Chasing History: The 1967 AL Pennant Race, Pt. 2

The White Sox didn’t have the best week, but the race remained tight. (via Michelle Jay)

Last week, I began a recounting of the final month (plus one day) of the 1967 pennant race in the American League. I took matters from the start of the month, when four teams were within a game and a half of each other, through the sixth of September, when those four teams were within one percentage point of each other.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/6/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Minnesota 78 61 .561
Chicago 78 61 .561
Boston 79 62 .560
Detroit 79 62 .560

I continue now with the following eight days, which contained some amazing performances, some remarkably improbable results, and the growing promise of an ending worthy of being remembered half a century hence.

Games of Thursday, Sept. 7, 1967

The race settled down to a lower gear on Thursday, a travel day for both the Tigers and the White Sox. Boston and Minnesota had games, and the chance to either nudge ahead of those competitors or slip behind. Both rose to the challenge.

Boston was hoping to fatten up on its archrivals, the ninth-place Yankees, in a four-game Fenway series, and the Red Sox started right. Rico Petrocelli’s solo homer in the second and RBI double in the sixth put Boston ahead, 2-0. New York got one back on Tom Tresh’s round-tripper, but Jim Lonborg would not only stop the Yankees there but drove in his own insurance run on an eighth-inning double. Lonborg struck out 10 in a complete-game win, 3-1.

Batting eighth for Boston had been someone who, until just the previous month, had been one of the Yankees’ biggest names: Elston Howard. The first black player in Yankees pinstripes, Howard eventually had replaced Yogi Berra as catcher, and in 1963 added to his pioneering résumé as the first black MVP of the American League. By 1967, though, the 38-year-old Howard was struggling badly at the plate. In early August, New York traded him to Boston, where he’d have at least a chance of winning his 10th pennant.

This wasn’t his first game against his old teammates: He’d played an August series in the Bronx, where his old fans had given him a memorable ovation. This wasn’t a good game, either, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, and his batting with Boston was even worse than with New York. His value lay elsewhere, as a defender, a team leader, and as a guide to Boston’s young pitchers.

“He was like a pitching coach,” rookie teammate Reggie Smith observed. “No doubt Elston helped us…We needed someone like Ellie to show the way.” Howard’s effect was clear even to Tony Conigliaro, his eyesight still blurred from his dreadful August beaning. “I don’t think I ever saw one of our pitchers shake off his sign. They had too much respect for him.” He had just helped Lonborg to his 19th win, and there was more work to do.

Minnesota kept pace before a sparse crowd at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. The Twins matched an Orioles run in the second with a Harmon Killebrew home run in the fourth and answered Brooks Robinson’s solo shot when Ted Uhlaender drove Zoilo Versalles home in the fifth. In the eighth, César Tovar led off with a triple, and Tony Oliva doubled him home. Oliva then scored on a passed ball and Bob Allison’s single. Twins starter Dean Chance held Baltimore there for the 4-2 win, his 18th.

Chance had come to Minnesota over the winter in a trade engineered by now-departed manager Sam Mele. The Cy Young winner in 1964 with the expansion Angels was made the ace and workhorse of the Twins staff by Mele and successor Cal Ermer. Chance would set league highs in starts, complete games, and innings pitched in 1967, setting new personal highs in all three categories and strikeouts to boot.

Chance headed a strong Minnesota starting corps, but he was personally shouldering a lot of weight late in the season. A dozen times in 1967, he would pitch a game on four days or more of rest (which is the starter’s standard today). Not one of those times would come in September or October.

Still, he’d succeeded today. The four-way tie atop the American League was now down to two.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/7/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Minnesota 79 61 .564
Boston 80 62 .563
Chicago 78 61 0.5 .561
Detroit 79 62 0.5 .560

Games of Friday, Sept. 8, 1967

All four contenders were in action on Friday. Boston played the Yankees again, Minnesota had a twin bill (no pun intended), and the Tigers and White Sox faced off in Chicago.

