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Timeline of American and National League Baseball for the Year In Review section. Project expanded to include the National League (1900-1876), Federal League (1915-1914), Players League (1890), Union Association (1884) and American Association (1891-1882).

MLB Timeline by Michael Aubrecht
Written for's Year In Review section.
Sources: Baseball-Almanac, The Baseball Timeline, The Baseball Library, The Baseball Chronicle,,

Off the field…

The construction of nuclear power plants in the United States temporarily came to a halt after a nuclear accident occurred at the Three Mile Island facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After several tense days of emergency cleanup, the leak was completely contained, but raised the concern about the safety of people living near such volatile energy sources. After a media frenzy erupted, the facility was toured by President Jimmy Carter in an effort to calm the panic stricken public.

On July 26th, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Trade Act Bill in response to trade negotiations with Tokyo. The bill reduced further tariffs on a wide range of items, and introduced a new policy to handle unfair trade practices.

Militant Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Teheran (taking 52 Americans hostage) in protest after the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran. The hostages were subjected to 444 days of brutal conditions amidst repeated negotiation failures. A rescue attempt called "Operation Desert One" was aborted in the Iranian desert the following year resulting in the deaths of eight Americans.

In the American League…

On April 5th, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 giving Earl Weaver his 1000th win as a major league skipper.

Thurman Munson, the team captain of the New York Yankees, died when the Cessna Citation twin-engine jet he was piloting crashed outside of Canton, Ohio 200 feet short of the Akron Airport runway. The 32 year-old catcher was a three-time Golden Glove winner, the 1976 American League MVP and a seven-time All-Star. His lifetime batting average was .357 and included an incredible .529 average in the 1976 World Series.

On July 24th, Red Sox sensation Carl Yastrzemski hit his 400th career home run off of the Oakland A's Mike Morgan at Fenway Park. On September 12th, "The Yaz" totaled his 3000th hit becoming the first American League player to tally both numbers.

In the National League…

St. Louis Cardinal Gary Templeton became the first player in major league history to have 100 hits from each side of the plate in the same season. The switch hitter batted strictly right-handed in his last nine games to aid his own cause in setting the record.

Pete Rose, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, totaled over 200 hits for the 10th season in his career breaking Ty Cobb's record of 9 years.

Willie Stargell hit a 2-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 7 to push the Pittsburgh Pirates ahead for good in a 4-1 World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The championship title capped off a Cinderella season in which "Pops" and his "Family" brought fun back to baseball.

Around the league…

On May 17th, the 45-day umpires strike concluded after 14 hours of negotiation. The official's new agreement included a pay increase of approximately $7000, a heightened cap on maximum salaries from $40,000 to $50,000, 2 weeks of vacation during the regular season and improved pension benefits. One controversial issue remained though as the league presidents voted to add some of the replacement umpires to the regular roster.

WLUO-FM's promotional "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park went terribly wrong as 50,000 fans turned up to receive a $.98 ticket for the doubleheader with records and eventually rioted on the field. After a delay of one hour and sixteen minutes, the umpires determined that the field was unplayable and called the second game between the White Sox and visiting Detroit Tigers. The following day, American League President Lee MacPhail awarded the Tigers a 9-0 forfeit win.

Walter O'Malley, the man who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, died at the Mayo Clinic on August 9th at the age of 75. The team's still acting Chairman of the Board was still considered a sellout in New York and was quoted as saying that, "Baseball wasn't a business, but more like a disease."

Writer Daniel Okrent drew up the first set of official rules for a new pastime based on the actual day-to-day statistical play of real major leaguers. The "rotisserie league" would eventually evolve into the phenomenon known as "Fantasy Baseball".

Off the field…

On November 18th, 912 followers of American cult leader Jim Jones and his "Peoples Temple" died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown". Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide." More than 280 children were killed and Jones himself was found fatally wounded by a gunshot to the head.

San Francisco California Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first acknowledged homosexual elected to office, were assassinated in their chambers at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White. In 1985, White committed suicide in the garage of this Excelsior District home after a failed attempt to return to a normal life upon his release from prison.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiated two controversial treaties with Panama's dictator General Omar Torrijos to return the Panama Canal to Panama. Many felt that both agreements were invalid as the Panama Canal was purchased from Panama by the 1903 Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty "in perpetuity," which meant that it was to remain in U.S. hands forever.

In the American League…

On June 4th, the Baltimore Orioles selected a young 18-year old from Aberdeen Maryland named Cal Ripken Jr. The high school senior played both pitcher and outfielder while hitting .492 and posting a 7-2 record on the mound with an astounding 0.70 ERA.

Ron Guidry, of the New York Yankees, set an American League record by becoming the first left-hander to strike out 18 batters in a single game during a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Angels.

