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The 1968 World Series featured the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers, with the Tigers winning in 7 games for their first championship since 1945, and the third in their history. The Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win three in a row. In Game 5, their hopes for the title would have been very much in jeopardy had Bill Freehan not tagged out Lou Brock in a home plate collision.
The narrow win for the Tigers was due, in small part, to a bold gamble by Manager Mayo Smith. Smith benched no-hit defensive whiz shortstop Ray Oyler in favor of converted center fielder Mickey Stanley. As the Tigers took the lead, Oyler was returned to the lineup as a defensive replacement, Stanley moved back into the outfield and good-hitting poor-fielding outfielder Willie Horton went to the bench. Oyler finished each of the four games won by the Tigers, three of them with MVP Mickey Lolich on the pitcher's mound.
The Series also featured dominant performances from Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, MVP of the 1964 World Series and 1967 World Series. Gibson pitched complete games in Games 1, 4, and 7. He was the winning pitcher in Games 1 and 4. In Game 1, he threw a shutout, striking out 17 batters. In Game 4, a solo home run by Jim Northrup was the only offense the Tigers were able to muster, as Gibson struck out 10 batters. In Game 7, Gibson was defeated by series MVP Mickey Lolich, allowing three runs on four straight hits in the decisive 7th inning.
MVP: Mickey Lolich (Detroit)
October 2, 1968 at Busch Stadium
|W: Bob Gibson (1-0) L: Denny McLain (0-1)|
October 3, 1968 at Busch Stadium
|W: Mickey Lolich (1-0) L: Nelson Briles (0-1)|
October 5, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
|W: Ray Washburn (1-0) L: Earl Wilson (0-1)|
October 6, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
|W: Bob Gibson (2-0) L: Denny McLain (0-2)|
October 7, 1968 at Tiger Stadium
|W: Mickey Lolich (2-0) L: Joe Hoerner (0-1)|
October 9, 1968 at Busch Stadium
|W: Denny McLain (1-2) L: Ray Washburn (1-1)|
October 10, 1968 at Busch Stadium
|W: Mickey Lolich (3-0) L: Bob Gibson (2-1)|
- Detroit's Mickey Lolich became the last pitcher to win three complete games in one World Series.
|Major League Baseball World Series|