Today’s 1960’s high-water mark in stats is pitching wins, and anytime you can have a new card with Sandy Koufax on it is a good day!
Check it out:
Koufax topped the National League with 27 wins in 1966, in what would
sadly be his last year in the Majors due to arm trouble which led him to
It was the last season in a five year run rarely seen before or since by any pitcher in Major League history.
In those five years between 1962 and 1966 he led the league in wins
three times, earned run average five times, shutouts three times, and
strikeouts three times!
He took home three Cy Young Awards and an MVP (1963), finished second in
MVP twice, was named to the all-star team every season and pitched the
Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Championships (1963 & 1965).
On the American League side of course, we have Denny McLain and his 31 wins from the “Year of the Pitcher”, 1968.
As a 24-year older, McLain just dominated A.L. Batters, going 31-6 with a
1.96 E.R.A., six shutouts and 280 strikeouts! Needless to say he took
home BOTH the A.L. Cy Young Award and M.V.P. That year, a year that saw
the Detroit Tigers win it all after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in
the World Series.
He wouldn’t disappoint in 1969 either, winning 24 games and tossing nine
shutouts while sharing the Cy Young with Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike
But sadly for McLain, troubles began the very next season and he’d be out of baseball after 1972 at only 28-years of age.
Back to Koufax for a second: I always wonder what he could have done
during that 1968 “Year of the Pitcher” season. Who knows, perhaps HE
could have been the last 30-game winner?