Year In Review : 1970 American League

O ff 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 twenty-one 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, Monday Night Football has become the most successful and longest-running primetime sports series in television history.

I n 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 seventh 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 twenty-third time in two seasons.

Tommy Harper of the Milwaukee Brewers matched thirty stolen bases with his thirtieth home run of the year to become the fifth 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.

I n the National League...

On July 8th, San Francisco Giant Jim Ray Hart tied a modern Major League record with six runs batted in during one inning with all coming in the fifth. The "bay area brawler" slammed a three run home run and three run triple and eventually 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 nineteen Padres, including the last ten 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 ten in a row to date.

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

A round 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 three 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.

"To go to a game in Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, or Crosley Field in Cincinnati, or Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, or Shibe Park in Philadelphia, was to experience baseball intimately, and to be marinated in a sense of many summers lingering in the atmosphere."
1970 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Washington

132

Batting Average

California

.329

Doubles

Minnesota

36

Kansas City

Minnesota

Hits

Minnesota

204

Home Runs

Washington

44

On Base Percentage

Boston

.453

RBI

Washington

126

Runs

Boston

125

Slugging Average

Boston

.592

Stolen Bases

Oakland

42

Total Bases

Boston

335

Triples

Minnesota

13

1970 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Baltimore

21

ERA

Oakland

2.56

Games

Chicago

77

Saves

Minnesota

34

Shutouts

Oakland

5

Baltimore

Strikeouts

Cleveland

304

Winning Percentage

Baltimore

.750

Wins

Baltimore

24

Baltimore

Minnesota

1970 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

108 54 .667 0

New York Yankees

93 69 .574 15

Boston Red Sox

87 75 .537 21

Detroit Tigers

79 83 .488 29

Cleveland Indians

76 86 .469 32

Washington Senators

70 92 .432 38

Minnesota Twins

98 64 .605 0

Oakland Athletics

89 73 .549 9

California Angels

86 76 .531 12

Milwaukee Brewers

65 97 .401 33

Kansas City Royals

65 97 .401 33

Chicago White Sox

56 106 .346 41

1970 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Baltimore

717

Batting Average

Minnesota

.262

Doubles

Boston

252

Hits

Boston

1,450

Home Runs

Boston

203

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.346

Runs

Baltimore

792

Slugging Average

Boston

.428

Stolen Bases

Oakland

131

Triples

Kansas City

41

New York

Oakland

1970 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Baltimore

60

ERA

Baltimore

3.15

Fewest Hits Allowed

Oakland

1,253

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Minnesota

130

New York

Fewest Walks Allowed

New York

451

Saves

Minnesota

58

Shutouts

Oakland

15

Strikeouts

Cleveland

1,076



Is the ball juiced? On March 18, 1970 an experimental ball (dubbed X-5) was used in a Spring Training game. The Indians and Pilots had a combined 34 hits and Seattle won 19-14. Major League Baseball said the ball was only 5% livelier, but Sam McDowell disagreed saying in response to that claim, "Times 100!"

On Opening Day at County Stadium in Milwaukee the Brewers played their first regular season game losing to the Angels 12-0. The game marked the return of American League baseball to the city of Milwaukee where it had been absent for 69 seasons.

On July 3, 1970, Clyde Wright threw the first "California" Angels no-hitter in team history . Follow the link if you do not remember who threw the first Angels no-hitter in franchise history.

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