There’s never a sure thing in baseball, and when playing a rival that’s doubly true. The Red Sox got the early lead against the Yankees when George Scott tripled Carl Yastrzemski home, but the tail-enders got it back and more. Bill Robinson singled home two in the fourth, and when Boston answered with Petrocelli’s RBI double to tie, New York took the lead right back, Tresh doubling home starting pitcher Bill Monbouquette.

Monbouquette had spent his first eight years with the Red Sox. They traded him to Detroit before the 1966 season, and the Tigers had released him in mid-May of ’67. New York picked him up the day Whitey Ford retired, and he made himself relevant to the pennant race involving his two old clubs. His Yankees got two insurance runs on Tresh’s single in the seventh, the second coming in on Yaz’s misplay in left field. Monbouquette notched the win, a 5-2 upset by New York.

Minnesota looked set to capitalize. Piling up six runs in the second to fourth innings, capped by a two-run home run from Killebrew, they overwhelmed the Orioles 7-2 in the opener. The nightcap soon flipped the other way. Twins starter Jim Perry was rocked by a four-run second that included an error and a bungled sacrifice that left runner and batter both safe. Minnesota rallied in the fourth, scoring two on singles by Rod Carew and pinch-hitter Rich Reese, who was then lifted for pinch-runner Dave Boswell…a pitcher.

This was oddly common. It was the sixth time manager Ermer had employed Boswell for pinch-running that year, and it tended to happen when Reese, a first baseman/left fielder more often used for pinch-hitting, got himself on board. Boswell didn’t get to flash his wheels, as Versalles’s fly-out ended the inning. Both teams scored once more, leaving Baltimore the 5-3 victor. Oliva’s five singles in the second game gave him an 8-for-9 day.

With Boston’s loss and Minnesota’s split, the winner in Chicago would take a share of the league lead. Detroit pounced on the chance, defeating the White Sox, 4-1. The result was partly Tigers power, solo home runs by Eddie Mathews and Jim Northrup, and Chicago miscues, errors in the sixth and seventh both leading to Detroit tallies. The White Sox plated one in the eighth and had the tying run at bat, but reliever Fred Lasher slammed the door with a perfect inning and a third.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/8/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Detroit 80 62 .563
Minnesota 80 62 .563
Boston 80 63 0.5 .559
Chicago 78 62 1.0 .557
California 73 67 6.0 .521

And in other news, the California Angels had blanked the Washington Senators, 4-0. They were now 73-67, six games behind Detroit and Minnesota, just five back in the loss column. They had won eight of ten and were facing the tail-ender Senators, Yankees, and A’s for their next eight. Were they catching fire at just the right time?

They were not. California would lose four of its next five, leaving the race to its four rivals. At the time, though, it must have seemed possible, because everything seemed possible.

Games of Saturday, Sept. 9, 1967

Minnesota opened proceedings with a day game in Baltimore. They also opened the scoring on Killebrew’s solo home run in the fourth. That made three days in a row that Killebrew had gone long, raising his season total to 38, tying Yastrzemski for the AL lead. A rally in the seventh stretched the lead to 3-0, Tovar and Allison driving in the runs. Oliva received his first of two intentional walks in that frame to go along with two singles in three at-bats. That extended his torrid streak against the O’s to 12-for-16 in the series so far.

Jim Kaat couldn’t hold the shutout, as Frank Robinson homered in the seventh—the 400th of his career, a number that in those days all but guaranteed Cooperstown—as did pinch-hitter Sam Bowens in the eighth. Those were the only Orioles who reached during the final five innings. Kaat’s 3-2 win pulled his record within a game of .500.

In Chicago, the White Sox started off very similarly against Detroit. They scored one in the fourth, Tommie Agee singling in Walt Williams and extending his hitting streak to 12 games. They followed with two in the sixth, Ken Boyer tripling in Agee, then Pete Ward singling in Boyer’s pinch-runner, Joe Horlen. Horlen was another pitcher getting pinch-running duty. Remember his name.

