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Series Wrapup

Story

The Baltimore Orioles continued their domination of the American League East in 1971, capturing their third consecutive division title by finishing the campaign with a record of 101-57, 12 games ahead of the second-place Detroit Tigers.  By surpassing 100 victories for the third straight season, the Orioles became the first team since the 1942-1944 St. Louis Cardinals to win at least 100 games three straight years.

Once again the American League’s most well-balanced team, the Orioles finished first in the junior circuit with 742 runs scored, a .261 team batting average, and a 2.99 team ERA.  Reigning A.L. MVP Boog Powell posted subpar numbers, finishing the year with only 22 home runs, 92 runs batted in, 59 runs scored, and a .256 batting average.  However, the rest of Baltimore’s lineup picked up the slack.  Frank Robinson led the team with 28 home runs, placed second in the league with 99 runs batted in, and batted .281.  Brooks Robinson hit 20 homers and drove in 92 runs.  Don Buford hit 19 homers, batted .290, and led the A.L. with 99 runs scored.  Merv Rettenmund batted .318, knocked in 75 runs, and scored 81 others.

The Orioles’ greatest strength, though, lay in their pitching staff, which featured four 20-game winners.  Dave McNally finished 21-5 with a 2.89 earned run average.  Jim Palmer compiled a record of 20-9, threw 20 complete games and 282 innings, and led the staff with an ERA of 2.68.  Mike Cuellar also posted a mark of 20-9, and he pitched to an ERA of 3.08 and led the team with 21 complete games and 292 innings pitched.  Pat Dobson gave the Birds a fourth 20-game winner, going 20-8, with a 2.90 ERA, and tossing 18 complete games and 282 innings.

While the Orioles continued to reign supreme in the A.L. East, the Oakland Athletics replaced the Minnesota Twins as the Western Division’s dominant team, winning their first of five consecutive division titles.  The A’s finished the regular season with a record of 101-60, 16 games in front of the runner-up Kansas City Royals.

Also an extremely well-balanced ball club, the Athletics finished tied for third in the league with 691 runs scored, and they placed second in the junior circuit with a team ERA of 3.05.  Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, and Bert Campaneris paced the A’s on offense.  Jackson batted .277, drove in 80 runs, scored 87 others, and finished among the league leaders with 32 home runs.  Bando earned a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by hitting 24 homers and knocking in 94 runs.  Campaneris scored 80 runs and finished fourth in the league with 34 stolen bases.

Meanwhile, the duo of Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue anchored Oakland’s pitching staff.  Hunter finished 21-11, with a 2.96 ERA, 273 innings pitched, and 16 complete games.  Blue earned A.L. Cy Young and MVP honors by compiling a record of 24-8, leading the league with a 1.82 ERA and eight shutouts, and finishing among the leaders with 24 complete games, 312 innings pitched, and 301 strikeouts.

However, Blue and the rest of the young A’s struggled against the more experienced Orioles in the ALCS, losing the Series in three straight games.  Blue surrendered five runs to the Birds in his lone start, dropping a 5-3 decision.  Baltimore took the other two contests by scores of 5-1 and 5-3.

The Orioles subsequently got off to a fast start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, grabbing an early two-games-to-none lead in the Fall Classic.  The Pirates rallied to win the next three games at home, though, forcing Baltimore to stave off elimination with a 10-inning victory in Game Six.  Pittsburgh’s Steve Blass out-dueled Mike Cuellar in the decisive seventh contest, earning his second Series win by throwing a complete-game four-hitter.  The 2-1 Pirates’ victory gave them their first world championship in 11 years.  Roberto Clemente earned Series MVP honors by batting .414, with 12 hits and two home runs.

While the Orioles clearly established themselves as the strongest team in the A.L. East during the regular season, the two best players in the division performed for other teams.  Detroit Tigers left-hander Mickey Lolich had a sensational season, compiling a record of 25-14, to lead all A.L. hurlers in victories.  Lolich also posted an ERA of 2.92, and he topped the circuit with 308 strikeouts, 376 innings pitched, and 29 complete games.  His 45 starts and 376 innings pitched represented the highest totals compiled by any pitcher since the Dead-ball Era.

Meanwhile, New York Yankees centerfielder Bobby Murcer had arguably the finest season of any position player in the league.  Murcer hit 25 home runs, finished among the league leaders with 94 runs batted in, 94 runs scored, and a .543 slugging percentage, placed second in the batting race with a mark of .331, and led the league with a .429 on-base percentage.  

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• May 6 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn signed Major League Baseball to a $72 million television contract with NBC.

• July 7 - Commissioner Kuhn announced that players from the Negro Leagues elected to the Hall of Fame would be given full membership in the museum.  It had previously been announced that they would be honored in a separate wing.

• 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 triumphed over the National League 6-4 at Tiger Stadium.  The A.L. victory was the only one the junior circuit registered between 1962 and 1983.  Jackson’s mammoth home run was later estimated to have traveled some 520 feet.

• August 10 – Minnesota’s Harmon Killebrew became the tenth member of the 500 home run club during a 4-3 loss to Mike Cuellar and the Baltimore Orioles.

• September 13 – Baltimore’s Frank Robinson became the 11th player to reach 500 career home runs.

• December 10 - The California Angels traded star shortstop Jim Fregosi to the New York Mets for four players, including Nolan Ryan.

• Chicago's Bill Melton led the American League with 33 home runs.

• Baltimore became the only pennant-winning team in major league history to have four 20-game winners.

• Cleveland third baseman Graig Nettles compiled a major league record 412 assists.

• Minnesota’s Tony Oliva won his third American League batting title with a mark of .337, and he also topped the circuit with a .546 slugging average.

