There were 10 teams in one division in both the National and American Leagues in 1966. The Baltimore Orioles rolled to the American League pennant, while the Los Angeles Dodgers edged out the San Francisco Giants by a mere game and a half. The Orioles batted an AL high .258 and the Dodgers 2.62 ERA was the lowest in all of baseball.
The Dodgers who won the World Series in 1965 were heavy favorites to beat the Orioles, who captured their franchise's first pennant since moving from St. Louis in 1954. And, Baltimore surprised the baseball world by winning their first ever World Series - sweeping the pitching-rich Los Angeles Dodgers in four straight games.
Final Standings 1966:
Baltimore 97-63 ... Minnesota 89-73, 9GB... Detroit 88-74, 10GB... Chicago 83-79, 15GB... Cleveland 81-81, 17GB... California 80-82, 18GB... KC A's 74-86, 23GB... Washington 71-88, 25.5GB... Boston 72-90, 26GB... New York 70-89 26.5GB
Los Angeles 95-67 ... San Francisco 93-68, 1.5GB... Pittsburgh 92-70, 3GB... Philadelphia 87-75, 8GB... Atlanta 85-77 10GB... St Louis 83-79, 12GB... Cincinnati 76-84, 18GB... Houston 72-90, 23GB... New York 66-95, 28.5GB... Chicago 59-103, 36GB
1966 Earned Run Average Leaders:
Sandy Koufax, LA Dodgers 1.73... Mike Cuellar, Astros 2.22... Juan Marichall, SF Giants 2.23... Jim Bunning, Phillies 2.41... Bob Gibson Cardinals 2.44... Al Jackson, Cardinals 2.51... Jim Maloney, Reds 2.80... Claude Osteen, LA Dodgers 2.85... Bobby Bolin, SF Giants 2.89... Gaylord Perry, SF Giants 2.99... Don Sutton, LA Dodgers 2.99... Bob Veale, Pirates 3.02... Larry Dierker, Astros 3.18... Dennis Ribant, NY Mets 3.20... Ken Johnson, Atl Braves 3.30... Larry Jackson, Phillies 3.32... Fergie Jenkins Cubs 3.32.
Gary Peters White Sox 1.98... Joe Horlen White Sox 2.43... Steve Hargan, Indians 2.48... Jim Perry, Twins 2.54... Tommy John, White Sox 2.62... Jim Kaat, Twins 2.75... Sonny Siebert Indians 2.80... Sam McDowell Indians 2.87... Lew Krausse, KC Athletics 2.99... Earl Wilson, Tigers 3.07... Dean Chance Cal Angels 3.08... Dave Boswell, Twins 3.14... Dave McNally, Orioles 3.17... Gary Bell Indians 3.22... Mudcat Grant Twins 3.25... Lee Stange, Red Sox 3.30... George Burnet, Cal Angels 3.31... Fritz Peterson, Yankees 3.31...
* Gaylord Perry, San Francisco Giants Pitcher RH - a member of the Hall of Fame - he made headline news during the Giants' pennant chase in 1966, by posting a 21-8 record, and his .724 winning percentage was the third best in all of baseball - trailing only Hall of Fame mound-stars Juan Marichal .806 with a 25-6 record and Sandy Koufax .750 with 27-9. In 1966, Perry chalked up 201 strikeouts, walked just 40 batters in 255 2/3 innings.
* Bob Gibson, St Louis Cardinals Pitcher RH - the ace of the Cardinals pitching staff during the 1960s, he was 21-12 in '66 and his 2.44 ERA was 5th best in the NL... One of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, he collected back-to-back 20 game win seasons, and from 1960 thru 1966 registered W/L records of 13-12, 15-13, 18-9, 19-12, 20-12 and 21-12. Bob Gibson is a member of the Hall of Fame.
* Sam McDowell, Cleveland Indians Pitcher LH - one of the hardest throwers in the history of baseball, 'Sudden Sam' McDowell was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball from 1965 thru 1970... he led the AL in strikeouts in 5 of those 6 years - posting 325Ks in '65, then, 225, 236, 283, 279 and 304. He went 17-11 for the Indians in '65, led the AL with a compelling 2.18 ERA in 273 innings. He strung together ERA's of 2.18, 2.88, 3.85, 1.81, 2.94, 2.92 during this stretch and certainly was the main reason that the Tribe was able to finish the seasons with winning records. Starting in '65, McDowell with his high-90 mph fastball was 17-11, 9-8, 13-15, 15-14, 18-14 and 20-12.
