Year In Review : 1962 American League

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After hearing the case of Engel vs. Vitale, the Supreme Court ruled that state-sponsored prayer in schools was unconstitutional. Although prayer was not outlawed in school entirely (only school-sponsored prayer) the decision ignited a controversy that has continued unabated until today.

In February, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in orbit and John Glenn followed later that year as the first to travel into space after a fifteen minute flight on July 21 st . Both missions were in preparation of meeting President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

In late August, American spy planes detected the building of military missile sites in Cuba. U.S. Intelligence sources later determined the Soviets, under Nikita Khrushchev, had decided to shorten the strategic gap between the two world powers by placing missiles there limiting America's warning capabilities if attacked. In October, President John F. Kennedy was presented with conclusive proof that the Soviets were in fact installing medium-range ballistic missiles. After several tense days of defensive posturing, the issue was peacefully resolved after the United States agreed not to invade Cuba, and the Soviets agreed to withdraw all military forces and weapons.

I n the American League

The Baltimore Orioles' Brooks Robinson became only the fifth player in Major League history to hit grand slams in back-to-back games after knocking out a bases loaded round-tripper on May 6 th and May 9 th .

After missing thirty games due to recurring knee injuries, New York's Mickey Mantle limped to the plate as a pinch hitter and launched a four-hundred twenty foot blast off of Gary Bell of the Cleveland Indians. The home team crowd showed their respects by giving the visiting Yankee a standing ovation.

Earl Wilson became the first black pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the American League as the Boston Red Sox topped the California Angels 2-0 on June 26 th at Fenway Park. Wilson also dominated at the plate with a four-hundred foot homer off Bo Belinsky who had tossed a "no-no" of his own in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles.

I n the National League

On September 7 th , Los Angeles Dodger Maury Wills stole four bases off the Pittsburgh Pirates setting a National League record for eighty-two "robberies" in a single season.

The Houston Colt 45s, one of the National Leagues two new teams (New York Mets), opened with an impressive 11-2 triumph over the Chicago Cubs before a crowd of over 25,000. Roman Mejias set the pace with two, three-run home runs and Hal Smith followed close behind debuting with a round-tripper of his own.

Stan Musial set a National League record (previously held by Mel Ott) after scoring for the 1,806 th time in his career during a St. Louis Cardinals win over the Chicago Cubs on April 13 th . Later in the season Musial became the leagues all-time leader in total bases with 5,864 during a June 22 nd outing against the Philadelphia Phillies.

A round the League

John "Buck" O'Neil became the first African-American coach in Major League baseball after joining the staff of the Chicago Cubs. O'Neil had been a scout for the Cubs organization previously and was credited with discovering both Ernie Banks and Lou Brock.

Baseball's newest franchise, the New York Mets, debuted in what some referred to as "copycat uniforms" that featured Dodger blue sleeves, Giants orange lettering and Yankee pinstripes. Unfortunately the Mets played as bad as they looked and finished their inaugural season with a laughable 40-120 record.

After several years of "double-headers", both players and owners agreed to return the All-Star Game to its original, one-game format in 1963.

Kansas City owner Charles Finley hired the first woman in baseball broadcasting. Betty Caywood was brought in initially to do "color-commentary" for the A's games, but later became the first female to regularly announce baseball games while airing her reports from both the dugout and the stands.

"As his teammates rushed out of the dugout, and the home crowd went wild (no-hitter being tossed), (Bo) Belinsky pointed to the stands and said to his catcher Buck Rodgers, 'Hey look at that blonde.' " - Steve Wulf in Baseball Anecdotes (1981)
1962 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

122

Batting Average

Boston

.326

Doubles

Chicago

45

Hits

New York

209

Home Runs

Minnesota

48

On Base Percentage

New York

.488

RBI

MInnesota

126

Runs

Los Angeles

115

Slugging Average

New York

.605

Stolen Bases

Chicago

31

Total Bases

Detroit

309

Triples

Kansas City

15

1962 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

18

ERA

Detroit

2.21

Games

Boston

62

Saves

Boston

24

Shutouts

Cleveland

5

Minnesota

Minnesota

Strikeouts

Minnesota

206

Winning Percentage

Chicago

.690

Wins

New York

23

1962 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

96 66 .593 0

Minnesota Twins

91 71 .562 5

Los Angeles Angels

86 76 .531 10

Detroit Tigers

85 76 .528 10½

Chicago White Sox

85 77 .525 11

Cleveland Indians

80 82 .494 16

Baltimore Orioles

77 85 .475 19

Boston Red Sox

76 84 .475 19

Kansas City Athletics

72 90 .444 24

Washington Senators

60 101 .373 35½

1962 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Detroit

651

Batting Average

New York

.267

Doubles

Boston

257

Hits

New York

1,509

Home Runs

Detroit

209

On Base Percentage

Minnesota

.340

Runs

New York

817

Slugging Average

New York

.426

Stolen Bases

Washington

99

Triples

Kansas City

58

1962 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

53

ERA

Baltimore

3.70

Fewest Hits Allowed

Baltimore

1,373

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Los Angeles

118

Fewest Walks Allowed

Minnesota

493

Saves

Los Angeles

47

Shutouts

Los Angeles

15

Strikeouts

Minnesota

948



On April 9, 1962, President John F. Kennedy threw out the Opening Day pitch in the newly opened $20 million District of Columbia Stadium. The Washington Senators won versus the Detroit Tigers 4-1, but finished the season with more than 100 losses.

On May 5, 1962, Bo Belinksy pitched the Angels first ever no-hit game and the first in the American League since 1958! After the game reporters asked him what it was like and Belinsky replied, "If I'd known I was gonna pitch a no-hitter today, I would have gotten a haircut."

On September 12, 1962, Tom Cheney of the Washington Senators struck out a Major League record 21 batters during an extra inning game. The Baltimore Orioles lost 2-1 in 16 innings and every batter, except for Boog Powell , was struck out at least once. Did you know that Cheney did not allow a single hit from the 8th inning forward and that the Senators won thanks to a walk-off home run hit by Bud Zipfel ?

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