1961 Major League Baseball season

1961 MLB season
League Major League Baseball
Sport Baseball
Duration April 10 – October 12, 1961
Regular season
Season MVP AL: Roger Maris (NYY)
NL: Frank Robinson (CIN)
AL champions New York Yankees
  AL runners-up Detroit Tigers
NL champions Cincinnati Reds
  NL runners-up Los Angeles Dodgers
World Series
Champions New York Yankees
  Runners-up Cincinnati Reds
Finals MVP Whitey Ford (NYY)

The 1961 Major League Baseball season was played from April 10 to October 12, 1961. That season saw the New York Yankees defeat the Cincinnati Reds in five games in the World Series. The season is best known for Yankee teammates Roger Maris' and Mickey Mantle's pursuit of Babe Ruth's prestigious 34-year-old single-season home run record of 60. Maris ultimately broke the record when he hit his 61st home run on the final day of the regular season, while Mantle was forced out of the lineup in late-September due to a hip infection and finished with 54 home runs.

In response to the proposed Continental League, the American League expanded by two teams in the first MLB expansion since 1901. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Minnesota Twins. The American League therefore placed a new team in Washington, also called the Senators. Also, the American League placed a team in Los Angeles called the Los Angeles Angels.

In order to keep its schedule balanced, the American League season was extended by eight games. Previously, teams had played 154 games (22 games per opponent), but from 1961 AL teams would play opponents 18 times each for a total of 162 games. The National League played a 154 game schedule for the final time in 1961 before switching to 162 games when they also expanded to ten teams for the following season.

Regular season standings

American League
RankClubWinsLossesWin %  GB
1stNew York Yankees10953.673
2ndDetroit Tigers10161.6238.0
3rdBaltimore Orioles9567.58614.0
4thChicago White Sox8676.53123.0
5thCleveland Indians7883.48430.5
6thBoston Red Sox7686.46933.0
7thMinnesota Twins7090.43838.0
8thLos Angeles Angels7091.43538.5
9thWashington Senators61100.37947.5
10thKansas City Athletics61100.37947.5
National League
RankClubWinsLossesWin %  GB
1stCincinnati Reds9361.604
2ndLos Angeles Dodgers8965.5784.0
3rdSan Francisco Giants8569.5528.0
4thMilwaukee Braves8371.53910.0
5thSt. Louis Cardinals8074.51913.0
6thPittsburgh Pirates7579.48718.0
7thChicago Cubs6490.41629.0
8thPhiladelphia Phillies47107.30546.0

World series

1961 World Series
New York Yankees (4) vs. Cincinnati Reds (1)
MVP Award: Whitey Ford, P, New York
1October 4Yankees 2, Reds 01–0Yankee Stadium62,3972:11
2October 5Reds 6, Yankees 21–1Yankee Stadium63,0832:43
3October 7Yankees 3, Reds 22–1Crosley Field32,5892:15
4October 8Yankees 7, Reds 03–1Crosley Field32.5892:27
5October 9Yankees 13, Reds 54–1Crosley Field32,5893:05

Awards and honors

Major Awards

1961 Award Winners
 American LeagueNational League
Most Valuable PlayerRoger MarisRFNYYFrank RobinsonLFCIN
Cy Young AwardWhitey FordPNYY
Rookie of the YearDon SchwallPBOSBilly WilliamsLFCHC

Gold Glove Awards

1961 Gold Glove Awards
 American LeagueNational League
PFrank LaryDETBobby ShantzPIT
CEarl BatteyMINJohnny RoseboroLAD
1BVic PowerCLEBill WhiteSTL
2BBobby RichardsonNYYBill MazeroskiPIT
3BBrooks RobinsonBALKen BoyerSTL
SSLuis AparicioCHWMaury WillsLAD
OFAl KalineDETRoberto ClementePIT
OFJim LandisCHWVada PinsonCIN
OFJim PiersallCLEWillie MaysSFG

League leaders

 American LeagueNational League
AVGNorm Cash, DET.361Roberto Clemente, PIT.351
HRRoger Maris, NYY61Orlando Cepeda, SFG46
RBIRoger Maris, NYY Jim Gentile, Bal141Orlando Cepeda, SFG141
SBLuis Aparicio, CHW53Maury Wills, LAD35
WinsWhitey Ford, NYY25Joey Jay, CIN
Warren Spahn, MLN
ERADick Donovan, WSA2.40Warren Spahn, MLN3.02
SOCamilo Pascual, MIN221Sandy Koufax, LAD269
SVLuis Arroyo, NYY29Roy Face, PIT
Stu Miller, SFG

All-Star Games

Game 1

July 11, 1961
Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
American League0000010021442
National League01010001025115
Starting pitchers:
AL: Whitey Ford
NL: Warren Spahn
WP: Stu Miller (1–0)   LP: Hoyt Wilhelm (0–1)
Home runs:
AL: Harmon Killebrew (1)
NL: George Altman (1)

Game 2

July 31, 1961
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
National League000001000151
American League100000000140
Starting pitchers:
NL: Bob Purkey
AL: Jim Bunning
WP: None   LP: None
Home runs:
NL: None
AL: Rocky Colavito (1)
  • The game ended in a 1–1 tie due to rain.


American League

Team Manager Comments
Baltimore Orioles Paul Richards Replaced during the season by Lum Harris
Boston Red Sox Pinky Higgins
Chicago White Sox Al López
Cleveland Indians Jimmy Dykes Replaced during the season by Mel Harder
Detroit Tigers Bob Scheffing
Kansas City Athletics Joe Gordon Replaced during the season by Hank Bauer
Los Angeles Angels Bill Rigney Expansion team
Minnesota Twins Cookie Lavagetto Replaced during the season by Sam Mele
New York Yankees Ralph Houk Won the World Series
Washington Senators Mickey Vernon Expansion team

National League

Team Manager Comments
Chicago Cubs College of Coaches
Cincinnati Reds Fred Hutchinson Won the National League pennant
Los Angeles Dodgers Walter Alston
Milwaukee Braves Chuck Dressen Replaced during the season by Birdie Tebbetts
Philadelphia Phillies Gene Mauch
Pittsburgh Pirates Danny Murtaugh
San Francisco Giants Alvin Dark
St. Louis Cardinals Solly Hemus Replaced during the season by Johnny Keane


Major League

Maris' 61 home runs broke Babe Ruth's 34-year-old major league single-season record of 60, set in 1927. Maris' record would stand for 37 years until it was broken by Mark McGwire's 70 in 1998. Maris, however, still holds the American League record.


See also


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