1968 Leaders & Numbers

In the year of the pitcher, it was all too appropriate that Bob Gibson and Denny McLain would become the first hurlers to win both MVP awards in the same season. In Gibson’s shadow for the NL’s top spotlight was, once again, Juan Marichal—even as he himself flirted with winning 30 games. After averaging ten wins over the previous four seasons, Dave McNally stepped up to a higher plateau with the first of four straight years averaging 20. Thrilled a year earlier with Tom Seaver’s arrival, long-suffering Met fans doubled their pleasure with the debut of Jerry Koosman, who tossed a rookie record seven shutouts. Luis Tiant exploded onto the scene with a corkscrew pitching delivery that would be evoked by Hideo Nomo 27 years later. Carl Yastrzemski’s production drop was indicative of major league hitters in general, but he was still the AL’s toughest out. Billy Williams quietly continued to be highly productive and durable, playing every game for the Cubs. Pete Rose became the first switch-hitter to win a NL batting title. Ken Harrelson, an avid golfer who gave serious consideration to playing in the PGA, was among the first to wear batting gloves. Frank Howard overcame his habit of hitting bad pitches and put up numbers that didn’t belong in 1968. Willie McCovey finally was allowed by the Giants—and successfully proved—that he could hit lefties. Amid the deadwood in the Yankee offense was Roy White, the only player on his team to hit over .245.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1968
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Willie McCovey San Francisco 148 .293 523 81 153 16 4 36 105 52 20 5 4 2 10
2. Billy Williams Chicago 163 .288 642 91 185 30 8 30 98 38 10 2 4 1 13
3. Hank Aaron Atlanta 160 .287 604 84 174 33 4 29 86 41 23 1 28 5 21
4. Richie Allen Philadelphia 152 .263 521 87 137 17 9 33 90 59 15 1 7 7 7
5. Lou Brock St. Louis 159 .279 660 92 184 46 14 6 51 39 7 3 62 12 4
6. Willie Mays San Francisco 148 .289 498 84 144 20 5 23 79 60 7 2 12 6 13
7. Pete Rose Cincinnati 149 .335 626 94 210 42 6 10 49 41 15 4 3 7 11
8. Jim Wynn Houston 156 .269 542 85 146 23 5 26 67 81 9 5 11 17 6
9. Tony Perez Cincinnati 160 .282 625 93 176 25 7 18 92 38 13 6 3 2 19
10. Felipe Alou Atlanta 160 .317 662 72 210 37 5 11 57 34 14 4 12 11 10
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1968
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Carl Yastrzemski Boston 157 .301 539 90 162 32 2 23 74 106 13 2 13 6 12
2. Frank Howard Washington 158 .274 598 79 164 28 3 44 106 42 12 6 0 0 13
3. Ken Harrelson Boston 150 .275 535 79 147 17 4 35 109 60 9 2 2 6 18
4. Willie Horton Detroit 143 .285 512 68 146 20 2 36 85 41 8 8 0 3 14
5. Bill Freehan Detroit 155 .263 540 73 142 24 2 25 84 61 4 24 0 1 9
6. Frank Robinson Baltimore 130 .268 421 69 113 27 1 15 52 69 4 12 11 2 15
7. Bert Campaneris Oakland 159 .276 624 87 177 25 9 4 38 48 2 4 62 22 5
8. Reggie Jackson Oakland 154 .250 553 82 138 13 6 29 74 45 5 5 14 4 3
9. Jim Northrup Detroit 154 .264 580 76 153 29 7 21 90 46 4 4 4 5 14
10. Roy White New York 159 .267 577 89 154 20 7 17 62 67 6 3 20 11 10
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1968
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Bob Gibson St. Louis 1.12 22 9 .710 0 34 34 304.2 254 38 56 6 4 7 0 6 5 18
2. Gaylord Perry San Francisco 2.44 16 15 .516 1 39 38 291 315 79 47 12 6 4 0 11 11 20
3. Juan Marichal San Francisco 2.43 26 9 .743 0 38 38 326 394 88 37 9 8 6 2 17 11 15
4. Steve Blass Pittsburgh 2.12 18 6 .750 0 33 31 220.1 259 52 52 5 7 4 0 5 5 18
5. Don Drysdale Los Angeles 2.15 14 12 .538 0 31 31 239 252 57 46 10 4 12 0 9 17 16
6. Tom Seaver New York 2.20 16 12 .571 1 36 35 277.2 324 68 43 5 8 8 1 16 15 10
7. Ferguson Jenkins Chicago 2.63 20 15 .571 0 40 40 308 392 90 58 7 6 3 1 10 12 21
8. Jerry Koosman New York 2.08 19 12 .613 0 35 34 263.2 317 61 62 7 8 8 0 8 9 23
9. Ray Washburn St. Louis 2.26 14 8 .636 0 31 30 215 252 54 40 7 3 1 0 7 7 21
10. Bob Moose Pittsburgh 2.74 8 12 .400 3 38 22 170.2 178 52 34 7 3 3 1 9 1 13
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1968
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Luis Tiant Cleveland 1.60 21 9 .700 0 34 32 258.1 237 46 69 4 3 4 0 0 9 10
2. Denny McLain Detroit 1.96 31 6 .838 0 41 41 336 382 73 61 2 3 6 0 19 5 19
3. Dave McNally Baltimore 1.95 22 10 .688 0 35 35 273 291 59 54 1 5 10 1 9 5 18
4. Wilbur Wood Chicago 1.87 13 12 .520 16 88 2 159 175 33 21 12 3 3 0 3 3 13
5. Sam McDowell Cleveland 1.81 15 14 .517 0 38 37 269 252 54 101 9 7 10 1 9 5 16
6. Stan Bahnsen New York 2.05 17 12 .586 0 37 34 267.1 309 61 62 6 4 2 1 11 9 14
7. Dean Chance Minnesota 2.53 16 16 .500 1 43 39 292 304 82 55 8 12 10 1 23 2 18
8. Mel Stottlemyre New York 2.45 21 12 .636 0 36 36 278.2 346 76 58 7 3 3 1 10 5 22
9. Tommy John Chicago 1.98 10 5 .667 0 25 25 177.1 184 39 45 4 2 12 1 10 6 19
10. Jim Hardin Baltimore 2.51 18 13 .581 0 35 35 244 297 68 65 5 9 10 1 8 12 16

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1968 Awards


NL MVP
Bob Gibson, St. Louis

AL MVP
Denny McLain, Detroit


NL Cy Young Award
Bob Gibson, St. Louis

AL Cy Young Award
Denny McLain, Detroit


NL Rookie of the Year
Johnny Bench, Cincinnati

AL Rookie of the Year
Del Unser, Washington


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Bob Gibson, St. Louis
C Johnny Bench, Cincinnati
1B Wes Parker, Los Angeles
2B Glenn Beckert, Chicago
3B Ron Santo, Chicago
SS Dal Maxvill, St. Louis
OF Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh
OF Curt Flood, St. Louis
OF Willie Mays, San Francisco


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Jim Kaat, Minnesota
C Bill Freehan, Detroit
1B George Scott, Boston
2B Bobby Knoop, California
3B Brooks Robinson, Baltimore
SS Luis Aparicio, Chicago
OF Reggie Smith, Boston
OF Mickey Stanley, Detroit
OF Carl Yastrzemski, Boston