1967 World Series
The 1967 World Series matched the St. Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox, with the Cardinals winning in seven games for their second championship in four years and their eighth overall.
The Series was played from October 4 to October 12 in Fenway Park and Busch Memorial Stadium.
The "Impossible Dream" Red Sox were led by triple crown winner Carl Yastrzemski (who won the Most Valuable Player award for his 1967 performance) and ace pitcher Jim Lonborg, who won the American League Cy Young Award. The Red Sox reached the World Series by emerging victorious from a dramatic four-team pennant race that revitalized interest in the team after eight straight losing seasons. Going into the last week of the season, the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox were all within one game of each other in the standings. The White Sox lost their last five games (two to the lowly Kansas City Athletics and three to the similarly inept Washington Senators) to fall out of the race. Meanwhile, the Red Sox and Twins met in Boston for the final two games of the season, with Minnesota holding a one game lead. Boston swept the Twins, but needed to wait out the result of the Tigers' doubleheader with the California Angels in Detroit. A Detroit sweep would have enabled them to tie the Red Sox for first place. The Tigers won the first game but the Angels won the nightcap, enabling the Red Sox to claim the A.L. pennant.
The Cardinals won 101 games en route to the National League pennant, with a team featuring All-Stars Orlando Cepeda (selected as the National League Most Valuable Player), Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, and 1964 World Series MVP Bob Gibson, as well as former two-time Yankee MVP Roger Maris and Curt Flood. Twenty-two year-old Steve Carlton won 14 games in his first full major league season, beginning what was to be a lengthy and very successful career. The Cardinals overcame the absence of Bob Gibson, who missed almost one-third of the season with a broken leg on July 15 (on disabled list, July 16–Sept. 6) suffered when he was struck by a ball hit by Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente. Gibson still managed to win 13 games, and while he was out, Nelson Briles filled his spot in the rotation brilliantly, winning nine consecutive games as the Cardinals led the N.L. comfortably for most of the season, eventually winning by 10½ games over the San Francisco Giants.
Pitching dominated this World Series, with Bob Gibson leading the Cardinals. Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg pitched the decisive final game of the regular season, so he was unable to start Game 1. Facing Boston's Jose Santiago, Gibson and St. Louis won, 2–1. Roger Maris, (obtained from the Yankees in December 1966) knocked in both of St. Louis' runs with third and seventh-inning grounders. Santiago pitched brilliantly and homered in the third inning off Gibson for the Red Sox' only run.
Gibson cemented his reputation as an unhittable postseason pitcher in this series, allowing only three total runs over three complete games. His efforts allowed the Cardinals to triumph despite the batting of Yastrzemski (.500 OBP, .840 SLG), and pitching of Lonborg, who allowed only one run in each of his complete-game wins in Games 2 and 5. In Game 2, Yastrzemski belted two homers but the story was Lonborg. The Boston ace retired the first 19 Cardinals he faced until he walked Curt Flood with one out in the seventh inning. He had a no-hitter until Julian Javier doubled down the left field line with two out in the eighth inning; Lonborg settled for a one-hit shutout in which he faced only 29 batters.
In St. Louis, the El Birdos (as Cepeda had nicknamed them) took Games 3 and 4, with Briles pitching the home team to a 5–2 victory (Mike Shannon's two run blast proved to be the decisive factor), and Gibson tossing a 6–0 whitewashing (with two RBIs apiece by Maris and Tim McCarver). Now leading three-games-to-one, Lonborg kept the Bosox in the series with a 3–1 victory. The 25-year-old righty tossed two hit, shutout ball over 82⁄3 innings, then finally gave up a run when Maris knocked a home run to right.
Going for the clincher at Fenway Park in Game 6, the visiting team took a 2–1 lead going into the fourth inning when Dick Hughes (who led the National League with a .727 winning percentage and won 16 games during the regular season) gave up a record three homers in a single inning. Yastrzemski led off the fourth with a long drive over the wall in left-center and, two outs later, rookie Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli both hammered consecutive shots. Brock managed to tie the game with a two-run homer in the seventh, but Boston retaliated with four runs of their own and went on for the 8–4 triumph to tie the series at three games all. The Cardinals set a World Series record eight pitchers.
