The 1968 MLB season would be the 68th season that the National and American Leagues played against each other in Major League Baseball. The league saw one change in location, the movement of the Athletics. The Athletics had been playing in Kansas City, but moved to Oakland. They now play in Oakland today as a result of this move.
The MLB started to see a few trends in the years leading up to 1968 and those trends really continued in this season. The strike zone had been expanded in previous years and the league started to see a lot more dominance from the pitchers in the league. The dominance became so great in this season that many people remember the season today as “The Year of the Pitcher.”
The best pitcher of the year was Bob Gibson. Bob Gibson was a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and set a record for the lowest ERA in the history of Major League Baseball. He would finish the season with a 1.12 ERA. He would also lead the league in strikeouts for the Dodgers. The National League also saw a lot of success from Juan Marichal, pitcher for the Giants. He won 26 games for San Francisco on the season.
The American league pitching scene saw some tremendous numbers. The league leader in wins would be Denny McLain with a whopping 31 victories on the season. The ERA leader would be Luis Tiant for the Cleveland Indians. He would finish with a 1.60 ERA on the season. Sam McDowell struck out 283 batters as another stud pitcher for the Indians.
The Batting Average Title was won by Pete Rose in the National League. He finished with a .335 average on the season. Willie McCovey would lead the league in homeruns and RBI’s in the NL with 36 homers and 105 RBI’s.
The American League Batting Title was won by Carl Yastrzemski with a .301 average. Frank Howard led the league in homers with 44 and Ken Harrelson knocked in 109 runs to lead in RBI’s.
The Detroit Tigers led the way in wins and had the best record in all of baseball. They won 103 games on the season while only losing 59. They would lead their division by a vast margin, leaving the Orioles in 2nd place by 12 games at the end of the season. The Cleveland Indians would finish in 3rd place with a 86-75 record on the season. This would put them just .5 games above the Red Sox. The Yankees and Athletics would also finish with records above .500 for the season in the AL. The Yankees finished 83-79 on the season and the A’s finished 82-80.
The National League was dominated by the St. Louis Cardinals. Bob Gibson helped them a lot that year and they finished with a 97-65 record on the season. The Giants finished in a distant 2nd place with a record of 88-74 on the year. The Cubs finished 3rd with a 84-78 record, finishing one game ahead of the Cincinnati Reds. The Braves would be the last team in the league to finish at or above .500 on the season with a 81-81 record.
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