The entire crew of the Apollo One spacecraft including Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed during a pre-launch rehearsal after fire swept through their Saturn rocket as it sat on its launching pad. The tragedy marked the first deaths of any astronaut while actively engaged in the American space program.
The United States Senate promoted Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall as the first African-American member of the Supreme Court. Previous to his nomination from President Lyndon B. Johnson, Marshall had held office in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals after President John F. Kennedy recognized him as one of the country's most promising attorneys.
American labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was arrested and sentenced to thirteen years in prison following a series of government investigations into illegal business practices. While serving his sentence at a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, he refused to resign as president of the Teamsters and retained the support of most union members. United States President Richard Nixon eventually commuted Hoffa's sentence releasing him from prison on Christmas Eve, 1971. Four years later, while attempting to rebuild his administration, Hoffa "disappeared" after apparently attending a meeting at the Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. To this day, the Teamster leader has never been found and was declared legally dead in 1982.
On May 30th, New York Yankees lefty Whitey Ford surprisingly announced his retirement after struggling for several weeks due to a bone spur on his throwing elbow. The perennial ace finished his career with an amazing 236-109 record, a 2.75 lifetime ERA, ten World Series wins and the highest career winning percentage (.690) of any modern pitcher.
The Washington Senators managed to fight off exhaustion long enough to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5 during a twenty-two inning contest that lasted six hours and thirty-eight minutes. The June 12th marathon set the record for the longest night game in American League history.
New York Yankees team president Mike Burke announced that "The House That Ruth Built" (also known as Yankee Stadium) would undergo its first major renovation at an estimated cost of $1.5 million dollars. The Mets agreed to allow the Bronx Bombers to use Shea Stadium while their park was getting the facelift.
St. Louis Cardinal and single-season home run champion Roger Maris hit a "one in a million" shot against the Pittsburgh Pirates for his first National League round-tripper. Unbelievably, Maris, who wore number 9, hit a ball into Seat 9, located in Row 9 during a game on May 9th.
The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets combined for eleven home runs (Cubs eight, Mets three) during the second game of a June 11th doubleheader. The unexpected "home run derby" tied a Major League record originally set by the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees in 1950.
Tony Perez ended the longest All-Star Game in Major League history (fifteen innings) to date after launching a home run off "Catfish" Hunter for the 2-1 National League victory. Despite the game-winning hit, pitching reigned supreme at this Midsummer Classic as Ferguson Jenkins of the National League struck out seven, the American League allowed no walks and both leagues combined for thirty total strikeouts.
After an eleven-hour debate, the American League owners approved the move of Charles Finley's Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland. The junior circuit also mandated the expansion of the league with a deadline of 1971, guaranteeing a new franchise in both Kansas City and Seattle by that time.
The National League owners also agreed to a two team expansion and explored the possibilities of putting the new teams in Milwaukee, Dallas, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo and / or San Diego.
St. Louis Cardinal Orlando Cepeda became the first National League MVP to be voted for unanimously while the American League MVP, Boston Red Sox slugger Carl Yastrzemski, won the Triple-Crown and led the American League in batting average (.326), slugging average (.622), home runs (tied with Harmon Killebrew with forty-four), RBIs (one-hundred twenty-one) and hits (one-hundred eighty-nine).
Four Baseball Hall of Fame inductees debuted during the 1967 season including Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson.
"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski (who did both this season)
Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard
Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard
On April 14, 1967, Red Sox rookie pitcher Billy Rohr made his Major League debut and pitched a no-hitter versus the Yankees through eight and two-thirds innings. Elston Howard broke up the gem and the Red Sox won 3-0. However, did you know that Rohr went on to win only 1 more game during 1967, 1 game in 1968, then left the big leagues at 22 years old?
The final month of the 1967 American League pennant race was arguably the most exciting finish in the history of baseball. As of September 15 three teams—the Red Sox, Twins and Tigers were tied with identical records of 84 wins and 64 losses. A fourth team, the White Sox, were only 1½ games behind the leaders.
Going into the last weekend of the season the Twins had moved one game ahead of the Red Sox and Tigers. The White Sox had fallen two games back and were eliminated after a Friday night loss to the Senators. The Tigers were at a disadvantage as they were ending the season playing back to back doubleheaders against the California Angels while the Red Sox hosted the Twins for two single games. With key homeruns by Carl Yastrzemski and George Scott, they won game one against the Twin 6-4 while the Tigers split their doubleheader against the Angels. This left the Red Sox and Twins tied for first place with the Tigers a half game back. The Tigers would have to sweep their final twin bill to force a playoff.
