Minister and civil-rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King led over two hundred thousand people in the largest non-violent demonstration ever held to support the passage of civil rights legislation. The historic march on Washington D.C. was highlighted by King's infamous "I have a dream" speech in which he stated "one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal."
On November 22 nd , President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode through the streets of Dallas, Texas aboard the presidential motorcade. Lee Harvey Oswald was later identified as the lone assassin although his guilt was never proven in a court of law. While in police custody, Oswald himself was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
As a first step toward ending the "Cold War", a test ban agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union was ratified by the Senate on October 10. The contract between the world's two superpowers prohibited any future above ground testing of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Detroit Tiger Billy Bruton tied a Major League record for most doubles in a single game after hitting four straight to top the Washington Senators 5-1 on May 19 th . Teammate and rookie pitcher Bill Faul matched Bruton's efforts on the mound while tossing a three hitter in his first Major League start.
On May 22 nd , Mickey Mantle hit what is considered by many experts to be the longest homerun in Major League history. Batting left-handed against the visiting Kansas City A's at Yankee Stadium, Mantle opened the eleventh inning with a monumental blast off Bill Fisher that traveled three-hundred seventy-four feet from home plate, bouncing off of the third tier facade and falling just inches short of going out of the stadium. A senior physicist from the University of Arizona, Professor J.E. McDonald, calculated the estimated distance the ball would have traveled at six-hundred twenty feet.
Cleveland pitcher Early Wynn finally won his 300 th (and final) game thanks to a little help from the Indian's bullpen. After losing eight straight and struggling through five innings during the second half of a Kansas City doubleheader, Wynn was replaced by relief man Jerry Walker who tossed four scoreless sides en route to a 7-4 win over the Athletics.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Ernie Banks became the first National League player to tally twenty-two putouts (and twenty-three chances) in a game, during a May 9 th , 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On June 15 th , Juan Marichal set two records after becoming the first Latin American pitcher AND only the second Giant (Carl Hubbell, 1929) to pitch a no-hitter during a 1-0 triumph over the Houston Colt 45s (Astros) at Candlestick Park.
Milwaukee Brave veteran Warren Spahn topped the National League record for most starts (previously held by Grover Alexander) with his 601 st appearance on the mound during a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 23 rd . Later in the season Spahn tied Christy Mathewson's National League record with his thirteenth, twenty-win season and became the oldest to do so at age forty-two.
The Major League Rules Committee voted to expand the strike zone, extending it from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the knees restoring its original pre-1950 specifications.
On September 6 th , Major League Baseball celebrated its 100,000 th game with a classic match-up between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators at D.C. Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals' slugger Stan Musial made a record 24 th All-Star Game appearance as his National League teammates combined to beat their American League counterparts 5-3 in the Midsummer Classic.
Houston Colt 45s (Astros) manager Harry Craft shocked the New York Mets after starting an all-rookie line-up during a September 27 th contest. Fifteen rookies appeared in all, but were bested by the older and wiser Mets who "mentored" them with a 10-3 lesson in experience.
"I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won 25 games, but what I can't understand is how he lost five." - Yogi Berra in 1963 World Series
Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard
Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard
The imbalanced competition in the American League was not good for baseball. Four years and running, the Yankees continued their dominance. It did not seem to matter that their two sluggers, Mantle and Maris, suffered severe injuries that allowed them to only play 40 games together. Manager Ralph Houck turned to replacement outfielders Johnny Blanchard and Hector Lopez to pick up the slack. The pitching was magnificent. Whitey Ford and Ralph Terry were as good as ever and were joined by sophomore Jim Bouton who won 21 games. Catcher Elston Howard was awarded as the AL MVP for his stellar defense and timely hitting.
The White Sox took a nice step forward with 91 wins behind the pitching of Rookie of the Year Gary Peters. Despite the Red Sox having the league’s top hitter, Carl Yastzemski, the RBI leader in 1B Dick Stuart, a twenty game winner, Bill Monbouquette, and the league’s top relief specialist Dick Radatz, they ended up 9 games under .500. The poor pitching that backed up Monbouquette and Radatz was the primary culprit.
