Monday, July 19, 2010

The 68 Series

The 1968 World Series was a classic. The Tigers defeated the Cards behind the brilliant performance of Micky Lolich who outdueled Bob Gibson in the final game. The series also featured amazing performances from future hall of famers Al Kaline and Lou Brock. Yet most famous feat of the series has to be Gibson's game one performance when he threw a five hit shutout while striking out a World Series record 17.

The 68 Series also marked the farewell of two legendary sluggers, Tigers backup third baseman Eddie Mathews and Cardinals right fielder Roger Maris. I was shocked to discover that Mathews was only 36 years old and Maris just 34. At the time Mathews was in 6th place on the all time HR list with 512 and Maris was only seven years removed from his legendary 61 season. These are two players who peaked early and were considered "over the hill" by their early thirties. It was a time before long term contracts, specialized physical conditioning and the DH. One can only imagine the numbers Mathews could have put up if he had come around 10-15 years later.

Maris on the other hand never seemed to recover from his 61 season, never embraced by Yankee fans or excepted as the legit HR* king, he did seem to find some peace in St Louis when he provided veteran leadership and delivered some clutch hits during a fierce pennant drive in 67.

1 comment: