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Top 100 Teams

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87. 1960 Toronto Maple Leafs
Record: 100-54
International League (Triple-A)

By Bill Weiss & Marshall Wright, Baseball Historians

Sparky Anderson

From before the turn of the century until the mid-1960s, the city of Toronto enjoyed high-caliber minor league baseball. Fielding teams in high-class circuits like the International League, the city took home several championships, placing more teams in the top 100 than almost any other locale. In 1960, Toronto fielded one of its strongest entries behind the efforts of a dominant pitcher.

In the years following the Civil War, several amateur clubs were organized in the city of Toronto, located in the Canadian province of Ontario. One of these clubs, called the Maple Leafs, competed against other amateur nines from Guelph and Hamilton. The cityís first foray into pro ball came in 1885 when a team called the Toronto Canucks was part of a five-team league known as the Canadian League. The following year, the Canucks joined the International League, which consisted of six clubs in upper-state New York, and another Canadian team in Hamilton, Ontario. Here, the Canucks finished third with a 53-41 record. During the next four years, the team finished first (1887), second (1888) and third (1890) once each. When the International League disbanded midway through the 1890 season, Toronto left Organized Baseball.

In 1895, the team rejoined the loop, now called the Eastern League. The club, renamed the Maple Leafs, finished in the first division several times in the ensuing years, culminating in a razor-thin victory in 1902, earning the team a place in the top 100 list. After a pair of last place finishes in 1905 and 1906, the team rebounded to win another flag in 1907.

During the latter part of the next decade, after the Eastern League was renamed the International League, the Maple Leafs again enjoyed a dominant run. Beginning in 1917, the team finished either first or second seven times during the next nine years. Three of these clubs (1918, 1920 and 1926) finished in the top 100 list.

The next thirty years were not blessed with success for the Leafs. During that time the team won only one regular season crown in 1943, with a sole playoff championship in 1934. In the mid-1950s, the teamís fortunes took an upswing. Beginning in 1954, the Leafs won three pennants in four years, missing a shot at four straight by a slim half-game in 1955. Following this success, the team slid into the second division, bottoming out with a last place finish in 1959. However, thanks to a little outside help, the club rebounded strongly the very next year.

In 1960, the Toronto Maple Leafs entered into an arrangement with the Cleveland Indians, becoming their top farm team. The dividends paid off immediately as the club jumped from the cellar to the top-rung in the space of one year, duplicating the feat of the 1906-07 clubs. The Leafs crushed the competition, finishing with a 100-54 record, 17 games ahead of second place Richmond. In the first round of the playoffs, Toronto defeated Buffalo, four games to none before dispatching Rochester four games to one in the finals. In the Junior World Series, against the American Associationís Louisville club, the Maple Leafs went down to defeat, four games to two.

During the regular season, the team batted a modest .246, only fifth in the league. However, the pitching was far from mediocre as the staff compiled a 2.82 team ERA, nearly a half-run better than their next competitor. The team also twirled 32 shutouts, breaking the old league record of 29 set in 1910 by Rochester.

The moundsmen were led by Al Cicotte who won the pitching triple crown (16-7, 1.79, 158). During the course of the season, he also twirled an 11-inning no-hitter, defeating Montreal, 1-0, on September 3, retiring 29 batters in a row. Five nights after his no-hitter, in his final start of the season, Cicotte beat Rochester 4-1 on four hits. Except for an unearned run, he would have had his ninth shutout. In addition, he finished the campaign with 56 consecutive innings without an earned run, winning ten of his last 12 decisions, the losses being by 1-0 and 2-1 scores. Cicotte did not fare as well in his major league career as he toiled for six teams in five years from 1957-62, compiling a 10-13, 4.36 record.

The best hitters on the Maple Leafs in 1960 were outfielders James King and Don Dillard. King batted .287 with a team high 24 homers and 86 RBI while Dillard batted a team-high .294. King enjoyed an 11-year major league career mostly spent with the Senators, batting .240 with 117 homeruns from 1955-67. His best season was 1963, when he hit 24 home runs for Washington. Dillard played six years in the bigs with Cleveland and Milwaukee from 1959-65, finishing with a .244 average.

Other í60 Leaf batters who played in the majors included Earl Hersh who played in 13 games for the Braves in 1956, Billy Moran who hit .263 in seven seasons for the Angels and Indians, Steve Demeter who played 15 games in 1959-60, Tim Thompson who caught in 187 games from 1954-58, Mike de la Hoz who batted .251 in nine seasons and Rod Graber who played four games for the 1958 Indians. Other pitchers who threw in the big leagues included Bob Smith who won four games for Pittsburgh in 1958-59, Steve Ridzik who was a relief pitcher for 12 years with the Phillies, Reds, Giants and Senators, Frank Funk who finished a four-year stint in 1963 with a 20-17, 3.01 record, Ron Negray who won six games in four years from 1952-58 and Bob Chakales who finished 15-25, 2.54 during a seven-year stint during the 1950s. In addition, Funk served as a minor league manager and a major league pitching coach after his playing career ended in 1967. In his 11 seasons in the majors (1976-98), Funk saw service with San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City and Colorado.

Chuck Tanner, who played briefly for the Maple Leafs, became best known as a major league manager for all or part of 19 seasons, 1970-88: White Sox, 1970-75; Oakland, 1976; Pittsburgh, 1977-85; Atlanta, 1986-88. Tanner led the Pirates to the championship in 1979.

