Year In Review : 1966 American League

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After murdering both his wife and mother, serial sniper Charles Whitman ascended to the observation deck at Austin's University of Texas tower killing fourteen people and injuring thirty-one others during a ninety-minute shooting spree. He was eventually shot and killed himself after a civilian and two police officers stormed the tower and overpowered him.

Media icon Walt Disney, who turned the whimsical cartoon world of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck into a million dollar a year entertainment empire, died of cancer at the age of sixty-five. The pioneering animator had produced the first fully animated motion picture and had invented the original concept of theme parks with his final masterpiece, Disneyland in California.

The first U.S. manned space flights, Gemini 8 thru 12, were launched in preparation for man's eventual trip to the moon. Following the pioneering Mercury program and preceding the Apollo missions, Gemini flights were specifically developed to learn how to maneuver a spacecraft into orbit and rendezvous with other docking vehicles.

I n the American League

On July 29th, Mickey Mantle hit his four-hundred ninety-fourth homerun off of Chicago White Sox ace Bruce Howard moving himself ahead of fellow Yankee Lou Gehrig for sixth place on the all-time list. Teammate Al Downing sweetened the deal with a clutch 2-1 performance on the mound.

Baltimore Orioles slugger "Boog" Powell astonished the crowd at Fenway Park after hitting not one, not two, but three, opposite-field homers OVER the "Green Monster" on the way to a 4-3, victory in which he totaled thirteen bases himself. Powell would also go on to become the first player ever to appear in the Little League World Series as well as the Major League version.

Teammate Frank Robinson was unanimously voted as the American League MVP becoming the first player to win the title in both the American and National Leagues since the Baseball Writers Association took it over in 1931. Robinson, who also won the American League Triple Crown, was also voted most valuable player in 1961 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

I n the National League

Tony Cloninger, of the recently transplanted Atlanta Braves, became the first National League pitcher to ever hit two grand-slams in a single game during a July 3rd, 17-3 triumph over the San Francisco Giants. Cloninger's first slam came off of rival pitcher Bob Priddy in the first, and then in the fourth he added another off of Ray Sadecki.

Willie Mays moved up to #2 (behind Babe Ruth) on the all-time list with his five-hundred thirty-fifth career home run, off of Ray Washburn, as the San Francisco Giants topped the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on August 17th.

On October 2nd, Sandy Koufax tallied his last Major League victory with a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies for the National League pennant. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace completed his twelve-year career with an amazing 165-87 record with a 2.76 ERA, forty shutouts and two-thousand three-hundred ninety-six strikeouts. Koufax also held the National League single-season strikeout record with three-hundred eighty-two K's (1965) and compiled an astounding 0.95 ERA in World Series starts.

A round the League

Major League Baseball's first African-American umpire, Emmett Ashford made his debut on Opening Day as the American League's Washington Senators lost to the visiting Cleveland Indians 5-2.

Ted Williams used a portion of his Hall of Fame induction speech to plead for the inclusion of Negro League players including Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The infield at Houston's Astrodome became the first to be replaced by the new experimental surface known as "Astroturf". In the first game ever to be played on the artificial grass, the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers prevailed over the home team 6-3.

Dan Topping sold his remaining shares of interest in the New York Yankees to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) for a reported $1.4 million dollars. In the end, the television dynasty paid a total of $14 million for total control of the franchise. Topping initially looked to come out on top in the deal as three days later, only four-hundred thirteen fans showed up at Yankee Stadium for a game against the Chicago White Sox.

"Probably the most dramatic change in pitching I've observed in my years in baseball has been the disappearance of the knockdown or brushback pitch. This is why record numbers of home runs are flying out of ballparks, why earned run averages are soaring, and why there are so few twenty game winners in the majors." - Frank Robinson
1966 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Minnesota

103

Batting Average

Baltimore

.316

Doubles

Boston

39

Hits

Minnesota

191

Home Runs

Baltimore

49

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.415

RBI

Baltimore

122

Runs

Baltimore

122

Slugging Average

Baltimore

.637

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

52

Total Bases

Baltimore

367

Triples

California

11

1966 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

19

ERA

Chicago

1.98

Games

Baltimore

67

Chicago

Saves

Kansas City

32

Shutouts

Chicago

5

Cleveland

Cleveland

Strikeouts

Cleveland

225

Winning Percentage

Cleveland

.667

Wins

Minnesota

25

1966 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

97 63 .606 0

Minnesota Twins

89 73 .549 9

Detroit Tigers

88 74 .543 10

Chicago White Sox

83 79 .512 15

Cleveland Indians

81 81 .500 17

California Angels

80 82 .494 18

Kansas City Athletics

74 86 .463 23

Washington Senators

71 88 .447 25½

Boston Red Sox

72 90 .444 25

New York Yankees

70 89 .440 26½

1966 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Detroit

551

Batting Average

Baltimore

.258

Doubles

Baltimore

243

Hits

Baltimore

1,426

Home Runs

Detroit

179

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.325

Runs

Baltimore

755

Slugging Average

Baltimore

.409

Stolen Bases

Chicago

153

Triples

Kansas City

56

1966 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

52

ERA

Chicago

2.69

Fewest Hits Allowed

Chicago

1,229

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Chicago

101

Fewest Walks Allowed

Minnesota

392

Saves

Baltimore

51

Shutouts

Chicago

22

Strikeouts

Cleveland

1,111



Emmett Ashford became the first black umpire on April 11, 1966 when he worked an American League game: Indians at Senators 5-2.

Frank Robinson can give part credit during this Triple Crown season to Andy Etchebarren . Why? Because Andy saved Robinson from drowning at a pool party on August 22, 1966.

Records for most pitches during a game are not kept or are they considered official; however, Denny McLain might be in the top ten! On August 29, 1966, McLain threw 229 pitches in a nine walk, eight hit, 6-3 victory versus the Orioles.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac11h
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TRIVIA: Headlines in The Sporting News, dated December 4th, were clear, the string was broken, Brooks Robinson had… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
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