In Boston, both teams pitched their best, eventual Cy Young award winner Jim Lonborg (21-9) for the Red Sox against 20 game winner, Dean Chance of the Twins. Errors bit the Sox as the Twins scored two early runs and were feeling confident as Chance dominated, allowing just four hits over the first five innings. But in the fifth, Lonborg laid down a bunt single to start the inning and Chance fell apart. Three singles, two wild pitches and an error later, the Red Sox scored five runs and went on to win 5-3. However, the suspense was not over. The Tigers won their first game and could still tie for the pennant if they completed the doubleheader sweep. The entire Red Sox nation crowded around their televisions to watch the final game of the season. On the mound for the Tigers was the heralded Denny McLain but Denny did not have it that day. The Angels blasted out an 8-5 win allowing the Red Sox to complete their Impossible Dream season.
It cannot be overstated the role Triple Crown winner outfielder Carl Yastrzemski played in leading the Red Sox that final month of the season. Yaz batted .417 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in the final 27 games. He went 7-for-8 in the final two games. For the season he batted .328, 44 home runs with 121 RBIs.
#1 Boston Red Sox (92-70) . It was not just Yaz that led the BoSox from their sixth place finish the year before. Pitcher Jim Lonborg's 22 wins tied for the most wins in the league. First baseman George "Boomer" Scott batted .303 with 19 home runs and SS Rico Petroceli, in addition to stellar defense, knocked out 17 home runs. The late season pickup of outfielder Ken Harrelson to replace the injured Tony Cogniliaro was important as was the output of rookie outfielder Reggie Smith.
#2 Detroit Tigers (91-71) . The pre-season favorite Tigers had a lineup that included four batters with 20 plus home runs – outfielder Al Kaline, 1B Norm Cash, SS Dick McAuliffe, and catcher Bill Freehan. Outfielder Willie Horton added 19. The pitching staff included Denny McLain (17 wins), Mickey Lolich (14) and a big season from veteran Earl Wilson (22 wins).
#3 Minnesota Twins (91-71) . The Twins still carried much of the same lineup as their 1965 pennant winning team — with the addition of Rookie of the Year 2B Rod Carew. Harmon Killebrew tied Carl Yastrzemski with 44 home runs and pitcher Dean Chance won 20 games. Pitcher Jim Kaat backed up Chance's 20 win season with 16.
#4 Chicago White Sox (89-73) . The White Sox, led by manager Eddie Stanky, were built around speed, defense and pitching. Third baseman Don Buford, OF Tommy Agee and 1B Tommy McGraw all stole more than 20 bases. The pitching staff was headed up by Joe Horlen's 19 wins and double digit win seasons from Gary Peters and Tommy John.
#5 California Angels (84-72) . The California Angels made a slight tick upwards. Shortstop Jim Fergosi was the spirit of the club and batted .290. Veteran 1B Don Mincher provided some power with 25 home runs.
The Below .500s
#6 Baltimore Orioles (76-85) . The 1966 pennant winning Orioles were a total flop. The power went out of 1B Boog Powell's bat, 13 HRs versus 34, Frank Robinson missed over 30 games with injury, and the much heralded young pitching staff — Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker, Steve Barber and Dave McNally produced a total of only 17 wins.
#7 Washington Senators (76-85) . Outfielder Frank Howard clobbered 35 home runs for the Senators, but there was nothing else. Pitcher Camilio Pascual led their battered pitching staff with 12 wins.
#8 Cleveland Indians (75-87) . Cleveland's dependence on an aging offense and overrated pitching staff landed them in seventh place. Their pitching ace Sam McDowell was bothered by chronic arm problems. Luis Tiant had the lowest ERA of the staff, 2.71, while posting 12 wins.
#9 New York Yankees (72-90) . The Yankees were continuing their struggles through the 1960s. Mickey Mantle was clearly on his way out batting .245 with 22 home runs. The rest of the cast was very un-Yankee like. Pitching ace Mel Stottlemeyr won 15 games, but he also lost 15 games. Al Downing won 14.
#10 Kansas City Athletics (62-99) . The Kansas City A's were packing up for their move to Oakland. The fans stayed home and the players probably should have as well. They did not have much on the field, but there were some interesting late season call ups — outfielders Reggie Jackson and Joe Rudi and 3B Sal Bando. Twenty-one-year old Catfish Hunter looked like he might have some potential.
On May 14, 1967 , Mickey Mantle hit a 3-2 pitch served up by Stu Miller into the lower right-field stands. The blast was Mantle's five-hundredth making him the sixth big leaguer to reach that magic plateau.
On August 6, 1967, Dean Chance of Minnesota pitched 5 perfect innings of baseball. Rain halted the game and his shot a perfect game ended. 19 days later, on August 25, 1967, Chance missed perfection again, but still tossed a 2-1 no hitter versus the Cleveland Indians.