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Series Wrapup

Story

Baseball’s most compelling pennant race in 1974 took place in the American League East, where the Baltimore Orioles won 27 of their final 33 games to edge out the New York Yankees for their fifth division title in six years.  The Orioles finished the regular season with a record of 91-71, just two games ahead of the Yankees.  The Boston Red Sox came in third, seven games off the pace.

The Orioles hardly overwhelmed their opponents on offense, finishing just ninth in the junior circuit with 659 runs scored.  DH Tommy Davis and second baseman Bobby Grich were the team’s top two hitters.  Davis led the Birds with 84 runs batted in and a .289 batting average.  Grich knocked in 82 runs and finished first on the team with 19 home runs and 92 runs scored.

The Orioles’ greatest strength continued to be their pitching, which placed second in the league with a 3.27 team ERA.  Mike Cuellar served as staff ace, finishing 22-10, with a 3.11 ERA and 20 complete games.  Ross Grimsley posted 18 victories, threw 17 complete games, and led the club with a 3.07 ERA and 296 innings pitched.  Dave McNally gave the team another 16 wins.

Baltimore subsequently faced the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS for the second straight year.  The A’s captured their fourth consecutive Western Division title by finishing the regular season with a record of 90-72, five games in front of the runner-up Texas Rangers, who actually scored one more run (690) than the division champions.  A.L. MVP Jeff Burroughs led the Rangers on offense, batting .301, topping the circuit with 118 runs batted in, and placing among the leaders with 25 home runs, a .405 on-base percentage, and a .504 slugging average.  The Rangers also had one of the league’s best pitchers in Ferguson Jenkins, who led all A.L. starters with 29 complete games, tied for the league lead with 25 wins, and finished among the leaders with a 2.82 ERA, 225 strikeouts, and 328 innings pitched.  Unfortunately for the Rangers, they had no one else on their staff to complement Jenkins.  Texas finished 10th in the American League with a 3.82 team ERA.

Meanwhile, the A’s led the league with a team ERA of 2.95, and their pitching staff included the junior circuit’s top hurler.  Catfish Hunter earned A.L. Cy Young honors by finishing the year with a record of 25-12, to tie Jenkins for the league lead in victories.  He also led all A.L. starters with a 2.49 ERA, and he placed near the top of the league rankings with 318 innings pitched and 23 complete games.

Hunter received a considerable amount of support from an Oakland lineup that included Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, and Reggie Jackson.  Bando batted only .243, but he hit 22 home runs and finished second in the league with 103 runs batted in.  Rudi also hit 22 homers, batted .293, placed third in the league with 99 runs batted in, and topped the circuit with 39 doubles.  Jackson followed up his 1973 MVP campaign by finishing second in the league with 29 home runs, driving in 93 runs, scoring 90 others, and batting .289.

The A’s outstanding team balance enabled them to defeat the Orioles in four games in the ALCS.  After Baltimore took Game One by a score of 6-3 behind Mike Cuellar, Oakland swept the final three games, posting victories of 5-0, 1-0, and 2-1.  Ken Holtzman and Vida Blue tossed consecutive shutouts in Games Two and Three, with Blue allowing the Orioles just two hits in his Game Three gem.

Oakland and Los Angeles subsequently waged California's version of a Subway Series, with the A’s prevailing in five games.  Nevertheless, the Series turned out to be extremely competitive, with four of the five contests ending in identical 3-2 scores.  Rollie Fingers earned Series MVP honors by appearing in four of the five contests, saving two games, winning another, and compiling a 1.93 ERA.  The A’s victory made them the only team other than the Yankees to win three straight world championships.

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

• August 12 - Nolan Ryan of the California Angels struck out 19 batters in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

• September 7 - During a 3–1 win over the Chicago White Sox, Ryan had a fastball clocked at 100.8 miles per hour — the fastest pitch ever recorded.

• September 12 - Tigers pitcher John Hiller picked up his 17th victory in relief, establishing in the process a new American League record.

• September 24 - Al Kaline of the Tigers collected his 3,000th career hit during a 5-4 Detroit victory over Dave McNally and the Baltimore Orioles.  Kaline retired at the end of the season, leaving him just one home run shy of becoming the first American Leaguer to reach 3,000 hits and 400 homers.

• October 3 – The Cleveland Indians named Frank Robinson their new manager, making Robinson the first black skipper in major league history.

• November 27 - Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for two years as a result of Steinbrenner's conviction for making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and other politicians.

• December 31 - After earning his freedom through arbitration over missed insurance payments by the Oakland Athletics, Jim "Catfish" Hunter signed a record $3.75 million five-year contract to pitch for the New York Yankees.

• Minnesota’s Rod Carew led the American League with a .364 batting average, 218 hits, and a .435 on-base percentage, and he finished second with 38 stolen bases.

• Chicago’s Dick Allen topped the circuit with 32 home runs and a .563 slugging average.

• Ron LeFlore made his debut with the Detroit Tigers after being released from prison the previous year.

• On June 4 in Cleveland, 10-cent beer night resulted in a near riot and the forfeit of the game to Texas.

• Milwaukee's Don Money set a new major league record for third basemen by compiling a .989 fielding average.

• Money's record streak of 261 consecutive errorless chances at third base ended.

• Mike Hargrove of the Rangers earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors by batting .323, driving in 66 runs, and compiling a .395 on-base percentage.

• Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter against the Twins on September 28.

• Steve Busby of Kansas City tossed a no-hitter against Milwaukee on June 19.

• Dick Bosman of Cleveland threw a no-hitter against Oakland on July 19.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Jim Bottomley, Jocko Conlan, Sam Thompson, and Cool Papa Bell.

