1961 New York Yankees season

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1961 New York Yankees
1961 World Series Champions
1961 American League Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Dan Topping and Del Webb
Manager(s) Ralph Houk
Local television

WPIX

(Mel Allen, Red Barber, Phil Rizzuto)
Local radio WCBS (AM)
(Mel Allen, Red Barber, Phil Rizzuto)
Previous season     Next season

The 1961 New York Yankees season was the 59th season for the team in New York, and its 61st season overall. The team finished with a record of 109-53, eight games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, and won their 26th American League pennant. New York was managed by Ralph Houk. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 5 games.

The 1961 Yankees are often mentioned as a candidate for the unofficial title of greatest baseball team in history.

Offseason[edit]

  • December 14, 1960: Bob Cerv was drafted from the Yankees by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 MLB expansion draft.[1] The Yankees re-acquired Cerv by trading Andy Carey to the Angels in May 1961.
  • January 16, 1961: Mickey Mantle became the highest-paid baseball player by signing a $75,000 contract.
  • Prior to 1961 season: Art López was signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees.[2]
  • Prior to 1961 season: Ole Miss Rebels football quarterback Jake Gibbs was signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees.[3]

Regular season[edit]

The 1961 season was notable for the race between center fielder Mickey Mantle and right fielder Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in a season (set in 1927). Maris eventually broke the record, hitting his 61st home run on October 1, the season's final day. During the season, Maris had seven multi-home run games; in a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, he hit four home runs.

Nineteen sixty-one was an expansion year, with the American League increasing from eight to ten teams, the first expansion in the 61-year history of the league. The old schedule of 154 games (seven opponents multiplied by 22 games apiece) was replaced by 162 games (nine opponents multiplied by 18 games apiece) which led to some controversy due to the eight extra games that Maris had to try to hit 61. Maris' major league record stood for 37 years, three years longer than Ruth's, before it was broken by Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998. However, Maris' 61 home runs remains the American League single season record.

In addition to the individual exploits of Maris and Mantle, the '61 Yankees hit a major league record 240 home runs. The record stood until 1996 when the Baltimore Orioles, with the added benefit of the designated hitter, hit 257 home runs as a team.

Roger Maris[edit]

YankeesRetired9.svg

In 1961, the American League expanded from eight to ten teams, generally watering down the pitching, but leaving the Yankees pretty much intact.[citation needed] Yankee home runs began to come at a record pace. One famous photograph lined up six 1961 Yankee players, including Mantle, Maris, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Johnny Blanchard, and Bill Skowron, under the nickname "Murderers Row," because they hit a combined 207 home runs that year. The title "Murderers Row", originally coined in 1918, had most famously been used to refer to the Yankees side of the late 1920s.

The "M&M Boys" together in 1961.

As mid-season approached, it seemed quite possible that either Maris or Mantle, or perhaps both, would break Babe Ruth's 34-year-old home run record. Unlike the home run race of 1998, in which the competition between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was given extensive positive media coverage, sportswriters in 1961 began to play the "M&M Boys" against each other, inventing a rivalry where none existed, as Yogi Berra has testified in recent interviews.

The 1961 home run race between Maris and Mantle was dramatized in the 2001 film 61*, filmed under the direction of Billy Crystal.

Roger Maris 61 Home Runs[edit]

