The 1967 season saw the “El Birdos” sail into the pennant with a 10.5 game lead over the Giants. They did this despite losing ace fireballer Bob Gibson for two months to a broken leg from a Clemente line drive. Players stepped up and the team played 36-20 in his absence.
Rookie pitcher, 29 yr old Dick Hughes took up the slack and became a 16 game winner and Neslon Briles was inserted in Gibson’s slot and won 9 contests for the Birds. Also, a lefthander named Steve Carlton came into his own and finished 14-9. The trio combined for 44 wins while ace Gibson mended on the sidelines.
In the field we find the 1967 team had lots of changes from the year before. The Cardinals added home run king Roger Maris to right field and moved the durable Mike Shannon to third base. It was the addition of Orlando Cepeda that catapulted the team with his .325 batting average along with 111 RBIs and 25 home runs. Cepeda was named National League MVP in 1967.
But the offense didn’t stop with Cepeda. Opposing teams also had to go through base stealing Lou Brock, defensive stalwart centerfielder Curt Flood, along with steady catcher Tim McCarver on a daily basis.
In the World Series the Cardinals faced the Boston Red Sox and their triple crown winner Carl Yastrzemski along with ace pitcher Jim Lonborg. But the Cardinals proved too much for Boston as Bob Gibson went 3-0 in the Series with a 1.00 ERA and hit a home run in Game 7.. Lou Brock hit .414, stole seven bases and scored eight runs. Newcomer Roger Maris finished the Series hitting .385. The Cardinals were crowned World Champions in 1967.