After going two-for-four against the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day, Angels' outfielder Lyman Bostock was killed in a bizarre shooting accident. During a domestic dispute on September 23rd, the 27-year old was hit in the head with a .410 gauge shotgun blast by his uncle who was en-route to shooting his aunt. Bostock was a .311 hitter in his fourth season in the major leagues and his father; Lyman Sr. had been a star player in the Negro Leagues.

In the National League…

On May 20th, Pittsburgh Pirate captain Willie Stargell launched a 535-foot rocket off the Montreal Expos' Wayne Twitchell for his 407th career home run at Olympic Stadium. It was the longest ball ever hit in the ballpark and put "Pops" on the all-time homer list beside Duke Snider.

Chicago Cubs manager Herman Franks and Montreal Expos skipper Dick Williams combined to use 45 players in a nine inning game setting the all-time record. They also tied another major league mark by utilizing 14 different pitchers en route to a 10-8 Canadian victory.

On June 30th, during the first game of a 10-9, 10-5 doubleheader loss to the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit his 500th career home run off Jamie Easterly to become the 12th member of the "500-HR" club.

Around the league…

The New York Times reported that the renovations on "The House That Ruth Built" were up to a staggering $95.6 million dollars and that it would have cost only $48.8 million to build a brand new Yankee Stadium.

Don Sutton threatened to sue umpire Doug Harvey after the official claimed to find 3 "doctored" balls belonging to the Dodger righty during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. After an investigation, Sutton was issued a warning from National League president Charles Feeney.

In what was a sign of things to come, major league umpires went on strike in August attempting to get better benefits. Amateur officiating crews were brought in to call 13 games before a judge issued a formal restraining order sending the disgruntled picketers back to work.

U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that women reporters could no longer be banned from the locker rooms of all New York City sports teams. The decision was ultimately initiated after Sports Illustrated magazine sued the Yankees on the behalf of Melissa Ludtke after she was denied equal access during the 1977 post-season.

Off the field…

In a seven-hour period during the night of July 19-20, at least 12 inches of rain fell in the mountainous region around Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The emerging flood swept through the area, resulting in the deaths of 77 people and damage in excess of $200 million. Despite the disaster, it paled in comparison to the first major flood that had devastated the area in 1889 killing 2,200 people.

David Berkowitz, also known as the "Son of Sam" terrorized the New York City area for over a year with a series of random shootings. Berkowitz had typically made victims of people in parked cars with a .44-caliber pistol and later explained that he adopted the name "Son of Sam" because of the "demons" in his neighbor Sam Carr's dog that "made him do it." Originally the serial killer pleaded insanity, but was later found competent to stand trial for six murders and seven attempted murders. After being found guilty on all counts, he was sentenced to twenty-five years to life for each of the murders.

The American Agricultural Movement was organized to preserve the family farm system and to seek 100% parity for all agricultural products. The nationwide farmer's strike resulted when their demands were not met by the United States Government by midnight, December 13th, but eventually subsided by March 1978 without the farmers accomplishing their goals.

In the American League…

Baseball's first black manager hired became the first also fired after Frank Robinson was let go by the struggling Cleveland Indians, who were 26-31 and in fourth place in the American League East by June. Jeff Torborg was named as his replacement.

On the Forth of July, the Boston Red Sox set off some "fireworks" of their own as they launched 8 homerun blasts out of Fenway Park, tying a major league record and beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-6. The home run derby ended a nine-game losing streak and featured round-trippers by Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrezemski, George Scott, Butch Hobson and Bernie Carbo.

On October 18th, Reggie Jackson officially became "Mr. October" after hitting 3 consecutive homeruns and 5 RBIs during Game 6 of the World Series. The New York Yankees followed his lead and went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for their first World Championship title since 1962. Jackson finished the Series with 5 homeruns, 8 runs batted in and a .450 average.

In the National League…

During an 8-0 victory (in what be his last game in Shea Stadium as a Met until 1983) New York ace Tom Seaver sat down Dan Driessen, of the Cincinnati Reds, for his 2,397th K, passing Sandy Koufax for the 23rd spot on the all-time strikeout kings list.

Three Atlanta Braves, Gary Matthews, Biff Pocoraba and Pat Rockett pulled off the impossible after they executed a triple steal over the San Diego Padres en-route to a 7-3 victory on September 11th.

Lou Brock stole the 900th base of his career and the 35th of the season during the opening game of a September 30th doubleheader between his St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. The "Redbirds" went on to win the game 7-2.

Around the League…

Mary Shane became the first female play-by-play announcer in major league baseball history after she was signed by the Chicago White Sox to broadcast their games for the 1977 season.

As part of a promotional night to debut the new "Reggie Bar", a candy bar named after Reggie Jackson, fans at Yankee Stadium received free samples. The marketing scheme backfired though as fans threw hundreds of them back onto the field forcing the game to be halted until the ground crew was able to clear them away.

Despite a miserable 54-107 record, the Toronto Blue Jays boasted a home attendance of 1,701,052 during their debut season. The Seattle Mariners drew 1,338,511, the most ever for a major league expansion team.

Prior to the start of the '77 season, the Toronto Blue Jays had agreed to a trade that would send veteran pitcher Bill Singer to the New York Yankees for the then, little used, left-hander Ron Guidry. All bets were off though after the front office realized that Singer was on the cover of their printed media guide. By the end of the season, Singer had gone 2-8 and retired while Guidry compiled a 16-7 record and an impressive 2.82 ERA.

Off the field…

The United States celebrated its bicentennial, marking the 200th anniversary of its independence. During the Fourth of July holiday period, hundreds of sailing ships (most from the 19th century) from around the world converged on New York City's harbor to participate in the celebration.

Jimmy Carter was selected as the Democratic Party's nominee for president, and the American people elected him to office over the incumbent president, Gerald Ford. In choosing Carter, the voters took a chance on a president about whom they knew little and one who prided himself on being relatively unknown outside his home state of Georgia. A political "recluse", he had never been a national candidate and had no significant experience on the national scene or any close ties to Washington. In addition, as a candidate from the Deep South, Carter was distrusted by many in the New Deal coalition that had dominated his party since 1932.

An Air France jetliner was hijacked to Entebbe, Uganda by the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine" on June 27th. Once there, the hijackers separated the Jewish and Israeli passengers from the rest of the captives and demanded the release of several terrorists held in Israeli prisons. In a daring commando operation known as "Operation Thunderbolt" Israeli forces traveled 2,000 miles and landed at the Entebbe airport rescuing all hostages and terminating the terrorists.

In the American League…

New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson was named the first team captain since "Iron Horse" Lou Gehrig had held the position in the 1930's. Unfortunately, Munson, like his predecessor, would die before his time in a plane crash in 1979.

The Chicago White Sox's Minnie Minoso became the first four-decade player in major league history after entering a September 11th contest against the California Angels as a designated hitter. The 53 year-old went 0-3 as his team fell 7-3 to the "halos".

On August 25th, the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees went head-to-head for 5 hours and 36 minutes during a 19-inning marathon. Willie Randolph, of the Yanks, set an American League record for extra innings with 13 assists and 20 chances at second base.

In the National League…

On April 17th, Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies, hit four consecutive homeruns (and a single) accounting for 8 runs himself during an 18-16 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Pittsburgh's John Candelaria proved that the "Candy Man" can after he pitched a 2-0, no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 9th. The six-foot, seven-inch Pirate struck out seven and walked one for the first perfect game ever against the L.A. version of the Dodgers.

Sparky Anderson's "Big Red Machine" compiled a regular season record of 102-60 setting a National League record. The Cincinnati Reds as they were also known as, later went on to sweep the New York Yankees in the World Series proving they could go the distance.

Around the League…

The newly renovated Yankees Stadium was dedicated in a special pre-game ceremony attended by Mrs. Babe Ruth, Mrs. Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen and 85-year old Bob Shawkey, who had pitched at the ballpark when it opened in 1923. In what some have considered to be a sign of the "Babe" showing disapproval of the changes to "his house", the $3 million dollar scoreboard ceased to function.

Media tycoon Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves and their broadcasting station, took advertising to new highs (and lows) after signing Andy Messersmith for the 1976 season. First he chose to "nickname" their newest acquisition "Channel" then he issued him the number "17" which also happened to be Turner's TV number. The preplanned marketing scheme resulted in Messersmith taking the field with "Channel 17" on his back. National League president, Chub Feeney quickly caught onto Turner and put an end to the tacky campaign.

On July 20th, "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron hit the 755th and final homerun of his career off the Anaheim Angels' Dick Drago during a 6-2 Milwaukee Brewers' win. The historical moment was soured though after the ball was retrieved by Dick Arndt, a member of the ground crew, who refused to return it to the rightful owner. Arndt was subsequently fired and has since then turned down offers of up to $10,000 from Hank Aaron himself.

In August, a contest was conducted across Washington to name the new expansion team in Seattle. After 15,000 entries, Roger Szmodis from Bellevue emerged the winner after proposing the name "Mariners".

Off the field…

Two assassination attempts were made on the life of U.S. President Gerald Ford, both in September. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a 27 year-old disciple of Charles Manson, attempted to shoot the president in Sacramento on September 5, with a .45 caliber hand gun. Fortunately, an alert secret-serviceman wrestled the weapon from her before she could fire a shot. On September 22, Sara Jane Moore, 45, a civil rights activist, fired a .38 caliber revolver at Ford, but a bystander diverted the shot at the last second. Both women are currently in prison serving life sentences.

