|Pitching in the 60’s||| Print ||
Written by Jim Amato (Contact & Archive) on August 18, 2003
During the 60’s, the emergence of superstar quality pitchers in this decade is without a doubt quite phenomenal. Although the American League produced their share of fine pitchers, it was the National League that provided the dominant hurlers. How would you like to have a starting rotation of Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, and Don Drysdale? Throw in a Gaylord Perry or Jim Maloney as a fifth starter. Talk about awesome!
Could the A.L. have matched this rotation? No, but they still had some very formidable pitchers in this era. Take a prime Denny McLain who is still the last pitcher to win over 30 games in a season. This is an achievement that has stood for over thirty years now. Although McLain won 31 games in 1968, it was his teammate Mickey Lolich who pitched the Tigers to a World Series victory that season. Jim Lonborg pitched the Red Sox into the 1967 World Series. Jim Perry and Mudcat Grant enjoyed some fine seasons for the Indians and Twins but the Twins dominant pitchers were Camilo Pascual and Jim Kaat. Whitey Ford was still a factor in the early 60’s for the Yankees and later Mel Stottlemyre was the Yankee ace on some very poor teams. Dave McNally anchored a strong staff in Baltimore and Dean Chance turned in some exceptional performances for the Angels and Twins.
Who was the A.L.’s best pitcher in the 60’s? In my opinion it was none other then the Indian’s “Sudden” Sam McDowell. His stats from 1964 through 1969 are comparable to the N.L.’s Big Four. Remember the Tribe also had Luis Tiant and Sonny Siebert. The White Sox gave us Billy Pierce, Juan Pizzaro, and Indian cast off Tommy John who would go on to win close to 300 games in his fine career.
In the N.L. future Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Ferguson Jenkins, and Nolan Ryan were beginning their march to Cooperstown. Aging Warren Spahn was still formidable for the Braves and Jack Sanford helped pitch the Giants to the 1962 World Series. Jim Bunning had success in both leagues during his stints with the Tigers and the Phillies.