Another member or the Maple Leafs was also known more for his managing skills than his playing expertise. Although he played a full season for the Phillies in 1959, batting .218, George (Sparky) Anderson would receive much more fame as a big-league manager. Beginning in 1970, Anderson managed for 26 years, leading both the Reds and Tigers. For the Reds, he skippered five pennant-winners, including the juggernaut í75 version which some consider one of the greatest teams of its era. Later, Anderson led the 1984 Tigers to a 35-5 start on the way to the first of two pennants. He resigned following the 1995 season. In February 2000, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

In addition, Cicotte, Anderson, King and Riverboat Smith were honored by being named to the league All-Star team.

Following the 1960 season, the Maple Leafs played another six years in the International League. In 1965 and 1966 the team won the playoffs as an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Following the 1967 season, after the team only drew only 67,216 fans, the club was relocated to Louisville. Ten years later, baseball returned to Toronto with the advent of the American League expansion Blue Jays.

The 1960 Toronto Maple Leafs are remembered as a dominant pitching team, augmented by the triple crown season of hurler Al Cicotte. The city was well represented by the club - making Toronto one of only three cities to place five teams in the top 100.

1960 International League Standings
TEAM W L PCT GB TEAM W L PCT GB
TORONTO 100 54 .649 - HAVANA/JC 76 77 .497 23.5
RICHMOND 82 70 .539 17.0 COLUMBUS 69 84 .451 30.5
ROCHESTER 81 73 .526 19.0 MIAMI 65 88 34.5 34.5
BUFFALO 78 75 .510 21.5 MONTREAL 62 92 .403 38.0

1960 Toronto Maple Leafs batting statistics
BATTER POS GP AB R H BI 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA
Earl Hersh 1B 134 450 73 118 61 23 7 12 55 70 4 .262
George Anderson 2B 148 543 67 123 21 11 5 5 41 36 12 .227
Billy Moran SS,3B 121 359 47 87 33 14 5 4 26 37 3 .242
Steve Demeter 3B 121 375 45 98 63 14 2 11 39 66 1 .261
Jack Waters OF 150 552 58 130 43 19 5 7 35 75 8 .236
Jim King OF 139 442 73 127 86 16 2 24 68 63 4 .287
Don Dillard OF 133 442 60 130 48 22 7 9 40 59 0 .294
Tim Thompson C 103 293 32 75 43 9 2 10 21 37 2 .256
Rod Graber (Montreal) OF 119 268 35 57 29 8 2 3 42 44 7 .213
Allen Jones C 82 205 20 51 40 5 0 10 25 39 0 .249
Herb Plews 3B,2B 81 194 27 54 19 9 2 0 16 18 2 .278
Russ Herman P 55 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 .000
Pat Scantlebury P 54 17 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 .176
Archie Wilson OF 52 112 13 25 9 5 1 2 8 18 0 .223
Frank Funk P 40 17 4 4 4 0 0 0 0 8 0 .235
Steve Ridzik P 32 69 7 11 9 2 1 5 3 12 0 .159
Charles Tanner OF 28 92 13 27 14 5 2 4 7 10 0 .293
Robert Wilson OF 28 88 10 20 8 1 0 1 7 11 0 .227
Al Cicotte P 28 68 3 9 5 0 0 1 2 14 0 .132
Riverboat Smith P 28 59 1 5 1 0 0 0 4 35 0 .085
Ron Negray P 25 52 1 8 2 1 0 0 1 9 0 .154
Bob Chakales P 25 38 3 11 4 5 0 1 0 6 0 .289
Jack Kubiszyn SS 24 76 7 22 6 5 0 3 3 8 0 .289
Gary Coleman P 23 50 1 5 3 1 0 1 0 22 0 .100
Steve Jankowski 1B 19 67 8 14 10 2 1 3 6 17 0 .209
Wynn Hawkins P 19 24 5 3 2 0 1 0 3 10 0 .125
Walter Bond OF 15 43 2 7 3 0 0 1 4 12 0 .163
Clyde Parris 3B 17 53 10 11 4 3 0 1 5 9 0 .208
Mike de la Hoz SS 16 44 4 10 8 0 0 0 3 11 0 .227
Ted Kazanaski SS 14 38 4 12 4 1 1 0 8 6 1 .316
Joseph Hannah C 13 34 3 8 4 0 1 1 6 7 0 .235
Carl Mathias P 3 4 0 .000
Ed Drapcho P 3 0 0 ----
Billy Williams 2 5 2 .400
Totals 156 4936 604 1212 562 175 45 116 440 562 39 .246

1960 Toronto Maple Leafs pitching statistics
PITCHER W L PCT G GS CG SH SV IP H BB SO ERA
Al Cicotte 16 7 .696 28 26 12 8 201 138 60 158 1.79
Riverboat Smith 14 6 .700 28 25 10 3 166 143 114 142 3.04
Steve Ridzik 14 10 .583 30 23 13 4 184 148 81 116 3.13
Ron Negray 10 6 .625 25 24 8 2 158 151 41 70 3.19
Bob Chakales 9 3 .750 24 15 6 2 113 110 42 53 3.74
Gary Coleman 9 8 .529 23 21 7 4 153 143 45 113 2.71
Russ Heman 8 2 .800 55 0 0 0 76 74 28 79 2.72
Wynn Hawkins 7 3 .700 14 10 5 2 77 59 39 55 3.04
Pat Scantlebury 7 5 .583 53 2 2 1 106 85 28 60 2.63
Frank Funk 6 3 .667 32 7 4 3 90 72 24 73 2.10
Carl Mathias 0 1 .000 3
Ed Drapcho 0 0 ---- 3
Totals 100 54 .649 156 156 67 32 1341 1140 510 935 2.82