This article is about the 1963 Major League Baseball season only. For information on all
of baseball, see 1963 in baseball
The 1963 Major League Baseball season. The World Series winners were the Los Angeles Dodgers, who swept the New York Yankees in four straight games. The Dodgers' stellar pitching staff, anchored by left-hander Sandy Koufax and right-hander Don Drysdale, was so dominant that the vaunted Yankees, despite the presence of sluggers such as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in their lineup, never even took a lead against Los Angeles the entire Series.
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
1 National League Triple Crown Pitching Winner
In the American League, the Yankees were in the 4th of 5 straight pennant winning years, and, led by MVP Elston Howard, cruised to the American League title by 10.5 games over the 2nd place White Sox.
In the National League, most experts figured the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers would be locked in another battle for the pennant, much like 1962 when the Giants came from behind and beat the Dodgers in a playoff. The Dodgers started slowly, perhaps feeling the hangover effect from blowing the pennant the year before. They were 2 games under .500 in early May, and trailed the surprising St. Louis Cardinals by 4.5 games. Then their pitching asserted itself, and on August 28, the Dodgers led the Giants by 5.5 games and the Cardinals by 6.5 games. The Cardinals proceeded to win 19 of their next 20 games and, while the Dodgers didn't exactly slump, they went "only" 14–7 during that same period. Thus, the Dodgers went into St. Louis on September 16 to play the Cardinals in a 3 game series leading by only 1 game. With the memory of blowing the 1962 pennant fresh in their minds, the Dodgers proceeded to sweep the Cardinals and take a 4 game lead with 7 games to go. The key game was the third one; the Cardinals led 5–1 in the 8th inning and a win would move them back to within 2 games of L.A. But the Dodgers got 3 in the 8th and in the top of the 9th, late season call up Dick Nen, in only his 8th major league at bat, hit a pinch hit homer to force extra innings. The Cardinals got a leadoff triple from Dick Groat in the 10th but could not score. The Dodgers then scored an unearned run in the 13th innigng and won, 6–5. The disheartened Cardinals then lost their next 3 games as well while the Dodgers won 3 of their next 4 to clinch the pennant with 6 games left.
Major league baseball final standings
American League final standings
National League final standings
- March 22 – The New York Mets, who finished last in the National League with a 40–120 record in their inaugural season, purchase pitcher Carlton Willey from the Milwaukee Braves. Willey will boost a pitching rotation that include Roger Craig, Al Jackson and Tracy Stallard. The Mets will improve to 51–111 in that season.
- April 13: After 11 hitless at bats, Cincinnati second baseman Pete Rose records his first major league hit, a triple off Pittsburgh's Bob Friend. Increased enforcement of the balk rule produces a major-league record seven in the Pirates' 12–4 trouncing at Crosley Field. Friend commits four of the balks.
- July 9 – At Municipal Stadium, the National League wins 5–3 over the American League in the All-Star Game. After four years, MLB had decided to return to the original single-game format. The American League out-hit the National League 11–6, but the effort went in vain as MVP Willie Mays put on a one-man show. Although he was held to a single, Mays collected two runs, two RBI, two stolen bases and made the defensive play of the game — a running catch that deprived Joe Pepitone of an extra base in the eighth inning. This game also marked the 24th and final All-Star appearance of Stan Musial, who pinch-hit in the fifth inning. He lined out to right field, leaving behind a .317 batting average (20-for-63) and an All-Star Game record of six home runs.
