1971 in baseball
Major League Baseball
National League: Pittsburgh Pirates
American League: Baltimore Orioles
1971 World Series: Pittsburgh (NL) def. Baltimore (AL), 4 games to 3.
Inter-league playoff: Pittsburgh (NL) declined challenge by Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.
- World Series MVP: Roberto Clemente
- All-Star Game, July 13 at Tiger Stadium: American League, 6–4; Frank Robinson, MVP
- College World Series: USC
- Japan Series: Yomiuri Giants over Hankyu Braves (4–1)
- Little League World Series: Tainan, Taiwan
- 1971 Caribbean Series: Tigres del Licey
- Dominican Republic League: Tigres del Licey
- Mexican Pacific League: Naranjeros de Hermosillo
- Puerto Rican League: Cangrejeros de Santurce
- Venezuelan League: Tiburones de La Guaira
Awards and honors
- Most Valuable Player
- Cy Young Award
- Rookie of the Year
|American League||National League|
|AVG||Tony Oliva||.337||Joe Torre||.363|
|HR||Bill Melton||33||Willie Stargell||48|
|RBI||Harmon Killebrew||119||Joe Torre||137|
|Wins||Mickey Lolich||25||Ferguson Jenkins||24|
|ERA||Vida Blue||1.82||Tom Seaver||1.76|
Major league baseball final standings
American League final standings
National League final standings
- January 31 – The new Special Veterans Committee selects seven men for enshrinement to the Hall of Fame: former players Dave Bancroft, Jake Beckley, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper, Joe Kelley, and Rube Marquard, and executive George Weiss.
- February 9 – Former Negro Leagues pitcher Satchel Paige is nominated for the Hall of Fame. On June 10, the Hall's new Veterans Committee will formally select Paige for induction.
- March 6, 1971: Charlie Finley persuaded American League president Joe Cronin to have a preseason game in which a walk was allowed on three pitches rather than four. The Athletics bested the Milwaukee Brewers by a 13–9 tally. Nineteen total walks were issued in the game, and a collective six home runs were hit.
- April 10:
- The Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Montreal Expos, 4–1, in the first game played at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.
- Willie Stargell hits three home runs, including his 200th career homer.
- Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants becomes the first player to hit a home run in each of his team's first four games of a season. The shot comes off Jerry Reuss in the third inning of Giants' 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Memorial Stadium. Mays had also homered in each of the first three games of the season, against the San Diego Padres.
- April 27 – Hank Aaron becomes the third player in Major League history to hit his 600th home run.
- May 6 – Commissioner Bowie Kuhn signs Major League Baseball to a $72 million television contract with NBC.
- May 15 – Billy Williams hits the 300th home run of his career during a 6–4 win over the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. The milestone homer was hit off Tom Phoebus.
- May 17:
- Johnny Bench hits his 100th career home run.
- The Cleveland Indians are involved in a bizarre play against the Washington Senators at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The Senators' Tommy McCraw leads off the bottom of the fourth inning with a 140-foot pop fly (some sources say it was 250 feet) into short left-center for what should be an out. Instead, Indians shortstop Jack Heidemann, left fielder John Lowenstein and center fielder Vada Pinson collide into each other going for the ball, which falls amongst the three players. Before the ball can be recovered, McCraw circles the bases for an inside-the-park home run; meanwhile, Heidemann, Lowenstein and Pinson are all injured and have to be replaced. Despite their embarrassing moment, the Indians defeat the Senators 6–3.
- June 3 – Pitcher Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs throws the second no-hitter of his career, victimizing the hosts Cincinnati Reds 1–0. Holtzman scores the only run, unearned, in the third inning, to beat Reds pitcher Gary Nolan.
- June 6 – Willie Mays hits his major league-leading 22nd and last career extra-inning home run against Phillies reliever Joe Hoerner.
- June 23 – In a singular performance, pitcher Rick Wise of the Philadelphia Phillies no-hits the Cincinnati Reds, 4–0, and bangs two home runs in the game. Wise joins Wes Ferrell (1931), Jim Tobin (1944) and Earl Wilson (1962) as the only pitchers to pitch a no-hitter and hit a home run in the same game. It is the second no-hitter against Cincinnati this month, both in Riverfront Stadium.
- June 25 – Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits what will be the longest home run ever hit at Veterans Stadium. In the second inning of the Pirates' 14–4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, his shot off Jim Bunning strikes above an exit in the 600 level in the upper deck. The spot where the ball struck will eventually be marked with a yellow star with a black "S" inside a white circle until Stargell's 2001 death, after which the white circle will then be painted black. The star will remain until the stadium's 2004 demolition.
