Year In Review : 1963 American League
Off the field…
Minister and civil-rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King led over two hundred thousand people in the largest non-violent demonstration ever held to support the passage of civil rights legislation. The historic march on Washington D.C. was highlighted by King's infamous "I have a dream" speech in which he stated "…one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal."
On November 22nd, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed as he rode through the streets of Dallas, Texas aboard the presidential motorcade. Lee Harvey Oswald was later identified as the lone assassin although his guilt was never proven in a court of law. While in police custody, Oswald himself was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
As a first step toward ending the "Cold War", a test ban agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union was ratified by the Senate on October 10. The contract between the world's two superpowers prohibited any future above ground testing of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
In the American League…
Detroit Tiger Billy Bruton tied a Major League record for most doubles in a single game after hitting four straight to top the Washington Senators 5-1 on May 19th. Teammate and rookie pitcher Bill Faul matched Bruton's efforts on the mound while tossing a three hitter in his first Major League start.
On May 22nd, Mickey Mantle hit what is considered by many experts to be the longest homerun in Major League history. Batting left-handed against the visiting Kansas City A's at Yankee Stadium, Mantle opened the eleventh inning with a monumental blast off Bill Fisher that traveled three-hundred seventy-four feet from home plate, bouncing off of the third tier facade and falling just inches short of going out of the stadium. A senior physicist from the University of Arizona, Professor J.E. McDonald, calculated the estimated distance the ball would have traveled at six-hundred twenty feet.
Cleveland pitcher Early Wynn finally won his 300th (and final) game thanks to a little help from the Indian's bullpen. After losing eight straight and struggling through five innings during the second half of a Kansas City doubleheader, Wynn was replaced by relief man Jerry Walker who tossed four scoreless sides en route to a 7-4 win over the Athletics.
In the National League…
Chicago Cubs first baseman Ernie Banks became the first National League player to tally twenty-two putouts (and twenty-three chances) in a game, during a May 9th, 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On June 15th, Juan Marichal set two records after becoming the first Latin American pitcher AND only the second Giant (Carl Hubbell, 1929) to pitch a no-hitter during a 1-0 triumph over the Houston Colt 45s (Astros) at Candlestick Park.
Milwaukee Brave veteran Warren Spahn topped the National League record for most starts (previously held by Grover Alexander) with his 601st appearance on the mound during a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 23rd. Later in the season Spahn tied Christy Mathewson's National League record with his thirteenth, twenty-win season and became the oldest to do so at age forty-two.
Around the League…
The Major League Rules Committee voted to expand the strike zone, extending it from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the knees restoring its original pre-1950 specifications.
On September 6th, Major League Baseball celebrated its 100,000th game with a classic match-up between the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators at D.C. Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals' slugger Stan Musial made a record 24th All-Star Game appearance as his National League teammates combined to beat their American League counterparts 5-3 in the Midsummer Classic.
Houston Colt 45s (Astros) manager Harry Craft shocked the New York Mets after starting an all-rookie line-up during a September 27th contest. Fifteen rookies appeared in all, but were bested by the older and wiser Mets who "mentored" them with a 10-3 lesson in experience.