This Week in 1960s Baseball
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This Week in 1960s Baseball
It was the thirteenth time in his career that Spahn won 20 or more games. That tied him with Christy Mathewson for the most 20-vistory seasons in the major leagues.
For the 42-year-old Spahn, it was his nineteenth complete game of the 1963 season. He would finish the season with 22 complete games, the most in the majors. Spahn recorded no strikeouts or walks during the game.
The Braves scored in the first inning when lead-off batter Lee Maye singled and advanced to second on an error by Phillies starter Dallas Green. Frank Bolling sacrificed Maye to third, and Maye scored on Hank Aaron’s groundout to Phillies second baseman Tony Taylor. It was Aaron’s 117th RBI of the season.
In the eighth inning, Green walked Eddie Mathews, who scored on Gene Oliver’s sixteenth home run. Spahn pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed a solo home run by Don Demeter in the ninth. Don Hoak doubled to put the potential tying run in scoring position, but Spahn retired Bob Oldis and Wes Covington to end the game.
The losing pitcher was Green (5-4).
Spahn’s 1963 season was one of the best of his career, as he finished the season at 23-7 with a 2.60 earned run average. It was also his seventh straight season leading the National League in complete games, and he pitched seven shutouts, tying his season high and the second most in the league (behind 11 Sandy Koufax shutouts).
Though he tied Mathewson for most 20-win seasons, Spahn fell short of matching Mathewson’s 373 career wins. Spahn retired after the 1965 season with 363 victories, the most by any left-hander in baseball history.
Glancing Back, and Remembering Lee Maye
Lee Maye had more natural talent than he could fully realize – on the baseball diamond and in the recording studio. He was a talented ballplayer whose career was derailed more than once by injury. And as a doo-wop vocalist in the 1950s, his success as a singer was necessarily limited by the demands of his baseball career, playing for five different major league teams.
Maye was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and made his major league debut with the Braves in July of 1959, getting two hits in five at-bats against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 51 games that season, Maye hit .300 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. His 1960 season followed the same pattern – starting the year in the minors, and closing out the season by playing in 41 games for the Braves, hitting .301 as a part-time performer.
Maye made the Braves’ roster for keeps in 1961, hitting .271 again as a part-time outfielder and pinch hitter, with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs. He hit .244 in 1962 and then bounced back in 1963 by hitting .271 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBIs and a career-high 14 stolen bases. He had his best season in 1964, the year he also had the most at-bats of any season in his major league career. Maye hit .304 with 10 home runs and 74 RBIs. He also led the major leagues with 44 doubles.
An important part of Maye’s game was his speed on the base paths and in the outfield, and a serious ankle injury in 1965 limited his abilities that season and, in fact, for the rest of his career. Maye was hitting .302 for the Braves when he was traded to the Houston Astros for Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Ken Johnson. He hit .251 for Houston in 1965 and batted .288 for the Astros in 1966. Following the 1966 season, he was traded with Ken Retzer to the Cleveland Indians for Doc Edwards, Jim Landis and Jim Weaver. His best season in Cleveland was 1968, when he hit .281.
In June 1969, Maye was dealt to the Washington Senators and hit .290 over the rest of that season. He split the 1970 season between the Senators and the Chicago White Sox, hitting a combined .261 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs. He hit .205 in 32 games for the White Sox in 1971 before retiring.
Maye played in the major leagues for 13 seasons and had a career batting average of .274. He collected 1,109 hits including 190 doubles and 94 home runs. He also had more than one hit in the recording industry, serving as the lead singer for “Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns” prior to his career in baseball.
The Glove Club: Jim Landis
During his 11-year major league career, Jim Landis was an outstanding center fielder who could also hit (enough) for average and occasional power.
He was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1952 and spent the next five years working his way through the White Sox farm system (after two years of military service). He debuted with the White Sox in 1957 at the age of 23, batting .212 in 96 games.
He became the White Sox regular center fielder in 1958, batting .277 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs. From 1958 through 1963, Landis batted a combined .258 while averaging 13 home runs and 61 RBIs per season. His most productive season offensively came in 1961, when he batted .283 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs. He also won his second of five consecutive Gold Gloves that season.
After eight seasons in Chicago, Landis was sent to the Kansas City Athletics (with Mike Hershberger and Fred Talbot) in a three-team deal that brought Tommie Agee, Tommy John and John Romano to the White Sox and sent Rocky Colavito to the Cleveland Indians. He hit .239 for the A’s in 1965, and then was traded to the Indians for Phil Roof and Joe Rudi.
Landis batted .222 for Cleveland in 1966, and spent 1967 playing for three teams. He was traded by the Indians with Doc Edwards and Jim Weaver to the Houston Astros for Lee Maye and Ken Retzer. Then in June he was traded by the Astros to the Detroit Tigers for Larry Sherry. The Tigers released Landis in August and he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. He spent a week in Boston, and then was released. He hit a combined .237 for the 1967 season.
Landis retired after 11 major league seasons with a career batting average of .247. He was a member of the American League All-Star team in 1962.