Number Game Date Pitcher Team Inning
1 11 04-26-1961 Paul Foytack Detroit Tigers 5th
2 17 05-03-1961 Pedro Ramos Minnesota Twins 7th
3 20 05-06-1961 Eli Grba Los Angeles Angels 5th
4 29 05-17-1961 Pete Burnside Washington Senators 8th
5 30 05-19-1961 Jim Perry Cleveland Indians 1st
6 31 05-20-1961 Gary Bell Cleveland Indians 3rd
7 32 05-21-1961 Chuck Estrada Baltimore Orioles 1st
8 35 05-24-1961 Gene Conley Boston Red Sox 4th
9 38 05-28-1961 Cal McLish Chicago White Sox 2nd
10 40 05-30-1961 Gene Conley Boston Red Sox 3rd
11 40 05-30-1961 Mike Fornieles Boston Red Sox 8th
12 41 05-31-1961 Billy Muffett Boston Red Sox 3rd
13 43 06-02-1961 Cal McLish Chicago White Sox 3rd
14 44 06-03-1961 Bob Shaw Chicago White Sox 8th
15 45 06-04-1961 Russ Kemmerer Chicago White Sox 3rd
16 48 06-06-1961 Ed Palmquist Minnesota Twins 6th
17 49 06-07-1961 Pedro Ramos Minnesota Twins 3rd
18 52 06-09-1961 Ray Herbert Kansas City Athletics 7th
19 55 06-11-1961 Eli Grba Los Angeles Angels 3rd
20 55 06-11-1961 Johnny James Los Angeles Angels 7th
21 57 06-13-1961 Jim Perry Cleveland Indians 6th
22 58 06-14-1961 Gary Bell Cleveland Indians 4th
23 61 06-17-1961 Don Mossi Detroit Tigers 4th
24 62 06-18-1961 Jerry Casale Detroit Tigers 8th
25 63 06-19-1961 Jim Archer Kansas City Athletics 9th
26 64 06-20-1961 Joe Nuxhall Kansas City Athletics 1st
27 66 06-22-1961 Norm Bass Kansas City Athletics 2nd
28 74 07-01-1961 Dave Sisler Washington Senators 9th
29 75 07-02-1961 Pete Burnside Washington Senators 3rd
30 75 07-02-1961 Johnny Klippstein Washington Senators 7th
31 77 07-04-1961 Frank Lary Detroit Tigers 8th
32 78 07-05-1961 Frank Funk Cleveland Indians 7th
33 82 07-09-1961 Bill Monbouquette Boston Red Sox 7th
34 84 07-13-1961 Early Wynn Chicago White Sox 1st
35 86 07-15-1961 Ray Herbert Chicago White Sox 3rd
36 92 07-21-1961 Bill Monbouquette Boston Red Sox 1st
37 95 07-25-1961 Frank Baumann Chicago White Sox 4th
38 95 07-25-1961 Don Larsen Chicago White Sox 8th
39 96 07-25-1961 Russ Kemmerer Chicago White Sox 4th
40 96 07-25-1961 Warren Hacker Chicago White Sox 7th
41 106 08-04-1961 Camilo Pascual Minnesota Twins 1st
42 114 08-11-1961 Pete Burnside Washington Senators 5th
43 115 08-12-1961 Dick Donovan Washington Senators 4th
44 116 08-13-1961 Bennie Daniels Washington Senators 4th
45 117 08-13-1961 Marty Kutyna Washington Senators 1st
46 118 08-15-1961 Juan Pizarro Chicago White Sox 4th
47 119 08-16-1961 Billy Pierce Chicago White Sox 1st
48 119 08-16-1961 Billy Pierce Chicago White Sox 3rd
49 124 08-20-1961 Jim Perry Cleveland Indians 3rd
50 125 08-22-1961 Ken McBride Los Angeles Angels 6th
51 129 08-26-1961 Jerry Walker Kansas City Athletics 6th
52 135 09-02-1961 Frank Lary Detroit Tigers 6th
53 135 09-02-1961 Hank Aguirre Detroit Tigers 8th
54 140 09-06-1961 Tom Cheney Washington Senators 4th
55 141 09-07-1961 Dick Stigman Cleveland Indians 3rd
56 143 09-09-1961 Mudcat Grant Cleveland Indians 7th
57 151 09-16-1961 Frank Lary Detroit Tigers 3rd
58 152 09-17-1961 Terry Fox Detroit Tigers 12th
59 155 09-20-1961 Milt Pappas Baltimore Orioles 3rd
60 159 09-26-1961 Jack Fisher Baltimore Orioles 3rd
61 162 10-01-1961 Tracy Stallard Boston Red Sox 4th

[4]

Season standings[edit]

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 109 53 .673 --
Detroit Tigers 101 61 .623 8
Baltimore Orioles 95 67 .586 14
Chicago White Sox 86 76 .531 23
Cleveland Indians 78 83 .484 30.5
Boston Red Sox 76 86 .469 33
Minnesota Twins 70 90 .438 38
Los Angeles Angels 70 91 .435 38.5
Kansas City Athletics 61 100 .379 47.5
Washington Senators 61 100 .379 47.5

Monthly record[edit]

Month Games Won Lost Percentage
April 15 9 5 .643
May 26 14 12 .538
June 32 22 10 .688
July 29 20 9 .690
August 31 22 9 .710
September 29 21 8 .724
October 1 1 0 1.000

Record vs. American League[edit]

Opponent Games Won Lost Percentage
Baltimore Orioles 19 9 9 .500
Boston Red Sox 18 13 5 .722
Chicago White Sox 18 12 6 .667
Cleveland Indians 18 14 4 .778
Detroit Tigers 18 10 8 .556
Kansas City Athletics 18 14 4 .778
Los Angeles Angels 18 12 6 .667
Minnesota Twins 18 14 4 .778
Washington Senators 18 11 7 .611

Notable transactions[edit]

Roster[edit]

1961 New York Yankees
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Game log[edit]

1961 Game Log

[6]


Player stats[edit]

