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Series Wrapup

Story

After placing third in the American League East the previous year, the Baltimore Orioles returned to the top of the division standings in 1973, finishing the regular season with a record of 97-65, eight games ahead of the runner-up Boston Red Sox.  Although not quite as strong as the Baltimore club that dominated the A.L. East from 1969 to 1971, the Orioles possessed outstanding team-balance, finishing a close third in the league with 754 runs scored, while compiling a league-leading 3.07 team ERA.  Designated hitter Tommy Davis was Baltimore’s top offensive performer, batting .306 and leading the team with 89 runs batted in.  A.L. Rookie of the Year Al Bumbry also made significant contributions, batting .337, stealing 23 bases, and scoring 73 runs, in fewer than 400 official at-bats.

Meanwhile, Baltimore’s league-leading pitching staff included three starters that won at least 17 games.  Jim Palmer earned A.L. Cy Young honors by compiling a record of 22-9, leading all league hurlers with a 2.40 ERA, throwing 296 innings, and tossing 19 complete games.  Mike Cuellar posted 18 victories, while Dave McNally added another 17.  

While the Orioles won their fourth A.L. East title in five years, the Oakland Athletics finished first in the West for the third straight time.  The A’s posted a regular-season record of 94-48, to finish six games ahead of the up-and-coming Kansas City Royals, who featured two of the junior circuit’s best young players in centerfielder Amos Otis and first baseman John Mayberry.  Otis hit 26 home runs, drove in 93 runs, scored 89 others, and batted .300.  Mayberry also hit 26 homers, knocked in 100 runs, batted .278, and led the A.L. with 122 walks and a .420 on-base percentage.

Nevertheless, Oakland remained the class of the A.L. West, leading the league with 758 runs scored and placing second in the circuit with a 3.29 team ERA.  The A’s starting rotation included three 20-game winners, and their deep bullpen featured one of the best closers in the game.  Catfish Hunter finished 21-5 with a 3.34 ERA.  Ken Holtzman compiled a record of 21-13 and led the staff with a 2.97 ERA, 16 complete games, and 297 innings pitched.  Vida Blue went 20-9 with a 3.28 ERA.  Meanwhile, Rollie Fingers anchored the bullpen by winning seven games, saving 22 others, and compiling an ERA of 1.91.

The trio of Sal Bando, Bill North, and Reggie Jackson led the A’s on offense.  Team captain Bando hit 29 home runs, drove in 98 runs, scored 97 others, and batted .287.  The speedy North batted .285, scored 98 runs, and finished second in the league with 53 stolen bases.  Jackson batted .293 and topped the circuit with 32 home runs, 117 runs batted in, 99 runs scored, and a .531 slugging percentage.  His outstanding performance earned him A.L. MVP honors.

The League Championship Series between Oakland and Baltimore turned out to be an extremely competitive one that went the full five games.  After the teams split the first two games in Baltimore, the A’s grabbed a 2-1 Series lead when Ken Holtzman threw a complete-game three-hitter in leading Oakland to a 2-1 victory in Game Three.  The Orioles, though, evened the Series again by rallying from a 4-0 deficit in the final three innings to take Game Four by a score of 5-4.  A 3-0 complete-game shutout by Catfish Hunter in Game Five subsequently earned Oakland a return-trip to the World Series.

Awaiting the A’s in the Fall Classic were the New York Mets, who managed to capture the National League pennant even though they finished the regular season only three games over .500.  After defeating the heavily-favored Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS, the Mets proved to be a difficult foe for Oakland as well, extending the Series to seven games.  The A’s finally prevailed, winning Game Seven by a score of 5-2 on a pair of two-run homers by Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson.  Jackson earned Series MVP honors by batting .310, collecting nine hits, and knocking in six runs.       

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

• January 3 – A group of investors, headed by shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, purchased the New York Yankees from CBS for $10 million.

• January 18 – Orlando Cepeda signed with the Boston Red Sox, making him the first player signed by a team strictly as a designated hitter.

• February 27 – Chicago White Sox slugger Dick Allen signed a three-year contract for an estimated $250,000 per year, making him the highest-paid player in major league history.

• April 6 - At Fenway Park, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first designated hitter in major league history.  He earned a walk against Boston Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance.

• April 10 – The Kansas City Royals opened their new park, Royals Stadium, with a 12–1 rout of the Texas Rangers.  The game was attended by 39,464 fans braving 39-degree weather.

• May 15 – Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.

• July 1 – Luis Aparicio of the Boston Red Sox stole the 500th base of his career during a 9–5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

• July 3 – Brothers Gaylord Perry (Indians) and Jim Perry (Tigers) pitched against each other for the only time in their careers.

• July 15 - Nolan Ryan pitched his second no-hitter of the season, striking out 17 Detroit Tigers during a 6-0 California win.

• July 20 – Chicago’s Wilbur Wood started and lost both games of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, dropping the contests by scores of 12–2 and 7–0.

• August 1 – With the score tied at 2–2 in the top of the ninth inning at Fenway Park, an incident took place that typified the intense rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, as well as the personal feud that existed between catchers Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson.  Attempting to score on Yankee teammate Gene Michael’s missed squeeze attempt, Munson barreled into Fisk at home plate.  The incident triggered a 10-minute bench-clearing brawl that resulted in both catchers being ejected.

• September 3 – After 11 years at the helm (944–806 .539), Ralph Houk resigned as the New York Yankees' manager.  He ended up piloting the Detroit Tigers the following season

• September 27 – Capping a memorable season, Nolan Ryan struck out 16 Minnesota Twins during a 5–4, 11-inning win for the California Angels. The final strikeout, his 383rd of the season, broke Sandy Koufax's single-season record.

• September 30 – The New York Yankees played their final game in the original Yankee Stadium, losing to the Detroit Tigers 5–2.  Yankee Stadium subsequently remained closed until 1976 while undergoing major renovations.

• October 23 – Athletics owner Charlie Finley revealed that he had no intention of releasing manager Dick Williams from his contract unless he were to receive adequate compensation from the team that signed him. Williams had resigned following the World Series victory two days earlier.

• By finishing the year with a record of 24-20, Chicago’s Wilbur Wood became the first pitcher in 57 years to both win and lose 20 games in a season.  Wood threw a major-league leading 359 innings.

• Baltimore’s Bobby Grich established a new major league record for second basemen by compiling a .995 fielding average.

• Detroit's John Hiller established a new major league record by saving 38 games.  Hiller also posted 10 victories, compiled a 1.44 ERA, and led all A.L. pitchers with 65 mound appearances.

• Yankee pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson announced they had swapped wives, families, houses, and dogs.

• Kansas City’s Steve Busby threw a no-hitter against Detroit on April 27.

• Jim Bibby of Texas hurled a no-hitter against Oakland on July 20.

• Rod Carew led the American League with a .350 batting average, 203 hits, and 11 triples.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Warren Spahn, Billy Evans, George Kelly, Mickey Welch, Monte Irvin, and Roberto Clemente.

• Hall of Famers George Sisler, Frankie Frisch, and Chick Hafey all passed away.

• Luis Aparicio retired with the major league record for most career games at shortstop (2,581).

• California's Frank Robinson homered in a record 32nd major league park in use during his career.

• California pitchers Nolan Ryan and Bill Singer struck out 624 batters between them, establishing in the process a post-1893 major league record for two teammates.

• Boston's Tommy Harper led the American League with 54 steals.

• Cleveland's Gaylord Perry led the league with 29 complete games.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2009 5537 754 1474 692 .236 229 48 119 146 64 2156 .359 .371 .730 126 49 58
BOS 1935 5513 738 1472 692 .270 235 30 147 114 45 2208 .398 .400 .799 143 44 54
CAL 2224 5505 629 1395 595 .235 183 29 93 59 47 1915 .334 .316 .651 131 45 60
CHA 2067 5475 652 1400 598 .192 228 38 111 83 73 2037 .329 .277 .643 146 42 49
CLE 2054 5592 680 1429 636 .246 205 29 158 60 68 2166 .329 .369 .698 125 43 40
DET 2150 5508 642 1400 592 .268 213 32 157 28 30 2148 .377 .396 .773 147 31 48
KCA 2153 5508 755 1440 703 .245 239 40 114 105 69 2101 .359 .353 .712 134 47 49
MIN 2058 5625 738 1521 688 .251 240 44 120 87 46 2209 .393 .372 .765 150 40 34
ML4 2058 5526 708 1399 669 .259 229 40 145 110 66 2143 .347 .464 .811 114 35 61
NYA 1924 5492 641 1435 616 .231 212 17 131 47 43 2074 .338 .334 .689 142 34 27
OAK 2318 5507 758 1431 714 .239 216 28 147 128 57 2144 .370 .331 .751 118 53 67
TEX 2103 5488 619 1397 574 .237 195 29 110 91 53 1980 .335 .339 .674 132 50 45

