Brown Bashes Bosox Twice

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(August 11, 1968) The Detroit Tigers today swept a doubleheader from the Boston Red Sox behind a pair of game-winning hits by Gates Brown.

Brown collected both walk-off hits as a pinch hitter.

Gates Brown batted .450 as a pinch hitter in 1968, with three home runs and seven RBIs. He hit 16 pinch home runs over a 13-year major league career … all with the Detroit Tigers.

Gates Brown batted .450 as a pinch hitter in 1968, with three home runs and seven RBIs. He hit 16 pinch home runs over a 13-year major league career … all with the Detroit Tigers.

In the first game, won by the Tigers 5-4, the Red Sox scored four runs in the first inning on home runs from Dalton Jones and Joe Foy. The Tigers chipped away at the lead and tied the game in the eighth inning. Brown came to bat with two outs in the fourteenth inning, batting for Mickey Lolich, who was the sixth Tigers pitcher. Brown hit his third home run of the season off Lee Stange (4-4). Lolich (10-7) picked up the victory.

In the second game, the Red Sox took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. Consecutive RBI singles by Dick McAuliffe, Mickey Stanley and Al Kaline tied the game at 5-5 when Brown came to bat for Jerry Stephenson. With Kaline at second base, Brown singled to right field, scoring Kaline.

The 1968 season would turn out to be the best of Brown’s 13-year major league career. Brown finished that season batting a career high .370 with six home runs and 15 runs batted in.

Workhorse Tiger

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Mickey Lolich

Every pitching staff can use a Mickey Lolich: lots of innings, lots of strikeouts, lots of wins. He’s the workhorse who keeps the pitching staff anchored. And on occasion, he rises to moments of true greatness, as Lolich did in October of 1968.

Mickey Lolich won 207 games in 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the most in franchise history.

Mickey Lolich won 207 games in 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the most in franchise history.

Lolich was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1958 and was promoted to the big league club in 1963. He went 18-9 for the Tigers in 1964, and followed with a 15-9 campaign in 1965. After a pair of 14-victory seasons, Lolich went 17-9 during the Tigers’ pennant-winning 1968 season. But in the season when Detroit’s Denny McLain won 31 games, Lolich emerged as the Tigers’ other ace during the 1968 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lolich went 3-0 in the Series, with three complete games and a 1.67 ERA. He struck out 21 batters in 27 innings, and even hit a home run in Game Two … the only home run of his 16-year career. Lolich was selected as the 1968 World Series Most Valuable Player.

From 1964 through 1974, Lolich never won fewer than 14 games or pitched fewer than 200 innings. Four times during that period, he pitched over 300 innings in a season and was twice a 20-game winner, with a 25-14 record in 1971 and 22-14 in 1972. In 1971, Lolich led the American League in victories, games started (45), complete games (29), innings pitched (376), and strikeouts (308). He finished second in the voting for the Cy Young award to Vida Blue, whose 24-8 season garnered both the Cy Young and MVP awards.

Mickey Lolich was the Most Valuable Player in the 1968 World Series, winning three complete games with a 1.67 ERA.

Mickey Lolich was the Most Valuable Player in the 1968 World Series, winning three complete games with a 1.67 ERA.

Lolich won 207 games for the Tigers in the 13 seasons that he pitched for them, and then was traded to the New York Mets in 1975 in the deal that brought Rusty Staub to Detroit. His one season in New York, plus two seasons with the San Diego Padres, produced a total of only 10 victories.

Lolich finished his 16-year major league career with a record of 217-195 and a 3.44 earned run average. A three-time All-Star, Lolich leads all American League left-handers in career strikeouts with 2,679, also the most among all Tigers pitchers. He is the Tigers’ career leader in wins and shutouts.

Lolich is third in career strikeouts among all lefthanders, following Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson. He is still the only southpaw to win three complete games in a single World Series.

 

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