The decisive Game 7 featured Gibson and Lonborg facing each other for the first time in the series, but Lonborg was starting on only two days' rest, and was unable to compete with Gibson, who only allowed three hits over the course of a complete game. Both pitchers were 2–0 in the series with Gibson giving up four hits in 18 innings and Lonborg surrendering a single run and four hits in his 18. Something had to give—and it was Lonborg. The Cardinal ace clearly dominated the finale, permitting only three hits, striking out 10 batters and even adding a home run blast of his own in the fifth. Julian Javier added a three run shot off Lonborg in the sixth and Gibson cruised to the decisive 7–2 victory. He now boasted a 5–1 record and a 2.00 ERA in World Series competition, with 57 strikeouts in 54 innings and only 37 hits allowed.
This was the first year since 1948 that neither the Yankees, the Giants, nor the Dodgers played in the World Series. It would be another seven years before the Dodgers would return to the series and nine before the Yankees came back. The Giants would not play in a World Series until 1989. Lou Brock stole three bases in Game 7 for a record seven (7) thefts in a seven-game series. The Cardinals tied a World Series record by using eight pitchers in their Game 6 loss.
Ken Brett, the older brother of George Brett, became the youngest pitcher in World Series history at 19 years, 20 days, when he pitched one inning of relief at the end of Game 4. He also pitched 1⁄3 of an inning at the end of Game 7. He gave up no hits or runs in either appearance. He was the only left-hander on the Boston pitching staff.
Red Sox catcher Elston Howard had the dubious distinction of tying Pee Wee Reese's record for most losing World Series teams (6).
St. Louis catcher Tim McCarver said the Boston newspapers made Bob Gibson angry with their headline "Lonborg and Champagne" that basically declared that Jim Lonborg would win before Game 7.
The two teams met again in the 2004 and the Red Sox swept in four to break the Curse of the Bambino. Boston then beat the Colorado Rockies in four straight games in the 2007 series.
St. Louis is only one of two teams to take a 3–1 series lead only to lose the next two games and still win the championship. The other was the 1972 Oakland Athletics.
1967 marked the first time that the World Series Trophy was presented.
The Boston Red Sox finally returned to the "Big Show" after a grueling twenty-one year absence to face a much more experienced Cardinals team. The National League champions had steamrolled over their competition and finished with an impressive 10½ game margin over the rest of the National League. Ending up ninth in '66, the American Leaguers finished in first after a close four team pennant chase. Despite the neck-and-neck marathon, rookie manager Dick Williams' team held on to complete the season one game ahead of both the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins and three games in front of the Chicago White Sox.
Bob Gibson remained the "Redbirds" biggest threat, winning ninteen, twenty and twenty-one games in the previous three years although he totaled a mere fourteen regular-season victories in '67. The Cardinals, sparked by Orlando Cepeda (twenty-five home runs, one-hundred eleven runs batted in and a .325 batting mark) gave Red Schoendienst a pennant in his third year as the St. Louis manager. Other key contributors included outfielders Curt Flood (a .335 hitter), Lou Brock (fifty-two stolen bases), twenty-nine year-old rookie righthander Dick Hughes (sixteen victories) and young pitchers Nelson Briles and Steve Carlton. On the Boston side, Carl Yastrzemski boasted the Triple Crown (forty-four home runs, one-hundred twenty-one RBIs and a .326 avg.) and was balanced by Jim Lonborg who won twenty-two games (ten more than any other pitcher in the rotation).
