Nolan Ryan Racks Up 341 Ks
Named Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News, Nolan Ryan compiled a 19-16 record in 1977 while leading the American League in strikeouts with 341 (almost 100 more than the runner-up), walks (204), and wild pitches (21).
The pitching sensation also bred a disease dubbed the "Ryan flu" -- a malady which caused batters to sit out games in which they were to face Nolan. Batters simply couldn't touch Ryan's 100-mph fastball. In 1977, Ryan yielded fewer hits than walks (204-198) -- an extreme rarity in baseball.
Rod Carew Peaks at .388
In the 36 years since Ted Williams hit .406, only Williams himself and Rod Carew had approached the lofty .400 plateau. Both got as high as .388 (Williams in 1957, Carew in 197777). Carew compiled an American League-best 239 hits, 16 triples, and 128 runs scored.
By permanently moving from second base to first in 1976, Carew became one of only a handful of players to play 1,000 games at two different positions.
Ron Guidry Posts 16-7 Mark
Ron Guidry threw a baseball harder than anyone weighing 160 pounds should be allowed. His "Louisiana Lightning" pitch yielded a 16-7 record in 1977, his first full season in the majors. At the conclusion of his career 11 years later, Guidry had accumulated 170 triumphs, fourth on the all-time Yankee list.
Steve Garvey's Streak Ends
In 1977, Steve Garvey blasted 33 homers during a season in which he fell below 200 hits and a .300 average for the first time in four years. It was this kind of slugging that kept his teammates from openly criticizing the image-conscious first baseman who many thought was a phony and a politician.
George Foster Fires 52 Homers
In 1977, George Foster became the first batter since Willie Mays in 1965 to whack 50 or more homers, as he blasted 52 dingers (31 of those round-trippers were hit on the road, which set a major league record for righties). Even more impressive is Foster's accumulation of a .320 average and 149 RBI. He captured the MVP Award for his efforts.
Albert Lyle Takes 1977 American League Cy Young Award
Albert "Sparky" Lyle was one of the game's great characters. His flaky exterior belied an inner strength that helped him capture the 1977 American League Cy Young Award, becoming the first reliever to cop the title. His 26 saves ranked second in the circuit that season, and his record was 13-5.
Jim Rice Is Sensational
Jim Rice enjoyed a spectacular season in 1977. Rice batted .320 with 39 homers (tops in the American League) and 114 RBI (third in the circuit). His .593 slugging average and 382 total bases placed first in the junior circuit. He hit three homers in one game that season.
Reggie Jackson on Fire in 1977 World Series
Reggie Jackson whacked three homers to put the Yankees out of reach in the sixth and decisive game of the 1977 World Series. His third home run, a solo shot in the eighth inning, rocked Yankee Stadium and wowed TV viewers. No one since Babe Ruth had ever hit three homers in a World Series game.
Teammate Chris Chambliss also blasted his lone home run of the Series in that game. Jackson wrapped up the affair with a .450 average, five homers, and eight RBI.
Willie Randolph, Billy Russell Flop in 1977 World Series
Willie Randolph gave a dismal performance in the 1977 World Series, batting only .160. He did, however, manage to outhit Billy Russell by six points, as the Yankees beat the Dodgers in six games.
Find more highlights from the 1977 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1976 Baseball Season
- 1978 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth