Year In Review : 1974 American League

Off the field...

On August 8th, 1974 Richard Nixon became the first President in U.S. history to resign. His decision to step down came as the House of Representatives was poised to vote on the articles of impeachment against him due to his involvement the Watergate scandal.

Patricia Hearst, the heiress to the Hearst fortune, was kidnapped by a radical terrorist group called the "Symbionese Liberation Army" resulting in one of the largest manhunts of all time. While under control of the S.L.A., she was brainwashed and forced to rob a bank while protecting her "comrades in arms." After she was found, Hearst was convicted for grand theft and served almost two years of a seven-year prison term. Finally, she was released with help from President Jimmy Carter and two decades later, President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon.

Charles A. Lindbergh, the first man to fly across the Atlantic (from New York-to-Paris) in 1927 aboard the "Spirit of St. Louis", died of cancer of the lymphatic system. The aviation pioneer had become a recluse after retiring to the island of Kipahulu, Hawaii where he developed an active concern with conservation. Upon hearing of his death, President Ford stated the courage and daring of his historic flight would never be forgotten and that he would be remembered as one of America's all-time heroes.

In the American League...

"Ten-Cent Beer Night" in Cleveland backfired after drunken and disorderly fans stumbled onto the field of play causing the Indians to forfeit the game to the Texas Rangers. With a five-all score in the ninth, Tribe fans poured onto the field and surrounded outfielder Jeff Burroughs while trying to take his hat and glove for souvenirs. After players from both sides rushed to his aid, the game was called in favor of the visitors.

Principal New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was suspended for two years by the Commissioner's Office after he was convicted in federal court for making illegal contributions to the re-election campaign of President Richard Nixon.

The Oakland Athletics' Gene Tenace proved that it's not always what you do, but sometimes what you don't. Tenace tied a 1930 mark set by John Clancy of the Chicago White Sox in which the first baseman played an entire nine-innings without ever having a fielding chance.

In the National League...

On Thursday April 4th, Hank Aaron hit a three-run homer off of Jack Billingham as the Atlanta Braves lost to the Reds 7-6, at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. The eleven inning game itself took a backseat to "Hammerin'" Hank, who had finally tied Babe Ruth with home run number 714. Both Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Vice-president Gerald Ford were on hand to congratulate the slugger who had persevered over racial prejudice and death threats from several fans who did not want to see the Bambino's record fall to a black man. Four days later, back home at Fulton County Stadium, Aaron hit number 715 off Los Angeles Dodgers' lefty, Al Downing. Lost in the celebration was Aaron's tying of Willie Mays' National League record of 2,063 runs as well as his team's 7-4 victory.

The Mets lost 4-3 to the Cardinals during a "long-distance" marathon night game on September 11th. After seven hours and twenty-five innings, the outing became the longest game to a decision in Major League history. In the end, New York had batted one-hundred three times and St. Louis was not far behind with ninety-nine plate appearances. A record one-hundred seventy-five official at-bats were recorded, with a Major League record of forty-five runners left stranded. Despite the historical moment, only a thousand fans were on hand when it finally ended at 3:13 a.m.

On June 29th, Lou Brock nabbed his seven-hundredth bag at Wrigley Field as the St. Louis Cardinals crushed the hometown "Cubbies" 11-2. Brock's sixty-fifth robbery of the season put him in the company of baseball's greatest "criminals" including Ty Cobb, who stole eight-hundred ninety-two bases, Eddie Collins (seven-hundred forty-three), Max Carey (seven-hundred thirty-eight) and Honus Wagner (seven-hundred one).

Around the League...

Forty-eight major leaguers opted to try the new arbitration procedure that had been established to aid in the negotiation of contract differences. The first to file was Minnesota pitcher Dick Woodson, who was seeking an agreement worth $29,000. The Twins had offered $23,000 and both parties presented their arguments to a Detroit lawyer and labor arbitrator Harry H. Platt. After reviewing the monetary amounts presented, the verdict was cast in Woodson's favor.

