1966 Deluxe Past Season with transaction and lineups available now!
The 1966 Major League Baseball Season:
The Baby Birds Soar Eight Miles High
by Steve Ehresman
When The Byrds debuted their smash single “Eight Miles High” in March 1966, the Baltimore Orioles, aka The Baby Birds, were a young, aspiring pennant contender, who had finished third in the American League the previous season, behind the champion Minnesota Twins and the runner-up Chicago White Sox. By the end of the World Series in October, the Orioles reigned supreme, sweeping the Los Angles Dodgers in a four-game upset and setting the stage for the greatest era in Baltimore baseball.
Needing a power bat to bolster their line-up, the Orioles traded the star of their starting rotation, Milt Pappas, to the Cincinnati Red for a thirty-year-old outfielder supposedly in decline, Frank Robinson. This trade turned out to be one of the most lopsided in Major League history, as erstwhile ace Milt Pappas struggled (12-11 4. 29 ERA) and American League MVP Frank Robson sizzled (.316, 49 HR, 122 RB), becoming the first player to win an MVP award in both leagues.
Frank Robinson was not a one-man wrecking crew for the Orioles, as first sacker Boog Powell (34 HR, 109 RBI), slick-fielding hot corner man Brooks Robinson (23 HR, 100 RBI), and sophomore slugger Curt Blefary (23 HR, 64 RBI) combined to give Baltimore a formidable offense.
On the mound, The Baby Birds were led by Jim Palmer (15-10, 3.46) and Dave McNally (13-6, 3.17), but both Steve Barber and Wally Bunker missed parts of the season with bad arms. To compensate, the Orioles relied on a lockdown relief corps, led by Stu Miller, who appeared in 51 games, recording 18 saves, and Eddie Fisher, who appeared in 44 games, recording 13 saves, after he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending World Series champions, road to the pennant, thanks to Sandy Koufax’s Cy Young Award season. Whereas the Orioles crushed their competition in the American League, coasting to victory by 9 games over the runner-up Minnesota Twins, the Dodgers did not win the pennant until the final day, slipping past the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates by razor-thin margins of 1.5 and 3 games, respectively.
Although Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale staged a joint holdout during spring training, when the season began, Koufax was superlative (27-9, 41 GS, 27 CG, 323 IP, 317 K, 1.73). Koufax chalked up these staggering numbers with an arthritic pitching arm. At only 30 years old, he retired after the season. Drysdale, on the other hand, was mediocre by his standards (13-16, 3.42). Taking up the slack on the mound were Claude Osteen (17-14, 2.85), youngster Don Sutton (12-12, 2.99), and relief ace Phil “The Vulture” Regan (65 games, 21 SV, 14-1, 1.62).
Beyond these noteworthy performances, the 1966 National League featured MVP Roberto Clemente (.317, 29 HR, 119 RBI); his Pittsburgh teammate, batting champ Matty Alou (.342); home run and RBI leader Hank Aaron (44 HR, 127 RBI); his Atlanta teammate, Joe Torre (36 HR, 101 RB); stolen base whiz Lou Brock (74 SB); and an impressive array of offensive threats: Willie Mays (37 HR, 103 RB), Willie McCovey (36 HR, 96 RBI), Jim Ray Hart (33 HR, 93 RBI), Willie Stargell (33 HR, 102 RBI), Dick Allen (40 HR, 110 RBI), and Ron Santo (30 HR, 94 RBI).
In addition to the unrivaled excellence of Sandy Koufax, the Senior Circuit boasted four 20-game winners: Juan Marichal (25-6, 2.23); his Giant teammate, Gaylord Perry (2-18, 2.99); Chris Short (20-10, 3.54); and Bob Gibson (21-12, 2.44). Although they did not win 20 games, Jim Bunning (19-14, 2.41) and Jim Maloney (16-8, 216 K, 2.80) enjoyed fine seasons.
Over in the American League, Harmon Killebrew (39 HR, 110 RBI, .281); his Minnesota teammate Tony Oliva (25 HR, 87 RBI); Norm Cash (32 HR, 93 RBI); his Detroit teammates Al Kaline (29 HR, 88 RBI) and Willie Horton (27 HR, 100 RBI); Rookie of the Year Tommie Agee (22 HR, 86 RBI, 44 SB), Rocky Colavito (30 HR, 72 RBI), Tony Conigliaro (28 HR, 93 RBI), and stolen base leader Bert Campaneris (52 SB) all put impressive offensive numbers on the board.
On the mound, the American League featured two 20-game winners: Jim Kaat (25-13, 41 GS, 19 CG, 305 IP, 2.74) and Denny McLain (20-14). Two other Junior Circuit hurlers contributed greatly in 1966: Gary Peters (1.98) and Sam McDowell (225 K), despite McDowell’s missing some starts with a sore arm.
In the year when The Beatles released “Revolver,” Julie Andrews celebrated “the sound of music,” “Batman” featured 85 different bat-fight words, “Star Trek” vowed “to boldly go where no man has gone before,” and the Grinch “stole Christmas,” Major League Baseball was experiencing the ebb and flow of history. In 1966, as baseball neared its Centennial season, as iconic stars aged and perennial dynasties passed into history, our National Pastime would face the uncertain years that lay ahead and pass its legacy to a new decade and, ultimately, to a new generation of fans.
The 1966 Deluxe Past Season database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 1966 season -- a full set of ratings and statistics for every player who appeared in the big leagues that year, plus team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark ratings and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals with left/right splits for all batters and pitchers.
Also included is a complete set of real-life player transactions -- trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions, and more -- plus the actual starting lineups for every regular season game played.
If you are a registered owner of the 1966 Classic Past Season, you are eligible for upgrade pricing for this item. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request your discount promotion code.
Note: This season database is a companion product for the Diamond Mind Baseball version 11 game. To use this database, you must also have Diamond Mind Baseball version 11. The game software provides you with all of the tools you need to play simulated games, make roster moves, produce dozens of statistical reports, generate league schedules, and more.
- David Pyke