Year In Review : 1970 National 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.

"It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball and I did it in one afternoon on the golf course." - Hank Aaron (after hitting #3,000 on May 17, 1970)
1970 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

San Francisco

137

Batting Average

Atlanta

.366

Doubles

Los Angeles

47

Hits

Cincinnati

205

Chicago

Home Runs

Cincinnati

45

On Base Percentage

Atlanta

.456

RBI

Cincinnati

148

Runs

Chicago

137

Slugging Average

San Francisco

.612

Stolen Bases

Cincinnati

57

Total Bases

Chicago

373

Triples

Los Angeles

16

1970 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

24

ERA

New York

2.82

Games

San Diego

76

New York

Saves

Cincinnati

35

Shutouts

San Francisco

5

Strikeouts

New York

283

Winning Percentage

St. Louis

.767

Wins

St. Louis

23

San Francisco

1970 National League

Team Standings

Pittsburgh Pirates

89 73 .549 0

Chicago Cubs

84 78 .519 5

New York Mets

83 79 .512 6

St. Louis Cardinals

76 86 .469 13

Philadelphia Phillies

73 88 .453

Montreal Expos

73 89 .451 16

Cincinnati Reds

102 60 .630 0

Los Angeles Dodgers

87 74 .540 14½

San Francisco Giants

86 76 .531 16

Houston Astros

79 83 .488 23

Atlanta Braves

76 86 .469 26

San Diego Padres

63 99 .389 39

1970 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

San Francisco

729

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.270

Doubles

San Francisco

257

Hits

Pittsburgh

1,522

Home Runs

Cincinnati

191

On Base Percentage

San Francisco

.353

Runs

San Francisco

831

Slugging Average

Cincinnati

.436

Stolen Bases

Los Angeles

138

Triples

Pittsburgh

70

1970 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Chicago

59

ERA

New York

3.45

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,260

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

St. Louis

102

Fewest Walks Allowed

Chicago

475

Saves

Cincinnati

60

Shutouts

Los Angeles

17

Strikeouts

New York

1,064



Three legends. Two "clubs:" May 12, 1970, Ernie Banks became the first shortstop to join the 500 Home Runs Club ; five days later, on May 17, 1970, Hank Aaron became the first player to join the 3,000 Hits Club who already had at least 500 career home runs ; and on July 18, 1970, Willie Mays joined the 3,000 Hits Club and joined Aaron as the second player in both "clubs."

On July 8, 1970, Jim Ray Hart hit for the cycle to become the 13th Giants player with a cycle . However, did you know that on this same date he also drove in six runs during the same inning - a feat not accomplished since 1911?

On May 12, 2001, A.J. Burnett of the Florida Marlins no-hit the San Diego Padres, yet walked nine batters setting a new National League record. The record he broke belonged to Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates who walked eight in his no-hitter tossed on June 12, 1970 versus (yet again) the San Diego Padres.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac6h
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