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Series Wrapup

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The major leagues underwent drastic changes in 1969, increasing its number from 20 to 24 teams and adopting a new four-division setup.  Under the new format, the regular season was used to determine the four division champions (two in each league), who then squared off in a pair of five-game playoff series used to determine the two league champions.  The two league champions then opposed each other in the traditional World Series.  

The Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots joined the fraternity of American League ball clubs, while the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres became the National League’s newest members.  Both the Royals and Pilots took up residence in the A.L. West, joining the Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels.  The highly-competitive A.L. East featured the league’s last three pennant winners, the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers, along with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Washington Senators.  Following the 1969 season, the Pilots moved from Seattle to Milwaukee and renamed themselves the Brewers.  Just two years later, the Senators left Washington for Texas, leaving the nation's capital without a franchise of its own for the first time since the turn of the century.  The new team in Texas was renamed the Rangers, and they switched places with the Brewers, with Milwaukee moving to the A.L. East and Texas taking over their spot in the A.L. West.

Other significant changes implemented prior to the start of the 1969 campaign involved the lowering of the pitching mound from 15 to 10 inches, and the restoration of the pre-1963 strike zone.  The Rules Committee instituted both changes with the intent of restoring a semblance of balance to the national pastime, which had come to be dominated by pitching the previous few years.

Once the regular season began, the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins clearly established themselves as the class of the American League, easily winning their respective divisions.  The Orioles finished first in the East with a record of 109-53, a full 19 games ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers.  The Twins captured the Western Division title, concluding the regular season with a record of 97-65, nine games in front of the runner-up Oakland Athletics.

The Twins featured the American League’s most potent offense, topping the junior circuit with 790 runs scored.  Cesar Tovar and Rod Carew provided speed at the top of the batting order, while Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew supplied much of the power in the middle of the lineup.  Leadoff hitter Tovar batted .288, scored 99 runs, and stole 45 bases.  Number two hitter Carew led the American League with a .332 batting average, stole 19 bases, and scored 79 runs.  Oliva hit 24 homers, drove in 101 runs, scored 97 others, batted .309, and led the league with 197 hits and 39 doubles.  Killebrew batted .276, scored 106 runs, and topped the circuit with 49 home runs, 140 runs batted in, 145 bases on balls, and a .427 on-base percentage, en route to earning A.L. MVP honors.  

Minnesota also had a solid pitching staff that finished third in the league with a 3.24 team ERA.  Jim Perry was the club’s most effective starter, compiling a record of 20-6 and a 2.82 ERA.  Dave Boswell finished 20-12 with a 3.23 ERA.  Meanwhile, Ron Perranoski served as the team’s closer, winning nine games in relief and leading the league with 31 saves.

A beautifully-balanced ball club, the Baltimore Orioles scored only 11 fewer runs than the Twins, and they led the American League with an exceptional team ERA of 2.83.  Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, and Jim Palmer all excelled as members of Baltimore’s starting rotation.  Cuellar finished 23-11, with a 2.38 ERA, 18 complete games, and 291 innings pitched.  He shared Cy Young honors with Detroit’s Denny McLain.  McNally compiled a record of 20-7, along with a 3.22 ERA.  Palmer finished 16-4 and placed second in the league with a 2.34 ERA.

Don Buford, Paul Blair, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Boog Powell all made significant contributions to the Orioles on offense.  Buford batted .291, compiled a .397 on-base percentage, and scored 99 runs.  Blair hit 26 homers, drove in 76 runs, scored 102 others, batted .285, and stole 20 bases.  Brooks Robinson homered 23 times and drove in 84 runs.  Frank Robinson hit 32 homers, knocked in 100 runs, and led the club with 111 runs scored and a .308 batting average.  Powell earned a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by batting .304 and placing among the league leaders with 37 homers and 121 runs batted in.

