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1966 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1966 throughout the world.
March 5 - In what will prove to be one of the more influential off-the-field events in Major League history, United Steelworkers union official Marvin Miller is elected the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Under Miller's guidance, the players' union will make major gains such as salary increases, improvements in pension benefits, and the advent of free agency and salary arbitration. Miller will occupy his position from 1966 to 1982, as the players' union was transformed into one of the strongest unions in the United States.
March 17 - Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale escalate their threat of retirement by signing movie contracts. On March 30, they will end their 32-day holdout, signing for $130,000 and $105,000 respectively.
April 3 - USC pitcher Tom Seaver signs with the New York Mets. He had been drafted by the Braves, but they had signed him to a minor league contract while he was still in college. This voided Seaver's remaining eligibility, and voided the contract. The Mets won a special lottery over Cleveland and Philadelphia to win the right to sign him.
May 7 - One day after the New York Yankees' record falls to 4-16, general manager Ralph Houk fires Johnny Keane as manager and returns to manage the team himself. Dan Topping, Jr. replaces Houk as general manager. Houk had managed the Yankees to three consecutive American League pennants from 1961 to 1963 and a World Series title during the first two of those years, but his second stint will have a far less than successful beginning. Their talent and farm system both depleted, the Yankees, after finishing in sixth place in 1965, will finish dead last--their first time doing so since 1912.
July 3 - Atlanta pitcher Tony Cloninger hits two grand slams in a game against the Giants; he thus becomes the first National League player and only pitcher in Major League history to do so. His nine RBI in a game also is a record for pitchers.
July 21 - Against the Washington Senators in D.C., Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim Merritt strikes out twelve in a 1-0 shutout win. Seven of the twelve are consecutive, in the middle innings, to set an American League record. The final out in Merritt's string is his mound opponent Jim Hannan, who ironically had struck out Merritt just prior to the strikeout streak beginning.
July 25 - During his Hall of Fame induction speech, Ted Williams publicly calls on baseball to induct former great players from the Negro leagues. He specifically calls for the induction of Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. Williams' wish becomes true 5 years later when Satchel Paige is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
July 27 - At Dodger Stadium, Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers faces Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies in the first matchup of perfect game pitchers. The Dodgers defeat the Phillies 2-1 in 12 innings with neither pitcher involved in the decision; both pitchers had pitched 11 innings with Koufax giving up four hits and striking out 16 and Bunning six hits and striking out 12.
August 15 - The Orioles left-handed slugger Boog Powell hits 3 opposite-field homers over the left-field Green Monster at Fenway Park. Powell has 13 total bases in the game, won by Baltimore, 4-2, in 11 innings.
August 29 - The Detroit Tigers' Denny McLain wins his 16th start of the season, even though he doesn't do it that way. He throws 229 pitches, walks 9, and allows 8 hits. However, he strikes out 11 in a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
October 9 - In Game Four of the World Series, Dave McNally wrapped up a brilliant pitching display, and the first World Series Championship for the Baltimore Orioles, with a four-hit, 1-0 shutout against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Series MVP Frank Robinson hits a home run off Don Drysdale for the only run of the game and gave Baltimore a sweep of the defending World Series Champion Dodgers. The shutout completes a World Series record 332⁄3 scoreless innings pitched by Orioles pitchers, beginning with Moe Drabowsky pitching 62⁄3 innings in relief of McNally in Game One, followed by shutouts by Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker--neither of whom had pitched a shutout during the regular season. The Orioles are the last of the original eight American League franchises to win their first World Series.
November 12 - The Los Angeles Dodgers complete an 18-game tour of Japan with a 9-8-1 record. The eight losses are the most for an MLB club touring the Far East.
November 18 - Sandy Koufax announces his retirement from baseball due to arthritis in his left elbow. Six years later he would become the youngest player elected to the Hall of Fame.
November 23 - Chicago White Sox outfielder Tommie Agee is voted American League Rookie of the Year, gathering 16 of the 18 votes. Kansas City Athletics pitcher Jim Nash gets the other two votes. Agee had been brought up briefly the past four seasons before finding a permanent spot in 1966.
December 1 - The Los Angeles Dodgers send former National League stolen base king Maury Wills to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for infielders Bob Bailey and Gene Michael. Wills upset the Dodgers when he left the team during its recent tour of Japan.
January 1 - Oscar Dugey, 78, light-hitting infielder who appeared in 193 games for the Boston Braves and Philadelphia Phillies between 1913 and 1920; member of 1914 world-champion "Miracle Braves" and 1915 Phillies, who captured their first National League pennant.