Jimmy Hoffa, the powerful and controversial leader of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971, disappeared from a restaurant parking lot in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Often alleged to have ties to organized crime, Hoffa had been convicted of fraud and jury tampering in 1964 and served four years in prison before his sentence was commuted by President Nixon. At the time of his mysterious abduction, he was trying to regain power in the union. Many felt that he had been killed by the Mafia and in 1983 he was declared legally dead.

On December 29th, a bomb at New York's LaGuardia Airport exploded killing eleven people and injuring seventy-five. To date, no one has ever been convicted, indicted, or even arrested for suspicion of having taken part in the act.

In the American League…

Fred Lynn, who would finish the season as the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year, knocked in 10 runs himself during a 15-1 romping of the Detroit Tigers on June 18th. The Red Sox's rookie outfielder connected for a two-run homer in the first, a three-run blast in the second, a two-run triple and an infield single tying an A.L. record with 16 total bases.

On September 22nd, a near impossible statistical oddity occurred when both brothers Gaylord Perry of the Texas Rangers and Jim Perry of the Oakland Athletics matched identical career win-loss records of 215-174.

October 21st witnessed one of the most dramatic homeruns in the history of the World Series. After a four day rain-delay, the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds resumed play at Fenway Park for an epic 12-inning nail-biter. Carlton Fisk came up huge with a game-winning homer that deflected off of the left field foul pole (thanks to a little body language) tying the Series at 3 apiece and forcing a Game 7.

In the National League…

Pittsburgh Pirate second baseman Rennis Stennett became the first modern player to tally seven hits in a single nine-inning game. Stennett collected a triple, two doubles; four singles and scored five times during the 22-0 massacre over the Chicago Cubs while raising his average from .278 to .287. The last player with such a cramped scorecard was Baltimore's Wilbert Robinson in 1892.

Joe Torre of the New York Mets, tied a major league record by hitting into four consecutive double plays during a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros. The future Yankees manager was recorded in the company of "Goose" Goslin, who had originated the feat in 1934 and Mike Kreevich who matched him in 1939.

New York Met Tom Seaver became the first pitcher in major league history to record 200+ strikeouts for 8 consecutive years after he fanned the Pittsburgh Pirates Manny Sanguillen for a 3-0 victory and his 20th win of the season.

Around the League…

Charles Finley's experimental position known as "the designated runner" came to an end after the Oakland Athletics owner released the prototype Herb Washington. The world-class sprinter had appeared in 105 games while never batting and scored 33 runs plus 31 bases in 48 attempts.

On April 8th, baseball's first black player/manager, Frank Robinson, made his debut as the skipper of the Cleveland Indians. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, threw out the first ball as the Tribe took on the visiting New York Yankees. Robinson sweetened the moment with a first-inning homer, the 575th of his career, and his team followed suite on the way to a 5-3 victory.

A pre-game ceremony honoring the United States Army's 200th birthday "backfires" at Shea Stadium after two 75mm artillery batteries from Fort Hamilton fire a 21-gun salute. After the smoke cleared there was a large hole in the center field fence and broken windows throughout the box seat areas. Following a quick clean up and repairs, the New York Yankees went on to defeat Nolan Ryan and the California Angels 6-4.

Baseball's winningest manager, Casey Stengel died on September 29th of cancer at the age of 85. Stengel had managed the New York Yankees second dynasty for 12 years while winning 10 American League pennants and 7 World Series Championships. After leaving the Bronx Bombers, he went on to manage the Mets before being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Off the field…

On August 8th, 1974 Richard Nixon became the first President in U.S. history to resign. His decision to step down came as the House of Representatives was poised to vote on the articles of impeachment against him due to his involvement the Watergate scandal.

Patricia Hearst, the heiress to the Hearst fortune, was kidnapped by a radical terrorist group called the "Symbionese Liberation Army" resulting in one of the largest manhunts of all time. While under control of the S.L.A., she was brainwashed and forced to rob a bank while protecting her "comrades in arms." After she was found, Hearst was convicted for grand theft and served almost two years of a seven-year prison term. Finally, she was released with help from President Jimmy Carter and two decades later, President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon.

Charles A. Lindbergh, the first man to fly across the Atlantic (from New York-to-Paris) in 1927 aboard the "Spirit of St. Louis", died of cancer of the lymphatic system. The aviation pioneer had become a recluse after retiring to the island of Kipahulu, Hawaii where he developed an active concern with conservation. Upon hearing of his death, President Ford stated the courage and daring of his historic flight would never be forgotten and that he would be remembered as one of America's all-time heroes.

In the American League…

"Ten-Cent Beer Night" in Cleveland backfired after drunken and disorderly fans stumbled onto the field of play causing the Indians to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers. With a 5-all score in the ninth, Tribe fans poured onto the field and surrounded outfielder Jeff Burroughs while trying to take his hat and glove for souvenirs. After players from both sides rushed to his aid, the game was called in favor of the visitors.

Principal New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was suspended for two years by the Commissioner's Office after he was convicted in federal court for making illegal contributions to the re-election campaign of President Richard Nixon.

The Oakland Athletics' Gene Tenace proved that it's not always what you do, but sometimes what you don't. Tenace tied a 1930 mark set by John Clancy of the Chicago White Sox in which the first baseman played an entire nine-innings without ever having a fielding chance.

In the National League…

On Thursday April 4th, Hank Aaron hit a 3-run homer off of Jack Billingham as the Atlanta Braves lost to the Reds 7-6, at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. The 11-inning game itself took a backseat to "Hammerin'" Hank, who had finally tied Babe Ruth with home run number 714. Both Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Vice-president Gerald Ford were on hand to congratulate the slugger who had persevered over racial prejudice and death threats from several fans who did not want to see the Bambino's record fall to a black man. Four days later, back home at Fulton County Stadium, Aaron hit number 715 off Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty, Al Downing. Lost in the celebration was Aaron's tying of Willie Mays' National League record of 2,063 runs as well as his team's 7-4 victory.

The Mets lost 4-3 to the Cardinals during a "long-distance" marathon night game on September 11th. After seven hours and 25 innings, the outing became the longest game to a decision in major league history. In the end, New York had batted 103 times and St. Louis was not far behind with 99 plate appearances. A record 175 official at-bats were recorded, with a major-league record of 45 runners left stranded. Despite the historical moment, only a thousand fans were on hand when it finally ended at 3:13 a.m.

On June 29th, Lou Brock nabbed his 700th bag at Wrigley Field as the St. Louis Cardinals crushed the hometown "Cubbies" 11-2. Brock's 65th robbery of the season put him in the company of baseball's greatest "criminals" including Ty Cobb, who stole 892 bases, Eddie Collins (743), Max Carey (738) and Honus Wagner (701).

Around the League…

Forty-eight major leaguers opted to try the new arbitration procedure that had been established to aid in the negotiation of contract differences. The first to file was Minnesota pitcher Dick Woodson, who was seeking an agreement worth $29,000. The Twins had offered $23,000 and both parties presented their arguments to a Detroit lawyer and labor arbitrator Harry H. Platt. After reviewing the monetary amounts presented, the verdict was cast in Woodson's favor.

A new organization known as the "Major League Scouting Bureau" was founded to cut expenditures across the league by centralizing scouting. Initially, membership was not mandatory (until 1984) resulting in only 17 of 24 teams agreeing to pay the $118,000 fee for inclusion. All American League clubs except the White Sox and Toronto joined and only the Cubs, Expos, Pirates, Braves, Astros and the Reds represented the National League.

To prevent the sale of "counterfeit" memorabilia, a system was developed to maintain the integrity of authentic baseballs during Hank Aaron's quest for Babe Ruth's home run record. After Aaron's 710th round-tripper, all official major league balls issued were "encoded" with a special serial number and a diamond symbol that was only visible under fluorescent light.

Twenty-seven years after Jackie Robinson first entered the majors, Frank Robinson became major league baseball's first black manager. The 39-year-old player/manager signed a $175,000 contract with the Cleveland Indians making him the team's 28th skipper. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that it should have taken place much sooner and Robinson stated that his only wish was that Jackie could have been there to share in the moment.

Off the field…

NASA launched the Skylab Space Station, a science and engineering laboratory, into orbit aboard a Saturn V rocket on May 14th. Three crews of 3 astronauts each visited the station on missions lasting 28, 59, and 84 days. Many UV astronomy experiments and detailed X-ray studies of the Sun were executed before the station fell from orbit in July of 1979.

Vice President Spiro Agnew came under investigation by the U.S. attorney in Baltimore for allegedly receiving payoffs from engineers seeking contracts when Agnew the governor of Maryland. Although he maintained his innocence, Agnew eventually resigned from office on Oct. 10, 1973, and pleaded no contest, to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967. Following his resignation, Agnew was fined $10,000 and placed on three years' probation.

The United States completed its withdrawal from Vietnam in accordance with the Paris Peace Accords. Under its terms, there would be a ceasefire, U.S. troops would agree to leave the country and all prisoners of war would be released. Two years later, the Communists achieved total victory in Vietnam.

In the American League…

The American Leagues' two premiere catchers Carlton Fisk, of the Boston Red Sox, and Thurman Munson, of the New York Yankees squared off after the Bombers captain barreled into Fisk while trying to score from third on a missed bunt by teammate Gene Michael. The fight was fueled both the legendary rivalry between the two teams and the genuine dislike between the two players. Although the winner of the brawl remained undetermined, the winner of the game went to the Sox 3-2.

