This Day in Baseball History: June 30th, 1961

Beneficiary of all those home runs. Now, if they had only done that in 1958.

On June 30, 1961:

Whitey Ford wins for the 8th time in the month.

When New York Yankee fans think of 1961, they think of the home run battle between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford‘s season is often overlooked. Named for his extremely blond hair, Ford debuted in 1950 as a 21-year old, but he left baseball for two years to serve in the Korean War. He came back in 1953 and won 18 games. Ford continued his winning ways through the next few seasons, winning 16, 18 again, and 19. His best season was 1958, but he only won 14 games. Casey Stengel wanted him to pitch big games, so he was infrequently used, often only making around 30 starts a season. Ralph Houk became manager in 1961 and let Ford loose on the American League, regardless of the opponent.

Ford responded with a league and career-best 25 wins and a 3.21 ERA, which wasn’t all that good actually. The Chairman of the Board made 8 starts in the month and won every single one of them. His ERA for the month was 2.94, but he didn’t always pitch that way. After 3 outstanding starts, he ran into some difficulty on the 14th when he gave up 5 in an 11-5 win (Maris hit his 22nd). Two good starts later, he made a worse start than the 14th on the 26th as he gave up 6 runs in an 8-6 win (Mantle hit his 23rd). Ford, however, came back with a vengeance in the final game of the month, going all 9, striking out 8, and allowing only 1 run (Mantle hit his 25th).

As stated above, Whitey went on to win 25 games during that season at the ripe age of 32. Including his 8 wins in June, he nailed down 9 more in a row for 17 straight. Rube Waddell holds the AL record for most wins in a month with 10, but John Clarkson won 15 in June of 1885. Carl Hubbell holds the record for most consecutive wins with 24, but in one season, Tim Keefe and Rube Marquard hold the record with 19. Anyway, Ford went on to win his only Cy Young Award of his career that season, even though it wasn’t his best.

Trivia Time
Cy Young holds the record for most 20-win seasons with 15, but Warren Spahn is second and had one as well in 1961. How many 20-win seasons did he have overall?

Yesterday’s Answer –> 1917. On May 2nd, Chicago’s Jim Vaughn and Cincinnati’s Fred Toney each did it.

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4 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: June 30th, 1961”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    13.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    I knew it was too easy.

  3. Ian Says:

    About yesterday's answer, I thought Vaughn lost his no-hitter in extra innings?

  4. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    According to Baseball-Reference, the Cubs lost 1-0 that day. There is no mention of extra innings, but they don't have extra innings for any other games. According to SABR (http://bioproj.sabr.org/bioproj.cfm?a=v&v=l&bid=921&pid=14570), Vaughn did lose lose his no-hitter and the game in the tenth to Toney, who also threw a no-hitter in the same game. So, you're right, but I blame all the other sources that said he threw a no-hitter that day.

    Aside, wouldn't that suck to throw a no-hitter like that and still lose.

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