• The Yankees traded Bobby Murcer to the Giants for Bobby Bonds.

• Gaylord Perry tied a Cleveland Indians record by winning 15 games in a row.

• Hall of Famers Harry Hooper, Dizzy Dean, and Sam Rice all passed away.

• Baltimore's Bobby Grich set a new major league record for second basemen by compiling 484 putouts over the course of the season.

• Nolan Ryan led the major leagues with 333 innings pitched and 367 strikeouts.

• Oakland's Bill North led the American League with 54 stolen bases.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2040 5535 659 1418 608 .233 226 27 116 145 58 2046 .385 .338 .724 124 56 72
BOS 2046 5499 696 1449 658 .235 236 31 109 104 58 2074 .350 .339 .705 128 49 64
CAL 2160 5401 618 1372 550 .237 203 31 95 119 79 1922 .336 .326 .663 135 48 82
CHA 2091 5577 684 1492 633 .223 225 23 135 64 53 2168 .349 .301 .705 156 43 70
CLE 2168 5474 662 1395 616 .250 201 19 131 79 68 2027 .335 .336 .671 135 31 56
DET 2054 5568 620 1375 579 .231 200 35 131 67 38 2038 .326 .349 .690 132 37 41
KCA 2109 5582 667 1448 623 .264 232 42 89 146 76 2031 .366 .343 .709 133 43 56
MIN 2180 5632 673 1530 632 .252 190 37 111 74 45 2127 .354 .339 .693 159 40 64
ML4 2135 5472 647 1335 612 .236 228 49 120 106 75 2021 .347 .352 .715 102 35 56
NYA 2088 5524 671 1451 637 .201 220 30 101 53 35 2034 .317 .276 .629 122 72 49
OAK 2345 5331 689 1315 637 .213 205 37 132 164 93 1990 .303 .289 .593 108 51 60
TEX 2025 5449 690 1482 643 .242 198 39 99 113 80 2055 .357 .329 .718 155 47 81

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 347 91 71 1473 701 480 6125 1393 101 36.090 538 612 57 15 25 34 5
BOS 301 84 78 1454 751 463 6160 1462 126 64.200 601 661 71 9 18 41 4
CAL 353 68 94 1441 986 649 6190 1339 101 92.680 564 657 64 10 12 50 7
CHA 364 80 80 1465 826 548 6290 1470 103 123.300 641 721 55 7 29 41 4
CLE 376 77 84 1445 650 479 6103 1419 138 85.840 614 694 45 8 27 20 6
DET 316 72 90 1457 869 621 6281 1443 148 50.040 675 768 54 6 15 58 1
KCA 371 77 85 1470 731 482 6256 1477 91 50.010 574 662 54 10 17 42 4
MIN 352 82 80 1455 934 513 6180 1436 115 61.220 589 669 43 6 29 36 3
ML4 351 76 86 1457 621 493 6172 1476 126 70.780 610 660 43 6 24 46 0
NYA 344 89 73 1457 829 528 6143 1402 104 82.340 537 623 53 10 24 47 7
OAK 378 90 72 1438 755 430 5937 1322 90 30.940 473 551 49 11 28 27 1
TEX 350 83 76 1434 871 449 6063 1423 126 80.270 612 698 62 16 12 51 4

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2540 7710 5611 1944 155 .966 17687 92 58 0 16
BOS 2522 7478 5567 1746 165 .966 17457 108 60 0 10
CAL 2645 7298 5371 1757 170 .970 17267 98 72 0 23
CHA 2589 7491 5533 1794 164 .959 17589 111 69 1.00 19
CLE 2674 7555 5468 1908 179 .930 17347 92 48 0 10
DET 2497 7463 5460 1810 193 .964 17475 134 79 1.00 17
KCA 2606 7674 5586 1912 176 .952 17659 115 55 1.00 29
MIN 2582 7372 5395 1803 174 .957 17466 119 86 1.00 7
ML4 2622 7612 5598 1867 147 .944 17490 104 56 0 16
NYA 2548 7472 5455 1857 160 .955 17465 80 55 2.00 7
OAK 2796 7441 5536 1739 166 .971 17274 83 59 0 10
TEX 2580 7321 5334 1796 191 .967 17204 99 60 1.00 8

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 90 72 845693 1 755
Texas Rangers 84 76 1193902 2 871
Minnesota Twins 82 80 662401 3 934
Chicago White Sox 80 80 1149596 4 826
Kansas City Royals 77 85 1173292 5 731
California Angels 68 94 917269 6 986

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Baltimore Orioles 91 71 962572 1 701
New York Yankees 89 73 1273075 2 829
Boston Red Sox 84 78 1556411 3 751
Cleveland Indians 77 85 1114262 4 650
Milwaukee Brewers 76 86 955741 5 621
Detroit Tigers 72 90 1243080 6 869

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1974 ALCS, 1974 World Series, Al Kaline, American League, Baltimore Orioles, Billy North, Bobby Bonds, Bobby Grich, Bobby Murcer, Bowie Kuhn, Catfish Hunter, Dave McNally, Dick Allen, Dick Bosman, Don Money, Fergie Jenkins, Frank Robinson, Gaylord Perry, Gene Tenace, George Steinbrenner, Jeff Burroughs, Joe Rudi, John Hiller, John Mayberry, Ken Holtzman, Mike Cuellar, Mike Hargrove, Nolan Ryan, Oakland Athletics, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Rollie Fingers, Ron LeFlore, Ross Grimsley, Sal Bando, Steve Busby, Tommy Davis, Vida Blue

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