Gary Peters carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth for the ChiSox but loaded the bases while getting just one out on a Willie Horton fly. Four relievers would follow him before the inning ended. Don Wert put Detroit on the board; Jim Northrup tied it; Norm Cash put the Tigers ahead; walks to Mickey Stanley and Al Kaline pushed home a fifth run; and Horton came back around to cap the comeback with a two-run single.

It was the only hit of the day for Horton, hobbled by a bone spur in his left heel. In the clubhouse after Detroit’s stunning 7-3 comeback triumph, though, he could laugh about his aching foot. “I’m gonna soak it in champagne,” he told a reporter, “when we win the World Series.”

Jerry Stephenson was scheduled to take the mound for Boston, but a virus struck him and Howard. The Red Sox were forced to start Dave Morehead and Mike Ryan instead. Morehead yielded a run in the first on Joe Pepitone’s double. The Yankees would not score again. The Red Sox would score in the first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth. Yaz broke his brief tie with Killebrew with a solo homer in the fifth, the same inning Smith and RicoPetrocelli executed a double steal of second and home.

Though up 6-1, Morehead got himself in trouble in the eighth, loading the bases with nobody out, and gave way to Sparky Lyle. Lyle, who would become more famous saving games for the Yankees, snuffed the threat on a strikeout and double play and then pitched a perfect ninth. Since the tying run was on deck when he entered, Lyle earned the save of Morehead’s 7-1 win.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/9/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Detroit 81 62 .566
Minnesota 81 62 .566
Boston 81 63 0.5 .563
Chicago 78 63 2.0 .553

Games of Sunday, Sept. 10, 1967

Two straight losses to Detroit, the latter in excruciating fashion, had the White Sox groggy. With a doubleheader against the Tigers, another bad day could all but knock them out of the race. They needed a stopper. They got history.

Chicago put its stamp on the first game early with a five-run first, knocking Tigers starter Joe Sparma out after one-third of an inning. Chicago’s starter, Horlen, singled home the final run of the stanza before returning to his mound work. He plunked Bill Freehan to open the third and saw him advance twice on two groundouts, but he kept Detroit off the board. Mathews would reach on first baseman Boyer’s bobble opening the fifth, but a 1-6-3 double play erased him. Nobody else was getting on.

Horlen had taken a no-hitter into the ninth before, but a single and a home run had beat him. He was doing it again, and doing it on guts and his fastball. He had all but shelved a curve that wasn’t getting over that day, his catcher J.C. Martin calling for just one in the final three innings.

Opening the ninth, Jerry Lumpe hit a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Wayne Causey ranged behind the bag, backhanded it, and threw from midair. Umpire John Stevens made the bang-bang call—out!—and withstood the protests of Lumpe and manager Mayo Smith. Less controversial grounders went to Don Buford and Ron Hansen, and Horlen had pitched a no-hitter, the White Sox’s first in a decade and maybe their best-timed one ever.

[Author’s note: I began writing up this game on Joe Horlen’s 80th birthday. Many happy–if belated–returns, Joe!]

It was a huge turnaround from the devastation of the previous night, but there was still another game to play, and Chicago risked giving back their gains, in morale and in the standings. Rookie Cisco Carlos, who had pitched his first game in the bigs just 16 days prior, was starting for the Sox, facing big-name opponent Denny McLain. The matchup was ripe to produce a letdown.

Instead, Carlos threw six scoreless innings, Hoyt Wilhelm and Bob Locker were staunch out of the bullpen, and Chicago finished the sweep, 6-0 and 4-0. Cisco Carlos’s first decision in the majors was a win, even if it was overshadowed that day. (Agee’s hitting streak did end, at 13 games.)

Boston eschewed such dramatics and simply pounded the Yankees, 9-1. For the second straight day, they attempted a double steal of second and home. This time, Reggie Smith got trapped off third, but catcher Jake Gibbs dropped the throw home, allowing Smith to score. If Minnesota fell against Baltimore, Boston would leapfrog them and Detroit back into first place.