As Game 1 opened in the picturesque Fenway Park, Gibson went up against Jose Santiago in what would be a hitter's nightmare. The Cardinal ace struck out ten batters and only allowed six hits all day in the 2-1 victory. Roger Maris, (obtained from the New York Yankees in December 1966) knocked in both of St. Louis' runs with third and seventh-inning grounders. Game 2 however, belonged to the "Beantown Bombers" as Yastrzemski nailed two homers and Lonborg pitched no-hit ball for 7 2/3 innings before winding up with a one hit (Julian Javier's double), 5-0 masterpiece. As the Series shifted to St. Louis' Busch Memorial Stadium, the home team answered back with 5-2 and 6-0 victories. Game 3 foiled Boston's best efforts as Nelson Briles' seven hitter and Mike Shannon's two run blast proved to be the decisive factors, while Gibson's five hit hurling and two RBIs apiece by Maris and Tim McCarver kept the "Redbirds" up in Game 4.
Lonborg returned for Game 5 after an outstanding effort in the second outing and nothing changed as the twenty-five year-old righty tossed two hit, shutout ball over 8 2/3 innings, then settled for a 3-1 decision when Maris knocked a last-desperate homer to right. Going for the clincher, the visiting team took a 2-1 lead going into the fourth inning when Dick Hughes (who led the National League with a .727 winning percentage) gave up a record three homers in a single inning. Yastrzemski led off the fourth with a long drive over the wall in left-center and, two outs later, rookie Reggie Smith and Rico Petrocelli both hammered consecutive shots. Brock managed to tie the game four-all with a two run homer in the seventh, but Boston retaliated with four runs of their own and went on for the 8-4 triumph.
Game 7 promised to be a "gunslingers" shootout as Gibson and Lonborg met for the final duel. Both pitchers were 2-0 in the Series with Gibson giving up four hits in eighteen innings and Lonborg surrendering a single run and four hits in his eighteen. Pitching on three days rest (to his rivals two) the Cardinal ace clearly dominated the finale, permitting only three hits, striking out ten batters and even adding a homerun blast of his own in the fifth. Julian Javier added a three run shot off Lonborg in the sixth and Gibson cruised to the decisive 7-2 victory. He now boasted a 5-1 record and a 2.00 ERA in World Series competition, with fifty-seven strikeouts in fifty-four innings and only thirty-seven hits allowed.
The talented Cardinals, led by Orlando Cepeda and Lou Brock, cruised to the National League pennant despite losing ace Bob Gibson for two months with a broken leg. The Red Sox, meanwhile, achieved "the impossible dream" after going from ninth place in 1966 to first in 1967, clinching their first pennant since 1946 on the final day of the regular season.
Gibson started Game 1 in Boston, and Jose Santiago was his mound opponent. The Cards scored a run in the third, but Santiago himself tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning. It remained 1-1 until the seventh, when Brock singled, stole second, and came around on a pair of infield outs. That's the way it ended, 2-1 St. Louis.
In Game 2, Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg didn't allow a hit until two men were out in the eighth, when Julian Javier doubled into the left-field corner, and he finished with a sparkling one-hitter. The final was 5-0 Red Sox, the last three runs coming on Carl Yastrzemski's three-run homer in the seventh.
In St. Louis for Game 3, the Cardinals took a 5-2 victory behind the complete-game pitching of Nellie Briles. Third baseman Mike Shannon led the Redbird attack with two hits, one of them a two-run homer in the second inning. Bob Gibson, so good in the opener, was even better in Game 4, tossing a five-hit shutout to beat the Sox, 6-0, as Santiago failed to escape the first inning. It was Lonborg's turn in Game 5, as he followed up his one-hitter in Game 2 with a five-hitter. The Sox led just 1-0 entering the ninth, but they scored a pair of insurance runs, which made moot Roger Maris' solo homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Fenway Park hosted Game 6, and the Red Sox stayed alive with an 8-4 triumph. The score was tied at four until the bottom of the seventh, when Boston sent 10 men to the plate and scored four times to break the game open.
Game 7 matched Gibson and Lonborg. Gibson was brilliant once again, allowing only three hits, but Lonborg was working on just two days rest and clearly didn't have his best stuff. The Cardinals scored two runs in the third, two in the fifth, and three more in the sixth off Lonborg to put the game away. Gibson struck out George Scott to end the 7-2 contest, and the Cards were World Series champions once again.