A new organization known as the "Major League Scouting Bureau" was founded to cut expenditures across the league by centralizing scouting. Initially, membership was not mandatory (until 1984) resulting in only seventeen of twenty-four teams agreeing to pay the $118,000 fee for inclusion. All American League clubs except the White Sox and Toronto joined and only the Cubs, Expos, Pirates, Braves, Astros and the Reds represented the National League.

To prevent the sale of "counterfeit" memorabilia, a system was developed to maintain the integrity of authentic baseballs during Hank Aaron's quest for Babe Ruth's home run record. After Aaron's 710th round-tripper, all official major league balls issued were "encoded" with a special serial number and a diamond symbol that was only visible under fluorescent light.

Twenty-seven years after Jackie Robinson first entered the majors, Frank Robinson became Major League Baseball's first black manager. The thirty-nine year old player / manager signed a $175,000 contract with the Cleveland Indians making him the team's twenty-eighth skipper. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that it should have taken place much sooner and Robinson stated that his only wish was that Jackie could have been there to share in the moment.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"I used to think Al Kaline could hit .400, or (Mickey) Mantle, but Mantle missed the ball too much. Too many strikeouts. He was forever going for the long ball, even with two strikes. Not quite enough finesse. And time ran out on Kaline and (Willie) Mays." - Ted Williams in My Turn at Bat (1988)

1974 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Oakland
110
Batting Average
Minnesota
.364
Doubles
Oakland
39
Hits
Minnesota
218
Home Runs
Chicago
32
On Base Percentage
Minnesota
.435
RBI
Texas
118
Runs
Boston
93
Slugging Average
Chicago
.563
Stolen Bases
Oakland
54
Total Bases
Oakland
287
Triples
California
11

1974 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Texas
29
ERA
Oakland
2.49
Games
Oakland
76
Saves
Chicago
24
Shutouts
Boston
7
Strikeouts
California
367
Winning Percentage
Baltimore
.688
Wins
Oakland
25
Texas

1974 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles 91 71 .562 0
New York Yankees 89 73 .549 2
Boston Red Sox 84 78 .519 7
Cleveland Indians 77 85 .475 14
Milwaukee Brewers 76 86 .469 15
Detroit Tigers 72 90 .444 19
Oakland Athletics 90 72 .556 0
Texas Rangers 84 76 .525 5
Minnesota Twins 82 80 .506 8
Chicago White Sox 80 80 .500 9
Kansas City Royals 77 85 .475 13
California Angels 68 94 .420 29
American League Team Standings

1974 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls
Boston
569
Batting Average
Texas
.272
Doubles
Boston
236
Hits
Minnesota
1,530
Home Runs
Chicago
135
On Base Percentage
Texas
.338
Runs
Boston
696
Slugging Average
Chicago
.389
Stolen Bases
Oakland
164
Triples
Milwaukee
49

1974 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games
Boston
71
ERA
Oakland
2.96
Fewest Hits Allowed
Oakland
1,322
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Oakland
90
Fewest Walks Allowed
Oakland
430
Saves
Chicago
29
Minnesota
Shutouts
Baltimore
16
Texas
Strikeouts
California
986
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: $40,839.00
Minimum Salary: $15,000.00
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

Did you know that on Opening Day in 1974 the New York Yankees played their home opener in Shea Stadium because Yankee Stadium was being remodeled?

In 1946 Bob Feller's fastball was clocked at 98.6 miles per hour (some sources claim it was 107 miles per hour) using a military measuring device. On August 20, 1974, Nolan Ryan's fastball was clocked at 100.9 miles per hour using a modern radar device during a game versus the Tigers. Ryan, who struck out nineteen batters, lost the game 1-0 to Mickey Lolich .

On September 24, 1974 , Al Kaline hit a shot down the right field line during the fourth inning versus Dave McNally of the Orioles. That double put Kaline in company with 11 other 3,000 Hit Club members! Eight days later the Tiger legend announced his retirement from the game.

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