The Tigers of '68: Baseball's Last Real Champions

George Cantor, Author
George Cantor, Author Taylor Trade Publishing $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-87833-928-0
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 04/01/1997
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The reason given by Detroit News sports columnist Cantor for calling the Tigers the last ""real champions"" is that the team won the final World Series before the system of league championships was instituted. Whether or not one disputes that designation, the author effectively presents Detroit's victory in the context of the 1967 race riots, in which 43 died, and the hope at the time that the coming together of all the city's citizens to exult in their first championship since 1945 would heal the wounds left by the near destruction of the central city. In 1968, pitchers ruled: Detroit's Denny McLain won 31 games, a feat not duplicated since, and St. Louis's Bob Gibson compiled an ERA of 1.12, the lowest ever in the National League. The star of the series, which went to seven games, was neither of these two but potbellied Mickey Lolich, who won three games, including the clincher, and was named most valuable player. Cantor also gives full attention to Tiger stars Willie Horton, Al Kaline and Norm Cash. Cantor interviewed key players for this book, a nifty bit of baseball nostalgia. Photos. (Apr.)
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