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1981 Baseball Season


More 1981 Baseball Season Highlights
Below are more highlights of the strike-shortened 1981 season, including year-end honors, the first black manager in the National League, and the year's Hall of Fame inductees.
  • Boston's Carney Lansford wins the American League bat crown at .336.

  • Pirate Bill Madlock barely qualifies for the BA crown, winning at .341.

  • Nolan Ryan has the best ERA in the majors (1.69).

  • Tom Seaver leads National League with 14 wins and .875 win pct.

  • Oakland, managed by Billy Martin, plays in a manner that is labeled "Billy Ball" and finishes with the best record in the American League (64-45).

  • Martin sets a major league record for most franchises managed to a division title (four).

  • Hall of Fame inducts Bob Gibson, Johnny Mize, and Rube Foster.

  • Fernando Valenzuela is the third consecutive Dodgers pitcher to win National League Rookie of the Year honor.

  • Ranger Jim Sundberg wins the last of six consecutive Gold Gloves awarded to American League catchers.

  • Oakland outfielder Rickey Henderson wins his only Gold Glove to date.

  • Yankees send Willie McGee to St. Louis for Bob Sykes.

  • Boston trades Fred Lynn and Steve Renko to California for Frank Tanana, Joe Rudi, and Jim Dorsey.

  • Cincinnati swaps Ray Knight for Houston's Cesar Cedeno.

  • Detroit sends Steve Kemp to White Sox for Chet Lemon.

  • St. Louis deals Tony Scott to Houston for Joaquin Andujar.

  • Mets trade Jeff Reardon and Dan Norman to Expos for Ellis Valentine.

  • Ozzie Smith
    Ozzie Smith joined the
    St. Louis Cardinals in 1981.

    St. Louis deals Garry Templeton to San Diego for Ozzie Smith.

  • The Carpenter family sells the Phillies.

  • George Argyros buys control of the Mariners.

  • The Astros allow a major league record-low 2.08 runs per game at home.

  • Houston's Art Howe hits in 23 consecutive games to set Astros team record.

  • Former Astros GM Tal Smith hired by several owners to advise them in an escalating number of salary arbitrations.

  • Fred Lindstrom dies.

  • Giants' Vida Blue is the first to be an All-Star Game winning pitcher in both leagues.

  • Mike Schmidt's .644 SA is a record high for National League third basemen.

  • Ranger Bill Stein sets an American League record with seven consecutive pinch hits.

  • Ranger Buddy Bell makes a modern major league record 2.93 assists per game by a third baseman.

  • Giants' Frank Robinson is the first black manager in National League.

  • Chicago's Bill Buckner tops National League in doubles (35).

  • Padre Gene Richards and Astro Craig Reynolds compete for the National League lead in triples with 12.

  • Henderson leads American League in swipes (56), hits (135), and runs (89).

  • Milwaukee's Cecil Cooper tops American League with 35 doubles.

  • Eddie Murray, Oakland's Tony Armas, California's Bobby Grich, and Boston's Dwight Evans all tie for American League homer crown with 22.

  • Murray tops American League in RBI (78).

  • Grich leads American League in SA (.543).

  • Evans tops American League in walks (85) and runs produced (133).

  • Cleveland's Mike Hargrove leads American League in OBP (.432).

  • Oakland's Steve McCatty wins American League ERA crown (2.32).

  • KC's Dennis Leonard tops the major league with 202 innings.

  • Barker leads American League in strikeouts with just 127.

  • Oakland's Rick Langford leads the major league with 18 CGs.

  • Rollie Fingers tops the major league with 28 saves.

  • Cardinal Bruce Sutter's 25 saves are tops in the National League.

  • Seattle's Tom Paciorek is runner-up for American League bat crown (.326) and also stands high in several other offensive departments.

  • Every team in the American League East finishes above .500 except last-place Blue Jays, who have the worst record in majors (37-69).

  • No pitcher in American League has more than four shutouts.

  • Minnesota's John Castino leads American League in triples with just nine.
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