10/17/07 11:35 PM ET
Streak has Rockies in rarefied air
1963 Dodgers last team to run the table in October
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
The Rockies, who have won all eight of their October games thus far, including the Oct. 1 tiebreaker game (counted as a regular-season game) followed by sweeps in the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series, have a shot at becoming the first team since the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers to run the table in the 10th month.
The only games the '63 Dodgers played in October were in the World Series, when they swept the New York Yankees of Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Elston Howard in four games.
Four to seven October games was typical in those days, as baseball had only the World Series until 1969, when the two leagues each split into two divisions. Teams rarely had October regular-season games before then, but occasionally three or fewer were played after the schedule increased from 154 to 162 games beginning in 1961.
And yet, despite the limited October schedule pre-1969 in the last century, only six teams made it through October with an unblemished record and all six are among the more memorable World Series winners in baseball history.
For those of you wondering about the '76 Big Red Machine and its 7-0 postseason run of the table, just hold on a minute. The Reds were perfect that postseason but dropped a regular-season game to the Braves on Oct. 2 and finished the month 9-1.
The Rockies need a sweep in the World Series to finish what would be the greatest October run in Major League Baseball history -- 12-0 -- a mark that would easily eclipse the other unbeaten October records:
1927 New York Yankees (5-0): The Yankees won their final regular-season game on Oct. 1, then swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games in the World Series. Considered one of the greatest teams of all-time, this was the year Babe Ruth set the then single-season home run record (60) while batting .356 with 164 RBIs. Ruth, Lou Gehrig (.373, 47 HR, 175 RBIs), Tony Lazzeri (.309, 18, 102) and Bob Meusel (.337, 8, 103) fueled the Murderer's Row offense while Waite Hoyt, Urban Shocker, Herb Pennock and Wilcy Moore combined for 78 wins.
1963 Los Angeles Dodgers (4-0): You might recall the '63 Dodgers of Sandy Koufax (NL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner), Don Drysdale, Ron Perranoski, Maury Wills and Tommy Davis. Davis won his second consecutive batting crown that season. Koufax, (25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts) won the pitching Triple Crown and Drysdale won 19 games. Koufax (2-0) outpitched the Yankees' Ford twice in the World Series, and Drysdale fired a three-hit shutout against Jim Bouton in Game 3.
1928 New York Yankees (4-0): Ruth hit 54 long balls as he and Gehrig finished 1-2 in the league in home runs and those two and Meusel finished 1-2-3 in the league in RBIs. With Ruth (.625 and three homers) and Gehrig (.545, four) leading the way, the Yankees made it a second straight unbeaten October with a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
1939 New York Yankees (4-0): The year Gehrig announced his retirement in a memorable ceremony on May 2 was also the year the Joe McCarthy-managed Yankees of Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Charlie Keller, Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez won 106 games over the regular season. The '39 Yankees outscored opponents by more than 400 runs, 967-556. New York won the pennant by 17 games over Boston (and 20-year-old rookie Ted Williams) before sweeping Cincinnati in the World Series from Oct. 4-8.
1954 New York Giants (2-0): Another unforgettable team. Willie Mays, back in New York after a two-year stint in the Army, hit .345 with 41 homers and 110 RBIs to win MVP honors.
Magnificent 7: Perfect Octobers
|1927||New York Yankees||5-0|
|1928||New York Yankees||4-0|
|1939||New York Yankees||4-0|
|1963||Los Angeles Dodgers||4-0|
|1954||New York Giants||2-0#|
|1932||New York Yankees||2-0#|
|* Includes Oct. 1 tiebreaker game and postseason to date|
# Won first two World Series games in September
1932 New York Yankees (2-0): Gehrig, Ruth, Lazzeri and Ben Chapman drove in 100-plus runs apiece while pitchers Gomez, Ruffing, George Pipgras and Johnny Allen were a combined 75-27. The Yankees swept the Cubs in the World Series, but only the final two games were played in October. In Game 3 on Oct. 1, reportedly in response to heckling by the Cubs, Ruth pointed to the center-field bleachers on an 0-2 count before hitting a home run off Charley Root. It was the last home run Ruth would ever hit in a World Series game.
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.