= Indicates team leader

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Howard, ElstonElston Howard 129 446 155 .348 21 77
1B Skowron, BillBill Skowron 150 561 150 .267 28 89
2B Richardson, BobbyBobby Richardson 162 662 173 .261 3 49
3B Boyer, CleteClete Boyer 148 504 113 .224 11 55
SS Kubek, TonyTony Kubek 153 617 170 .276 8 46
LF Berra, YogiYogi Berra 119 395 107 .271 22 61
CF Mantle, MickeyMickey Mantle 153 514 163 .317 54 128
RF Maris, RogerRoger Maris 161 590 159 .269 61 142

[7]

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
López, HéctorHéctor López 93 243 54 .222 3 22
Blanchard, JohnnyJohnny Blanchard 93 243 74 .305 21 54
Cerv, BobBob Cerv 57 118 32 .271 6 20
Gardner, BillyBilly Gardner 41 99 21 .212 1 2
DeMaestri, JoeJoe DeMaestri 30 41 6 .146 0 2
Johnson, DeronDeron Johnson 13 19 2 .105 0 2
Torgeson, EarlEarl Torgeson 22 18 2 .111 0 0
Reed, JackJack Reed 28 13 2 .154 0 1
Hale, BobBob Hale 11 13 2 .154 1 1
Gonder, JesseJesse Gonder 15 12 4 .333 0 3
Tresh, TomTom Tresh 9 8 2 .250 0 0
Thomas, LeeLee Thomas 2 2 1 .500 0 0

[7]

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Ford, WhiteyWhitey Ford 39 283 25 4 3.21 209
Terry, RalphRalph Terry 31 188.1 16 3 3.15 86
Stafford, BillBill Stafford 36 195 14 9 2.68 101
Daley, BudBud Daley 23 129.2 8 9 3.96 83
Turley, BobBob Turley 15 72 3 5 5.75 48

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Sheldon, RollieRollie Sheldon 35 162.2 11 5 3.60 84
Coates, JimJim Coates 43 141.1 11 5 3.44 80
Ditmar, ArtArt Ditmar 12 54.1 2 3 4.64 24
McDevitt, DannyDanny McDevitt 8 13 1 2 7.62 8
Downing, AlAl Downing 5 9 1 0 8.00 12

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
Arroyo, LuisLuis Arroyo 65 119 15 5 29 2.19 87
Reniff, HalHal Reniff 25 45.1 2 0 2 2.58 21
Clevenger, TexTex Clevenger 21 31.2 1 1 0 4.83 14
Duren, RyneRyne Duren 4 5 0 1 0 5.40 7
James, JohnnyJohnny James 1 1.1 0 0 0 0.00 2
Maas, DukeDuke Maas 1 0.1 0 0 0 54.00 0

1961 World Series[edit]

Main article: 1961 World Series
1961 World Series
New York Yankees def. Cincinnati Reds, 4-1
MVP Award: Whitey Ford, P, New York
Game Date Score Series
(NYY-CIN)
Location Attendance Time
1 October 4 Yankees 2, Reds 0 1-0 Yankee Stadium 62,397 2:11
2 October 5 Reds 6, Yankees 2 1-1 Yankee Stadium 63,083 2:43
3 October 7 Yankees 3, Reds 2 2-1 Crosley Field 32,589 2:15
4 October 8 Yankees 7, Reds 0 3-1 Crosley Field 32.589 2:27
5 October 9 Yankees 13, Reds 5 4-1 Crosley Field 32,589 3:05

Awards and honors[edit]

1961 All-Star Game

League leaders[edit]

  • Whitey Ford, led league in innings: (283)
  • Whitey Ford, led league in games started: (39)
  • Whitey Ford, led league in batters faced: (1,159)
  • Roger Maris, Major League Baseball home run champion, (61)

Franchise records[edit]

  • Roger Maris, Yankees single season record, home runs in a season: (61)
  • Mickey Mantle, Yankees single season record, home runs by a center fielder: (54)

Team leaders[edit]

  • Home Runs – Roger Maris (61)
  • RBI - Roger Maris (142)
  • Batting Average – Elston Howard (.348)
  • Hits - Bobby Richardson (173)
  • Stolen Bases – Mickey Mantle (12)
  • Walks - Mickey Mantle (126)
  • Wins - Whitey Ford (25)
  • Earned Run Average - Luis Arroyo (2.19)
  • Strikeouts – Whitey Ford (209)

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Richmond Virginians International League Cal Ermer
AA Amarillo Gold Sox Texas League Sheriff Robinson
A Binghamton Triplets Eastern League Jim Gleeson
B Greensboro Yankees Carolina League Wayne Terwilliger
C Modesto Reds California League Vern Rapp
D Harlan Smokies Appalachian League Frank Parenti and Eddie Lyons
D St. Petersburg Saints Florida State League Bob Bauer
D Auburn Yankees New York-Penn League Loren Babe

Harlan affiliation shared with Chicago White Sox[9]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
New York Yankees
1960
American League Champions
1961
Succeeded by
New York Yankees
1962