Year In Review : 1969 American League

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Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to walk on the moon after landing the lunar module, known as the "Eagle" at Tranquility Base on July 16 th . Armstrong made his historic descent to the surface live on television making the now historic statement: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Twenty-one hours and thirty-six minutes later (after conducting several experiments and planting the U.S. flag) the Eagle returned safe and sound to the Columbia for its return flight to Earth on July 24 th .

On the night of August 9 th , several members of a hippie cult led by self-proclaimed messiah Charles Manson brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others in her Beverly Hills mansion. The next evening Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, wealthy owners of a grocery chain, were also brutally attacked in their Los Angeles home. Initially the crimes were not connected even though victims in both cases had suffered from multiple stab wounds and the words "pig" and "Helter Skelter" were written in blood all over both crime scenes.

The Woodstock Music and Art Festival was held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, New York representing the culmination of the counterculture of the 1960's and the high point of the "hippie era." Although 10,000 to 20,000 people were expected, well over 400,000 showed up and crashed the gate as music's biggest names including Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Joe Crocker, The Who and the Grateful Dead came together for three days of "music, peace and love".

I n the American League

On March 1 st , "The Commerce Comet" also known as Mickey Mantle announced his retirement after eighteen years in professional baseball. During his Hall of Fame tenure with the New York Yankees, "The Mick" batted .298, hit five-hundred thirty-six home runs and appeared in an amazing sixty-five World Series games in which he tallied a record eighteen home runs and forty RBIs.

As Major League Baseball celebrated its Centennial season, two New York Yankees topped the commemorative list of the games greatest. "Babe" Ruth was unanimously crowned as the "Greatest Player Ever" and Joe DiMaggio was christened as the "Greatest Living Player".

Reggie Jackson hit two home runs and drove in a whopping ten runs as the Oakland Athletics regained first place in the American League West with a 21-7 romp over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 14 th . Jackson doubled home a run in the first, homered in the third and fifth, singled in two in the seventh and drove in three more with a single in the eighth. The whopping twenty-one run total set a team record that wouldn't be matched until the 2000 season.

I n the National League

In the first regular season Major League Baseball game ever to be played outside of the borders of the United States, the Montreal Expos defeated the visiting St. Louis Cardinals 8-7. Both teams were introduced to the capacity crowd of 29,184 in both English and French Canadian.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Bob Gibson set a National League record on August 16 th (reaching two-hundred strikeouts for the seventh season) after an 8-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

On May 13 th , Ernie Banks, of the Chicago Cubs, hit seven RBIs (including his one-thousand five-hundredth) with two, three-run home runs and a double during a 19-0 massacre over the San Diego Padres. The blowout tied the mark for the largest shutout margin in the history of the modern National League.

A round the league

Ted Williams was named Jim Lemon's replacement as manager of the Washington Senators after the Capital's franchise finished in last place with a miserable 65-96 record. "Teddy Baseball" was reported to have signed a five-year contract for $75,000 a season and ten percent in the team's stock.

Both leagues agreed to try the new "designated pinch hitter" rule during spring training, but under two different variations. The American League allowed the optional use of a DPH only for the home team while the National League required home managers to obtain the visiting skipper's approval for the experimental substitution.

Bowie Kuhn, a forty-two year old lawyer whose firm had handled all of the National League's legal affairs was unanimously elected as the new Commissioner of Baseball. Two other top candidates; Mike Burke of the New York Yankees and Charles Feeney of the San Francisco Giants had been previously deadlocked resulting in Kuhn's nomination.

In an effort to prevent an impending strike, Major League Baseball and the Players Association finally settled on a new revised pension plan. The tenure for qualifying was shortened from five years to four and the minimum age requirement was also lowered from fifty to forty-five. The players also agreed to get $5.45 million per year (retroactive to 1959) as well as a percentage of all televised game revenues.

"I can't play anymore (retirement press conference on March 1, 1969). I can't hit the ball when I need to. I can't steal second when I need to. I can't go from first to third when I need to. I can't score from second when I need to. I have to quit." - Mickey Mantle
1969 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Minnesota

145

Batting Average

Minnesota

.332

Doubles

Minnesota

39

Hits

Minnesota

197

Home Runs

Minnesota

49

On Base Percentage

Minnesota

.430

RBI

Minnesota

140

Runs

Oakland

123

Slugging Average

Oakland

.608

Stolen Bases

Seattle

73

Total Bases

Washington

340

Triples

Washington

8

1969 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

New York

24

ERA

Washington

2.19

Games

Chicago

76

Saves

Minnesota

31

Shutouts

Detroit

9

Strikeouts

Cleveland

279

Winning Percentage

Baltimore

.800

Wins

Detroit

24

1969 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

109 53 .673 0

Detroit Tigers

90 72 .556 19

Boston Red Sox

87 75 .537 22

Washington Senators

86 76 .531 23

New York Yankees

80 81 .497 28½

Cleveland Indians

62 99 .385 46½

Minnesota Twins

97 65 .599 0

Oakland Athletics

88 74 .543 9

California Angels

71 91 .438 26

Kansas City Royals

69 93 .426 28

Chicago White Sox

68 94 .420 29

Seattle Pilots

64 98 .395 33

1969 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

658

Batting Average

Minnesota

.268

Doubles

Minnesota

246

Hits

Minnesota

1,520

Home Runs

Boston

197

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.346

Runs

Minnesota

790

Slugging Average

Boston

.415

Stolen Bases

Seattle

167

Triples

New York

44

1969 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

55

ERA

Baltimore

2.83

Fewest Hits Allowed

Baltimore

1,194

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Baltimore

117

Fewest Walks Allowed

Baltimore

498

Saves

Minnesota

43

Shutouts

Baltimore

20

Detroit

Strikeouts

Detroit

1,032



On April 8, 1969, the Seattle Pilots made their American League debut versus the California Angels and won 4-3.

On June 8, 1969, the New York Yankees retired Mickey Mantle's number 7 in front of 60,096 fans. During his on-field speech he said, "Playing 18 years in Yankee Stadium for you folks was the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer."

On September 26, 1969, Rod Carew attempted to tie the record for stealing home base during a season which was set during the 1912 season. Carew stole home safely against Skip Lockwood of Seattle, but during his slide he knocked over home plate umpire Jim Honochick who called Carew out then ejected him for throwing his equipment on the field.

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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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