Wednesday, June 20, 2012

AL Batting Leaders (#2, 4, 6)

NL Pitching Leaders? Check! NL Batting Leaders? Check! Now it's time for the AL Batting Leaders. After several seasons buried in the 3rd series, the League Leaders cards are front and center (#1 - #12) in the 1968 (and 1969) set.

1967 was the season of the Yaz. Like Frank Robinson one year earlier, Yastrzemski won the triple crown and led his team to the World Series. Unlike Robby, Yaz' team didn't win, nor did he finish ahead of all others in home runs. Lost in the hype is the fact that Harmon Killebrew was tied for the lead in homers.

Four AL players finished with a .300 or better average.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but the following season, only Yastrzemski would accomplish that, with a .301 average.   Following that, the mound was lowered, 40 minor-league pitchers were given major-league jobs (expansion), and Bob Gibson was asked to go easy on the batters.


As usual, the same 5 or 6 players seem to fill the 9 spots on these leader cards.

Yaz was one-and-done in the late-1960s' home run derby, while Killebrew and Frank Howard would make multiple appearances on these cards.


Commishbob said...

I was obsessed with the backs of these Leaders cards back then. I was fascinated with the list of players and their numbers. Even better than the leaders were team cards that had pitchers records vs. each club the previous season. Why I had to just know Steve Barber's w/l against the Tigers in 1963 is beyond me. I'd study them for the longest time.

I was a lonely kid I guess.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Me too Bob. In fact, there's 1 brain cell specifically tasked with remembering that Phillies' OF Tony Gonzalez hit .339 in 1967 - 2nd best in the league.

As for team cards:
I didn't follow the 1966 Phillies, but thanks to the 1967 team card, I learned about the entire pitching staff: Belinsky, Buhl, Bunning...