Year In Review : 1964 American League

O

On February 9th, the British rock group The Beatles arrived in America for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the "Fab 4's" first trip to the United States and introduced their unique sound and stylish appearance to millions of American teenagers. By the week of April 4th, The Beatles had taken over the radio airways and held the top five slots on the American pop charts.

The highly contested and still criticized Warren Commission delivered its final report on September 27th concluding that President John F. Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had acted alone and on his own recourse.

American's first computer dynasty International Business Machines (also known as IBM) introduced the first 360 Computer, which was defined as a second-generation system based on transistors. The groundbreaking machine was instantly heralded as a huge success and became the standard for computers of many businesses for many years.

I n the American League

Mickey Mantle set the tenth Major League record of his career after hitting two "switch" home runs in a single game against the Chicago White Sox. Mantle's first shot off Ray Herbert (a left-handed effort) traveled 461 feet and finally stopped 502 feet from the plate. Later in the game, "The Mick" added a second round-tripper (swinging right-handed) that guaranteed rookie pitcher Mel Stottlemyre's 7-3 debut victory.

Decades before the "Roberto Alomar incident" Golden Glove first baseman Vic Power of the California Angels was suspended for ten days and fined $250 after spitting on umpire Jim Honochick during a doubleheader loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City A's rookie Bert Campaneris became only the second player (Bob Nieman) since 1900 to hit two home runs in his Major League debut during a 4-3 win over Jim Kaat and the Minnesota Twins. He also set the mark as the first American League player ever to knock one out on the first pitch thrown to him. Bill Roman of the Detroit Tigers equaled the feat later in the season during a 7-6, loss to the New York Yankees for his first (and last) career home run.

I n the National League

Willie Mays became the first African-American player to hold the "team leader title" after San Francisco Giants' skipper Alvin Dark named him as the team's captain.

On April 6th, "Shea Stadium" was officially dedicated as the New York Mets ballpark. The $25 million dollar facility was named after William A. Shea who christened baseball's newest cathedral by pouring a mixture of water from the Harlem River (near the old Polo Grounds) and the Gowanus Canal (near the site of Ebbetts Field) over the infield in a pre-game ceremony.

The St. Louis Cardinals became only the second team in the modern era (1923 Giants) to score at least one run in every inning while rolling over the Chicago Cubs during a September 13th outing at Wrigley Field. "Redbirds" Lou Brock and Julian Javier led the rally with one homer each and Curt Simmons topped Dick Ellsworth on the mound for the 15-2 win.

A round the League

Subscription television for baseball games debuted on July 17th as the first pay cablecast (a night game between the LA Dodgers and Chicago Cubs) was broadcasted live from Los Angeles. The home team emerged as 3-2 winners thanks to the solid arm of Don Drysdale who sat down ten batters.

The National League avoided an umpires' strike by agreeing with the officials on a new five-year contract that increased both pensions and insurance payments.

After an eleven year stint in Milwaukee, the Braves Board of Directors unanimously voted to request permission from the National League to move the struggling franchise to Atlanta. Milwaukee County officials immediately sued to block the move despite the team's faltering attendance of 800,000 for the past two seasons. In November, the league ordered the Braves to stay put in Milwaukee for the upcoming season, but permitted a move to Atlanta in 1966.

Major League Baseball finally approved a free-agent draft system that mimicked the one used in professional football. Order of selection was determined in reverse order of each club's previous season standings and all draftees were to be included on the forty man roster. They also restored all powers rescinded after Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis's death in 1944 to the baseball commissioner's office. The decision waived all owners' rights to take legal action in the event of disagreements and granted the commissioner total authority to judge whether actions taken by a team and/or owner were in the best interests of the game.

"It was pretty somber. Yogi said, 'Hey (Phil) Linz, shove that (harmonica) right up you #*@.' I didn't hear him so I asked Mickey (Mantle) what Yogi had said and Mick said, 'He said play it louder.' So I did. Yogi went berserk and came charging to the back of the bus, enraged. Mick couldn't stop laughing." - Phil Linz in the New York Daily News (August 21, 1964)
1964 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Baltimore

106

Batting Average

Minnesota

.323

Doubles

Minnesota

43

Hits

Minnesota

217

Home Runs

Minnesota

49

On Base Percentage

New York

.426

RBI

Baltimore

118

Runs

Minnesota

109

Slugging Average

Baltimore

.606

Stolen Bases

Baltimore

57

Total Bases

Minnesota

374

Triples

Minnesota

10

Minnesota

1964 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Los Angeles

19

ERA

Los Angeles

1.65

Games

Kansas City

81

Saves

Boston

29

Shutouts

Los Angeles

11

Strikeouts

New York

217

Winning Percentage

Baltimore

.792

Wins

Los Angeles

20

Chicago

1964 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

99 63 .611 0

Chicago White Sox

98 64 .605 1

Baltimore Orioles

97 65 .599 2

Detroit Tigers

85 77 .525 14

Los Angeles Angels

82 80 .506 17

Minnesota Twins

79 83 .488 20

Cleveland Indians

79 83 .488 20

Boston Red Sox

72 90 .444 27

Washington Senators

62 100 .383 37

Kansas City Athletics

57 105 .352 42

1964 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Chicago

562

Batting Average

Boston

.258

Doubles

Boston

253

Hits

New York

1,442

Home Runs

Minnesota

221

On Base Percentage

Minnesota

.324

Runs

Minnesota

737

Slugging Average

Minnesota

.427

Stolen Bases

Cleveland

79

Triples

Detroit

57

1964 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

47

ERA

Chicago

2.73

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,216

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Los Angeles

100

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

401

Saves

Chicago

45

New York

Shutouts

Los Angeles

28

Strikeouts

Cleveland

1,162



On May 2, 1964, Tony Oliva , Bob Allison , Jimmie Hall , and Harmon Killebrew (in that order) each hit a home run during the eleventh inning making the Twins only the third team to accomplish the feat to date.

On August 12, 1964, Mickey Mantle hit switch hit home runs during the same game for the tenth time in his career - a new Major League record. The first blast cleared the 461-foot marker, carried over the 22 foot screen, and landed approximately 14 rows into the bleachers. A reporter told Mantle after the game that the ball traveled 502 feet and Mantle replied, "Aw, I didn't hit it all that good."

On September 30, 1954, Luis Tiant and Sam McDowell struck out seventeen Boston Red Sox batters during a doubleheader at Fenway Park. The Indians won both ends and set a new American League record for team strikeouts during a single season .

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Dec
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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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