Year In Review : 1967 National League
Off the field…
The entire crew of the Apollo One spacecraft including Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed during a pre-launch rehearsal after fire swept through their Saturn rocket as it sat on its launching pad. The tragedy marked the first deaths of any astronaut while actively engaged in the American space program.
The United States Senate promoted Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall as the first African-American member of the Supreme Court. Previous to his nomination from President Lyndon B. Johnson, Marshall had held office in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals after President John F. Kennedy recognized him as one of the country's most promising attorneys.
American labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was arrested and sentenced to thirteen years in prison following a series of government investigations into illegal business practices. While serving his sentence at a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, he refused to resign as president of the Teamsters and retained the support of most union members. United States President Richard Nixon eventually commuted Hoffa's sentence releasing him from prison on Christmas Eve, 1971. Four years later, while attempting to rebuild his administration, Hoffa "disappeared" after apparently attending a meeting at the Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. To this day, the Teamster leader has never been found and was declared legally dead in 1982.
In the American League…
On May 30th, New York Yankees lefty Whitey Ford surprisingly announced his retirement after struggling for several weeks due to a bone spur on his throwing elbow. The perennial ace finished his career with an amazing 236-109 record, a 2.75 lifetime ERA, ten World Series wins and the highest career winning percentage (.690) of any modern pitcher.
The Washington Senators managed to fight off exhaustion long enough to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5 during a twenty-two inning contest that lasted six hours and thirty-eight minutes. The June 12th marathon set the record for the longest night game in American League history.
New York Yankees team president Mike Burke announced that "The House That Ruth Built" (also known as Yankee Stadium) would undergo its first major renovation at an estimated cost of $1.5 million dollars. The Mets agreed to allow the Bronx Bombers to use Shea Stadium while their park was getting the facelift.
In the National League…
St. Louis Cardinal and single-season home run champion Roger Maris hit a "one in a million" shot against the Pittsburgh Pirates for his first National League round-tripper. Unbelievably, Maris, who wore number 9, hit a ball into Seat 9, located in Row 9 during a game on May 9th.
The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets combined for eleven home runs (Cubs eight, Mets three) during the second game of a June 11th doubleheader. The unexpected "home run derby" tied a Major League record originally set by the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees in 1950.
Tony Perez ended the longest All-Star Game in Major League history (fifteen innings) to date after launching a home run off "Catfish" Hunter for the 2-1 National League victory. Despite the game-winning hit, pitching reigned supreme at this Midsummer Classic as Ferguson Jenkins of the National League struck out seven, the American League allowed no walks and both leagues combined for thirty total strikeouts.
Around the League…
After an eleven-hour debate, the American League owners approved the move of Charles Finley's Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland. The junior circuit also mandated the expansion of the league with a deadline of 1971, guaranteeing a new franchise in both Kansas City and Seattle by that time.
The National League owners also agreed to a two team expansion and explored the possibilities of putting the new teams in Milwaukee, Dallas, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo and / or San Diego.
St. Louis Cardinal Orlando Cepeda became the first National League MVP to be voted for unanimously while the American League MVP, Boston Red Sox slugger Carl Yastrzemski, won the Triple-Crown and led the American League in batting average (.326), slugging average (.622), home runs (tied with Harmon Killebrew with forty-four), RBIs (one-hundred twenty-one) and hits (one-hundred eighty-nine).
Four Baseball Hall of Fame inductees debuted during the 1967 season including Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson.