Exciting Finish!

Ames played its game 162 on Friday, losing to Sioux City.  Council Bluffs and Davenport still had two games left to play.  The Falcons would win the pennant with a sweep; the Knights needed a sweep to tie the Little Cyclones.  

I was still rooting for Davenport, and Bob Gibson (25-7) came through in a big way on Saturday, besting West Metro’s Jerry Koosman (9-18) by a 6-3 score.  Denny McLain (15-15) took the ball on Sunday, and continued to disappoint, taking the loss in a 3-0 game against Tom Seaver (17-14), who was terrific.  This eliminated the Knights from a possible miracle finish.

Council Bluffs had Juan Marichal (21-10) going against Joel Horlen (12-12) in the Saturday matchup, and unfortunately for them the Sailors’ righty picked this day to throw his best game of the year, a 4-0 shutout.  Suddenly the Falcons had their backs to the wall, and needed Gaylord Perry (20-12) to come through to achieve a tie.  Perry was magnificent, winning his 20th and besting Ron Reed (4-9) by a 3-2 score.  A tie-breaker was forced on Monday, with Ames traveling to Council Bluffs for the decisive game 163!  Before we get to that, here is how each of the contenders fared during the final week of the regular season.  Note only Iowa City was hot at the end, going 4-2 to finish the season 2.5 games back — they needed a 6-0 run just to tie Council Bluffs at the top (which goes to show how hard it is to jump over three other clubs). 

•  Ames went 2-1 vs Iowa City and then 0-2 vs Sioux City.  
•  Council Bluffs went 1-2 at West Metro and then 2-1 at Waterloo.  
•  Davenport went 1-2 at Waterloo and then 2-1 at West Metro.  
•  Iowa City went 1-2 at Ames then 3-0 at home vs Dubuque.

In the 1-game playoff to determine the league champ, Steve Blass (18-3) took the mound against Jim Nash (10-14).  Blass has been more lucky than good this season — a 3.84 ERA — but his +15 win differential is essentially what propelled the Little Cyclones into this shot at the championship.  Run support has been the key for Steve all season, as evidenced by his victory in this wild 13-10 slugfest.  

I’ll have more to say about each team’s season in summary articles planned, but for now will just mention some great individual statistical lines.  Batting king was Pete Rose (.330), whose Sioux City club was idle the final two days of the regular season and had to watch Iowa City’s Carl Yastrzemski (.328) try and slip past him.  Rose also led the league in hits (193), but Yaz had the better year overall, pacing the IBC in doubles (38), runs scored (116), and walks (105).  Frank Howard of the Golden Eagles muscled his way to 45 dingers and 120 RBI (and no one came close in either category).  Burner of the year was Davenport's Lou Bock, who stole 67 bases.

Both the Cy Young and MVP will be awarded to Davenport’s Bob Gibson, who led the league with 25 wins and a 1.98 ERA.  Three others won at least twenty games: Council Bluff’s Gaylord Perry and teammate Juan Marichal, and Iowa City’s Chris Short (who placed second in the Cy Young voting).  Dean Chance (19-8, 2.15 ERA) fell just short of the 20-win plateau, but he was the only other ERA qualifier under the 2.50 mark and his five shutouts led the IBC.  Topping the K charts were Sioux City’s dynamic duo of Luis Tiant (249) and Sam McDowell (234).  Moe Drabowsky’s 37 saves made him the Rolaids Reliever of the Year, and he was the league champs’ go-to guy at crunch time.

Final stats for each team are in this PDF — I am very happy to have finally figured out how to move this from the game to a viewable format!

Here is a link to the Strat-O-Matic league file after 25 weeks of play, and the final standings. 

1968IB-5-4-2019.lzp

9/30/68 Iowa Baseball Confederacy        Won   Lost    Pct     GB
Ames Little Cyclones (Orioles-Pirates)   94     69    .577     --
Council Bluffs Falcons (A’s-Giants)      93     70    .571    1.0
Davenport Knights (Tigers-Cards)         92     70    .568    1.5 
Iowa City Regals (Red Sox-Phillies)      90     72    .556    3.5 
Sioux City Crusaders (Indians-Reds)      83     79    .512   10.5 
Cedar Rapids Saints (Twins-Dodgers)      79     83    .488   14.5

Des Moines Scarlets (Yankees-Cubs)       76     86    .469   17.5
West Metro Maroons (Angels-Mets)         74     88    .457   19.5
Waterloo Sailors (White Sox-Braves)      70     92    .432   23.5
Dubuque Golden Eagles (Senators-Astros)  60    102    .370   33.5

That’s all for this week. 

© John Kisner 2019