After sweeping the Cardinals for three games in St. Louis the week before, the 1963 Dodgers finished the formality of clinching their second National League pennant in five years once they got back home to Los Angeles.
The clinching came in the final week of the regular season, on Tuesday, September 24. But it happened before the Dodgers even played, as the Cardinals lost a day game at Wrigley Field before many players and coaches even got to Dodger Stadium.
From the Associated Press, with some dry humor:
This so excited Dodger catcher John Roseboro that he slept right through it.
Dodger Manager Walt Alston was so anxious about the game in Chicago that he went to see his dentist. He was having his teeth drilled when the Cubs scored the winning run in the eighth inning.
“Clinching that pennant hurt a little,” Alston admitted.
The Dodgers waited to celebrate the pennant after their own game. They beat the Mets 4-1 behind seven innings from Don Drysdale, and RBI doubles by Ken McMullen and Willie Davis.
“I’m proud of the way our players fought back in spite of injuries. And when the big series rolled around, they were ready,” Alston told United Press International during the celebration. “I’d say the big turning points were taking three out of four from the Giants here and then, after having our lead cut to one game, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in three straight.”
Batter of the week
Tommy Davis had five hits in 11 at-bats, and homered on Saturday in his penultimate at-bat of the regular season. Davis ended the season leading the majors with a .326 batting average, winning his second straight batting title.
Honorable mention goes to Maury Wills, who had six hits in 12 at-bats in the final week, and stole three bases. Willis didn’t come close to his record-setting 104 steals from 1962, but his 40 stolen base in 1963 still led the majors.
Pitcher of the week
Don Drysdale won on the day of clinching the pennant, then pitched five scoreless innings in a final tuneup against the Phillies in Sunday’s series finale. The Dodgers scored only one run in the game, denying Drysdale a chance at his 20th win.
Also getting a short final tuneup was Sandy Koufax, who gets honorable mention for finishing up his otherworldly season on Wednesday with five scoreless innings and eight strikeouts against the Mets.
Those eight strikeouts gave Koufax 306 on the season, a National League record and the first major league pitcher to strike out 300 batters in 17 years. Koufax also led the majors in wins (25) and ERA (1.88) in his 311 innings, capturing the first pitching triple crown since Tigers left-hander Hal Newhouser in 1945.
Koufax was just the fourth major league pitcher with a 300-strikeout season, joining Rube Waddell (1903, 1904), Walter Johnson (1910, 1912), and Bob Feller (1946).
Week 25 results
17 runs scored (2.83 per game)
25 runs allowed (4.17 per game)
.331 pythagorean win percentage
Year to date
640 runs scored (3.93 per game)
550 runs allowed (3.37 per game)
.569 pythagorean win percentage (92-70)
National League standings: 1st place, beating St. Louis by 6 games
On the board: Outfielder Roy Gleason, the Garden Grove native who made his major league debut on September 3 but appeared only as a pinch-runner in his first seven major league games, finally got to bat on Saturday against the Phillies. In the eighth inning, pinch-hitting for pitcher Phil Ortega, Gleason doubled off Dennis Bennett and scored later in the frame. This would be Gleason’s only major league plate appearance.
- Tuesday, Sept. 24: Dodgers 4, Mets 1
- Wednesday, Sept. 25: Dodgers 1, Mets 0
- Thursday, Sept. 26: Dodgers 5, Mets 4
- Friday, Sept. 27: Phillies 5, Dodgers 3
- Saturday, Sept. 28: Phillies 12, Dodgers 3
- Sunday, Sept. 29: Phillies 3, Dodgers 1
1963 Week 25 batting
1963 Week 25 pitching
Previous 1963 reviews: Snider to Mets | Nate Oliver | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | All-Star Game | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Ed Roebuck | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23 | Week 24
The week ahead
Game 1 is Wednesday, October 2 at Yankee Stadium.