IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY- OCTOBER 10, 1968 THE DETROIT TIGERS WIN THE WORLD SERIES

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It was fifty years ago today- October 10, 1968- the Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the decisive Game 7 by the score of 4-1. It was a pitchers duel through six innings- no score as the Cardinals Bob Gibson and the Tigers Mickey Lolich were flawless. Gibson at that point had given up 1 run in 24 innings in this World Series. The key play of the game and the series happened in the Top of the 7th with 2 on and 2 out. Tiger Jim Northrup hit a fly ball to deep center field that Cardinal centerfielder Curt Flood misplayed [ Flood was probably the best defensive center field in baseball} the possible third out opened the doors- 2 runs scored on that play and then Bill Freehan doubled Northrup in giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead at the seventh inning stretch. In the top of the 9th light hitting Don Wert singled home pinch runner Dick Tracewski to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead. In their final at bats the Cardinals scored in the 9th with a Mike Shannon solo home run. Tim McCarver popped out to the catcher ending the series.

The Tigers had been down 3 games to 1. Only the 1925 Pirates had previously accomplished this feat.  Going into the series big things were expected of 31 game winner Denny McLain but the Tiger hero was their second best pitcher during the regular season- Mickey Lolich who won 3 of the 4 games. In Game 7-he pitched a complete game 5 hitter giving up only the Shannon home run in the bottom of the 9th.

A key decision and a gutsy one by Tiger manager Mayo Smith during the series was to move center fielder Mickey Stanley in to play shortstop in place of the light hitting Ray Oyler. Smith’s decision worked out ok- Stanley did make two errors at shortstop but they didn’t effect the outcome of any of the games. The Tigers offense was led during the series by their 3-4 and 5 hitters- veteran Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Willie Horton who all hit over .300 in the series. It was a tough loss for the Cardinals who were looking for their 3rd World Series in 5 years. The Tigers won three of their four games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I remember it as a series of memorable moments- but most of the games were not that close.

The World Series Championship was the 3rd in Tigers history- and their first since 1945 which was a war year and although it certainly counts- most of baseball’s best players were not playing that year. Since 1968 the Tigers have won one more- in 1984.

On a personal note it was the first World Series I saw from start to finish-all the games. In the days when weekday games were played in the afternoon- this 7 year old just happened to be ‘sick’ for a week. It was well worth it. I didn’t pull that act the next season I think my mom had caught on.

Over that winter my family almost moved from the Pittsburgh area to Detroit. I was all for the move. My dad had been laid off his job- and he had an uncle who ran a business in the Detroit area. There was a job there for him. My parents thought long and hard about it but decided to stay put. Great decision in may ways. I was all for it because the Tigers were great- they had won the Series- I’d have a great team to root for. Luckily we stayed and I didn’t miss out on the 1970’s Steelers [ the Lions still haven’t been to a Super Bowl let along win one} and the Pirates in the 70’s were excellent -winning World Series in 1971 and 1979.

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28 responses to “IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY- OCTOBER 10, 1968 THE DETROIT TIGERS WIN THE WORLD SERIES

  1. Being down 3-1 with Gibson on the other side… The Tigers earned it.
    I did the sick routine for a few playoff games…my mom caught on and I missed the Rick Monday homer against the Expos.

    • Yes i got by that one year- in 1971 of course they started playing night games during the week. i know a lot of people want to go back- but i think if they did they would be complaining about missing games because of 1pm starting times… i think 730pm would be fine…

    • I wouldn’t be against playing a day game on the weekend in the World Series… I always wondered about Cub fans before lights…do these people have jobs?

    • I agree I’d love to see daylight weekend games- I think the last one was something like 30 years ago… This is true about Cub fans back in the day. Did they work? Of course they had lousy teams for the most part- and attendance wasn’t like it is today…

    • Lee Elia LOL- that was hilarious.. on that Baseball’s Greatest Hits CD- they have Tommy Lasorda on Dave Kingman’… “you are asking me about Kingman’s performance?……

    • YES that is it. That was great. Lasorda has a few. Yes Kingmans performance which I can listen to over and over… and his rant about Kurt Bevacqua…

    • LaSorda was something else. I swear I saw him at a gas station convenient store once in the small town where I used to live. It was in the winter- I walked in to pay for gas and there was a guy in front of me who was a dead ringer for him. There is a race track about 5 miles away- its possible I guess… Of course I swear I once saw Fidel Castro getting gas here in town once too.. I wish there had been cell phones with cameras back then. All he lacked was the military uniform and a cigar.

    • LOL… Lasorda very possible… whew Fidel…that would have been a once in a lifetime event. Hey anything is possible… You had me thinking the other day of any more famous people I’ve seen…not really talked to per say…
      I did briefly meet/see John Kay at a bus rental place and saw Jerry Reed get out of a car. Peter Frampton at an airport…Don Williams…that is about it think… you would have me beat on Fidel though.

    • I guess it is possible LaSorda could have been in Pittsburgh- the track was 45 minutes away… and even Tommy The SwordFish needs to get gas in his car…..

    • He comes to Nashville…or did quite a bit but I never saw him. He had something to do with a bunch of Nuns. I might go to the next winter baseball meetings in the Opryland Hotel…just to walk through and see who I can see. I work 10 minutes away from it.

    • That would be great- there would probably be a who ‘s who in baseball in for that. I miss the days when the winter meetings meant a lot of trades. lately its been kind of quiet.. if you see Neil Huntington tell him we need some power hitting!

    • I’ll do that! Lol…. I’m not sure when it will be back. They stay in the rooms a lot now. It would be fun to soak up the atmosphere.

    • My favorite Winter Meetings story was when Bill Veeck bought the White Sox back- in the mid 1970-s and sat out in the lobby behind a sign that said open for business or something like that and made a ton of trades.

    • I forget how many deals he made-one of those deals was a big one with the Pirates- they sent Goose Gossage and Terry Forster [.397 career hitter} to the PIrates for Richie Zisk and a minor leaguer. Pirates had Goose, Tekulve and Forster in the bullpen for 1977. Lost both to free agency after one year.

    • That was an impressive bullpen…the Dodgers ended up with Forster…he had some good years…I’ll never forget the Letterman quip.

    • That is his claim to fame. He wasn’t a bad pitcher. That was a good deal for both teams the Pirates were loaded with hitting and needed pitching- Zisk did well in Chicago.

    • No he wasn’t bad and he could bring it….btw I did not comment on Mean Joe Greene… Yes the success started with him…He is the Steeler and that is saying a lot.

    • Forgot to mention- I was in a book store earlier today and saw a magazine you’d love- it was called Ultimate 70’s Collection- pretty thick mag- and it is what it says- all types of pop culture from the 70’s.

    • No problem with that that I see- my mind is usually in the 60’s-80’s. You see the music I listen to. I no doubt could name more 1978 California Angels than 2018 Angels.

    • Oh that is me also. I know more players then than now…and of course that goes with music.
      You know I never asked you…as much as you like music did you ever try to play anything? Keyboards, guitar anything?

    • When I was 9 or 10 I got a guitar and took lessons for about a year.. this was before I was a music fan.. somehow i lost interest and never got back to it- much to my regret. So just a fan.

    • I had a friend who played and showed me some things when I was around 13-15 and that is the only reason I played at all. I’m not a natural at all.
      I went to High School there were at least 5-7 bands…now there is none. Guitar hero has taken it’s place.

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