle undisputed hold of 3rd place on the all-time HR list replacing Jimmie Foxx. It is his 42nd in Detroit, his favorite visitors’ park. Mantle tips his cap to Denny as he rounds 3B and McLain claps in tribute to Mantle. Pepitone, the next batter, signals where he would like the ball, and McLain dusts him. The Tigers win the game, 6–2, the 12th straight complete game for the Tigers staff. After the game, McLain protests to reporters, “You don’t think I’d deliberately throw him a home-run ball, do you? There’d be a scandal and an immediate investigation of baseball.” Despite some criticism that McLain demeaned the sport with his move, he has a defender in columnist Red Smith who writes a few days later. “It is simply not possible to pitch a home run on purpose. Lob a cantaloupe and tell the batter it is coming and it is a playable 5 to 1 he will pop it up or miss altogether.” Harry Markson, director of boxing at Madison Square Garden, is quoted by Smith: “When a guy has bought 534 drinks in the same saloon, he’s entitled to one on the house.” McLain, in his later autobiography, will relate the story but misremember that it was Freehan behind the plate.

      Bobby Bonds hits a pair of homers and scores 4 times, and Jim Ray Hart adds a grand slam as the Giants beat the Cardinals, 11-5. Nelson Briles loses his 11th, while Rich Robertson wins his second.

20th  At Yankee Stadium, Boston’s Jim Lonborg tosses just his 3rd complete game of the year to beat New York, 4–3. Yastrzemski has three hits, including a homer, to raise his average to .306. Mantle hits homer number 536, the last of his career, for New York.

21st  At Yankee Stadium, Red Sox pitcher Ray Culp fires his 3rd successive shutout, stopping the Yankees on one hit, 2–0. Roy White’s single in the 7th is the only hit. It’s Culp’s 15th win of the year.

      Pittsburgh’s Dock Ellis pitches a complete game win over the Cubs, winning 5–1. Phil Niekro allows 4 runs to take the loss. Cubs reliever Jophrey Brown goes 2 innings, allowing the other run, in his only ML appearance. His next appearance will be in the opening scene of the movie Jurrasic Parkwhen he is eaten by a raptor. As noted by Scott Flatow, Brown tossed 2 no-hitters in the minors, losing them both.

22nd  Cesar Tovar becomes the 2nd player to play every position in a game as Minnesota’s all-purpose star leads the Twins to a 2–1 win over the Oakland A’s. Bert Campaneris of the Kansas City A’s was the first to pull off this stunt in 1965. Tovar starts the game on the mound and the first batter he faces is Campaneris. Tovar strikes out Reggie Jackson in his one inning.

      Behind the pitching of Don Sutton (10-15) the Dodgers score 2 earned runs in beating Bob Gibson (21-9) and the Cardinals, 3–2. Their last run, in the 8th, scores on an error by RF Hague.  It is Gibson’s 9th loss of the year, despite compiling a 2.14 ERA in the nine losses. He has not been knocked out of the box all year.

24th  Manager Gil Hodges suffers a heart attack during New York’s game with the Braves. He is hospitalized, and Rube Walker takes the helm for the rest of the season. The Aaron brothers, Tommie and Hank, pull off a double steal for the Braves, with Hank scoring. The pair combine for 5 hits in a 7–3 win over the Mets.

      Steve Blass records his 3rd shutout in a row, defeating the Reds, 2–0, and beating Gary Nolan.  For Nolan, it is his first defeat after 7 straight wins, while Blass wins his 9th straight for the Pirates.

      The Giants beat the Astros, 5–4 with Willie Mays driving in 3 runs. Mays hits a solo homer in the 1st and drives in the tying and winning runs in the 8th with a perfect bunt. With runners on 2B and 3B, Mays bunts and Doug Rader attempts a barehanded pickup but misses the ball.

25th  In Mantle’s last appearance at Yankee Stadium, he slices a two-out first inning single off Cleveland’s Luis Tiant, the only hit for the Yankees. Tiant tosses his 9th shutout of the year, tops in the AL, to win, 3–0. El Tiante’s ERA drops to 1.60; the previous low for an Indian pitcher was Stan Coveleski’s 1.87 in 1917.

      The Red Sox beat Washington, 1–0, as Sox P Ray Culp throws his 4th straight shut out, a total of 39 scoreless innings.

      Ron Santo belts a no-out walkoff grand slam in the 9th inning off starter Bill Singer as the Cubs come from behind to defeat the Dodgers, 4-1.  Phil “Vulture” Regan wins his 11th with an inning of relief.

27th  A 1–0 win and 11 strikeouts against the Astros enables the Cardinal Bob Gibson to lower his ERA to 1.12, a new NL season mark. His phenomenal campaign includes 28 complete games, 268 strikeouts, and 13 shutouts.

      For the 2nd time in two years, the Cards sign free-agent P Barney Schultz to enable him to qualify for pension time.  Schultz was released last October 8.

      Facing Lee Stange at Fenway Park, Mantle flies out in his final plate appearance, before being replaced by Andy Kosko. Kosko’s homer ties the score in the 8th and Pepitone’s HR in the 9th gives New York a 4–3 win.

      At Detroit, Frank Howard snaps a 1–1 tie with his 44th homer, and the Senators beat the Tigers, 3–1. Howard’s run is his 89th, and he’ll finish the year with that, compiling the most homers in history without scoring 90 runs.

28th  Seeking his 32nd win, Denny McLain pitches 7 scoreless innings against Washington and leaves with a 1–0 lead.  But the Senators score 2 in the 9th off McMahon to win, 2–1.

29th  On the season’s last day, The Senators defeat the Series-bound Tigers, 3–2, behind Barry Moore. But the Tigers win the season series against all nine league opponents, the first team to accomplish that since the 1955 Dodgers.

      In a 3–0 loss to the Giants, the Reds Pete Rose goes 1-for-3 to take his first NL batting title with a .335 average. Rose was 5-for-5 yesterday against Gaylord Perry.  Matty Alou goes 0-for-4 to finish at .332. Jim Maloney fires the shutout, beating Ray Sadecki, who allows 2 runs in 7 innings. It is the eighth loss for Sadecki this year in games in which the Giants are shut out; in five other games the Giants scored one run.

      Carl Yastrzemski is 0-for-5 but maintains a .3005 BA, to win his 2nd straight batting crown with the lowest championship average ever. Yaz is the AL’s only .300 hitter: Oakland’s Danny Cater is 2nd with .290. The Red Sox lose to the Yankees, 4–3. Ray Culp’s string of 39 scoreless innings is snapped by the Yankees with a score in the 1st.

      White Sox relief P Wilbur Wood ends his season with a 7–6 win at California and a ML record 88 appearances.

      Phils OF Dick Allen ends the year with a bang, hitting 3 homers, including a grand slam, to drive in 7 runs at New York.  Philadelphia wins, 10–3.

      Bob Kennedy is fired as Oakland manager.

30th  AL and NL umpires form a new Association of Major League Umpires. They will strike in the spring of 1969 unless Al Salerno and Bill Valentine are reinstated by the AL.

Cal Ermer is dismissed as manager of the Twins.