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West Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers renewed their rivalry in 1971, battling each other right down to the wire for supremacy in the decidedly mediocre National League West.  The Giants ended up edging out the Dodgers by one game, finishing the regular season with a record of 90-72.   

Posting just the sixth-best team ERA in the National League (3.32), the Giants depended heavily on their offense to capture their first N.L. West title.  San Francisco finished third in the senior circuit with 706 runs scored and 140 home runs.  Bobby Bonds led the Giants’ attack, finishing first on the club with 33 home runs, 102 runs batted in, 110 runs scored, 26 steals, and a .288 batting average.  He received help from 40-year-old Willie Mays, who hit 18 homers, scored 82 times, stole 23 bases, and led the league with 112 bases on balls and a .425 on-base percentage.

Meanwhile, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry served as the team’s only reliable starters.  Marichal finished 18-11, with a 2.94 ERA and 18 complete games.  Perry posted 16 victories and led the staff with a 2.76 ERA and 280 innings pitched.

Los Angeles had the division’s best pitcher in Al Downing, who had the finest season of his career.  The left-hander finished 20-9, with a 2.68 ERA, 268 innings pitched, and a league-leading five shutouts.     

Although the Atlanta Braves finished third in the N.L. West, eight games behind the first-place Giants, their lineup featured the division’s top offensive performer.  Hank Aaron placed among the league leaders with 47 home runs, 118 runs batted in, and a .327 batting average, and he topped the circuit with a .669 slugging average.

While the Giants and Dodgers waged a year-long battle in the N.L. West, the Pittsburgh Pirates found it less difficult to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Division.  Pittsburgh finished the regular season with a record of 97-65, seven games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals.

Featuring an offense that topped the senior circuit with 788 runs scored, the Pirates had nary an easy out in their batting order.  Manny Sanguillen batted .319 and knocked in 81 runs.  Dave Cash batted .289, while Al Oliver posted a mark of .282.  Powerful first baseman Bob Robertson hit 26 home runs in fewer than 500 official at-bats.  Roberto Clemente batted .341 and drove in 86 runs.  Willie Stargell established himself as Pittsburgh's top offensive threat by scoring 104 runs, batting .295, leading the league with 48 home runs, and placing second with 125 runs batted in and a .628 slugging average.  

Pittsburgh’s potent offense proved to be too much for San Francisco to overcome in the NLCS, as the Pirates defeated the Giants in four games.  The Pirates outscored their overmatched opponents by a combined margin of 24-15.

Pittsburgh subsequently entered the World Series as underdogs against an exceptional Baltimore Orioles ball club that needed only five games to dispose of the powerful Cincinnati Reds in the previous year’s Fall Classic.  However, after dropping the first two contests in Baltimore, the Pirates grabbed a 3-2 Series lead by sweeping the Orioles in Pittsburgh.  Baltimore evened the Series at three games apiece with an extra-inning victory in Game Six.    

Pittsburgh starter Steve Blass returned to the mound for Game Seven after earlier allowing the Orioles just three hits in earning a complete-game 5-1 victory in Game Three.  Blass came through again, getting the better of Mike Cuellar in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel that gave the Pirates their first world championship in 11 years.  While Blass starred on the mound for Pittsburgh, Roberto Clemente earned Series MVP honors by batting .414, collecting 12 hits, and hitting two homers.

The Pirates clearly established themselves as the National League’s best team over the course of the season, and Willie Stargell served as the driving force behind their successful run to the pennant.  Nevertheless, Stargell finished a distant second to Joe Torre in the N.L. MVP voting.  Playing third base regularly for the first time after spending most of his previous 10 seasons either behind the plate or at first base, Torre had a career-year for the second-place Cardinals.  He hit 24 homers, scored 97 runs, and led the league with 137 runs batted in, a .363 batting average, 230 hits, and 352 total bases.  Lou Brock also had an outstanding season for St. Louis, batting .313, collecting 200 hits, and topping the circuit with 126 runs scored and 64 stolen bases.  

Meanwhile, the league’s top two pitchers also called the N.L. East home.  Pitching for the Chicago Cubs, who finished third in the division, 14 games off the pace, Ferguson Jenkins captured N.L. Cy Young honors by leading all league hurlers with 24 wins, 325 innings pitched, and 30 complete games.  He also compiled a 2.77 earned run average and struck out 263 batters.

Tom Seaver had an equally sensational year for the New York Mets, who finished tied with the Cubs for third place in the division.  Seaver finished 20-10, with 21 complete games, 286 innings pitched, and a league-leading 1.76 ERA and 289 strikeouts.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 27 - Hank Aaron became the third player in Major League history to hit 600 home runs.

• December 1 – The Chicago Cubs released longtime star and future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, ending his 19-year major league career.  The Cubs also announced that Banks would serve as a coach on manager Leo Durocher’s staff the following season.

• World Series Game Four at Pittsburgh was the first night game in the history of the Fall Classic.

• The Phillies played their first game in Veterans Stadium on April 10 against the Montreal Expos.

• Philadelphia’s Larry Bowa established a new major league record for major league shortstops by compiling a .987 fielding average.

• Atlanta catcher/third baseman Earl Williams (33 home runs) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• On June 23, Rick Wise of the Phillies threw a no-hitter against the Reds and hit two home runs.

• Wise homered in four consecutive games in which he pitched in June.

• Chicago’s Ken Holtzman no-hit Cincinnati on June 3.

