24 December 2008

1963 American League

The Yankees won their fourth straight pennant and took 104 wins, handily winning the race over second-place Chicago, 10.5 games back. Minnesota was 3rd and Baltimore 4th, and those were all the teams over .500. Cleveland and Detroit tied for 5th, with Boston 7th, Kansas City 8th, Los Angeles slid all the way back to 9th, and Washington was last with 106 losses. A danger sign popped up for the Yankees when they were swept in the World Series by the Dodgers.

The Yankees won big in spite of missing slugging outfielders Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris for long stretches. Mantle played just 65 games, Maris 90. The Indians' John Romano missed significant time with a broken finger. The White Sox and Orioles had enginneered a big trade before the season, with Luis Aparicio heading to Baltimore in a package including Hoyt Wilhelm. The strike zone was enlarged, raising it to the pre-1950 rules of top of shoulders to bottom of knees. Minnesota had the best offense in the league, and Chicago the top run-prevention unit, but the Yankees were second in both categories.

Carl Yastrzemski led the league in batting with a .321 average, edging Al Kaline's .312. Yaz led in on-base, Harmon Killebrew in slugging, Bob Allison in OPS. Allison topped the loop with 99 runs. Killebrew led in home runs with 45, Dick Stuart in RBI with 118 (he was second in homers with 42), Luis Aparicio in steals with 40. Kaline was second in RBI with 101. Yaz led with 183 hits and 40 doubles. Zoilo Versalles had 13 triples. With Mantle sidelined, it was a league without a truly outstanding player.

Whitey Ford led the loop in wins with 24, and was followed by Jim Bouton and Camilo Pascual with 21 each, then Steve Barber and Bill Monbouquette won 20. Pascual led in strikeouts again with 202, edging Jim Bunning at 196. Gary Peters led in ERA with a 2.33 mark, ahead of Juan Pizarro at 2.39 and Pascual at 2.46. Stu Miller led in saves with 27, followed by Dick "The Monster" Radatz of Boston with 25. Ray Herbert had seven shutouts.

Win Shares leaders, players: Carl Yastrzemski (Boston) and Tom Tresh (New York) 29, Albie Pearson (Los Angeles), Bob Allison (Minnesota) and Elston Howard (New York) 28, Earl Battey (Minnesota) 26, Pete Ward (Chicago), Max Alvis (Cleveland) and Al Kaline (Detroit) 25, Norm Cash (Detroit) and Harmon Killebrew (Minnesota) 23, Leon Wagner (Los Angeles) 22, Rocky Colavito (Detroit), Jimmie Hall (Minnesota) and Don Lock (Washington) 21, Jim Gentile and John Orsino (Baltimore), Floyd Robinson (Chicago), Wayne Causey (Kansas City), Jim Fregosi (Los Angeles) and Chuck Hinton (Washington) 20.

WS leaders, pitchers: Gary Peters (Chicago) 25, Dick Radatz (Boston) 24, Whitey Ford (New York) 23, Camilo Pascual (Minnesota) and Jim Bouton (New York) 22, Juan Pizarro (Chicago) 19, Steve Barber (Baltimore) 18, Jack Kralick (Minnesota/Cleveland), Bill Dailey (Minnesota) and Ralph Terry (New York) 17, Stu Miller (Baltimore), Bill Monbouquette (Boston), Jack Kralick (Minnesota/Cleveland) and Al Downing (New York) 16.

WARP3 leaders, position players: Howard 7.2, Battey 6.8, Ward, Allison, and Ron Hansen (Chicago) 6.2, Pearson and Yastrzemski 5.7, Killbrew 5.5, Cash and Hall 5.1, Woodie Held (Cleveland) 4.9, Fregosi and Orsino 4.6, Kaline 4.5.

WARP3 leaders, pitchers: Pascual and Peters 7.7, Radatz 7.6, Moe Drabowsky (Kansas City) 6.4, Bouton 5.9, Pizarro 5.2, Dailey and Orlando Pena (Kansas City) 5.0, Kralick 4.9, Downing, Robin Roberts and Milt Pappas (Baltimore) 4.6, Ford, Monbouquette, and Tom Cheney (Washington) 4.5.

WAR leaders, position players (bWAR): Allison 8.2, Yastrzemski 7.7, Howard 7.0, Hall 6.3, Hansen 6.2, Battey, Kaline, and Ward 6.0, Killebrew and Pearson 5.8, Cash and Tresh 5.6, Causey, Fregosi, and Rollins 5.3, Colavito 5.1, Alvis 4.9. Pitchers (bWAR): Pascual 5.7, Peters 5.6, Radatz 4.7, Bouton 4.5, Drabowsky 4.4, Ford and Pizarro 4.0, Barber, Pena, and Stigman 3.7, Karlick 3.6, Downing 3.4, Stange 3.3.

Actual award voting:
MVP (top 15)
Place Name Team 1st place Points
1 Elston Howard NYY 15 248
2 Al Kaline DET 1 148
3 Whitey Ford NYY 3 125
4 Harmon Killebrew MIN 0 85
5 Dick Radatz BOS 0 84
6 Carl Yastrzemski BOS 0 81
7 Earl Battey MIN 0 57
8 Gary Peters CHW 0 55
9 Pete Ward CHW 0 52
10 Bobby Richardson NYY 0 43
11 Tom Tresh NYY 1 38
12 Camilo Pascual MIN 0 29
13 Dick Stuart BOS 0 25
14 Albie Pearson LAA 0 22
15 Bob Allison MIN 0 15

Cy Young was over both leagues, and Koufax was the unanimous choice.

Place Name Team Points
1 Gary Peters CHW 10
2 Pete Ward CHW 6
3 Jimmie Hall MIN 4

Best player: Elston Howard. The voters got it right, going for the top player on and the guy who held the team together for the pennant winner, lasting the season when those around him kept getting hurt. Howard had a great year.
#1 Elston Howard, #2 Carl Yastrzemski, #3 Bob Allison, #4 Earl Battey, #5 Tom Tresh, #6 Al Kaline.

Best pitcher: Gary Peters, by a thin margin over Dick Radatz. The Monster was very intimidating, but Peters was simply more prolific. It is essentially a dead heat, but I will throw it to the starter.
#1 Gary Peters, #2 Dick Radatz, #3 Camilo Pascual, #4 Whitey Ford, #5 Jim Bouton.

Best rookie: Peters again. After four cups of coffee, he finally got a full-year chance, and made the most of it. There were a number of other good rookies as well, with Jimmie Hall, Pete Ward, Max Alvis, and Al Downing making good showings.

Best manager: Ralph Houk, who had to juggle with serious injuries to Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris that limited his sluggers to 155 combined games, but came up golden with an easy pennant.

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