The Twins got an early 1-0 lead on Oliva’s RBI groundout, but Baltimore put its first four batters in the fourth aboard against Boswell, and with a 2-1 lead got the bases loaded with one out. After Larry Haney popped out, skipper Hank Bauer took out starter Jim Palmer for pinch-hitter Lee May. May struck out, and Minnesota soon began to chip at relievers Wally Bunker and Moe Drabowsky. They tied the Orioles in the sixth on Oliva’s triple, and inched ahead in the seventh when Versalles scored on a Killebrew grounder booted by Robinson.

An insurance run came in the eighth, and Boswell briefly feared he’d need it. With one down in the eighth, a brain freeze left him on the mound as Killebrew ranged to his right to field a grounder, then couldn’t get back to first in time. A double play prevented any harm, and he returned to the dugout cheerfully admitting that he should be fined $50 for his mental lapse. Manager Ermer obliged him.

The 4-2 win gave Minnesota sole possession of first place. Oliva’s 3-for-5 day, a dinger short of the cycle, made him 15-for-21 in the series Minnesota had won, four games to one.

When Brooks Robinson butchers one, it is just not your day. The Orioles had this driven home when their post-game flight to Chicago had to make an unscheduled landing in Pittsburgh. A piece of their airplane had flown loose and chipped one of the propellers. They would get to Chicago and their meeting with the White Sox safely.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/10/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Minnesota 82 62 .569
Boston 82 63 0.5 .566
Detroit 81 64 1.5 .559
Chicago 80 63 1.5 .559

Games of Monday, Sept. 11, 1967

Minnesota and Chicago were the only contenders with games on Monday. The Twins made a short run down Maryland into Washington to face the Senators. The game started well and very badly for the Minnesota. They touched Joe Coleman for two runs in the top of the first, but the Nats tattooed Chance in immediate reprisal. Three errors opened the floodgates, the second Chance’s own, making all five runs unearned.

The Twins smarted for two innings, then struck back for seven in the fourth. (Boswell got his latest chance to pinch-run, after yes, Reese batted for Chance.) Perry took over the pitching and shut out Washington for the final six frames as Minnesota ended up romping, 13-5. Oliva again prospered, with a double and three walks in five appearances. In the last six days, he had raised his season triple-slash numbers by 20/23/28 points, a neat trick for a full-time player in September.

Chicago squared off against Baltimore in a make-up game, only to find the Orioles had left their bad fortune in Memorial Stadium and the Pittsburgh airport. Robinson’s two-run clout in the first was all the scoring the O’s would need, as Jim Hardin went all the way in a 6-1 win. Chicago found itself a full game further behind Minnesota, its momentum from the previous day checked.

Games of Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1967

Minnesota began the day one game ahead of Boston for the league lead, a margin that in that scramble must simultaneously have felt huge and terribly vulnerable. They were playing Washington again, a team that in its seven years of existence had never had a winning season, though manager Gil Hodges kept getting a little more out of them each year. This day, it wouldn’t be a rout.

Killebrew’s first-inning sacrifice fly gave his Twins the early edge, but Washington replied with three in the second, two driven in by pitcher Frank Bertaina. Fred Valentine’s homer made it 4-1 in the sixth, but Minnesota replied with two runs. It could have been more had Versalles not gotten thrown out by Frank Howard trying to stretch a leadoff double into three. Versalles’ double-play grounder would end Minnesota’s eighth, while Howard would lead off Washington’s with a home run to make it 5-3.

Minnesota mounted a charge in the ninth against reliever Darold Knowles. After Carew’s strikeout, Uhlaender singled, took second on a wild pitch, and came home on Tovar’s base hit. Killebrew, easily capable of winning it with one swing, could only fly to right. Up came the blue-hot Oliva. Knowles struck him out to end the game. Oliva was mortal once again.

