Minicast – Summer of ’68
Ed Kasputis interviews author, Tim Wendel about his book, Summer of ’68: The Season That Changed Baseball – and America – Forever.
From the beginning, ’68 was a season rocked by national tragedy and sweeping change. Opening Day was postponed and later played in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral. That summer, as the pennant races were heating up, the assassination of Robert Kennedy was later followed by rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. But even as tensions boiled over and violence spilled into the streets, something remarkable was happening in major league ballparks across the country. Pitchers were dominating like never before, and with records falling and shut-outs mounting, many began hailing ’68 as “The Year of the Pitcher.”
Meanwhile in Detroit—which had burned just the summer before during one of the worst riots in American history—’68 instead found the city rallying together behind a colorful Tigers team led by Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline. The Tigers would finish atop the American League, setting themselves on a highly anticipated collision course with Bob Gibson’s Cardinals.