- July 7 – Commissioner Kuhn announces that players from the Negro Leagues elected to the Hall of Fame will be given full membership in the museum. It had been previously announced that they would be honored in a separate wing.
- July 9
- The Oakland Athletics beat the California Angels 1–0 in 20 innings – the longest shutout in American League history. Vida Blue strikes out 17 batters in 11 innings for Oakland, while the Angels' Billy Cowan ties a major league record by fanning six times. Both teams combine for 43 strikeouts, a new major league record.
- Kansas City Royals shortstop Freddie Patek hits for the cycle in the Royals' 6–3 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Metropolitan Stadium.
- July 13 – In an All-Star Game featuring home runs by future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson, the American League triumphs over the National League 6–4 at Tiger Stadium. It is the only AL All-Star victory between 1962 and 1983. Jackson's home run goes 520 feet, and Robinson is named MVP.
- August 4:
- In Texas League action, Tom Walker pitched a 15-inning no-hitter for the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs to beat the Albuquerque Dodgers, 1–0, which is considered the second longest no-hitter pitched in American professional baseball history. Walker struck out 11 batters and walked four to complete the gem. His manager Cal Ripken, Sr. left him in the game until he finally picked the victory after throwing 176 pitches. Only Fred Toney, who hurled 17 no-hit innings in the Blue Grass League in 1909, has pitched a longer no-hitter in baseball history.
- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson wins his 200th game, a 7–2 victory over the San Francisco Giants at St. Louis.
- August 10:
- August 14 – Ten days after his 200th victory, St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Bob Gibson no-hits the Pittsburgh Pirates 11–0, the first no-hitter ever pitched at Three Rivers Stadium. He strikes out 10 batters along the way; three of those are to Willie Stargell, including the final out. The no-hitter is the first to be pitched in Pittsburgh in 64 years; none had been pitched in the 62-year (mid-1909 to mid-1970) history of Three Rivers Stadium's predecessor, Forbes Field.
- August 17 – Billy Williams collects the 2,000th hit of his career in a 5–4 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta.
- August 28 – Phillies pitcher Rick Wise hits two home runs, including a grand slam off Don McMahon, in the second game of a doubleheader, duplicating his feat in his June no-hitter. Wise beats the Giants 7–3.
- September 1 – The Pittsburgh Pirates start what is believed to be the first All-Black lineup in major league history, which include several Latin American players, in a 10–7 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The lineup: Rennie Stennett (2B); Gene Clines (CF); Roberto Clemente (RF); Willie Stargell (LF); Manny Sanguillén (C); Dave Cash (3B); Al Oliver (1B); Jackie Hernández (SS), and Dock Ellis (P). Another black player, Bob Veale, was one of three relievers in the game.
- September 5 – J. R. Richard tied Karl Spooner's major league record by striking out 15 San Francisco Giants in his first major league game, as the Houston Astros beat the Giants.
- September 10 – Ferguson Jenkins breaks Charlie Root's Chicago Cubs club record for career strikeouts during an 8–7, 12-inning loss to the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
- September 13 – Baltimore Orioles first baseman Frank Robinson becomes the 11th player to reach 500 career home runs.
- September 26 – Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer shuts out the host Cleveland Indians, 5–0, and becomes the fourth member of the Orioles 1971 pitching staff to notch his 20th victory, joining Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson. Only one other team in ML history, the 1920 Chicago White Sox, boasted four 20-game winners.
- September 29 – The Montreal Expos' Ron Hunt is hit by a pitch for the 50th time of the season.
- September 30 – The Washington Senators' lead 7–5 in their last home game, but forfeit the game to the New York Yankees, when, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, fans storm the field. The Senators moved to Arlington, Texas, and became the Texas Rangers for the 1972 season. The Nation's Capital would not have another MLB team until the 2005 relocation of the Montreal Expos, to become the Washington Nationals.
- October 17 – Pitcher Steve Blass throws a four-hitter and Roberto Clemente homers as the Pittsburgh Pirates win Game Seven of the World Series over the Baltimore Orioles, 2–1, becoming World Champions for the first time since 1960. Clemente is named the Series MVP. Game Four, played on October 13, was the first night game in World Series history.
- November 2 – Pat Dobson of the Baltimore Orioles pitches a no-hitter against the Yomiuri Giants, winning 2–0. It is the first no-hitter in Japanese-American baseball exhibition history. The Orioles compile a record of 12–2–4 on the tour.
- November 10:
- Joe Torre of the St. Louis Cardinals, who led the National League in batting average (.363) and runs batted in (137) while hitting 24 home runs, is named the Most Valuable Player over Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates (.295/125/48). Torre receives 318 points to 222 for Stargell.
- Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue adds the American League MVP Award to his list of awards for 1971, easily outpointing teammate Sal Bando 268–182.
- November 14 – In Venezuelan Winter League, Luis Tiant of the Tiburones de la Guaira hurled a 3–0 no-hitter against his former team Leones del Caracas. Tiant became the fourth pitcher in league's 26-year history to achieve the feat, joining Len Yochim (1955), Mel Nelson (1963) and Howie Reed (1968).
- November 17 – At age 22, Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue becomes the youngest player ever to win the Most Valuable Player Award and only the fourth to capture both the Cy Young Award and the MVP in the same season.
- November 22 – Cleveland Indians first baseman Chris Chambliss receives 11 of 24 first place votes to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
- November 24 – Catcher-infielder Earl Williams, who hit 33 home runs and 87 RBI for the Atlanta Braves, wins the National League Rookie of the Year honors. Williams gets 18 of 24 first place votes, with the others going to Willie Montañez of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- November 29 :
- The Cincinnati Reds sends 1B Lee May, 2B Tommy Helms and OF Jimmy Stewart to the Houston Astros, in exchange for 2B Joe Morgan, OF César Gerónimo and P Jack Billingham. This trade, criticized in the Cincinnati, Ohio press, will be one of the best in Reds history, and puts the wheels on the big Red Machine, as future Hall of Fame member Morgan will win two MVP awards.
- The Chicago Cubs trade P Ken Holtzman to the Oakland Athletics for OF Rick Monday, and the San Francisco Giants deal P Gaylord Perry and SS Frank Duffy to the Cleveland Indians for P Sam McDowell.
- December 1 – The Chicago Cubs release longtime star and future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, ending his 19-year major league career. The Cubs also announce that Banks will serve as a coach on manager Leo Durocher's staff in the 1972 season. Mr. Cub finishes his illustrious playing career with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI.
- December 10 – The California Angels send star shortstop Jim Fregosi to the New York Mets in return for four players, one of whom is Nolan Ryan.
- January 7 – Frank Menechino
- January 8 – Jason Giambi
- January 11 – Alex Delgado
- January 12 – Andy Fox
- January 13 – Elmer Dessens
- January 17 – Tyler Houston
- January 19 – Jeff Juden
- January 19 – Phil Nevin
- January 21 – Brian Giles
- January 23 – Charlie Greene
- January 27 – Ken Huckaby
- February 3 – Eric Owens
- February 8 – James Hoye
- February 10 – Kevin Sefcik
- February 19 – Miguel Batista
- February 21 – James Hoye
- March 5 – Jeffrey Hammonds
- March 5 – Brian Hunter
- March 5 – Brian Lesher
- March 12 – Raúl Mondesí
- March 13 – Scott Sullivan
- March 17 – Bill Mueller
- March 20 – Manny Alexander
- March 26 – Frank Lankford
- March 26 – Jesús Tavárez
- April 3 – Quilvio Veras
- April 6 – Lou Merloni
- April 14 – Carlos Pérez
- April 14 – Gregg Zaun
- April 29 – Sterling Hitchcock
- May 4 – Joe Borowski
- May 5 – Mike Redmond
- May 8 – Todd Greene
- May 11 – Kerry Ligtenberg
- May 13 – Mike Sirotka
- May 18 – Rich Garcés
- May 21 – Chris Widger
- May 22 – Steve Reich
- May 26 – Jason Bere
- May 31 – José Malavé
- June 3 – Carl Everett
- June 3 – Aaron Ledesma
- June 7 – Roberto Petagine
- June 12 – Ryan Klesko
- June 16 – Chris Gomez
- June 22 – Hunter Wendelstedt
- June 25 – Michael Tucker
- June 28 – Ron Mahay
- July 1 – Jamie Walker
- July 4 – Brendan Donnelly
- July 15 – James Baldwin
- July 20 – Charles Johnson
- July 25 – Billy Wagner
- August 1 – Travis Driskill
- August 5 – Carlos Pulido
- August 9 – Scott Karl
- August 10 – Sal Fasano
- August 14 – Mark Loretta
- August 17 – Jorge Posada
- August 18 – Albie López
- August 23 – Allen McDill
- August 29 – Henry Blanco
- August 29 – Shane Andrews
- September 2 – Rich Aurilia
- September 9 – Robinson Checo
- September 13 – Armando Ríos
- September 23 – Willie Greene
- September 24 – Kevin Millar
- September 24 – Jamie Burke
- September 29 – Eddy Díaz
- October 3 – Wil Cordero
- October 14 – Midre Cummings
- October 25 – Pedro Martínez
- November 3 – Matt Lawton
- November 6 – Bubba Trammell