Frank Robinson, of the California Angels, homered against the Texas Rangers at Arlington Stadium giving him at least one career home run in all 32 major league ballparks.

Fellow Angel Nolan Ryan set a major league record on his last pitch of the year after striking out the Minnesota Twins' Rich Reese for his 383rd K of the season. The Anaheim crowd gave Ryan a 5-minute standing ovation and the veteran ace returned the gesture with a 5-4 decision for his 21st win of the season.

In the National League…

On August 17th, Willie Mays hit his 660th (and final) homerun off of the Cincinnati Reds' Don Gullett. Unfortunately the New York Mets fell 2-1, remaining seven and a half games back in last place. Somehow, Yogi Berra and his "Miracle" Mets managed to climb back to the top and won the National League East pennant on October 1st despite having no .300 hitters and no pitchers with more than 19 wins.

Phil Neikro became the first Atlanta Braves pitcher ever to toss a no-hitter after dominating the San Diego Padres for a 9-0 triumph while walking three batters and fanning four. Two days later the Braves signed his younger brother, Joe from the Detroit Tigers reuniting the brothers for the first time in the majors.

Wilbur Wood attempted to set a record while starting both games of a doubleheader between his Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, but it backfired completely as "the Iron Man wannabe" was taken for a 12-2 and 7-0 loss.

Around the League…

A group of 17 investors led by Ohio Shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees from the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS) for a reported $10 million dollars. The television giant was forced to take a $4 million dollar loss in the deal while Steinbrenner went on to become the owner of one of the largest market teams in all professional sports.

At a joint meeting of all 24 major league owners, a unanimous decision was made to allow the use of the "Designated Hitter" in the American League for a 3-season probationary period. The experiment marked the first time since 1901 that the National and American Leagues played under different rules. The concept of inter-league play was also submitted for committee review.

Both players and owners agreed to what was coined as the "10 and 5 rule" in which a player with a decade of experience in the majors and five-years with their present team could veto a trade. The league minimum salary was also raised to $16,000 and all salary disputes were to be from then on arbitrated. These amendments prevented an impending strike and allowed the start of the spring training season.

Eleven weeks after his untimely death in a plane crash, Pittsburgh Pirate legend Roberto Clemente was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame during a special election that superceded the five-year waiting period. Clemente was on a humanitarian mission that was taking supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua when the aircraft he was flying in went down off the coast of Puerto Rico. "The Great One" as he was called, represented the first Latin American to be inducted into Cooperstown after receiving 93% of the 424 ballots cast and his lifetime batting average of .317 is still the highest of any right-hander since World War II.

Off the field…

LIFE, the blueprint for magazine publishing in America folded as a weekly in December of 1972. Though the weekly version's life span covered only 37 years, it is impossible to think of any other magazine that had such an extraordinary impact on the art of photo-journalism. Debuting in 1936, Henry R. Luce and his colleagues at Time Inc. decided to publish a magazine that would take pictures and words to an unprecedented level. Up to then, most newsworthy imagery had been deliberately posed and static, but after the portable 35mm camera was developed in the 1930's, it was discovered that a skilled photographer could take pictures of almost anything, anywhere; at anytime. Most magazines had been built around editors and writers, but LIFE was very different, as it was entirely been built around its photographers.

President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern by one of the widest margins on record. However, within a few months, his administration was under fire over the so-called "Watergate" scandal, stemming from a break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee during the '72 campaign. The break-in was traced to several officials of the Committee to Re-elect the President. As a result, many resigned and some were later convicted of offenses connected with efforts to cover up the affair. Nixon himself denied any personal involvement, but the courts forced him to yield White House tape recordings, which indicated that he had, in fact, tried to interfere with the ongoing investigation.

In the American League…

On May 12th, the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins went head-to-head for 21 innings before the one A.M. curfew halted play with the score 3-3. Both teams combined to tie the major-league record for intentional walks during an extra-inning game with 7 and the Twins went a step further and tied their own club record by stranding 23 men on base. The following day play resumed as the Brewers scored in the top of the 22nd to win 4-3, but the Twins prevailed with a 4-3 victory of their own in the second outing after 15-innings. At the end of the day, both games tallied nine hours and 23 minutes setting an American League record for the most consecutive innings ever played in a two-day span.

June 4th belonged to the pitchers as a major league record eight shutouts were pitched in 16 games. Five took place in the American League and three in the National League with two being recorded by the Oakland Athletics who swept the Baltimore Orioles twice with a pair of identical 2-0 decisions.

