Tomorrow, baseball is back. For the entirety of MLB. For the first time in exactly 50 years, the entire league is sharing one Opening Day. As David Ortiz said in a recent interview, it should be a national holiday.
50 years is a very long time, and a lot has changed in the world since the last league-wide Opening Day. Charles Manson and his cultic family had not yet murdered anyone – that we know of. Neil Armstrong was still a year away from walking on the moon. Today, Lyndon B. Johnson is no longer alive, much less president. We’re at war with ISIS, not Vietnam.
But back to baseball. In the 99th year of professional baseball, 1968 saw some incredible pitching and the inaugural year of the Oakland Athletics. It was the last season of pre-divisional baseball; the AL and NL would be split into divisions the following year. The Red Sox were reeling from yet another Curse of the Bambino World Series loss the previous season. The Detroit Tigers would finish the 1968 season with a win-loss record of 103-59; their World Series rival St. Louis Cardinals finished 97-65, and no other team even came close.
Here’s a look at MLB then and now:
Photo: Boston Globe