1961 Detroit Tigers Season - Regular Season - Season Chronology

Season Chronology

  • April 26: Roger Maris of the New York Yankees hit his first of 61 home runs off Paul Foytack of Detroit‚ and Mickey Mantle added home runs from both sides of the plate‚ as New York won 13-10 at Tiger Stadium. Mantle's 2nd homer‚ a 2-run shot off Hank Aguirre‚ broke a 10-10 tie in the 10th.
  • April 30: Jim Gentile‚ Gus Triandos‚ and Ron Hansen hit consecutive home runs in the 7th inning for the Orioles‚ as they beat Detroit 4-2 to split a double header. The Tigers won the opener‚ 8-2‚ after going scoreless in 6 innings against Steve Barber.
  • May 12: In the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium‚ Rocky Colavito went into the stands after a drunken fan who had been heckling his wife and father. Colavito was ejected‚ but the Tigers won in the 9th on Frank Lary's home run. It was Lary's 25th career win over the Yankees against just 8 losses. Lary was known as the "Yankee Killer."
  • May 13: Rocky Colavito returned to the Tigers lineup and went 4-for-5‚ including two home runs. The Tigers won‚ 8-3.
  • May 14: The Yankees won a pair from Detroit‚ taking the opener with Jim Coates pitching the 11th inning for the win. Coates pitched another 5 innings of relief to win the nitecap as well.
  • May 23: Norm Cash‚ Steve Boros‚ and Dick Brown hit consecutive home runs for the Tigers in a 5-2 win over Minnesota.
  • June 11: Norm Cash became the first Detroit Tiger to hit a ball out of Tiger Stadium. Cash hit the ball over Tiger Stadium's right field roof four times in his career.
  • June 16: Detroit's Phil Regan beat New York 4-2 at home‚ as the Tigers took first place.
  • June 17: With 2 out and 2 on in the 9th‚ Mickey Mantle homered off Paul Foytack into the right field upper deck. Elston Howard followed with a home run‚ but Detroit hung on to win 12-10 over the 3rd-place Yanks.
  • June 20: Al Kaline played third base for the first time in his career. His 2 hits and 2 RBIs led the Tigers to a 5-4 win over the Senators. Kaline returned to the outfield and played third base just once more in his career‚ in 1965.
  • July 9: The Tigers took over 1st place with a doubleheader sweep of the Angels. Frank Lary's 13th victory in the opener‚ a 1-0 three-hitter‚ was followed by Jim Bunning's 6-3 win in the nitecap.
  • July 21: Harry Chiti was traded by the Tigers to the Baltimore Orioles for Frank House.
  • July 23: Using 21 pitchers‚ the Tigers (11) and A's (10) set an AL record for most pitchers used in an 18-inning doubleheader. At 3 hours‚ 54 minutes‚ the second game was the longest 9-inning contest in AL history. The entire doubleheader lasted 6 hours‚ 50 minutes‚ a major league record. The Tigers swept the A's 6-4 and 17-14‚ taking first place by one percentage point.
  • July 24: At Kansas City‚ Frank Lary collided with rookie third baseman Steve Boros‚ and both players left the game with injuries. Boros broke his collarbone, and he would not return. He had 53 RBIs to date. The Tigers were in first place, one game ahead of the Yankees, when they lost Boros for the season.
  • July 25: The Yankees moved into first place, where they remained for the rest of the season.
  • July 31: The second All-Star Game of 1961 ended in a 1-1 tie at Fenway Park. Rocky Colavito homered for the AL run. Heavy rains ended the exhibition after 9 innings.
  • August 2: Bill Fischer and Ozzie Virgil were traded by the Tigers to the Kansas City Athletics for Gerry Staley and Reno Bertoia.
  • August 7: Willie Horton was signed as an amateur free agent by the Tigers.
  • August 18: Ron Kline‚ purchased from the Angels on August 10‚ blanked the Red Sox on 4 hits to give the Tigers a 5-0 win. Bill Monbouquette lasted just 4 innings and gave up home runs to Bill Bruton and Rocky Colavito.
  • August 19: The Red Sox beat the Tigers‚ 5-3‚ as the two teams combined to hit into 8 double plays‚ tying the major league record for 9 innings.
  • August 25: Jim Bunning (15-9) allowed just 2 hits while blanking the Senators‚ 6-0‚ in a game called after 8 innings because of rain.
  • August 27: Detroit's Rocky Colavito tied an AL record with 4 home runs—three in the 2nd game‚ in a doubleheader sweep of the Senators, 7-4 and 10-1 at Washington.
  • August 28: At Washington‚ Rocky Colavito and Al Kaline hit 1st-inning home runs. Detroit won‚ 7-3, and cut New York's lead to 1½ games. Jake Wood hit a 6th inning grand slam for Detroit.
  • August 31: The Tigers (86-47) headed into the final month of the season in second place, 1½ games behind the Yankees (87-45) heading into the final month.