- November 7 – Todd Ritchie
- November 9 – Scott Sauerbeck
- November 10 – Butch Huskey
- November 11 – Rey Ordóñez
- November 20 – Gabe White
- November 23 – Aaron Small
- November 23 – Matt Miller
- November 28 – Bill Simas
- November 30 – Ray Durham
- November 30 – Iván Rodríguez
- December 6 – José Contreras
- December 6 – Adam Hyzdu
- December 9 – Todd Van Poppel
- December 24 – Alex Cabrera
- December 26 – Carlos Valdéz
- December 28 – Benny Agbayani
- December 28 – Melvin Nieves
- December 31 – Esteban Loaiza
- December 31 – Brian Moehler
- January 1 – Luis Aparicio, Sr., 58, legendary Venezuelan shortstop and father of Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio
- January 1 – Harry Rice, 69, outfielder noted for his defense who also hit .300 five times
- January 7 – Dud Lee, 71, infielder for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox in the 1920s
- January 7 – Hal Rhyne, 71, shortstop who played from 1926 to 1933 for the Pirates, Red Sox and White Sox
- January 9 – Elmer Flick, 94, Hall of Fame right fielder and lifetime .313 hitter who led AL in triples three times, steals twice, and batting and runs once each
- February 16 – Cedric Durst, 74, outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox between 1922 and 1930, who also was a member of the 1927 and 1928 World Champions Yankees
- February 20 – Vidal López, 52, three-time Triple Crown Pitching winner and slugging outfielder who played in the professional leagues of Cuba, México, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, throughout a career that lasted 21 years between the 1930s and 1950s
- March 18 – Tony Welzer, 71, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox from 1926 to 1927, who was the first player born in Germany to appear in an American League game
- April 4 – Carl Mays, 79, underhand pitcher who won 20 games five times with three teams, but was best remembered for his pitch which struck Ray Chapman in the head for the only field fatality in major league history
- April 9 – Elmer Eggert, 69, pitcher for the 1927 Boston Red Sox
- April 9 – Will Harridge, 87, president of the American League from 1931 to 1958
- April 15 – Mickey Harris, 54, All-Star pitcher who won 17 games for the 1946 Red Sox, led AL in saves with 1950 Senators
- April 16 – William Eckert, 62, commissioner of baseball from 1965 to 1968
- April 16 – Ron Northey, 50, outfielder with a powerful arm who hit a record three pinch-hit grand slams in his career
- April 19 – Russ Hodges, 60, broadcaster for the Giants since 1949, previously with the Reds, Cubs, Senators and Yankees, best known for his call of Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run in 1951
- May 12 – Heinie Manush, 69, Hall of Fame left fielder and career .330 hitter who won 1926 batting title with Detroit, led AL in hits and doubles twice each
- May 15 – Goose Goslin, 70, Hall of Fame left fielder who starred for five pennant winners in Washington and Detroit, batting .316 lifetime with eleven 100-RBI seasons; one of the first ten players to hit 200 home runs, he retired with the 7th-most RBIs in history
- May 20 – Martín Dihigo, 65, Cuban star in the Negro Leagues who excelled at all positions, particularly as a pitcher and second baseman
- May 26 – Judge Nagle, 91, pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox during the 1911 season
- July 12 – Wally Judnich, 54, center fielder who twice batted .300 for the St. Louis Browns
- July 28 – Myril Hoag, 63, outfielder who recovered from a brutal 1936 collision to become an All-Star three years later
- October 8 – Murray Wall, 45, relief pitcher for the Boston Braves, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators between 1950 and 1959
- November 5 – Toothpick Sam Jones, 45, All-Star pitcher who led NL in strikeouts three times after beginning in the Negro Leagues
- November 17 – Smead Jolley, 89, outfielder who played for the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in the 1930s
- December 13 – Mike Ryba, 68, pitcher who caught both games of a doubleheader in 1942
- December 16 – Ferdie Schupp, 80, pitcher who won 21 games for the 1917 New York Giants but whose career faltered after service in World War I
- Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p.146, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8027-1745-0
- John Perrotto (August 14, 2006). "Baseball Plog". Beaver County Times.
- "Honoring First All-Minority Lineup". New York Times. September 17, 2006. p. Sports p. 2.
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