January 10 - Andy Reese, 61, played every position but pitcher and catcher--although primarily a left fielder and third baseman--over the course of his 331-game career with the New York Giants of 1927-1930.
January 14 - Sidney Weil, 74, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1929 to 1933.
January 15 - Stover McIlwain, 26, pitcher who appeared in two games as a teenager for the Chicago White Sox in 1957 and 1958.
January 15 - Walt Walsh, 68, pinch runner for two games with the 1920 Philadelphia Phillies.
January 20 - Leslie O'Connor, 76, lawyer and baseball executive; assistant to Commissioners K. M. Landis (1921-1944) and Happy Chandler (1945); in between, acting Commissioner of Baseball as chairman of the MLB Advisory Council (1944-1945); subsequently general manager of Chicago White Sox (1945-1948) and president of Pacific Coast League (1956-1959).
January 29 - Homer Summa, 67, right fielder who collected a .302 average over ten seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Athletics.
January 31 - Pat Donahue, 81, catcher who got into 119 games between 1908 and 1910 for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Naps.
February 4 - Mike Milosevich, 51, shortstop in 124 games for the 1944-1945 New York Yankees.
February 14 - Jack Coffey, 79, infielder who played from 1909 to 1918 for the Boston Doves, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox who was also a longtime baseball head coach at Fordham University.
February 17 - Finners Quinlan, 78, outfielder who played 13 games for the 1913 St. Louis Cardinals and 42 more for the 1915 Chicago White Sox.
February 18 - Marty McManus, 65, second baseman and third baseman who played 1,831 games from 1920 through 1934 for the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves; player-manager of the Red Sox in 1932 and 1933.
February 20 - Harry Geisel, 77, American League umpire from 1925 to 1942.
February 25 - Garland Braxton, 65, left-handed pitcher in 282 games for the Boston Braves, New York Yankees, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns between 1921 and 1933; led American League in earned run average (2.51) in 1928.
March 9 - Aaron Robinson, 50, All-Star catcher (1947) for the New York Yankees who succeeded Bill Dickey, then was replaced by Yogi Berra as the Bombers' starting receiver in 1948; played for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox from 1948 through 1951.
March 9 - Elmer Steele, 81, pitcher in 75 games for Boston of the American League and Pittsburgh and Brooklyn of the National League between 1907 and 1911.
March 14 - Lee Magee, 76, outfielder-second baseman for seven big-league teams, principally the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees, in the nine seasons of 1911-1919, appearing in 1,015 games; player-manager of Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the "outlaw" Federal League for most of 1915; known for bitter battles with owners, and accused them of "blackballing" him after 1919 season; implicated, with Hal Chase, in gambling allegations investigated by Cook County grand jury called in 1920 to probe the "Black Sox" scandal.
March 15 - Chappie Geygan, 62, shortstop and third baseman who played in 40 games for the Boston Red Sox between 1924 and 1926.
March 18 - Frank Bennett, 61, pitcher in five games for the Boston Red Sox (1927-1928).
March 20 - "Jughandle Johnny" Morrison, 70, pitcher who won 103 career games for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1920-1927) and Brooklyn Robins (1929-1930); member of 1925 world champions.
March 25 - Bill Morrisette, 71, pitcher who worked in 13 total games for the 1915-1916 Philadelphia Athletics and 1920 Detroit Tigers.
March 31 - Grady Adkins, 68, pitcher in 67 games for the 1928-1929 Chicago White Sox.
April 1 - John Sullivan, 76, outfielder who got into 162 total games for the Boston Braves (1920-1921) and Chicago Cubs (1921).
April 5 - Sam Dodge, 76, pitcher in four games for the 1921-1922 Boston Red Sox.
April 6 - Rolla Mapel, 76, left-handed pitcher in four games for 1919 St. Louis Browns.
April 12 - Joe Harris, 84, pitcher with the Boston Americans from 1905-1907; posted a 2-21 won-lost record in 1906, and followed that in 1907 by going 0-7; his career mark was 3-30 (.091 winning percentage) with a 3.35 earned run average.
April 19 - Maury Kent, 80, pitcher in 23 games during 1912-1913 for Brooklyn of the National League; coached multiple sports (especially baseball) in U.S. colleges (notably Northwestern University) until 1943.
April 22 - Lou Finney, 55, outfielder-first baseman who played in 1,270 games between 1931 and 1947 for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Phillies.
April 25 - Art Decatur, 72, pitcher who appeared in 153 games between 1922 and 1927 for the Brooklyn Robins and Philadelphia Phillies.
May 4 - Bob Elliott, 49, seven-time National League All-Star third baseman and 1947 NL Most Valuable Player whose 15-year MLB career (1939-1953) was primarily spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Braves; manager of 1960 Kansas City Athletics.
May 7 - Bing Miller, 71, outfielder who batted .311 in 1,820 games between 1921 and 1936 for the Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox, who won two World Series with the Athletics in 1929 and 1930; later a longtime coach.
May 26 - Bill Rumler, 75, catcher, outfielder and frequent pinch hitter who appeared in 139 games for the St. Louis Browns in 1914 and 1916-1917.
May 29 - Hippo Vaughn, 78, left-handed pitcher who won 178 games for the New York Highlanders (1908; 1910-1912), Washington Senators (1912) and Chicago Cubs (1913-1921), including five 20-win-or-more seasons for the Cubs; known for the May 2, 1917, game in which he and Cincinnati pitcher Fred Toney each threw nine innings of no-hit ball; the "double no-hitter" ended in the tenth when Vaughn surrendered two hits and an unearned run, with Toney notching a 1-0 no-hit victory.
June 8 - Jake Munch, 75, outfielder-first baseman in eight games for the 1918 Philadelphia Athletics.
June 14 - Bill Walker, 62, left-handed pitcher for the New York Giants (1927-1932) and St. Louis Cardinals (1933-1936); member of 1934 world champion "Gashouse Gang"; two-time National League earned-run average champion, 1929 (3.09) and 1931 (2.26).
June 18 - Rollie Naylor, 74, pitcher for a succession of execrable Philadelphia Athletics teams, in 1917 and from 1919 through June 1924; lost 23 games in 1920.
June 25 - Mose Solomon, 65, first baseman in two games for the 1923 New York Giants; minor-league slugger nicknamed "The Rabbi of Swat" and "The Jewish Babe Ruth."
June 26 - Lil Stoner, 67, pitcher in 229 games in the majors, 217 of them with the Detroit Tigers, between 1922 and 1931.
June 27 - Marty Krug, 77, third baseman who played for the Boston Red Sox (1912) and Chicago Cubs (1922); later, an MLB scout and minor-league manager.
July 5 - Pete Fox, 57, outfielder for the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox who batted .298 lifetime in 1,461 games between 1933 and 1945; hit .327 for Tigers with 18 hits in 14 World Series games (1934, 1935, 1940), winning a ring in 1935.
July 6 - Sad Sam Jones, 73, pitcher who enjoyed a 22-year year career (1914-1935) in the majors, posting a 229-217 record in 647 games for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox; member of 1918 world champion Boston and 1923 world champion New York clubs.
July 9 - Mule Suttles, 66, All-Star first baseman of the Negro leagues who hit the first home run in the East-West All-Star game.
July 11 - Barney Lutz, 50, former minor league outfielder and manager, died while scouting a New York-Penn League game for the Baltimore Orioles.
July 13 - Rip Vowinkel, 81, pitcher who worked in five games for the 1905 Cincinnati Reds.
July 15 - Tommy McMillan, 78, shortstop for the Brooklyn Superbas, Cincinnati Reds and New York Highlanders between 1908 and 1912; played 22 years in minor leagues.
July 16 - Elmer Yoter, 66, third baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs in 36 games over four seasons between 1921 and 1928; longtime minor league manager and MLB scout.
July 22 - Frank Delahanty, 83, light-hitting outfielder for New York (1905-1906) and Cleveland (1907) of the American League and Buffalo (1914) and Pittsburgh (1914-1915) of the "outlaw" Federal League; one of five Delahanty brothers to appear in the major leagues.
July 28 - Hal Dixon, 46, National League umpire from 1953 through 1959.
August 1 - Hank Gowdy, 76, catcher who appeared in 1,050 games in the National League, 852 with Boston and remaining 198 with New York; member of 1914 "Miracle Braves", when he helped win the World Series by batting .545 with six hits (five for extra bases) in four games; later a longtime coach; the only MLB player to have served in both World Wars.
August 4 - Pug Cavet, 76, pitcher whose 23-year professional career included 49 games for the Detroit Tigers (1911 and 1914-1915).
August 10 - Chuck Dressen, 71, incumbent manager of the Detroit Tigers (since June 18, 1963) and pilot of four other MLB clubs dating to 1934; led the Brooklyn Dodgers to pennants in 1952-1953; in his playing days, a third baseman who appeared in 646 games for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants between 1925 and 1933.