Although Baltimore swept Minnesota in three straight games in the first American League Championship Series, the Twins put up a good fight in Games One and Two, losing both contests in extra innings.  The Orioles won the Series clincher in convincing fashion, though, posting an 11-2 victory on the strength of 18 hits and a complete-game effort by starting pitcher Jim Palmer.

However, the “Miracle” New York Mets stunned the heavily-favored Orioles in the World Series, defeating them in five games after dropping the first contest in Baltimore.  New York’s outstanding young pitching staff held Baltimore’s vaunted lineup in check throughout the Fall Classic, limiting the Orioles to a team batting average of just .146.  After posting a .333 batting average against the Twins in the ALCS, Frank Robinson batted just .188 against the Mets.  Meanwhile, Baltimore regulars Brooks Robinson, Dave Johnson, Don Buford, and Paul Blair hit a combined .080.    

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• March 1 - Mickey Mantle announced his retirement.

• April 11 - Seattle successfully inaugurated Major League Baseball at Sicks Stadium‚ as pitcher Gary Bell defeated the Chicago White Sox 7–0.

• Bowie Kuhn replaced Spike Eckert as baseball commissioner.

• Detroit's Denny McLain earned a share of the Cy Young Award by leading the league with 24 wins, nine shutouts, and 325 innings pitched.  McLain also compiled an ERA of 2.80 and threw 23 complete games.  

• Rod Carew tied Pete Reiser’s major league single season record by stealing home seven times.

• Dave McNally set an Orioles franchise record by winning 15 games in a row.

• Hired to manage the Washington Senators, Ted Williams led the team to its first winning record in its nine-year history.

• Twins manager Billy Martin beat up one of his own pitchers, Dave Boswell.

• Boston's Rico Petrocelli established a new record for American League shortstops by hitting 40 home runs.

• In the middle of a personal 15-game winning streak, Jim Palmer threw a no-hitter against the Oakland A’s on August 13.

• Cleveland's Sam McDowell led the league with 279 strikeouts.

• Hoyt Wilhelm became the first pitcher in major league history to achieve 200 career saves.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Stan Coveleski, and Waite Hoyt.

• Kansas City’s Lou Piniella (11 home runs, 68 RBIs, .282 batting average) earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Cleveland traded Luis Tiant and Stan Williams to Minnesota for Graig Nettles, Dean Chance, and two other players.

• Washington's Dick Bosman led the league with a 2.19 ERA.

• Oakland's Reggie Jackson hit 47 home runs, knocked in 118 runs, and led the American League with 123 runs scored and a .608 slugging average.

• A’s teammate Sal Bando hit 31 homers, drove in 113 runs, scored 106 others, and batted .281.

• Seattle's Tommy Harper led the league with 73 steals.

• Washington’s Frank Howard hit 48 home runs, knocked in 111 runs, scored 111 others, and batted .296.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 1983 5518 779 1465 722 .246 234 29 175 82 45 2282 .395 .337 .745 138 59 74
BOS 2079 5494 743 1381 701 .179 234 37 197 41 47 2280 .318 .269 .639 125 43 67
CAL 2146 5316 528 1221 480 .179 151 29 88 54 39 1694 .316 .250 .602 105 41 75
CHA 2192 5450 625 1346 585 .166 210 27 112 54 22 1946 .341 .229 .596 119 37 70
CLE 2210 5365 573 1272 534 .199 173 24 119 85 37 1850 .320 .254 .605 147 43 47
DET 2004 5441 701 1316 649 .173 188 29 182 35 28 2108 .306 .247 .611 113 43 63
KCA 2097 5462 586 1311 538 .194 179 32 98 129 70 1848 .323 .264 .610 125 38 57
MIN 2226 5677 790 1520 733 .189 246 32 163 115 70 2319 .349 .274 .661 114 40 65
NYA 1926 5308 562 1247 521 .173 210 44 94 119 74 1827 .302 .237 .569 105 40 63
OAK 2145 5614 740 1400 680 .187 210 28 148 100 39 2110 .313 .265 .625 124 35 74
SE1 2286 5444 639 1276 583 .186 179 27 125 167 59 1884 .346 .264 .641 111 29 72
WS2 2231 5447 694 1365 640 .191 171 40 148 52 40 2060 .327 .261 .605 158 36 51

