Year In Review : 1971 American League

O ff 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, fifty correctional officers and civilian employees were brutally beaten and taken prisoner. With hostages as leverage, the inmates listed twenty-eight 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 two-hundred New York State police officers stormed the facility. When it was over, ten hostages were dead, along with thirty-two 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.

I n the American League...

On July 9th, the Oakland Athletics' Vida Blue tossed the longest shutout in American League history during a twenty inning, 1-0 triumph over the Anaheim Angels. The A's ace fanned seventeen batters in eleven 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 forty-three 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 seventh inning while still losing 6-5 to the New York Yankees on September 5th.

I n the National League...

On August 24th, Ernie Banks hit his fif-hundred twelfth 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 eighth 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 one-hundred injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage.

A round the League...

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

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 National 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.

"I am the proudest man on the face of the Earth today." - Satchel Paige on August 9, 1971 (National Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech)
1971 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Minnesota

114

Batting Average

Minnesota

.337

Doubles

Boston

33

Hits

Minnesota

204

Home Runs

Chicago

33

On Base Percentage

New York

.429

RBI

Minnesota

119

Runs

Baltimore

99

Slugging Average

Minnesota

.546

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

52

Total Bases

Boston

302

Triples

Kansas City

11

1971 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Detroit

29

ERA

Oakland

1.82

Games

Milwaukee

83

Saves

Milwaukee

31

Shutouts

Oakland

8

Strikeouts

Detroit

308

Winning Percentage

Baltimore

.808

Wins

Detroit

25

1971 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

101 57 .639 0

Detroit Tigers

91 71 .562 12

Boston Red Sox

85 77 .525 18

New York Yankees

82 80 .506 21

Washington Senators

63 96 .396

Cleveland Indians

60 102 .370 43

Oakland Athletics

101 60 .627 0

Kansas City Royals

85 76 .528 16

Chicago White Sox

79 83 .488 22½

California Angels

76 86 .469 25½

Minnesota Twins

74 86 .463 26½

Milwaukee Brewers

69 92 .429 27½

1971 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Baltimore

672

Batting Average

Baltimore

.261

Doubles

Boston

246

Hits

Minnesota

1,406

Home Runs

Detroit

179

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.349

Runs

Baltimore

742

Slugging Average

Detroit

.405

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

130

Triples

New York

43

1971 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Baltimore

71

ERA

Baltimore

2.99

Fewest Hits Allowed

Oakland

1,299

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Kansas City

84

Fewest Walks Allowed

Baltimore

416

Saves

Kansas City

44

Shutouts

Milwaukee

23

Strikeouts

Detroit

1,000



On April 5, 1971, a baseball tradition will die. Opening Day ceremonies in Washington D.C. are the last of there kind and 45,061 fans were able to watch the Senators crush the Athletics 8-0.

Did you know that the best fielding third baseman in history once committed three errors during the same inning? On July 28, 1971, Brooks Robinson actually had a bad day during the sixth inning versus the Athletics. The eleven time consecutive Gold Glove winner would still win number twelve, but the moment is still a noteworthy part of his career.

On August 10, 1971 , Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins joined the 500 Home Runs Club during his 6,671st at-bat, the fewest amount needed since Babe Ruth joined the club in 1929.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Dec
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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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