Year In Review : 1972 American League

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 thirty-seve 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 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 1972 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 twenty-one 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 seven and the Twins went a step further and tied their own club record by stranding twenty-three men on base. The following day play resumed as the Brewers scored in the top of the twenty-second to win 4-3, but the Twins prevailed with a 4-3 victory of their own in the second outing after fifteen innings. At the end of the day, both games tallied nine hours and twenty-three 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 sixteen 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 sixteen batters for a 3-0 victory and an American League record with eight K's in a row on nine pitches. Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, managed a one-out single in the first for the team's only hit, but Ryan responded by retiring the last twenty-six 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 three-thousand. 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 thirty-eight years old and had just won a World Series championship in 1971. As a tribute, he was elected on a special consideration to the National 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 one-hundred fifty-three 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"The only difference between me and those other great Yankees is my skin color." - Reggie Jackson

1972 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Chicago
99
New York
Batting Average
Minnesota
.318
Doubles
Kansas City
33
Hits
Oakland
181
Home Runs
Chicago
37
On Base Percentage
Chicago
.422
RBI
Chicago
113
Runs
New York
102
Slugging Average
Chicago
.603
Stolen Bases
Oakland
52
Total Bases
New York
314
Triples
Oakland
9

1972 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Cleveland
29
ERA
Boston
1.91
Games
Texas
66
Saves
New York
35
Shutouts
California
9
Strikeouts
California
329
Winning Percentage
Oakland
.750
Wins
Cleveland
24
Chicago

1972 American League

Team Standings

Detroit Tigers 86 70 .551 0
Boston Red Sox 85 70 .548 ½
Baltimore Orioles 80 74 .519 5
New York Yankees 79 76 .510
Cleveland Indians 72 84 .462 14
Milwaukee Brewers 65 91 .417 21
Oakland Athletics 93 62 .600 0
Chicago White Sox 87 67 .565
Minnesota Twins 77 77 .500 15½
Kansas City Royals 76 78 .494 16½
California Angels 75 80 .484 18
Texas Rangers 54 100 .351 38½
American League Team Standings

1972 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Kansas City
534
Batting Average
Kansas City
.255
Doubles
Boston
229
Hits
Kansas City
1,317
Home Runs
Oakland
134
On Base Percentage
Kansas City
.329
Runs
Boston
640
Slugging Average
Boston
.376
Stolen Bases
Texas
126
Triples
Boston
34

1972 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Baltimore
62
ERA
Baltimore
2.53
Fewest Hits Allowed
California
1,109
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Baltimore
85
Kansas City
Fewest Walks Allowed
Baltimore
395
Saves
Oakland
43
Shutouts
Oakland
23
Strikeouts
California
1,000
Seasonal Events: All-Star Game | All-Star Game | World Series
Navigation: Year in Review Menu | Previous Season | Next Season
Miscellaneous: N.L. Leaderboard
Retirements | Rookies List
Average Salary: $34,092.00
Minimum Salary: $13,500.00
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On July 14, 1972, Bill Haller was the plate umpire in a Tigers versus Royals game. The Detroit catcher that day was Tom Haller , the brother of the umpire, making this the first time in history that such an event took place.

On August 23, 1972, Dick Allen of the White Sox became the fourth player to hit a ball into the centerfield bleachers at Comiskey Park. The other three were Hank Greenberg , Jimmie Foxx , and Alex Johnson .

On October 2, 1972, Terry Forster of the White Sox stole second base and remained the last American League pitcher to steal a base until interleague play began during the 1997 season .

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