  • September 1: The AL's biggest crowd of the year‚ 65‚566‚ watched Whitey Ford and Don Mossi in a pitching duel at Yankee Stadium as a weekend battle for first place began. Two-out‚ 9th-inning hits by Elston Howard‚ Yogi Berra‚ and Bill Skowron gave New York a 1-0 win. The Yankees extended their lead to 2½ games.
  • September 2: In the second game of the showdown between the Tigers and Yankees, the Yankees beat Detroit's ace, Frank Lary‚ 7-3. Roger Maris hit two home runs, and Elston Howard added a three-run homer. The Yankees extended their lead to 3½ games.
  • September 3: The Tigers lost the third game of the weekend series to the Yankees. The Tigers led 5-4 in the 9th when Mickey Mantle tied the game with his second homer of the day. Elston Howard won it with a three-run home run. Detroit entered the series 1½ games behind the Yankees, but left trailing by 4½ games. Mantle's home run was his 50th of the year, three short of Maris's 53 homers.
  • September 4: The Yankees swept a Labor Day double header against the Senators‚ and moved 6 games up ahead of the slumping Tigers‚ who were swept by the Orioles in a double header.
  • September 5: The Tigers lost a double header for their sixth straight loss, while the Yankees beat Washington. The Yankees won 6 straight while the Tigers lost 6 straight. The 1½ game lead had grown to 7½ games.
  • September 8: The Yankees beat the Indians 9-1 for their 9th straight while Detroit lost their 8th in a row to drop 10 games out of first place. The Tigers purchased Vic Wertz from the Red Sox to add more power to the offense.
  • September 12: Detroit ace Frank Lary halted the Tigers' skid with a complete game, 5-hitter, as Detroit beat Kansas City, 3-1. Rookie shortstop Dick McAuliffe went 3-for-4.
  • September 13: Jim Bunning shut out the A's, 8-0, for his 16th win, and Rocky Colavito and Norm Cash both hit home runs for Detroit. Tigers second baseman Jake Wood also hit his AL-leading 12th triple.
  • September 15: The Tigers and Yankees split a doubleheader in Detroit‚ with New York winning the opener 11-1 and Detroit taking the second game 4-2. Whitey Ford logged his 23rd win in the opener. In the second game, Ron Kline pitched a complete game 7-hitter, for a 4-2 win. Norm Cash and Steve Boros hit home runs to support Kline.
  • September 16: Frank Lary pitched a complete game in a 10-4 win over the Yankees. Roger Maris hit his 57th home run, but the Tigers scored 10 times. Al Kaline was 4-for-4 with 2 RBIs, and Norm Cash was 2-for-4 with a home run and 4 RBIs. Cash and Kaline would finish #1 and #2 in the 1961 AL batting race.
  • September 17: In Detroit‚ Roger Maris tripled off Jim Bunning in the 7th inning to put the Yankees ahead. Detroit tied it in the 8th inning and then, in the 12th‚ Maris hit his 58th home run after stepping out of the box to watch a long line of Canadian geese fly over Tiger Stadium.
  • September 24: A dropped fly ball by Ken Hunt in the 10th gave the Tigers 2 runs and a 7-5 win over the Angels. Hunt had tied the game in the 8th with a home run. Al Kaline hit his AL-leading 40th double in a 7th inning pinch-hitting appearance. Rookie Howie Koplitz won his first major league game‚ after going 23-3 with a no hitter for Birmingham. Koplitz won his first 7 decisions in the major leagues over 4 years, but an arm injury limited him to a career record of 9-7.
  • September 26: In New York's 159th game‚ Roger Maris hit his 60th home run, as the Yankees beat Baltimore 3-2, with 8‚000 fans on hand in Baltimore.
  • September 27: The Tigers won their 98th game at Kansas City, 10-2, as Frank Lary won his 23rd game of the season—second only to New York's Whitey Ford. Norm Cash finished the season with a torrid run, including a home run and 3 RBIs in the win. Rocky Colavito also hit his team high 45th home run.
  • September 29: The Tigers won their 99th game, a 6-4 victory over Minnesota. Norm Cash padded his lead in the batting race, as he went 4-for-5, hit his 40th home run, and scored 3 runs.
  • September 30: In Minnesota, the Tigers won their 100th game, a 6-4 victory over the Twins.
  • October 1: The Tigers won their 101st game, an 8-3 victory over the Twins. Paul Foytack got the win, and rookie catcher Bill Freehan went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs in his 4th major league game. Norm Cash hit his 41st home run and went 2-for-3 to take the AL batting crown. The media focus was on New York, where Roger Maris hit his 61st home run to set the new season mark for home runs. The Yankees won their 109th game, one short of the club's 1927 record.

Read more about this topic:  1961 Detroit Tigers Season, Regular Season

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