Year In Review : 1979 American League

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The construction of nuclear power plants in the United States temporarily came to a halt after a nuclear accident occurred at the Three Mile Island facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After several tense days of emergency cleanup, the leak was completely contained, but raised the concern about the safety of people living near such volatile energy sources. After a media frenzy erupted, the facility was toured by President Jimmy Carter in an effort to calm the panic stricken public.

On July 26th, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Trade Act Bill in response to trade negotiations with Tokyo. The bill reduced further tariffs on a wide range of items, and introduced a new policy to handle unfair trade practices.

Militant Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Teheran (taking fifty-two Americans hostage) in protest after the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran. The hostages were subjected to four-hundred forty-four days of brutal conditions amidst repeated negotiation failures. A rescue attempt called "Operation Desert One" was aborted in the Iranian desert the following year resulting in the deaths of eight Americans.

I n the American League

On April 5th, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 giving Earl Weaver his one-thousandth career win as a Major League skipper.

Thurman Munson, the team captain of the New York Yankees, died when the Cessna Citation twin-engine jet he was piloting crashed outside of Canton, Ohio two-hundred feet short of the Akron Airport runway. The thirty-two year-old catcher was a three-time Golden Glove winner, the 1976 American League MVP and a seven-time All-Star. His lifetime batting average was .292 and included an incredible .529 average in the 1976 World Series.

On July 24th, Red Sox sensation Carl Yastrzemski hit his four-hundredth career home run off of the Oakland A's Mike Morgan at Fenway Park. On September 12th, "The Yaz" totaled his three-thousandth hit becoming the first American League player to tally both numbers.

I n the National League

St. Louis Cardinal Gary Templeton became the first player in Major League history to have one-hundred hits from each side of the plate in the same season. The switch hitter batted strictly right-handed in his last nine games to aid his own cause in setting the record.

Pete Rose, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, totaled over two-hundred hits for the tenth season in his career breaking Ty Cobb's record of nine years.

Willie Stargell hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 7 to push the Pittsburgh Pirates ahead for good in a 4-1 World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The championship title capped off a Cinderella season in which "Pops" and his "Family" brought fun back to baseball.

A round the league

On May 17th, the forty-five day umpires strike concluded after fourteen hours of negotiation. The official's new agreement included a pay increase of approximately $7,000, a heightened cap on maximum salaries from $40,000 to $50,000, two weeks of vacation during the regular season and improved pension benefits. One controversial issue remained though as the league presidents voted to add some of the replacement umpires to the regular roster.

WLUP-FM's promotional "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park went terribly wrong as 50,000 fans turned up to receive a $.98 ticket for the doubleheader with records and eventually rioted on the field. After a delay of one hour and sixteen minutes, the umpires determined that the field was unplayable and called the second game between the White Sox and visiting Detroit Tigers. The following day, American League President Lee MacPhail awarded the Tigers a 9-0 forfeit win.

Walter O'Malley, the man who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, died at the Mayo Clinic on August 9th at the age of seventy-five. The team's still acting Chairman of the Board was still considered a sellout in New York and was quoted as saying that, "Baseball wasn't a business, but more like a disease."

Writer Daniel Okrent drew up the first set of official rules for a new pastime based on the actual day-to-day statistical play of real major leaguers. The "rotisserie league" would eventually evolve into the phenomenon known as "Fantasy Baseball".

"I never got many questions about my managing. I tried to get twenty-five guys who didn't ask questions." - Earl Weaver
1979 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Kansas City

121

Batting Average

Boston

.333

Doubles

Milwaukee

44

Chicago

Hits

Kansas City

212

Home Runs

Milwaukee

45

On Base Percentage

Kansas City

.429

RBI

California

139

Runs

California

120

Slugging Average

Boston

.637

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

83

Total Bases

Boston

369

Triples

Kansas City

20

1979 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Baltimore

18

ERA

New York

2.78

Games

Minnesota

90

Saves

Minnesota

32

Shutouts

Kansas City

5

California

Strikeouts

California

223

Winning Percentage

Milwaukee

.727

Wins

Baltimore

23

1979 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

102 57 .642 0

Milwaukee Brewers

95 66 .590 8

Boston Red Sox

91 69 .569 11½

New York Yankees

89 71 .556 13½

Detroit Tigers

85 76 ,528 18

Cleveland Indians

81 80 .503 22

Toronto Blue Jays

53 109 .327 50½

California Angels

88 74 .543 0

Kansas City Royals

85 77 .525 3

Texas Rangers

83 79 .512 5

Minnesota Twins

82 80 .506 6

Chicago White Sox

73 87 .456 14

Seattle Mariners

67 95 .414 21

Oakland Athletics

54 108 .333 34

1979 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

657

Batting Average

Boston

.283

Doubles

Boston

310

Hits

Kansas City

1,596

Home Runs

Boston

194

On Base Percentage

California

.354

Runs

California

866

Slugging Average

Boston

.456

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

207

Triples

Kansas City

79

1979 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Milwaukee

61

ERA

Baltimore

3.26

Fewest Hits Allowed

Baltimore

1,279

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Chicago

114

Fewest Walks Allowed

Milwaukee

381

Saves

Texas

42

Shutouts

Baltimore

12

Milwaukee

Strikeouts

California

820



On April 5, 1979, Earl Weaver, skipper of the Baltimore Orioles, achieved a managerial pinnacle when his club defeated the White Sox 5-3 giving him victory number one-thousand .

Just how good was Nolan Ryan ? On June 9, 1979 he struck out sixteen Detroit Tigers during a 9-1 Angels victory. This was the twenty-first time during his career where he struck out more than fifteen batters in a single game.

On September 12, 1979, Carl Yastrzemski had career hit number three thousand. A couple months earlier, on the 24th of July, he had career home run number four hundred. This particular hit made him the first American League player with at least 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.

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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