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 397 109 53 1475 897 498 5972 1194 117 34.520 464 517 50 19 36 34 4
BOS 460 87 75 1466 935 685 6391 1423 155 86.970 641 736 30 4 41 61 5
CAL 448 71 91 1439 885 517 5998 1294 126 115.890 567 652 25 6 39 64 7
CHA 427 68 94 1439 810 564 6204 1470 146 103.980 672 723 29 9 25 59 4
CLE 455 62 99 1437 1000 681 6226 1330 134 67.940 629 717 35 7 22 50 6
DET 413 90 72 1456 1032 586 6105 1250 128 60.700 537 601 55 18 28 49 5
KCA 412 69 93 1465 894 560 6222 1357 136 68.110 605 688 42 9 25 52 3
MIN 464 97 65 1497 906 524 6292 1388 119 57.690 541 618 41 5 43 48 1
NYA 361 80 81 1442 801 522 5988 1258 118 47.910 517 587 53 11 20 46 0
OAK 438 88 74 1478 887 586 6244 1356 163 61.00.00 613 678 42 11 36 55 3
SE1 520 64 98 1465 963 653 6446 1490 172 153.160 707 799 21 5 33 61 9
WS2 473 86 76 1448 835 656 6181 1310 135 64.160 562 644 28 7 41 57 5

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2409 7329 5448 1764 117 .976 17688 48 51 2.00 14
BOS 2481 7305 5312 1810 183 .958 17603 84 51 1.00 21
CAL 2530 7269 5309 1806 154 .962 17261 89 56 0 30
CHA 2571 7374 5196 2041 137 .982 17255 109 47 0 36
CLE 2561 7106 5314 1621 171 .962 17242 87 53 1.00 21
DET 2422 7177 5392 1628 157 .970 17467 109 44 0 11
KCA 2457 7386 5499 1707 180 .972 17579 75 43 0 17
MIN 2711 7615 5557 1894 164 .964 17971 70 35 0 18
NYA 2309 7358 5310 1896 152 .974 17287 76 43 1.00 19
OAK 2429 7454 5469 1821 164 .980 17765 84 48 0 26
SE1 2601 7354 5356 1804 194 .949 17566 117 46 0 21
WS2 2699 7351 5284 1888 179 .964 17367 84 58 1.00 13

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Minnesota Twins 97 65 1349328 1 906
Oakland Athletics 88 74 778232 2 887
California Angels 71 91 758388 3 885
Kansas City Royals 69 93 902414 4 894
Chicago White Sox 68 94 589546 5 810
Seattle Pilots 64 98 677944 6 963

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Baltimore Orioles 109 53 1062069 1 897
Detroit Tigers 90 72 1577481 2 1032
Boston Red Sox 87 75 1833246 3 935
Washington Senators 86 76 918106 4 835
New York Yankees 80 81 1067996 5 801
Cleveland Indians 62 99 619970 6 1000

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1969 ALCS, 1969 World Series, American League, Baltimore Orioles, Billy Martin, Boog Powell, Bowie Kuhn, Brooks Robinson, Cesar Tovar, Dave Boswell, Dave McNally, Dean Chance, Denny McLain, Dick Bosman, Don Buford, Frank Howard, Frank Robinson, Gary Bell, Graig Nettles, Harmon Killebrew, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jim Palmer, Jim Perry, Lou Piniella, Luis Tiant, Mike Cuellar, Minnesota Twins, Paul Blair, Reggie Jackson, Rico Petrocelli, Rod Carew, Ron Perranoski, Sal Bando, Sam McDowell, Stan Williams, Tommy Harper, Tony Oliva

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