California Angels' ace Nolan Ryan sat down 16 batters for a 3-0 victory and an American League record with 8 K's in a row on nine pitches. Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, managed a one-out single in the 1st for the team's only hit, but Ryan responded by retiring the last 26 consecutive batters. In doing so, the future Hall of Famer became only the third pitcher in major league history to twice fan the side on nine pitches.

In the National League…

Giants' giant Willie McCovey tied both Gil Hodges and Hank Aaron for the National League grand-slam record with fourteen of his own as San Francisco beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-3.

On September 30th, Roberto Clemente doubled to left-center off of the New York Mets' John Matlack at Three Rivers Stadium for his final at-bat and career hit number 3,000. The Pittsburgh Pirates went on to win 5-0 and "The Great One" went on the list with Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Hank Aaron, Eddie Collins, Napoleon Lajoie, Willie Mays, Paul Waner, and Adrian Anson as the newest member of the "3,000 hit club".

Unfortunately, Clemente was killed in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission that was taking supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The DC-7 aircraft he was flying in went down off the coast of Puerto Rico one-mile from San Juan with no survivors. The four time National League batting champion was only 38-years-old and had just won a World Series championship in 1971. As a tribute, he was elected on a special consideration to the Baseball Hall of Fame with a 93% vote becoming the first Latin American to be inducted into Cooperstown.

Around the League…

Eighty-six games were cancelled due to the first general players' strike, which was eventually resolved on April 13th. Concessions came after both the owners and players agreed on a $500,000 increase in pension fund payments. In an effort to prevent paying the players for the work stoppage, the league decided not to make up the missed contests. As a result, some teams only played 153 total games.

The Philadelphia Phillies' Steve Carlton became the first pitcher at 27-10, to win the Cy Young Award while playing with a last-place team and Rod Carew, of the Minnesota Twins, became the first American League player to lead the league in hitting without ever hitting a single home run.

The Oakland Athletics' Reggie Jackson set a new trend in baseball after being the first major league ballplayer to wear a mustache since Wally Schang in 1914. As a result, the A's owner Charles Finley declared June 18th "Mustache Day" at the ballpark and offered $300 to each player that could grow one before Father's Day.

The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed lower court rulings in the Curt Flood case by a vote of 5-3 upholding baseball's exemption from antitrust laws. The decision cleared the way for future legislation or collective bargaining to undercut the reserve system, but proved meaningless after all major league owners agreed to salary arbitration at the end of the season.

Off the field…

On Thursday, September 9th, more than 1,200 inmates at Attica prison gained control of the facility in a well-planned and brutal attack. During the initial violence, 50 correctional officers and civilian employees were brutally beaten and taken prisoner. With hostages as leverage, the inmates listed 28 demands they wanted met including amnesty for the crimes they had already committed when they took over the prison. After four tense days of unsuccessful negotiations, the command was given to retake the prison and rescue the hostages. With National Guard helicopters flying overhead administering chemical agents, a rescue force of nearly 200 New York State police officers stormed the facility. When it was over, 10 hostages were dead, along with 32 inmates.

Cult-leader Charles Manson and several of his followers including Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, were convicted for the brutal Tate-LaBianca murders that occurred in August of 1969. Even though Manson was not physically present at the murders and his devotees attempted to assume full responsibility, he was seen as the malevolent power that influenced and directed their actions. All of the defendants were sentenced to death, but were later commuted to life after California's laws regarding the death penalty were changed.

Boxing legend, Muhammad Ali's draft evasion conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in June. The decision came four years after the "People's Champion" had refused to participate in the Vietnam War due to his Islamic faith. Despite citing religious reasons, Ali was denied status as a conscientious objector to the war and was subsequently convicted of refusing to be inducted into the armed forces. During the same year, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title and had his boxing license suspended.

In the American League…

On July 9th, the Oakland Athletics' Vida Blue tossed the longest shutout in American League history during a 20-inning, 1-0 triumph over the Anaheim Angels. The A's ace fanned 17 batters in 11 innings while the Angels' Billy Cowan tied a major-league record by striking out six times. Both teams also combined to set a major-league record with 43 K's.

The American League netted their only All-Star victory between 1962 and 1983 with a 6-4 victory over the Nationals. The outing appeared more like a home run derby though as Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, and Harmon Killebrew all hit round-trippers.

The Detroit Tigers proved the old adage that "less is more" after they tied a major-league record by using six different pinch hitters during the 7th inning while still losing 6-5 to the New York Yankees on September 5th.

In the National League…

On August 24th, Ernie Banks hit his 512th and final home run off of the Cincinnati Reds' Jim McGlothin during a 5-4 win at Wrigley Field. The monumental blast moved Banks ahead of Mel Ott for an 8th place tie with Eddie Mathews on the all-time list.

