YEAR IN REVIEW : 1979 American League

Off the field...

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.

In 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.

In 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.

Around 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".

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"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

Kansas City
121
Boston
.333
Milwaukee
44
Chicago
Kansas City
212
Milwaukee
45
Kansas City
.429
California
139
California
120
Boston
.637
Kansas City
83
Boston
369
Kansas City
20

1979 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Baltimore
18
New York
2.78
Minnesota
90
Minnesota
32
Kansas City
5
California
California
223
Milwaukee
.727
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
American League Team Standings

1979 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Cleveland
657
Boston
.283
Boston
310
Kansas City
1,596
Boston
194
California
.354
California
866
Boston
.456
Kansas City
207
Kansas City
79

1979 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Milwaukee
61
Baltimore
3.26
Fewest Hits Allowed
Baltimore
1,279
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Chicago
114
Fewest Walks Allowed
Milwaukee
381
Texas
42
Baltimore
12
Milwaukee
California
820
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: $113,558.00
Minimum Salary: $21,000.00
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baseball almanac fast facts

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.

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