This Week in 1960s Baseball
(June 26, 1968) On June 4, 1968, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale set a major league record with his sixth consecutive shutout. Four days later, Drysdale finally allowed a run after more than a month of shutout pitching.
He set a major league record with 58 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking Walter Johnson’s record of 55.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
Johnson’s record had lasted 55 years. As of this date, it looked as though Drysdale’s new record may not last even a month …
That’s because Bob Gibson today pitched his fifth consecutive shutout, as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0.
Gibson (9-5) allowed just four hits and struck out seven Pirate batters. He didn’t issue a walk. The shutout lowered his season earned run average to 1.14.
The Cardinals scored on Orlando Cepeda’s first-inning sacrifice fly and back-to-back doubles by Gibson and Lou Brock in the fourth inning. Ron Kline, pitching in relief of Pirates starter Al McBean (6-7), gave up a solo home run to Mike Shannon in the eighth inning.
Gibson’s shutout streak would come to an end five days later when he defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1. But he would pitch another shutout in his next outing, and two more before the end of July. Altogether in June and July, Gibson had one of the most remarkable two-month performances of any pitcher in baseball history: 12-0 in 12 starts (all complete games) with eight shutouts and a 0.50 ERA.
And Drysdale’s record of 58 consecutive scoreless innings would survive the summer. In fact, it would last 20 years until another Dodger pitcher, Orel Hershiser, strung together 59 consecutive scoreless innings in 1988.