• Bob Gibson no-hit Pittsburgh on August 14.

• The Dodgers traded Dick Allen to the White Sox for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.

• The Astros sent Joe Morgan, Denis Menke, Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham, and Ed Armbrister to the Reds for Lee May, Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart.

• J.R. Richard of Houston tied Karl Spooner's Major League record when he struck out 15 batters in his first major league start.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 1998 5575 643 1434 597 .195 192 30 153 57 46 2145 .275 .266 .568 120 44 91
CHN 1944 5438 637 1401 603 .193 202 34 128 44 32 2055 .329 .276 .655 144 40 92
CIN 2131 5414 586 1306 542 .172 203 28 138 59 33 1979 .270 .246 .551 138 25 69
HOU 2039 5492 585 1319 547 .188 230 52 71 101 51 1866 .279 .247 .560 105 41 65
LAN 1996 5523 663 1469 631 .217 213 38 95 76 40 2043 .341 .278 .658 140 50 72
MON 2130 5335 622 1312 567 .194 197 29 88 51 43 1831 .306 .260 .595 136 40 102
NYN 2024 5477 588 1365 546 .210 203 29 98 89 43 1920 .302 .282 .593 147 35 91
PHI 2061 5538 558 1289 522 .212 209 35 123 63 39 1937 .308 .290 .616 98 45 55
PIT 1998 5674 788 1555 744 .219 223 61 154 65 31 2362 .356 .311 .677 120 49 62
SDN 2057 5366 486 1250 447 .201 184 31 96 70 45 1784 .323 .275 .640 133 19 87
SFN 2069 5461 706 1348 653 .169 224 36 140 101 36 2064 .297 .247 .592 126 37 69
SLN 2107 5610 739 1542 686 .198 225 54 95 124 53 2160 .339 .260 .657 139 59 63

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 386 82 80 1475 823 485 6311 1529 152 64.220 614 699 40 10 31 56 7
CHN 364 83 79 1442 900 411 6094 1458 132 63.200 579 648 75 16 13 38 6
CIN 417 79 83 1444 750 501 5988 1298 112 56.390 538 581 27 7 38 33 4
HOU 407 79 83 1471 914 475 6121 1318 75 54.320 512 567 43 10 25 64 3
LAN 349 89 73 1448 853 399 5988 1363 110 47.510 521 587 48 15 33 42 4
MON 377 71 90 1436 829 658 6233 1418 133 49.560 657 729 49 8 25 62 3
NYN 373 83 79 1465 1157 529 6078 1227 100 44.00.00 488 550 42 9 22 41 3
PHI 415 67 95 1470 838 525 6207 1396 132 53.440 607 688 31 9 25 53 2
PIT 391 97 65 1461 813 470 6165 1426 108 41.340 537 599 43 14 48 37 2
SDN 398 61 100 1439 923 559 6124 1351 93 56.880 516 610 47 9 17 65 7
SFN 414 90 72 1455 831 471 6094 1324 128 51.700 539 644 45 13 30 42 5
SLN 437 90 72 1468 911 576 6366 1482 104 101.870 630 699 56 14 22 56 6

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2367 7546 5526 1851 169 .960 17693 81 32 0 33
CHN 2322 7298 5304 1848 146 .974 17328 81 52 3.00 18
CIN 2596 7394 5369 1906 119 .968 17327 49 29 1.00 11
HOU 2496 7349 5453 1776 120 .973 17653 66 41 1.00 18
LAN 2433 7400 5370 1879 151 .974 17394 77 42 0 14
MON 2627 7371 5320 1866 185 .977 17212 88 43 0 12
NYN 2455 7171 5434 1599 138 .980 17594 77 29 0 13
PHI 2462 7549 5422 1979 148 .972 17645 110 60 2.00 27
PIT 2342 7491 5472 1869 150 .959 17533 42 44 2.00 17
SDN 2354 7280 5284 1809 187 .962 17259 88 50 0 5
SFN 2440 7407 5438 1768 201 .967 17458 74 24 1.00 23
SLN 2504 7402 5422 1802 178 .963 17605 54 36 0 24

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
San Francisco Giants 90 72 1106043 1 831
Los Angeles Dodgers 89 73 2064594 2 853
Atlanta Braves 82 80 1006320 3 823
Cincinnati Reds 79 83 1501122 4 750
Houston Astros 79 83 1261589 4 914
San Diego Padres 61 100 557513 6 923

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Pittsburg Pirates 97 65 1501132 1 813
St. Louis Cardinals 90 72 1604671 2 911
Chicago Cubs 83 79 1653007 3 900
New York Mets 83 79 2266680 3 1157
Montreal Expos 71 90 1290963 5 829
Philadelphia Philies 67 95 1511223 6 838

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1971 World Series, Al Downing, Al Oliver, Bob Gibson, Bob Robertson, Bobby Bonds, Cesar Geronimo, Dave Cash, Denis Menke, Dick Allen, Earl Williams, Ed Armbrister, Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Hank Aaron, J.R. Richard, Jack Billingham, Jimmy Wynn, Joe Morgan, Joe Torre, Juan Marichal, Ken Holtzman, Larry Bowa, Lee May, Lou Brock, Manny Sanguillen, Pete Rose, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rick Wise, Roberto Clemente, San Francisco Giants, Steve Blass, Tom Seaver, Tommy Helms, Willie Mays, Willie Stargell

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