- October 6 – At Dodger Stadium, Sandy Koufax defeats the New York Yankees, 2–1, completing a shocking World Series sweep for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whitey Ford gives up only two hits, both by Frank Howard, who belts a long home run in the fifth inning to start the Dodgers' scoring. In the Series, the Yankees bat just .171 and score only four runs, the second-lowest total in World Series history. Curiously enough, the Dodgers would set the mark for the least runs scored in a World Series only three years later, falling victim to a decisive sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
- January 2 – Al Mamaux, 68, pitcher who twice won 20 games for Pittsburgh
- January 5 – Rogers Hornsby, 66, Hall of Fame second baseman who posted the highest lifetime batting average (.358) of any right-handed batter, 7-time batting champion including a .424 mark in 1924; twice MVP, and the first NL player to hit 300 home runs
- January 29 – Lee Meadows, 68, pitcher won 188 games for the Cardinals, Phillies and Pirates, was first modern major leaguer to wear glasses
- January 31 – Ossie Vitt, 73, third baseman for the Tigers and Red Sox, later a minor league manager
- February 9 – Ray Starr, 56, All-Star pitcher who pitched for six teams and won 138 games
- February 15 – Bump Hadley, 58, pitcher who ended Mickey Cochrane's career with a 1937 pitch that fractured his skull; later a broadcaster
- February 20 – Bill Hinchman, 79, outfielder twice batted .300 for Pittsburgh, later a scout
- February 28 – Eppa Rixey, 71, pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame just one month earlier, until 1959 was winningest left-hander in NL history with 266 victories for Phillies and Reds
- March 1 – Irish Meusel, 69, left fielder batted .310 lifetime, led NL in RBI in 1923
- March 11 – Joe Judge, 68, first baseman batted .300 nine times for Senators, later coach at Georgetown for 20 years
- March 29 – Wilcy Moore, 65, relief pitcher who won last game of 1927 World Series for Yankees
- April 23 – Harry Harper, 67, pitched from 1913 through 1923 for the Senators, Red Sox, Yankees and Robins
- May 4 – Dickie Kerr, 69, pitcher who as a 1919 rookie won two World Series games for the White Sox, as one of the players not involved in fixing the Series; later helping a struggling pitcher-turned-hitter, Stan Musial
- May 22 – Dave Shean, 79, second baseman and captain of champion 1918 Red Sox
- May 23 – Gavvy Cravath, 82, right fielder who won six home runs titles with Phillies
- May 27 – Dave Jolly, 38, knuckleball relief pitcher for Milwaukee Braves from 1953–1957
- June 6 – Charlie Mullen, 74, first baseman for White Sox and Yankees in 1910s
- June 8 – Earl Smith, 66, catcher for five NL champions, batted .350 in 1925 World Series
- June 18 – Ben Geraghty, 50, manager of the Jacksonville Suns of the International League and legendary minor league pilot who played a key role in the early career of Henry Aaron
- June 24 – George Trautman, 73, president of the minor leagues since 1946
- June 24 – Jud Wilson, 69, All-Star third baseman of the Negro Leagues
- June 28 – Frank "Home Run" Baker, 77, Hall of Fame third baseman, lifetime .307 hitter and 4-time home run champion, last surviving member of Philadelphia Athletics' "$100,000 infield"
- July 27 – Hooks Dauss, 73, pitcher won 222 games, all for Detroit
- August 15 – Karl Drews, 43, pitcher for four teams including 1947 champion Yankees
- September 4 – Home Run Johnson, 88, early shortstop of the Negro Leagues
- September 19 – Slim Harriss, 66, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox in the early 1920s
- September 27 – Andy Coakley, 80, pitcher won 18 games for 1905 Athletics, later coach at Columbia for 37 years
- October 2 – Cy Perkins, 67, catcher for 16 seasons, most with Athletics, later a coach for many years
- November 6 – Clarence Mitchell, 72, spitball pitcher won 125 games, hit into unassisted triple play in 1920 World Series
- November 12 – Ed Connolly, 54, catcher for the Boston Red Sox between 1929 and 1932
- November 13 – Muddy Ruel, 67, catcher for 19 seasons including 1924 champions Senators, later a coach
- November 14 – Oscar Melillo, 64, second baseman for Browns and Red Sox
- December 8 – Red Worthington, 57, left fielder for Boston Braves from 1931–1934
- December 30 – Wilbur Good, 78, outfielder for six teams, primarily the Cubs
In an attempt to create an identity distinguishable from all other teams, Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley changed the team uniforms to kelly green and yellow. This tradition of "green and gold" has been preserved to this day, although the kelly green has since been replaced with forest green. Finley also changed the Athletics' cleats to white instead of the standard black. Coaches and managers were also given white hats, which were dropped when the Athletics adopted new colors in 1993. The white cleats were dropped in 2000, but were revived in 2008.
- ^ Snyder, John (2010). 365 Oddball Days in Chicago Cubs History. United States: Accessible Publishing Systems. p. 570. ISBN 9781459607255..
- ^ Pellowski, Michael J (2007). The Little Giant Book of Baseball Facts. United States: Sterling Publishing Co. p. 352. ISBN 9781402742736.