#1 New York Yankees (104-57) . A roster with nine hitters with over 10 home runs, a solid bench, and top notch pitching talent made it look easy. Mickey Mantle fractured a foot and then hurt his knee on his return to the lineup limiting him to 65 games. Roger Maris's back problems caused him to be out for over a third of the season. First baseman 22 year old Joe Pepitone took over 1B and swatted 27 home runs. Ford, Terry, and Jim Bouton combined for 62 wins and were supported by a good, but not spectacular bullpen. MVP catcher Elston Howard was the secret ingredient. He led the team with 28 home runs while batting .287.
#2 Chicago White Sox (94-68) . The White Sox changed to a power lineup. Two 23 year old rookies, 3B Pete Ward and OF Dave Nicholson, each hit 22 home runs. Ward also led the team in hitting .295. In addition to Gary Peters winning 19 games and posting the league's lowest era 2.73, veteran Juan Pizarro contributed 16 victories.
#3 Minnesota Twins (91-70) . There were no significant changes here. Third baseman Rich Rollins continued improving by batting .307 with 16 home runs. Outfielder Killebrew led the AL with 45 home runs. The two other outfielders Bob Allison and Jim Hall combined for 68 HRs making a total of 103 from the outfield. Camilio Pascual repeated a twenty win season while Jim Kaat took a step back with 10.
#4 Baltimore Orioles (86-76) . The Orioles made a bounce back. Twenty one year old OF/1B Boog Powell showed his power with 25 home runs. The pitching staff was headed by young Steve Barber's 21 wins and Milt Pappas's 15. Rookie Dave McNally posted seven wins. Eighteen year old Wally Bunker was a September call up.
#5 Cleveland Indians (79-83) . Not much was going on in Cleveland with a roster of aging journeyman. The offense was led by 3B Max Alvis's 22 home runs. Their two best pitchers, Mudcat Grant and Mark Kralick, both won 13 games.
The Second Division
#6 Detroit Tigers (79-83) . The same trio of 1B Norm Cash and outfielders Al Kaline and Rocky Colavito carried the offense, but there was no help from their weak pitching staff. Phil Regan (15-11) was the only starting pitchers with more wins than losses. There was help coming — pitchers Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain made their major leagues debuts in limited action.
#7 Boston Red Sox (76-85) . 1963 was (HOF) Carl Yastzemski's coming out year as he led the league in hitting .321. The same could be applied for 1B Dick Stuart, although for a much more moderate career, as he was the AL leader in RBIs (118), to go with his 42 home runs. With the exception of pitchers Monbouquette and Radatz, the pitching was weak and there was no speed on the bases.
#8 Kansas City Athletics (73-89) . At least they outpaced the 1962 expansion teams Not a good, but a fun team with the addition of 3B poet Ed Charles and extroverted rookie 1B Ken Harrelson. There were no .300 hitters or power providers for the Yankee farm team. No pitcher exceeded 12 wins, however "Bullet" John Wyatt did save 15 games.
#9 Los Angeles Angels (79-81) . Realty set in for the surprising expansion team of 1962. No offense aside from outfielders Albie Pearson, .304 BA and Leon Wagner 22 home runs. There was disappointment from the pitching staff as Dean Chance (13-18) was still finding his way. Upstart pitcher Bo Belinsky only made headlines for his Hollywood love life, and not his pitching.
#10 Washington Senators (58-106) . Things got even worse for the expansion Senators. Trades for veterans Minnie Minoso, Jimmy Piersall, Don Zimmer and Don Blasingame only added age. The leading pitcher was the young Claude Osteen who led the club with 9 wins, however he lost 14.
After eight long failed starts, Early Wynn finally joined the elite 300 Wins Club on July 13, 1963. The forty-three year-old righthander (who began his Major League career in 1939) went five innings, struck out three batters, walked three, and gave up six hits in a 7-4 victory over the Kansas City Athletics.
Have you ever wondered about errorless streaks by a team? On August 7, 1963, the Detroit Tigers played their 12 th consecutive game without an error — a new Major League record for that time.