Tuesday, August 31, 2010

PTWSW #64: The 1967 St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Red Schoendienst
Record: 101-60
Ballpark: Busch Memorial Stadium
Owner: August Busch Jr.
GM: Stan Musial
Coaches: Bob Milliken, Billy Muffett, Joe Schultz, Dick Sisler

Future Hall of Famers: Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson

All-Stars: Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver

Team Leaders, Batting

Curt Flood, .335
OBP: Orlando Cepeda, .399
SLG: Orlando Cepeda, .524
OPS: Orlando Cepeda, .923
2B: Orlando Cepeda, 37
3B: Lou Brock, 12
HR: Orlando Cepeda, 25
RBI: Orlando Cepeda, 111 (NL leader)
BB: Orlando Cepeda, 62
SB: Lou Brock, 52 (NL leader)

Team Leaders, Pitching

Dick Hughes, 16
SO: Steve Carlton, 168
ERA: Dick Hughes, 2.67
IP: Dick Hughes, 222.1
CG: Dick Hughes, 12
SHO: Dick Hughes, 3
K/BB: Bob Gibson, 3.68
SV: Joe Hoerner, 15


Oldest Player: Eddie Bressoud (b. May 2, 1932)

Youngest Player: Mike Torrez (b. August 28, 1946)

First to Leave Us: Ron Willis (d. November 21, 1977). Willis was only 34 years old when he died of a brain tumor.

Last Survivor: Most are still living as of the date of this post.

First in Majors: Eddie Bressoud (debut June 14, 1956)

Last in Majors: Steve Carlton (final game April 23, 1988)

First to Play For the Franchise: Curt Flood (May 2, 1958)

Last to Play For the Franchise: Lou Brock (September 30, 1979)

Pre-union Team: Most of these guys were homegrown, so no team had more than two.

Reunion Team: The 1969 Reds had four: Al Jackson, Alex Johnson, Ted Savage and Bobby Tolan. Cincinnati GM Bob Howsam had been the Cardinals' GM from late 1964 to 1966, and all four of these guys had played for St. Louis during his tenure. Several others had three, including the 1970 Padres, 1972 Braves, 1972 Phillies, 1974 Royals and 1975-77 Phillies.


Orlando Cepeda, NL MVP
Bob Gibson, NL Pitcher Gold Glove
Curt Flood, NL Outfield Gold Glove

Season Summary

The Cardinals finished around .500 in 1966 with a poor offensive club and a great pitching staff. For 1967 they made surprisingly few changes; their biggest offseason move was trading third baseman Charley Smith to the Yankees for right fielder Roger Maris. To accommodate the move, young right fielder Mike Shannon agreed to learn third base. Tim McCarver, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda and Julian Javier all posted the highest or second-highest OPS+ marks of their careers, and this group peaking was a big factor in St. Louis' improvement. The pitching staff was aided by the additions of youngster Steve Carlton and minor league veteran Dick Hughes, who proved to be their most valuable hurler over the course of the season.

The Cards went from the second-worst team OPS+ in '66 to a first-place tie in '67. Overall, St. Louis was very well-balanced offensively: They were second in each of the slash stats, first in stolen bases, and around league-average in homers. They drew the most hit-by-pitches, grounded into the fewest double plays and were last in sacrifice bunts. The pitching staff didn't rank quite as high as it did the year before, but it was still an area of strength. They were fourth in ERA+, third in walk rate and had an above-average strikeout rate. Their fielders were third in both DER and TotalZone, which provided Redbird pitchers with an extra cushion.

Busch's birds were in the thick of things for the entire first half, and in late July they really took over. Between July 23 and August 19 they went 22-5 to open up a double-digit lead they'd hold onto for the rest of the year. By September 18 they'd punched their ticket to the World Series, for which their opponent would end up being the Boston Red Sox.

Game 1 was a pitcher's duel won by Cardinal ace Bob Gibson, but the Red Sox tied it with a one-hit shutout from Jim Lonborg in Game 2. The Cardinals won the next two back home, with Game 4 a shutout from Gibson. The Red Sox bounced back in Game 5 with their hero Lonborg pitching a three-hitter, then won Game 6 with a four-run seventh inning that snapped a 4-4 tie. Both teams banked on their aces for Game 7, though Gibson had an extra day of rest. That extra day paid off; Lonborg was pulled after allowing six earned runs in six innings, while Gibson notched his third complete-game victory of the Series and his second World Series MVP award.


Baseball Reference
Baseball Almanac
Google News Archives

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