Year In Review : 1978 American League

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On November 18th, nine-hundred twelve followers of American cult leader Jim Jones and his "Peoples Temple" died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown". Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide." More than two-hundred eighty children were killed and Jones himself was found fatally wounded by a gunshot to the head.

San Francisco California Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first acknowledged homosexual elected to office, were assassinated in their chambers at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White. In 1985, White committed suicide in the garage of this Excelsior District home after a failed attempt to return to a normal life upon his release from prison.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiated two controversial treaties with Panama's dictator General Omar Torrijos to return the Panama Canal to Panama. Many felt that both agreements were invalid as the Panama Canal was purchased from Panama by the 1903 Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty "in perpetuity," which meant that it was to remain in U.S. hands forever.

I n the American League

On June 4th, the Baltimore Orioles selected a young eighteen-year old from Aberdeen Maryland named Cal Ripken, Jr. The high school senior played both pitcher and outfielder while hitting .492 and posting a 7-2 record on the mound with an astounding 0.70 ERA.

Ron Guidry, of the New York Yankees, set an American League record by becoming the first left-hander to strike out eighteen batters in a single game during a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Angels.

After going two-for-four against the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day, Angels' outfielder Lyman Bostock was killed in a bizarre shooting accident. During a domestic dispute on September 23rd, the twenty-seven year old was hit in the head with a .410 gauge shotgun blast by his uncle who was en-route to shooting his aunt. Bostock was a .311 hitter in his fourth season in the Major Leagues and his father; Lyman Sr. had been a star player in the Negro Leagues.

I n the National League

On May 20th, Pittsburgh Pirate captain Willie Stargell launched a 535-foot rocket off the Montreal Expos' Wayne Twitchell for his four-hundred seventh career home run at Olympic Stadium. It was the longest ball ever hit in the ballpark and put "Pops" on the all-time homer list beside Duke Snider.

Chicago Cubs manager Herman Franks and Montreal Expos skipper Dick Williams combined to use forty-five players in a nine inning game setting the all-time record. They also tied another Major League mark by utilizing fourteen different pitchers en route to a 10-8 Canadian victory.

On June 30th, during the first game of a 10-9, 10-5 doubleheader loss to the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit his five-hundredth career home run off Jamie Easterly to become the twelfth member of the "500-HR" club.

A round the league

The New York Times reported that the renovations on "The House That Ruth Built" were up to a staggering $95.6 million dollars and that it would have cost only $48.8 million to build a brand new Yankee Stadium.

Don Sutton threatened to sue umpire Doug Harvey after the official claimed to find three "doctored" balls belonging to the Dodger righty during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. After an investigation, Sutton was issued a warning from National League president Charles Feeney.

In what was a sign of things to come, major league umpires went on strike in August attempting to get better benefits. Amateur officiating crews were brought in to call thirteen games before a judge issued a formal restraining order sending the disgruntled picketers back to work.

U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that women reporters could no longer be banned from the locker rooms of all New York City sports teams. The decision was ultimately initiated after Sports Illustrated magazine sued the Yankees on the behalf of Melissa Ludtke after she was denied equal access during the 1977 post-season.

"Never a day went by when you didn't learn something from (Joe) McCarthy." - Joe DiMaggio
1978 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Texas

107

Batting Average

Minnesota

.333

Doubles

Kansas City

45

Hits

Boston

213

Home Runs

Boston

46

On Base Percentage

Minnesota

.415

RBI

Boston

139

Runs

Detroit

126

Slugging Average

Boston

.600

Stolen Bases

Detroit

68

Total Bases

Boston

406

Triples

Boston

15

1978 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Milwaukee

23

ERA

New York

1.74

Games

Oakland

74

Saves

New York

27

Shutouts

New York

9

Strikeouts

California

260

Winning Percentage

New York

.893

Wins

New York

25

1978 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

100 63 .613 0

Boston Red Sox

99 64 .607 1

Milwaukee Brewers

93 69 .574

Baltimore Orioles

90 71 .559 9

Detroit Tigers

86 76 .531 13½

Cleveland Indians

69 90 .434 29

Toronto Blue Jays

59 102 .366 40

Kansas City Royals

92 70 .568 0

Texas Rangers

87 75 .537 5

California Angels

87 75 .537 5

Minnesota Twins

73 89 .451 19

Chicago White Sox

71 90 .441 20½

Oakland Athletics

69 93 .426 23

Seattle Mariners

56 104 .350 35

1978 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Texas

624

Batting Average

Milwaukee

.276

Doubles

Kansas City

305

Hits

Milwaukee

1,530

Home Runs

Milwaukee

173

On Base Percentage

Milwaukee

.342

Runs

Milwaukee

804

Slugging Average

Milwaukee

.432

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

216

Triples

Kansas City

59

1978 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Baltimore

65

ERA

New York

3.18

Fewest Hits Allowed

New York

1,321

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Cleveland

100

Fewest Walks Allowed

Milwaukee

398

Saves

New York

36

Shutouts

Milwaukee

19

Strikeouts

California

892



On June 4, 1978, the Baltimore Orioles drafted a high school senior who pitched and played outfield. That versatile player had a 7-2 win-loss record, an ERA of 0.70, and was batting .492. That player was Cal Ripken, Jr.

On July 13, 1978, George Steinbrenner met with manager Billy Martin and the New York Yankees team. His message to the team was, "I'm not going to lie down and die like a dog and neither are you." On the 24th of July, the team was up to 52-42 and Billy Martin resigned for the first time in the ' Yankee Skipper Saga !'

The 1978 season featured a constant battle for first place between the Red Sox and Yankees. On October 1, 1978, the final day of the regular season, the Red Sox won and the Yankees lost making them tied for first. On October 2, 1978, the two clubs met in a one game playoff and Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry notched his twenty-fifth victory of the season. The 5-4 game is considered by many as one of the most exciting games in Major League history.

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