In close voting, Willie Horton of the Detroit Tigers and Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants are named Players of the Month for June, 1968 in the respective leagues. Horton slammed 13 home runs for the month, driving in 23 runs while batting .330. Frank Howard of the Senators drove in 30 runs for the month with 11 home runs, but voters may have noted Howard had more strikeouts (32) than hits (31) while batting a respectable .292. Earlier in the month, Howard was leading in two triple crown categories, second in batting average. But it is Horton grabbing the headlines once again as he leads the Tigers to a major league best record of 21-10 for the month, pushing the Bengals further from their American League contenders. Horton looks to be Detroit’s first 40 home run producer since Norm Cash and Rocky Colavito accomplished the feat in the early ’60s. “He’s not a one-field hitter,” observed Detroit coach Wally Moses. “He rips the ball all over.” In the National League, McCovey batted .358 with 6 home runs and 25 RBI. Cincinnati’s Tony Perez and teammate Jim Ray Hart each drove in more runs (29) than McCovey, but had lower averages.
On the mound, there was a surprise selection in the National League as Pirates rookie Bob Moose was chosen ahead of the usual suspects: Gibson, Marichal, and Drysdale. Moose allowed only three earned runs in 43 innings of work in five undefeated starts. He completed four starts, allowing only 17 hits and walking five. Moose’s June performance has swung the Rookie of Year spotlight to Pittsburgh and away from Mets’ rookie Jerry Koosman. The Tigers swept the monthly awards as hurler Denny McLain was tabbed as American League Pitcher of the Month. McLain won seven of eight starts, completed five of the eight, and struck out 65 in 72 innings. Cleveland’s Luis Tiant enjoyed a perfect 6-0 mark, but McLain’s two additional June starts and lower ERA for the month (McLain 1.25; Tiant 1.67) were enough for the voters.