Boston opened a two-game home set against Kansas City with a pitcher’s duel between Lonborg and Catfish Hunter. Hunter weakened first, yielding a Smith solo homer in the fifth. Lonborg posted zeroes until the eighth, which Bert Campaneris led off with a tying round-tripper. He then, with one out in the home eighth and his catcher Ryan on first, tripled to push Boston ahead and knock Hunter out of the game. Mike Andrews’ sac fly made it 3-1, and Lonborg’s perfect ninth kept it that way. He was now a 20-game winner, tied for the league lead with Earl Wilson.

Wilson missed his chance to keep ahead of Lonborg. Baltimore reached the Detroit hurler for three early runs, knocking him out in the second. The Tigers clawed back, tying the game at four by the fifth. The next inning, Kaline hit a two-out, two-run homer to put his club up, 6-4. Reliever Lasher caused some heart palpitations in the eighth by loading the bases, including a puzzling intentional walk of Curt Blefary that put the potential go-ahead run aboard. Lasher coaxed an inning-ending ground-out from Davey Johnson, though, and 6-4 Detroit was the final.

In Chicago, the Cleveland Indians came to town for a four-game series, starting with a doubleheader. The game began with a theme of two, as Cleveland mounted a two-out rally in the second to score its first two runs, bouncing ChiSox starter Steve Jones. Cleveland added one in the fifth against Bruce Howard, who likewise departed after that frame. Chicago loaded the bases in the sixth to chase Sudden Sam McDowell, then scored two on George Culver’s wild pitch and Rocky Colavito’s single.

Manager Eddie Stanky pulled out all the stops, playing five pitchers and 21 total White Sox in the game. (September call-ups made this less desperate than it sounds.) After Cleveland added one in the eighth, Chicago got it back on a hit by pitch and two straight singles, ending Culver’s day. Bob Allen came in with one gone and runners at the corners and killed the rally by striking out Tommy McCraw and Causey on seven total pitches. Chicago went meekly in the ninth to bow, 4-3.

The nightcap was scarcely a contest. Cleveland scored in each of its first four innings, piling up a 5-0 cushion and chasing Tommy John. Luis Tiant struck out nine and gave up just a solo homer to Ward in laying out a 7-1 drubbing. Attendance at White Sox Park, near 12,000 at the start of the twin-bill, had fallen almost to nothing by the second game’s end. Chicago’s fortunes had flip-flopped again, and with 16 games to play for all four contenders, they were on the edge of being shouldered out of the race.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/12/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Minnesota 83 63 .568
Boston 83 63 .568
Detroit 82 64 1.0 .562
Chicago 80 66 3.0 .548

Games of Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1967

Chicago sent Peters to the mound in a must-win contest against the Indians. Some agonized fans must have been hoping he wouldn’t yield a run; a few might have wished overconfidently for nine straight hitless innings, like Horlen had given them four days ago. Peters would manage both, but neither would quite be enough.

Peters’ moment of danger came in the second inning, when Buford lashed a one-out triple against him. Peters would walk the next two men but get the eight-nine batters to escape any damage. The triple was the only hit Peters would allow, though he’d walk eight more batters and hit another. He departed after 11 innings of one-hit ball, the last nine hitless, but with the game still scoreless.

His opponent, Sonny Siebert, pitched his own 11 scoreless frames, on four hits and zero walks (though he also hit a batter). The bullpens took over from there, and it was still 0-0 entering the home half of the 17th.

Chicago’s Ward could only fly out against pitcher Bobby Tiefenauer, but Boyer grounded a soft single into center. His pinch-runner, Buddy Bradford, made second when a Tiefenauer knuckler eluded rookie backstop Ray Fosse for a passed ball. McCraw was intentionally walked, in the only free pass Cleveland would give up that game, to bring up Colavito. The Rock hit a spinning grounder that found its way into right field, and there wasn’t even a play attempted on Bradford coming home with the game’s first and last run.

However many of the 9,929 fans were still on hand at the post-midnight end had reason to celebrate. Optimism, however, would have been tempered. Those following the out-of-town scores knew Chicago hadn’t made up any ground, as all three teams ahead of them had won.

Detroit wasted little time in handling Baltimore. Willie Horton’s two-run triple in the first opened the scoring, followed by back-to-back homers by Dick Tracewski and Kaline in the third. Mickey Lolich gave up a single run in the seventh, but otherwise cruised to an easy 6-1 win.