• Cleveland first baseman Chris Chambliss (nine home runs, 48 RBIs, .278 batting average) earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Harmon Killebrew led the league with 119 runs batted in and 114 walks.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Jake Beckley, Dave Bancroft, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper, Joe Kelley, Rube Marquard, George Weiss, and Satchel Paige.

• At the end of the year, the Orioles traded Frank Robinson and reliever Pete Richert to the Dodgers for four players.

• Hall of Famers Heinie Manush, Goose Goslin, and Elmer Flick all passed away.

• Minnesota's Cesar Tovar led the American League with 204 hits, 25 more than any other player in the circuit.

• Kansas City’s Amos Otis and Fred Patek finished first and second in the league with 52 and 49 stolen bases, respectively.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 1835 5303 742 1382 702 .198 207 25 158 66 38 2113 .370 .298 .690 126 37 85
BOS 1931 5401 691 1360 650 .247 246 28 161 51 34 2145 .360 .347 .708 146 47 75
CAL 2067 5495 511 1271 476 .191 213 18 96 72 34 1808 .280 .252 .557 141 31 83
CHA 2081 5382 617 1346 568 .221 185 30 138 83 65 2005 .339 .331 .713 107 38 81
CLE 2193 5467 543 1303 507 .205 200 20 109 57 37 1870 .295 .271 .574 127 29 67
DET 2085 5502 701 1399 652 .180 214 38 179 35 43 2226 .340 .275 .663 129 37 62
KCA 1962 5295 603 1323 573 .184 225 40 80 130 46 1868 .277 .267 .552 128 59 45
MIN 2073 5414 654 1406 618 .198 197 31 116 66 44 2013 .324 .269 .611 159 57 64
ML4 2095 5185 534 1188 496 .165 160 23 104 82 53 1706 .304 .234 .558 103 39 107
NYA 1932 5413 648 1377 607 .177 195 43 97 75 55 1949 .319 .248 .645 140 56 77
OAK 2017 5494 691 1383 642 .196 195 25 160 80 53 2108 .347 .271 .658 113 38 80
WS2 2152 5290 537 1219 501 .166 189 30 86 68 45 1726 .298 .218 .542 127 35 58

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 335 101 57 1415 793 416 5799 1257 125 43.510 472 530 71 13 22 37 2
BOS 409 85 77 1443 871 535 6188 1424 136 61.240 614 667 44 10 35 37 0
CAL 405 76 86 1481 904 607 6168 1246 101 70.540 510 576 39 9 32 60 4
CHA 421 79 83 1450 976 468 6089 1348 100 54.700 504 597 46 16 32 43 5
CLE 487 60 102 1441 937 770 6326 1352 154 71.760 684 747 21 4 32 66 8
DET 427 91 71 1468 1000 609 6268 1355 126 98.080 593 645 53 8 32 40 5
KCA 425 85 76 1418 775 496 5925 1301 84 61.480 513 566 34 11 44 41 1
MIN 412 74 86 1416 895 529 6069 1384 139 59.510 601 670 43 9 25 42 3
ML4 399 69 92 1417 795 569 5978 1303 130 81.400 532 609 32 14 32 32 4
NYA 351 81 80 1452 707 423 6046 1382 126 69.560 556 641 67 15 12 48 3
OAK 388 101 60 1469 999 501 6018 1229 131 113.350 500 564 57 15 36 37 4
WS2 474 63 95 1420 762 554 6057 1376 132 52.340 583 660 30 7 26 43 6

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2251 7126 5299 1698 129 .970 16987 56 52 2.00 16
BOS 2292 7230 5428 1663 139 .977 17315 78 31 1.00 18
CAL 2474 7596 5518 1929 149 .975 17769 84 49 1.00 25
CHA 2508 7343 5290 1874 179 .973 17404 101 47 0 32
CLE 2542 7187 5310 1740 137 .972 17283 72 51 0 18
DET 2581 7302 5404 1775 123 .976 17620 81 42 1.00 12
KCA 2358 7279 5297 1834 148 .963 17041 66 44 0 11
MIN 2502 7085 5309 1637 139 .966 16999 73 43 0 12
ML4 2504 7220 5333 1720 167 .970 16996 56 71 3.00 9
NYA 2308 7515 5366 2007 140 .951 17415 38 41 1.00 10
OAK 2411 7286 5458 1695 135 .947 17635 76 33 1.00 17
WS2 2612 7297 5315 1814 168 .972 17027 84 44 3.00 23

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 101 60 914993 1 999
Kansas City Royals 85 76 910784 2 775
Chicago White Sox 79 83 833891 3 976
California Angels 76 86 926373 4 904
Minnesota Twins 74 86 940858 5 895
Milwaukee Brewers 69 92 731531 6 795

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Baltimore Orioles 101 57 1023037 1 793
Detroit Tigers 91 71 1591073 2 1000
Boston Red Sox 85 77 1678732 3 871
New York Yankees 82 80 1070771 4 707
Washington Senators 63 96 655156 5 762
Cleveland Indians 60 102 591361 6 937

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1971 World Series, Al Kaline, American League, Amos Otis, Baltimore Orioles, Bert Campaneris, Bill Melton, Bobby Murcer, Boog Powell, Bowie Kuhn, Brooks Robinson, Catfish Hunter, Cesar Tovar, Chris Chambliss, Dave McNally, Don Buford, Frank Robinson, Freddie Patek, Graig Nettles, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Fregosi, Jim Palmer, Merv Rettenmund, Mickey Lolich, Mike Cuellar, Nolan Ryan, Oakland Athletics, Pat Dobson, Reggie Jackson, Roberto Clemente, Sal Bando, Sam McDowell, Steve Blass, Tony Oliva, Vida Blue

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