* Wally Bunker, Baltimore Orioles Pitcher RH - he reached stardom in his rookie season in 1964... the 20-year old was voted the American League's top Rookie Pitcher going 19-5 W/L, had a fine 2.69 ERA and completed 12-of-29 starts. He posted a 10-8 mark in '65 and was 10-6 for the pennant winning Orioles in 1966... and hurled a 1-0 victory over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series.
* Rocky Colavito, Cleveland Indians Outfielder, RH - the ever-popular Indians' star has rung up six seasons of over 100 RBIs in his first 11 major league seasons - his high being 45 homers and 140 RBIs in 1961 while a member of the Detroit Tigers. Although, his batting slipped somewhat in 1966, he still managed to hit 30 homers and drive in 72 runs, while hitting a career-low .238. Colavito broke in with Cleveland back in '55 and became a full-time player the following year. He has 11 straight seasons of 20 or more home runs, and during this period he has seven seasons of over 30 homers, and three seasons of 40-plus homers.
* Tony Perez, Cincinnati Reds Third Baseman, RH - in 1964, he was the MVP of the Pacific Coast League while playing for San Diego (minors)... and Tony Perez lined 14 doubles, 4 triples, 12 home runs in only 281 at-bats as a highly-touted rookie with Cincinnati in 1965. Born in Camaguey, Cuba on May 14, 1942, the good guy went on to be regarded as one of the top clutch hitters in the history of baseball - with 505 career doubles, 379 home runs and 1,652 RBIs.
* John Briggs, Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder LH - the well-regarded youngster broke into the majors as a 20-year old in 1964 with Phillies. A fleet-footed outfielder, with a powerful, accurate throwing arm, he rates defensively among the best in baseball during this era. He's been used mainly in the leadoff spot in the batting order, and in 1966 hit a solid .282, with 13Ds, 5Ts and 10 home runs in 81 games, and scored 43 runs in 255 at-bats with an outstanding .382 on-base-pct.
* Ken Berry, Chicago White Sox Center-fielder RH - one of the fastest men in baseball, the 26-year old had the second highest batting average among the Sox regulars in 1966, hitting a solid .271 in 443 at-bats. He's in his 2nd full season with the White Sox and is already regarded as one of the best fielders in the AL.
* Jerry Buchek, St. Louis Cardinals Second Baseman/IF, RH - the slick fielding veteran was one of the most versatile players on the Cardinals in the mid-'60s. He can solidly play 2nd base, shortstop or 3rd base and his throwing arm is regarded as one of the best in the NL... Jerry Buchek debuted with the Redbirds back in '61 as a 20-year old... in 1966 he batted .236, lined 10Ds, 4Ts, 4Hr in an even 100 games.
* Herman Franks, San Francisco Giants - he first put on a baseball uniform in 1932 as a player for Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League. He debuted with the St Louis Cardinals in 1939-40... played for Brooklyn 1941-42, went into the military during World War II and caught for the Phillies during 1947-48... then scouted before he started managing for St. Paul - minors. In 1965 he took over the helm of the SF Giants and he has guided the team to two straight 2nd place finishes. Although, a stern taskmaster, Herman Franks has baseball savvy and is an excellent handler of young players and always seems to get the best out of 'his guys'.
* Bill Rigney, California Angels - an intense, aggressive infielder, he broke into organized ball in 1938 with the Oakland Oaks (minors) and his baseball career was interrupted when he enlisted into the Naval Aviation when World War II broke out. Rigney was primary an utility infielder during his major league career, all with the New York Giants (1946-53). And, after being released from the Giants, he started managing for Minneapolis of the American Association he started managing the Giants in 1956 and stayed at their helm until he was fired in June of 1960. Angels' owner Gene Autry, then hired Rigney to be the new expansion team's first manager. And, in 1966, he led the Angels to a 80-82 record. baseballhistorian.com - The Keeper of Baseball History
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