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Sports in The 1960s: The Best of The Decade

Updated on October 20, 2016

Sports in The 60s

Sports is huge in the 2000s but, in the 1960s sports were even more important in America. In this article the top sports are documented but, the smaller sports are also spotlighted.

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

Muhammad Ali is seen with his hands down dodging a jab from Sonny Liston.
Muhammad Ali is seen with his hands down dodging a jab from Sonny Liston. | Source

Boxing

Heavyweights was boxing in the 60s and it was ruled by three boxers. Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight crown but in 1964 Muhammad Ali beat him and an era begun. Frazier was theft an from 1967-1970 while Ali was in exile and stripped of his title.

Other dominant boxers from the 1960s in divisions other than heavyweight were: Eder Jofre (Bantamweight), Nino Benvenuti (Jr. Middleweight and Middleweight), Flash Elorde (Jr. Lightweight), Emile Griffith (Welterweight and Middleweight) and Carlos Ortiz (Lightweight and Jr. Welterweight).

Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees is a baseball legend.
Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees is a baseball legend. | Source

Baseball

No single team led the way during MLB Baseball during the 1960s. Although several baseball stars were born and made in the era. During the decade Baseball was still considered the number one sport in America by far. Below is a list of the World Series winners from 1960-1969.

1960- Pittsburgh Pirates

1961- New York Yankees

1962- New York Yankees

1963-L.A. Dodgers

1964-St. Louis Cardinals

1965-L.A. Dodgers

1966-Baltimore Orioles

1967-St. Louis Cardinals

1968-Detroit Tigers

1969-New York Mets

The best players overall for the 60s decade is: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Frank Robinson, and Denny McLean. This was one of baseball's best decades as the stars were having the performance of a lifetime.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell simply towered over the competition while playing for the Boston Celtics during the 1960s.
Bill Russell simply towered over the competition while playing for the Boston Celtics during the 1960s. | Source

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Basketball

The Boston Celtics dominated the decade by winning the NBA Championship 9 out of 10 years with the lone exception being the 1967 season in which the Philadelphia 76ers took home the title.

Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics and Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers were the best two players in the league during the turbulent 60s.

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi is a legendary coach and he helped the Green Bay Packers rule professional football during the 1960s.
Vince Lombardi is a legendary coach and he helped the Green Bay Packers rule professional football during the 1960s. | Source

NFL SuperBowl Champions From 1960-1969

Philadelphia Eagles
Green Bay Packers (5 Times)
Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears
Baltimore Colts
Minnesota Vikings
 
 
 
 
 
 
The six teams to win a Super Bowl or NFL Championship if you will. As you see the Green Bay Packers dominated the decade with five championships in ten years.

NFL Football

The NFL was dominated in the 60s by one team. The Green Bay Packers. Led by legendary coach Vince Lombardi the Packers won five Super Bowls in ten seasons and almost toothsome another one.

Other Super Bowl winners besides the dominate Packers during the 1960s are the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and the Minnesota Vikings.

Players of note during this period were: Bart Starr (Packers), Johnny Unitas (Colts), Paul Hornung (Packers), Gale Sayers (Bears), Jim Brown (Browns), Deacon Jones (Rams and Chargers), and John Mackey (Colts) just to name a few.

Football was the third largest sport in America during the 1960s behind Baseball and Horse racing and barely ahead of boxing. But it was steadily growing in popularity.

Horse Racing

Horse racing in the 1960s was wildly popular and competed with Baseball and Boxing as the biggest sport of the decade.

In 1960 Merryman 2 and jockey Gerry Scott were champions and long shot Nicolaus Silver won in 1961 with jockey Bobby Beasley. Kilmore the Horse won with jockey Fred Winter at the helm in 62 and in 1963 Ayala won by a nose with his jockey Pat Buckley who had just turned 19. And in 1964 Team Spirit dominated a 33 horse race with his American jockey Willie Robinson. In '65 Fred Winter won again while riding Jay Trump in a masterful performance.

Jockey Tim Norman was injured in an automobile accident two days before the Grand Nationals but still competed and won by 20 lengths with his horse, Anglo in 1966. 100-1 underdog, Foinavon, shocked the racing world by winning with his jockey John Buckingham in 1967. Brian Fletcher began his championship winning ways by winning in 1968 with Red Alligator. The decade ended with Highland Wedding winning with Eddie Harty, Sr.

Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus is the standard for golf with his overall excellent game.
Jack Nicklaus is the standard for golf with his overall excellent game. | Source

Tennis and Golf

Tennis


Tennis was dominated in the 60s by Australians. Rod Laver is at the top of the list followed by greats such as Fred Stolle, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe. Laver won 17 of his 20 major titles during this decade.

The sport really took off in this decade and in the 70s peaking in the 80s.

Golf


Golf was big in the 60s as it is now. Big names ruled the sport including top players Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Billy Casper.

Golf's popularity continued to rise rapidly because of television stats and also lavish new golf courses that were being constructed.


1966-1967 NFL Season and Super Bowl Recap

1964 Stanley Cup Champions

The 1964 Stanley Cup Champions were the Toronto Maple Leafs and the earned their victory.
The 1964 Stanley Cup Champions were the Toronto Maple Leafs and the earned their victory. | Source

Hockey

Below is a list of the Stanley Cup Champions from 1960-1969. The Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs controlled the decade winning four Stanley Cups each.

1. Montreal Canadians (1960)

2. Chicago Blackhawks (1961)

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (1962)

4. Toronto Maple Leafs (1963)

5. Toronto Maple Leafs (1964)

6. Montreal Canadians (1965)

7. Montreal Canadians (1966)

8. Toronto Maple Leafs (1967)

9. Montreal Canadians (1968)

10. Montreal Canadians (1969)

The NHL was dominated by two players in particular. Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. Hull led the decade with 446 goals. Mikita led the league in points with 796 and assists with 530.


Celtics vs. Lakers: 1962 NBA Finals

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston 1

Pele

Pele is the gold standard when it comes to the game of Soccer.
Pele is the gold standard when it comes to the game of Soccer. | Source

Soccer

Pele is the standard in Soccer history and in the 1960s he shined like no other. George Best and Diego Maradona also had their fair share of classic moments.

Some of the best teams during this stretch of time are: England, Brazil, Scotland, Manchester United and Portugal.

Soccer, in America,and Football in other countries is a game that requires lots of stamina and intense training.

Please share your thoughts on this or any other sport in the 60s by leaving your opinions in the comments box at the bottom of this hub.

Pele Career Highlights

Birthplace of Muhammad Ali (Louisville, Kentucky)

© 2014 Buster Johnson

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