10/22/2004 9:01 PM ET
'04 Series gives flashbacks to '67
Reliving Yaz, Gibson and the echoes of another era
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
|Carl Yastrzemski swats a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1967 World Series. (AP)
Last out of the 1967 World Series: 350K
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Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer (hair!)
--Berger, lead character in "Hair," the rock musical that opened on Broadway on Oct. 17, 1967.
"You know, the kids watching us out there -- we've got the long hair, we've got the cornrows, we got just guys acting like idiots."
-- Johnny Damon, lead character in Boston's hairy cast, which takes to the Big Stage on Oct. 23, 2004.
The more things change ... ?
In the spring of 1967, the Six-Day War erupted in the Middle East, Muhammad Ali opposed the draft, China detonated its first test hydrogen bomb and Opening Day offered baseball fans shelter from a daunting world.
On June 27, the first ATM debuted in Enfield, England. On July 17, we lost John Coltrane. On July 23, race riots rocked Detroit. And Tigers fans prayed for their city and their pennant-battling team.
R. M. Dolby invented a way to make tape-recordings hiss-free. A Cleveland Clinic physician devised the first coronary bypass operation. Rolling Stone and New York hit the stands.
A gallon of regular gas cost 33 cents. First-class stamps were five cents. The average new American home sold for $24,600. Hubert H. Humphrey was the name of a Vice President, not of a domed stadium.
It was a different world.
It was the same world.
It was a Cardinals-Red Sox world.
The St. Louis Cardinals, rebounding from a couple of dour seasons since their 1964 World Series triumph over the Yankees, dust off the Phillies, 5-1, to clinch the National League pennant.
The team that will wind up with 101 wins is a collective effort under manager Red Schoendienst. Orlando Cepeda, with 111 RBIs (and 25 homers), is the only one to drive in more than 77 runs. And two future Hall of Fame pitchers, Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson, combine for a mere 27 victories.
And ... in the second episode of the second season of "The Monkees," they "are tricked into robbing a bank, believing they are making a movie."
Bringing the tightest American League pennant race ever to a car-wreck of a finish, three teams enter the last day of the season within a half-game of each other. In a duel of 20-game winners, Boston's Jim Lonborg decisions Minnesota's Dean Chance in Fenway Park and, when Detroit can only manage a doubleheader split with California, the Red Sox celebrate their first flag in 21 years.
Boston left fielder Carl Yastrzemski wins three races of his own. With a .326 average, he takes the batting title over Brooks Robinson (.311), and also leads the AL with 44 homers (tied with Harmon Killebrew) and 121 RBIs for baseball's last Triple Crown.
Lonborg, soon to win the Cy Young Award, is a comparable standout on the pitching staff. While he wins 22 games, no one else wins more than 12 (Gary Bell and spot-starter Jose Santiago).
Manager Dick Williams' Beantown heroes take a deep breath. In three days they must regroup for the World Series, and for the chance to avenge the Red Sox's seven-game loss in their last Classic appearance, in 1946 -- to the Cardinals.
And ... "The Graduate" is burning up the box office, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is tearing up the charts and "Cabaret" is the enduring toast of Broadway.
The World Series opens in Fenway Park in front of 34,796 fans and 392 empty seats. Also absent is the Red Sox offense. The Cardinals take Game 1, 2-1, as Gibson spices a complete-game six-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Both St. Louis runs score on infield grounders while Boston's only run scores on a homer by, all of people, pitcher Jose Santiago.
And ... In a television interview by David Frost, George Harrison and John Lennon discuss the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Lonborg knots the Classic with a 5-0 masterpiece in which he comes within four outs of the second no-hitter in World Series history. Julian Javier's two-out double in the eighth is the only hit he allows, while walking one and fanning four. Yastrzemski takes care of the offense with a pair of home runs and four RBIs.
And ... Detroit begins rolling out the new 1968 models, which feature such now-mandatory innovations as seat belts, padded dashboards and dual braking systems for the first time.
The Series shifts to Busch Stadium, but the pitching pattern remains the same: This time, Nelson Briles turns in the complete game, holding Boston to seven hits for a 5-2 victory. The Cardinals don't look back after Mike Shannon's two-run homer off Bell in the first inning.
And ... With the purity gone from the Flower Power movement, "The Death of Hippie" ceremony is held at its crucible, San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district.
Gibson, again. His 6-0 five-hitter brings the Cardinals within one victory of the franchise's eighth World Series championship. The Cards bust it open early, knocking out Santiago during a first-inning four-run rally, highlighted by Roger Maris' two-run double.
And ... The featured guests on "The Ed Sullivan Show" are future sausage-maven Jimmy Dean, future fashion critic Joan Rivers and the comedy team of Wayne & Shuster.
Lonborg sends the series back to Boston, keeping up with Gibson's impressive pace by going the route on a three-hitter for a 3-1 victory. Gentleman Jim has now allowed four hits in 18 Series innings. After laboring under the stress of a 1-0 game since the third inning, he receives two runs in the ninth on a two-run single by erstwhile Yankees legend Elston Howard. The insurance is needed when Maris homers in the bottom of the ninth.
And ... Millions tune in to television's top-rated "The Andy Griffith Show" as "Andy sends Opie to a swank boys' camp," and the Broadway curtain rises on Marlene Dietrich's one-woman play.
Boston bats come alive for an 8-4 win to force a Game 7. Yastzemski leads a 12-hit attack with three hits that include his third homer of the Series. Rico Petrocelli adds a pair of solo homers, and Reggie Smith also goes Wall. Skippers Schoendienst (Dick Hughes) and Williams (Gary Waslewski) both try the far-back end of their rotations, saving some silver bullets for Game 7.
And ... A new, chrome-engulfed Cadillac de Ville convertible sets you back $6,700 -- for which you can pick up five new VW Bugs.
In a proper climax, Gibson and Lonborg, after alternating in the spotlight all Series, finally meet arm-to-arm. It's all Gibby, as he throws another complete-game wall at the Red Sox, a three-hitter with 10 punch-outs. Lonborg, pitching on two days' rest, crumbles to allow 10 hits and seven runs in six innings. For Gibson, it is a total victory: He homers in the fifth inning for the eventual winning run.
It's the Cardinals over Boston, 7-2, and the 1967 World Series is over.
Yep, 1967 was something else.
Two young people named Elvis and Priscilla said "I do."
Back then, even a power couple such as the Presleys relied on radio and TV alone if they didn't have a ticket to the Fall Classic.
Today, sports and entertainment are a click away. To the wireless and the wired, the official website of Major League Baseball tries to deliver like a virtual Fenway Park or Busch Stadium, a stage where there's an open invitation to read, watch and listen, to interact, boo or cheer -- and, of course, to shop for authentic stuff and download highlights and full games the way you'd download "Heartbreak Hotel" or "Don't Be Cruel."
What a country. The Cardinals and Red Sox are playing ball, just like they did 37 years ago. And the World Series is more worldwide then ever.
To the Redbirds and Red Sox, in the words of that aforementioned famous bridegroom, we simply say: "Thankyouverymuch."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.