Rod Carew Leads American League in Batting
Rod Carew was the greatest singles hitter of his era. He led the American League in batting seven times in his 19-year career. In 1974, he had a loop-high .364 average, although he socked just three homers and knocked in only 55 runs. In his career to that point, Carew had been named to seven All-Star teams; he lost the 1970 season due to military service.
Steve Garvey Named 1974 National League MVP
Nicknamed "Senator" for his post-baseball career aspirations, Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey played in his first World Series in 1974. Although his team bowed to the A's, Garvey achieved an excellent season: a .312 average, 21 homers, and 111 RBI. His performance earned him 1974 National League Most Valuable Player honors. Voted to a starting position in the 1974 All-Star Game by write-in ballots, the powerhouse took the game's MVP honors.
Fergie Jenkins Wins 25
Following his worst season with the Cubs (14-16 in 1973), Fergie Jenkins was traded to Texas for Bill Madlock and Vic Harris. The Rangers received quick dividends from the deal: Jenkins tallied 25 victories to tie for the lead in the American League in 1974. Ironically, the Cubs picked up Jenkins again in 1982. After pitching two seasons in Wrigley, he retired with 284 career wins.
Mike Schmidt Tops National League in HRs
Mike Schmidt clubbed 36 homers in 1974, his second full season in the majors, to lead the National League. On his way to 116 RBI, he also topped the loop with his .546 average. He is acknowledged as the greatest third baseman of all time.
Johnny Bench Leads National League in RBI
Johnny Bench had a National League-leading 129 RBI in 1974 while taking the Reds to a second-place finish, 4 games behind the Dodgers. It was the third RBI crown for perhaps the greatest catcher of all time. Bench was voted to the All-Star lineup 13 years in a row and won ten consecutive Gold Gloves.
Mike Marshall Cops Cy Young
Before winning the 1974 National League Cy Young Award, Mike Marshall was known to fans as Jim Bouton's cerebral teammate in the book Ball Four, Bouton's account of the sport of baseball. As a doctoral candidate in kinesiology, Marshall used his study of human performance to resurrect his pitching career. He went from a 5-8 record with the Expos in 1971 to 15-12 with the Dodgers in 1974. His knuckleball carried him to 21 saves, best in the loop.
Jeff Burroughs an MVP Surprise
Perhaps the decade's least likely Most Valuable Player, Ranger Jeff Burroughs batted .301 with 25 homers and 118 RBI (tops in the American League) in 1974. As the first draft pick in 1969, the outfielder/first baseman often clashed with Ted Williams, the Senators' manager, yet later credited Williams with improving his batting.
Joe Rudi Soars in 1974 Series
Joe Rudi was the quiet superstar of the boisterous A's. His glovework earned him two Gold Gloves, the first of which he received in 1974. He led the American League in doubles that year with 39. His ability was most evident in the seventh game of the 1974 World Series. His home run in the seventh inning broke the two-all tie and proved to be the margin of victory for the A's.
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