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 302 97 65 1462 715 475 5989 1297 124 41.270 501 561 67 13 26 37 1
BOS 306 89 73 1439 808 499 6090 1417 158 69.920 585 647 67 9 33 25 2
CAL 326 79 83 1457 1010 614 6255 1351 104 135.890 577 657 72 12 19 56 6
CHA 338 77 85 1456 848 574 6292 1484 110 70.470 625 705 48 9 35 38 2
CLE 368 71 91 1465 883 602 6383 1532 172 91.810 746 826 55 9 21 87 3
DET 373 85 77 1448 911 493 6158 1468 154 73.770 627 674 39 6 46 48 2
KCA 375 88 74 1449 790 617 6322 1521 114 74.350 678 752 40 6 41 43 6
MIN 352 81 81 1450 879 519 6210 1443 115 59.830 608 692 48 17 34 61 5
ML4 379 74 88 1453 671 623 6306 1476 119 85.870 643 731 50 7 28 57 7
NYA 305 80 82 1427 708 457 5997 1379 109 58.630 530 610 47 10 39 42 1
OAK 365 94 68 1457 797 494 6048 1311 143 46.410 532 615 46 12 41 52 5
TEX 403 57 105 1430 831 680 6375 1514 130 100.780 737 844 35 8 27 62 3

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2519 7617 5531 1948 138 .961 17539 70 54 0 6
BOS 2453 7314 5415 1754 145 .974 17283 72 45 0 5
CAL 2624 7307 5399 1727 181 .971 17472 105 40 0 16
CHA 2534 7478 5397 1912 169 .978 17472 110 57 1.00 33
CLE 2525 7469 5359 1940 170 .965 17576 109 47 0 27
DET 2733 7286 5416 1735 135 .972 17373 107 71 0 10
KCA 2651 7497 5356 1954 187 .967 17390 86 49 1.00 8
MIN 2512 7361 5407 1795 159 .977 17416 93 54 0 19
ML4 2519 7493 5522 1799 172 .967 17446 81 73 1.00 9
NYA 2385 7457 5311 1965 181 .966 17134 61 52 1.00 12
OAK 2717 7487 5579 1745 163 .979 17488 54 60 2.00 9
TEX 2668 7286 5361 1741 184 .952 17160 109 58 0 8

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 94 68 1000763 1 797
Kansas City Royals 88 74 1345341 2 790
Minnesota Twins 81 81 907499 3 879
California Angels 79 83 1058206 4 1010
Chicago White Sox 77 85 1302527 5 848
Texas Rangers 57 105 686085 6 831

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Baltimore Orioles 97 65 958667 1 715
Boston Red Sox 89 73 1481002 2 808
Detroit Tigers 85 77 1724146 3 911
New York Yankees 80 82 1262103 4 708
Milwaukee Brewers 74 88 1092158 5 671
Cleveland Indians 71 91 615107 6 883

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1973 ALCS, 1973 World Series, Al Bumbry, American League, Amos Otis, Baltimore Orioles, Bert Campaneris, Bill Singer, Billy North, Bobby Grich, Carlton Fisk, Catfish Hunter, Charles Finley, Dave McNally, Dick Allen, Dick Williams, Frank Robinson, Fritz Peterson, Gaylord Perry, Gene Michael, George Steinbrenner, Jim Bibby, Jim Palmer, Jim Perry, John Hiller, John Mayberry, Ken Holtzman, Luis Aparicio, Luis Tiant, Mike Cuellar, Mike Kekich, Nolan Ryan, Oakland Athletics, Orlando Cepeda, Ralph Houk, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Rollie Fingers, Ron Blomberg, Sal Bando, Steve Busby, Thurman Munson, Tommy Davis, Tommy Harper, Vida Blue, Wilbur Wood

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