1966 World Series Highlights

I never saw the 1966 World Series, I only listened to it on the radio and being only seven years old didn’t quite know what was going on.  I knew my brothers were mad at Willie Davis but didn’t know why.  I just knew the Dodgers were swept by the Orioles.

Later I would find out more about the 1966 series but given how easily I thought they had lost I never dwelt too much on that series, I studied 1965 instead since the outcome was more enjoyable.

Up until 1966 the Dodger fans had only known success in the World Series. They won in 1959 in just their second year in Los Angeles. They won in 1963 in just the second year of Dodger Stadium. They won in 1965 in historic fashion.  They had never lost a World Series while being the Los Angeles Dodgers and had won three World Championships in only seven years.

So when they were swept by the Orioles, I expect the town was shocked.  Any team with Koufax and Drysdale was expected to be invincible.  Koufax and Drysdale did their part but the team forgot to show up.  Still it was a very close series, even though the Dodgers were shut out the last three games, they lost 1-0 in games 3 and 4.  If they had somehow managed to win one of those games the whole series could have turned because they would have had Koufax pitching game five.

Over at TBLA Brooks Robinson came up and Steve/Mike/Gary all said that he had a great series against the Dodgers in 1966. I went back into the youtube history machine and found this sweet 39 minute review of the 1966 series.

This is more for my sake than anyone.

Game One – I do remember this game as a kid. Moe Drabowsky came in relief and struck out six Dodgers in a row and ended up with eleven strikeouts. He hurled 6 2/3 of relief work and even back then, that was unheard of.  The Robinson boys hit back to back home runs in the first inning off of Don Drysdale. The first one by Frank barely escaped being caught by Tommy Davis and was a two-run shot. The second one by Brooks was in the same spot, about ten feet from the foul pole but much deeper. Both were on the field box side of the Dodger bullpen.  Down 4 – 0 in the bottom of the second, Jim Lefebvre would hit the only World Series home run for the Dodgers.  With the score 4 – 1 in the bottom of the 3rd, the Dodgers loaded the bases on walks from McNally and he was replaced with Moe who walked in a run. Moe got Roseboro for the final out. The Dodgers had scored a run with four walks.  The Orioles would score one more run and the Dodgers would lose 5 – 2. Remember that score. 5 – 2. The Dodgers would not score another run in the World Series.

Game Two – pitted 20-year-old Jim Palmer against Sandy Koufax. This game is the game most fans remember. Willie Davis made three errors in one inning. Dropping two fly balls and a wild throw to 3rd.  The score had been 0 – 0 heading into the top of the 5th when Willie Davis had trouble with the sun.  Three runs would score and they were all unearned. The Orioles would score one more run in the sixth again on a questionable play by Willie Davis. Frank Robinson sent a long fly ball to RCF that appeared as though either Davis or Fairly could have caught but neither did and it went for a triple. Even though that wasn’t ruled an error the Dodgers would make six errors in the game and lose 6 – 0.  Jim Palmer became the youngest pitcher in major league history to throw a World Series shutout.

Game Three – pitted 21-year-old Wally Bunker against Claude Osteen. As a 19-year-old in 1964 Wally Bunker had a record of 19-5 and threw 195 innings. Not surprisingly he had arm trouble in 1966 after throwing over 400 major league innings before his 21st birthday. In 1966 he had only pitched 142 innings and was no longer the wunderkind of 1964. Until he faced the Dodgers. In game three Bunker threw his first shutout of the season and beat the Dodgers 1 – 0.  The Orioles had scored their run on a 430 foot home run by Paul Blair. The Orioles only managed three hits but one of them was that home run while the Dodgers six hits couldn’t push across a single run.

In back to back games the Dodgers had been shutout by a 20 and 21 year-old.

Game Four – McNally against Drysdale again. Drysdale was fantastic, pitching a complete game and giving up only one run. That run was another home run by Frank Robinson.  In the same inning Willie Davis tried to atone for his miscues in game two by making an incredible catch of a Boog Powell drive. The video shows Willie run straight to the fence, then glide five steps to his right and leap a good foot above the face and take a home run away from Powell to keep the score at 1 – 0.  It didn’t matter. The Dodgers would lose once again 1 – 0 though it took Paul Blair robbing Jim Lefebvre of a home run in the top of the 8th to keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard.

The Orioles used only four pitchers and gave up two runs in thirty-six innings. Games 2 – 4 were all complete game shutouts.

The Orioles didn’t start a pitcher over the age of 23.

At no time did they show any special plays by Brooks Robinson. He made one nice play to his left to start a DP but that wasn’t anything special.

Wally Bunker saw his career come to an end by the age of 27. Not a kind ending for the wonderkid of 1964 who shut out the Dodgers in game three.

Dave McNally started two of the games. From 1969 – 1971 you could argue he was the best pitcher in the AL. He never won a CYA, but the finished 4th, 2nd, and 4th in those three years.


Luis Aparicio would end up in the HOF

Brooks Robinson would end up in the HOF

Frank Robinson would end up in the HOF

Jim Palmer would end up in the HOF

Frank Robinson would end up playing for the Dodgers.

Dave Johnson was a rookie 2nd baseman for the Orioles and he would end up managing the Dodgers

Boog Powell was on the Dodgers in 1977 but Steve Garvey was the 1st baseman and never let Boog play because he was doing his NL record setting consecutive streak.


1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    This is a good one.

    I have strong memories of this series and from game two in particular.
    Your excellent piece serves by enhancing and sharpening my recall.
    I thank you.


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