- Mark Easley
The Cardinals win the 1967 World Series!
A summer (so far) without baseball has been very difficult on us all, but it does give us a chance to reflect on the incredible legacy of the St. Louis Cardinals:
In the 1960s, the St. Louis Cardinal organization reemerged as a powerhouse in Major League Baseball. The Cardinals were World Series Champions and National League Pennant winners multiple times in the decades of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. During the 1950s, the Cards posted winning seasons several times, but the team did not reach the World Series or win a Pennant during the decade.
The organization said goodbye to legend Stan Musual at the beginning of the decade of the 1960s, but an elite core of younger players would begin to emerge, creating a powerful unit that sat at the top of the National League standings for most of the decade.
The first breakthrough came in 1964, when the Cardinals won the National League pennant and faced the powerful New York Yankees dynasty in the World Series. By 1964, the core of the 60s roster was in place: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Bill White, Mike Shannon, Curt Flood, Ken Boyer, Curt Simmons, Ray Sadecki, Tim McCarver, Dick Groat, and more. The Cards bested the Yankees, winning in 7 games in one of the most legendary World Series ever played.
The Cards continued playing winning baseball, and returned to the World Series in 1967, winning the National League by a whopping 10 ½ games with 101 wins against only 60 losses under Manager Red Schoendienst. For their part, the American League Champions, the Boston Red Sox, were having a great season that had been dubbed the “Impossible Season.” The team was led by pitcher Jim Lonborg and outfielder Carl Yastrzemski. The opening of 1967 World Series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox opened on October 4, 1967.
Pitching dominated the Series, with Bob Gibson leading the Cardinals. Gibson solidified his position as baseball’s best pitcher in this era, allowing only 3 earned runs over 3 complete games. For his efforts, Gibson was awarded the Series MVP.
Hall of Fame Cardinal pitcher Bob Gibson
The Series went the full 7 games, with Game 7 played in Boston’s historic Fenway Park. Appropriately, Gibson was the starter, dominating the game with a 3 hit complete game. Lou Brock stole 3 bases in the decisive Game7 for a record 7 stolen bases in a 7 game series. For the second time in the decade, the Cardinals were World Series Champions.
Cards won the National League Pennant again in 1968, playing Denny McClain and the Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals advanced to a 3–1 series lead, but the Tigers completed an improbable comeback by winning the final three games of the Series to claim the championship, 4 games to 3; this despite the Cards outhitting the Tigers, and the Tigers committing 11 errors.
The Cards did not reach the playoffs again until 1982 despite many winning seasons in the 1970s. The Cards did return to form in the 1980s, winning 1 World Series, and winning 3 National League Pennants, led by shortstop Ozzie Smith. The Cards are never down for long.