August 11 - Ellis Ryan, 62, principal owner of the Cleveland Indians from 1949 to 1952.
August 15 - George J. Burns, 76, outfielder who played in 1,844 games between 1911 and 1925, primarily with the New York Giants; led the National League in runs and walks five times each.
August 24 - Wheezer Dell, 80, pitcher who appeared in 92 career games for the 1912 St. Louis Cardinals and 1915-1917 Brooklyn Robins.
August 25 - Ray Rolling, 79, second baseman in five games for 1912 St. Louis Cardinals.
August 25 - Sam Zoldak, 47, left-handed pitcher who appeared in 250 games for the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Athletics between 1944 and 1952.
August 29 - Al DeVormer, 75, catcher for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and New York Giants between 1918 and 1927.
August 29 - Bobby Schang, 79, catcher whose 17-year pro career (1912-1928) was punctuated by getting into 82 major-league games with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1914-1915), New York Giants (1915) and St. Louis Cardinals (1927); brother of Wally Schang.
September 12 - Parson Perryman, pitcher in 24 games for the 1915 St. Louis Browns.
September 12 - Bill Summers, 70, American League umpire from 1933 to 1959 who worked in eight World Series and a record seven All-Star games.
September 13 - Ralph Comstock, 78, pitched in the 1910s for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Rebels (of the "outlaw" Federal League) and Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 2 - Jumbo Brown, 59, a 295 lb (134 kg) pitcher who worked in 249 games, 226 in relief, for five MLB teams between 1925 and 1941; led National League in saves (not then an official statistic) in 1940 and 1941.
October 4 - Mike Tresh, 52, catcher for the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians from 1938 to 1949 and the father of New York Yankees' Tom Tresh.
October 10 - Patsy Gharrity, 74, catcher who appeared in 676 big-leagues games for the Washington Senators (1916-1923; 1929-1930); longtime batterymate of Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson.
October 11 - Red Smith, 76, solid third baseman for Brooklyn and Boston of the National League from 1911 through 1919; in his only year with Boston, he was a member of the 1914 World Series champion "Miracle Braves".
October 17 - Bob Swift, 51, MLB catcher (1940-1953), coach, and acting manager of the 1965 and 1966 Detroit Tigers, who was behind the plate when the diminutive Eddie Gaedel made his famous appearance as a pinch hitter on August 19, 1951.
October 23 - Fred Fussell, 71, left-handed pitcher who worked in 80 games for the Chicago Cubs (1922-1923) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1928-1929).
October 26 - Bill "Crungy" Cronin, 63, catcher in 126 games for 1928-1931 Boston Braves, who played professionally for 23 seasons.
October 29 - Al Grabowski, 65, pitcher who appeared in 39 total games for 1929-1930 St. Louis Cardinals.
October 30 - "Kewpie Dick" Barrett, 60, pitcher who appeared in 141 MLB games between 1933 and 1945 for four teams; legendary minor-league hurler, where he won 317 career games; seven-time 20-game winner for Seattle of the Pacific Coast League; The Sporting News' Minor League Player of the Year in 1942.
October 30 - Rex Cecil, 50, pitcher in 18 games for the 1944-1945 Boston Red Sox, including the Bosox' starting assignment on Opening Day 1945.
October 30 - Alex Pearson, 89, pitcher in 15 career games for the St. Louis Cardinals (1902) and Cleveland Naps (1903).
November 1 - Earl Blackburn, 73, backup catcher for four National League clubs who appeared in 71 games between 1912 and 1917.
November 2 - Lew Moren, 83, pitcher who worked in 141 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates (two total appearances in 1903-1904) and Philadelphia Phillies (139 games between 1907 and 1910).
November 7 - Rube Bressler, 72, one of only a few players in major league baseball history to successfully convert from a pitcher to a position player as a first baseman/outfielder, who played for the Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals between 1914 and 1931.
November 21 - Hack Miller, 53, catcher who appeared in only seven total games for the 1944-1945 Detroit Tigers, but homered in his first major-league at bat.
November 24 - Tom Gulley, 66, outfielder who played briefly with 1923-1924 Cleveland Indians and 1926 Chicago White Sox.
December 11 - Cliff Fannin, 42, pitcher in 164 games for the St. Louis Browns between 1945 and 1952.
December 20 - Doc Farrell, 64, utility infielder for six different teams between 1925 and 1935, including the Yankees 1932 World Champions.