This article was originally published Friday, Oct. 11, 1968 in the Free Press, the day after the Detroit Tigers won Game 7 of the World Series in St. Louis. Here’s the exact reprint of what Tigers outfielder Al Kaline wrote as it appeared in the paper.
ST. LOUIS — We had our strongest arm going for us and he won it and we won it the way we have all year, but coming from behind.
Mickey Lolich’s arm is the strongest on our staff. It’s never sore the day after he pitches, the way it is for most pitchers, so I thought he could do a good job even though he had only two days’ rest.
Mickey didn’t pitch as many innings this season as Bob Gibson, so I think he had an advantage there given Gibson had the three days’ rest.
I was surprised that Mickey had such good control though. We had to have the well-pitched game and he gave it to us.
Gibson was great again. I think he was better against me than he was in the first game when he struck me out three times. I got a hit in that one but he shut me out this time.
He had a couple bad breaks — Jim Northrup’s ball that went over Curt Flood’s head was the big one — and when you’ve got a tight ball game going like this, you’ve got to have the breaks and we got them.
I said after the first game that Gibson was one of the best pitchers I’ve ever faced — after seeing him three times I’ve got to say he’s the greatest.
I can see how Flood had trouble with Jim’s ball. In Busch Stadium, on a warm day when people are in shirtsleeves, it’s hard to see a line drive come off the bat. And besides that, the field was in poor condition because of the football game they played here Sunday.
At the start of the Series I remembered what Tony Kubek said about playing in the World Series, that you’ll never be as nervous in your life as you are before the first game … until the seventh game and then it’s worse.
The worse for me, and I think all of us, was the first game. After that we settled down. I wasn’t very nervous today. There wasn’t the wild celebration in the clubhouse that we had after winning the pennant but inside I was as happy and excited.
It always means more when you have to work for something and of course, I’ve been around 16 years and this is my first pennant and first Series.
And then, the way we won it made it doubly good, the way we played all year, from the time of that nine-game winning streak right after we lost on opening day.
It’s been my greatest year in baseball. I’ll never forget it.
(via Detroit Free Press)