Minnesota had a similarly smooth time in Washington…for the first eight and a half innings. Three batters in, Killebrew homered to give the Twins a 2-0 edge, and Allison’s fourth-inning triple drove Oliva home to make it 3-0. Kaat scattered six hits and a walk to keep the Senators scoreless through eight.

Then came the ninth. Howard singled off Kaat and left for a pinch-runner. Paul Casanova singled. Valentine’s long fly sent Oliva to the right-field wall–and into it. He recovered from the collision quickly enough to hold Valentine to a run-scoring double, but Oliva would need stitches in his left eyelid. Ermer double-switched Oliva out of the game, putting Chance on the mound. Chance, two days after a truncated start, had gas in the tank. The sac fly he yielded to Frank Coggins made it 3-2, but kept Valentine, the critical tying run, on second. He then struck out Mike Epstein and Cap Peterson, saving the game for Kaat.

Killebrew’s early homer had tied him once again with Yastrzemski for the American League lead. His two RBIs on the swat pushed him to 101 on the season, just two behind Yaz’s circuit-leading figure. Yastrzemski’s Triple Crown prospects were looking iffier, which more importantly meant trouble for his Red Sox.

Yaz would go oh-for-three with a walk against Kansas City that day, so Boston had to get its offense elsewhere. Petrocelli knocked in one in the fourth, but the rally was killed when Scott left third too early on a potential Smith sacrifice fly. The A’s got that run back in the fifth, and the game stayed tied until the eighth. With two outs, and after having Ken Harrelson walked in front of him to put runners on the corners, Petrocelli doubled both runners home. Smith would single him in, and a lone A’s tally in the ninth would not be enough to catch Boston, winners by a 4-2 final.

Yaz’s subpar day dropped his batting average to .309. He actually had gained four points in the batting title race against Robinson in the last week, as Robinson had slipped from .321 to .315. Yaz would have a chance to keep closer tabs on that facet of his Triple Crown campaign, as the Orioles were coming to Fenway for the weekend.

Fans were starting to look further ahead. Deluged with demand, the Red Sox front office put 16,000 bleacher seats on sale for Boston’s final home stand, two games against the Twins on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. It was looking very possible that those two games could decide the pennant.

Game of Thursday, Sept. 14, 1967

In New York City, American League president Joe Cronin attempted to impose order on potential chaos. Meeting with representatives from all four contenders, he worked out plans for all the possible playoff scenarios, from the six two-team face-offs to double-elimination round-robins for three-team ties to two-round playoffs if all four teams logjammed at the end. Complicating matters, the AL had switched to the NL’s two-out-of-three format, meaning the World Series would be pushed that much further back, perhaps all the way to October 9. (They would revert to a one-and-done format in time for the 1978 AL East playoff.)

For those looking for omens, the Tigers got the extra home game in all its hypothetical two-team playoffs. Boston was relegated to the road all three times.

Chicago had the only game in the American League that day, facing Cleveland again after seeing so much of them the previous night. Luckily, it was another night game. Unluckily—for wrung-out players, at least—it went scoreless to extras again. Also unfortunately, attendance was a shockingly low 4,314.

Sox manager Stanky gave Carlos the ball, perhaps to give Horlen a bit more rest after his no-hitter exertions four days back. Carlos’ Horlen impression wasn’t spot-on, but it was sound enough. He scattered five singles in regulation, and while he whiffed only two, he gave up no walks. The Indians’ pitchers, three through the first nine, allowed just three hits and two passes. The difference showed in the 10th, when Carlos was perfect, and Orlando Peña was not.

Colavito fouled out, but Hansen singled into left. Duane Josephson popped a two-strike hit into right and took second on a throw to third that did not get pinch-runner Tommie Agee. Smoky Burgess hit for Carlos, and Peña put him on intentionally. (Oddly, Horlen then ran for Burgess.) Phase one of the plan worked when Boyer struck out. Phase two, getting Buford out, failed. On a full count, Buford pulled one into the right-field seats.

