Saturday, November 14, 2009
1968 World Series
I watched game #1 of the 1968 World Series on the MLB Network today. (I've seen this one earlier this year on MLB, but it's always a classic!)
The announcers were NBC's Curt Gowdy (as always), and Harry Caray (who was the Cardinals' broadcaster at the time). I think it's great that the network included the home team's regular announcer (as they would also do in 1969 with the Mets' announcer). The 2 of them each announced half the game, with the other one doing sparse color commentary.
The early buzz was 16-year veteran Tiger Al Kaline playing in his 1st series, and Detroit outfielder Mickey Stanley starting at shortstop (having only played there for 9 games in his pro career, including all of the Tigers' final 6 games in 1968). The highlight of the game turned out to be Bob Gibson's stellar performance, as he pitched a complete game victory and broke the World Series strikeout record with 17 strikeouts. Denny McLain (who won 31 games that year), pitched well for a few innings, but was outplayed by Gibson.
The Tigers eventually won the series, thanks to the way their manager Mayo Smith handled his pitching rotation. Gibson & McLain started games 1 & 4, with Gibson winning both. Nelson Briles and Mickey Lolich started games 2 & 5, with Lolich winning both for the Tigers. (The Cardinals also won game 3.) After 5 games, with the Cardinals leading 3-2, Smith brought McLain and Lolich back on short rest to pitch games 6 and 7, and the Tigers won both!
The 1968 World Series was the last hurrah for long-time sluggers Eddie Mathews (Tigers - PH) and Roger Maris (Cardinals - RF).