The Pittsburgh Pirates started what is believed to be the first all-minority line-up on September 1st as Rennie Stennett, Gene Clines, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jackie Hernandez, Dock Ellis and Bob Veale all take the field for the "Buccos".

At the World Series, Roberto Clemente and Steve Blass combined on both sides of the plate for a 2-1, Game 7 victory that granted the Pirates their first World Championship title since 1960. After the game, some 40,000 ecstatic fans rioted in downtown Pittsburgh resulting in over 100 injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage.

Around the League…

On New Year's Day, the BBWAA failed to elect anyone during the annual Baseball Hall of Fame election. With 270 votes required, the closest nominees were Yogi Berra with 242 and Early Wynn with 240.

Boston's Carl Yastrzemski signed what is believed to be the richest player contract in baseball history at the time. The three-year agreement agreed to pay the Red Sox slugger an accumulated salary of $500,000.

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn determined that players from the Negro Leagues would be given a full membership into the Baseball Hall of Fame and not honored in a separate wing as originally announced.

Sixteen baseball researchers at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown formed the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), with founder Robert Davids as president. Currently SABR boasts over 7,000 members worldwide and has continually dedicated itself to the accurate preservation of America's national pastime.

Off the field…

After large numbers of North Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia in 1969. Premier Lon Nol assumed control of the government, while Prince Sihanouk was in Peking, and pledged to force the removal of the occupying military. Initially, the invaders agreed to withdraw, but then announced their support for Sihanouk, who had promised to fight the new government. President Nixon announced that U.S. troops would join with South Vietnamese troops to invade the border areas of Cambodia and eliminate all Communist sanctuaries.

Four students were killed at Kent State University after Ohio National Guardsmen clashed with anti-war protesters. The students were engaged in a rally condemning President Nixon's approval for a massive incursion into Cambodia. While appearing on television on April 30th, Nixon announced that the invasion was for a limited period, and was to save American lives, and claimed that American forces would not advance more than 21 miles into the country.

Monday Night Football debuted on ABC, with Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson, and Don Meredith all giving play-by-play. The on-camera camaraderie in the booth as well as the groundbreaking approach to covering the game resulted in the development of several multi-camera and play-by-play technologies that are still being used today. As a result, MNF has become the most successful and longest-running primetime sports series in television history.

In the American League…

Baltimore's Frank Robinson hit two successive grand slams during a 12-2 Orioles triumph over the Washington Senators becoming just the 7th major leaguer to ever accomplish the feat. The back-to-back historic blasts were the only grand slams Robinson ever hit as a "Blackbird".

The Kansas City Royals set an unwanted major league mark on August 3rd after falling 10-8 to the Baltimore Orioles for the 23rd time in 2 seasons.

Tommy Harper of the Milwaukee Brewers matched 30 stolen bases with his 30th home run of the year to become the 5th major leaguer to go 30-30 in the same season. Incidentally, the stats added up as the resulting 4-2 win over the Anaheim Angels marked the Brewers "60th" of the year.

In the National League…

On July 8th, San Francisco Giant Jim Ray Hart tied a modern major-league record with six RBIs in one inning with all coming in the 5th. The "bay area brawler" slammed a 3-run homer and 3-run triple and hit for the cycle en route to a 13-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The New York Mets' Tom Seaver set a major league record after striking out 19 Padres, including the last 10 in succession, during an April 22nd, 2-1 victory over San Diego. The feat topped every pitcher ever to take the mound in the 20th Century and no one had ever struck out 10 in a row to date.

Atlanta Braves icon "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron collected his 3,000th hit with an infield single as well as his 570th home run off of Wayne Granger during a 7-6, 15-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds on May 17th.

Around the League…

St. Louis Cardinals' Golden Glove outfielder Curt Flood filed a civil lawsuit against major league baseball in an effort to challenge their contract reserve clause. Flood refused to report to the Philadelphia Phillies after being traded and contended that the rule violated federal antitrust laws. Flood eventually lost his $4.1 million suit later in the year after Federal Judge Irving Ben Cooper upheld the legality of the clause. However, Cooper did recommend changes in the reserve system, to be achieved through negotiation between both players and owners.

"X-5" baseballs, a new experimental brand claiming to travel faster and farther than traditional balls was field tested during all major league spring training games in both Arizona and Florida. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered a halt to their use after a 3-week trial period, which had ended with inconclusive results.

All-Star Game voting was finally returned to the fans as punch-card ballots debuted in major league ballparks across the nation. It was the first time since 1958 that the exhibition's squads were not entirely selected by managers, coaches and players.

Both players and management agreed to end their labor dispute on June 8th by settling on a new standard contract. Among the compromises that benefited the players was a raise in the minimum league salary from $10,000 to $12,000 per season.

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All essays researched and written by Michael Aubrecht.
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