According to Baseball-Reference, only thrice in MLB history has a team won a game 4-0, in extra innings, on a walk-off grand slam. This was the second. The Indians had lost the first one as well, five years before. Carroll Hardy hit the game-winner. Scoring the first and game-winning run was Yastrzemski.

A.L. Standings, After Games of 9/14/1967
Team W L GB Pct.
Minnesota 84 63 .571
Boston 84 63 .571
Detroit 83 64 1.0 .565
Chicago 82 66 2.5 .554

In the past eight days, the race had stayed very close for three of the teams and gotten a bit desperate for the fourth. For Chicago, much depended on the three-game set with Minnesota over the impending weekend. (Much depended on it for Minnesota, too.) Would the series haul the White Sox back into the race or expel them from it?

Given this race’s historic stature as one of the greatest pennant chases ever, the savvy reader can make a good guess.

References & Resources

A writer for The Hardball Times, Shane has been writing about baseball and science fiction since 1997. His stories have been translated into French, Russian and Japanese, and he was nominated for the 2002 Hugo Award.
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Dennis Bedard
Dennis Bedard
This may seem like boring drivel to younger fans but it makes my long lost hair stand up. I grew up in New England in 1967 and followed the games through WEAN radio and The Providence Journal and the afternoon edition of the Pawtucket Times. TV was a much smaller part of any fan’s universe and home games were almost never televised except on weekends. I reviewed your references and resources and while The Sporting News is invaluable, I am surprised the local Boston papers (The Globe, Record American, and Herald Traveler) are not there. This pennant race had a… Read more »

Here’s the Google Books link to the September 8, 1967 edition of t Life Magazine, which has a story about the pennant race, as well as a front cover featuring Yaz:

Marc Schneider
Marc Schneider
I know you can’t go home again and I’m not a get off my lawn type of person, but it’s sort of a shame that we will never have pennant races like this again. With the multiple divisions and wild cards, the only real division races will be between teams not good enough for both to make it in the playoffs. The fact that you knew the winner was going to the World Series, IMO, made it better. Today, the end of the season is just a prelude to three more weeks and the possibility that a rather average team… Read more »

“Hank Bauer took out starter Jim Palmer for pinch-hitter Lee May.” I think this must be Dave May rather than Lee.

Paul G.
Paul G.
It is unfortunate that the “true” pennant race is most likely gone. The problem is that with 14-16 teams in a league, a single playoff team is probably an unworkable business model. There will be seasons where there will be a half dozen teams with a chance and it is all exciting, and there will be seasons where the pennant is decided in August and good luck getting people to watch games, especially for that team in 16th. It would probably bankrupt half the teams fairly quickly. The alternative is to have 4 leagues with only the winner advancing, but… Read more »
Marc Schneider
Marc Schneider

Paul G.,

No doubt about that. And there were plenty of years where there were no pennant races and one team dominated and the season was essentially over in July.


Quick question. The article concerning September 13th said Peters biggest threat was when Buford tripled. Weren’t Peters and Buford both White Sox teammates?


Curious about the AL playoff format. I know the NL always had a 2 of 3 playoff format, and the AL used a 1 game playoff in 1948. I seem to remember reading that the Red Sox had planned to use Lee Stange for the playoff game in Detroit. My understanding was this was a 1 game playoff. More on the AL playoff format change?

Tony DeMarchi
Tony DeMarchi

On September 11 after the Twins scored 2 in the first it was the Senators, not the Nats that tattooed Chance. Easy enough to do.

Michael Bacon
Michael Bacon

Enjoying this immensely! Was happy to see you include the Angels in one of the standings boxes. Although they had been a sensation in their second year, posting a record of 86-76 while finishing third in the AL, the Angels shocked the Baseball world in 1967. After the games of Sunday, August 13 they were only a game and a half out of first place! Unfortunately this was followed by a regression to the mean, as they lost their next seven games and never were a threat again.